When in Zambales: Day Tour at Capones Island

Who said you can’t travel to Zambales in July? Upon reading the travel reviews and news reports of strong winds or “hanging habagat”, travel tours are cancelled in Zambales after the summer season.  Nevertheless, we took the risk of going there and it never failed to amaze us.

Zambales is a place for experiencing the best of both worlds.  It gives you a feel of adventure and serenity at its finest.  One of the things that made this trip complete and interesting was our trip to Capones Island.  The storm has just passed and the water current was still strong but still we forced ourselves to see the island.  We had the most dangerous and “buwis buhay” boat trip I have ever had in my life.  Capones Island might just surprise you.  It offered that rustic vibe with a blend of ruins as a backdrop.  It’s like you’re transported to a different place and in a different time.

HOW TO GET THERE:

  • Ride a bus (Victory Liner/Five Star) from Pasay to Iba, Zambales : 4 hours

http://www.phbus.com/victory-liner-bus/

  • Drop off at San Antonio, Zambales
  • Take a tricycle to Pundaquit : 20 minutes

Mitch (Trike Driver) – 09292445558

  • Pundaquit to Anawangin Cove: 45 mins – 1 hour by boat
  • Sitio San Martin, Subic to Anawangin Cove: 4-5 hours by hike
  • Pundaquit to Nagasasa Cove: 1-2 hours by boat; 5-6 hours by trek
  • Pundaquit to Capones and Camara Island: 30 minutes

Island Hopping Rates: 1500-2000 (group of 4)

WHERE TO STAY:

  • Camping = Capones Island

bring your own tent

  • Pundaquit Sun and Surf Resort

Purok 5, 09156151275

Nipa Huts = 500 pesos good for 2 persons

WHERE TO EAT:

Pundaquit Paradise Hotel – 15 minute walk from the Sun and Surf Resort

WHAT TO DO:

1. Island Hopping at Capones Island

Capones Island boasts its lighthouse, white sand beaches and crystal waters.  The lighthouse was built during the Spanish Era as a guide for shipping vessels going to Subic and from Manila Bay.  There are two routes to the lighthouse, if you prefer walking rather than trekking then you can enjoy your stroll for an hour from the shore.  However, if you want the shorter route, you can do a 15 minute trek and trust me, other travel guides will tell you it’s an easy trek to the top but honestly, it’s not.  Don’t wear slippers, instead wear aqua shoes or sneakers since the path is slippery especially during the rainy season.  The view from the top of the lighthouse was very worth it.  You can see the panoramic view of the island.

2. Snorkeling and Diving at Capones Island

There are plenty of corals at the island that will satiate both your eyes and your camera.  If you’re scared to be underwater and of the big waves, corals can also be seen on the shore.  However, you’ll be a little disappointed seeing some of the corals to be destroyed because of dynamite fishing. The stoney and rugged terrains make it more picturesque and unique among other beaches.  Its sand are not so fine and white as there are little corals mixed with the grainy sediments. The path going to the shore entails a lot of trekking into the humungous stones in which the boatmen only regarded as “pebbles”.  They are situated atq the beach and every turn and angle makes it a selfie instagram worthy.

3. Surfing and Skim boarding

Never have I thought that you could surf in Zambales.  I was surprised when I talked to the locals that they hold surfing competitions there.  For only 400 pesos, you already get a trainer and a surfboard.  I would recommend Ewoks (09197615085) who is one of the best instructors in Pundaquit.  If you’re a newbie in surfing, then Zambales is definitely recommended.  Aside from the price which is cheaper, the waves here are smaller compared to Siargao and Baler.  If you’re not into surfing, skim boarding can be another option for you as locals enjoy this too.

4. Photography

Prepare to fall in love with the  colorful sunset and sunrise against the scenery of the terrains.  You only travel once in a while and it’s important to document and never miss an angle.  Who knows, maybe you can make your own selfie book like Kim Kardashian.  Take pictures while you lay in their super fine black sand and feel as the waves envelope your feet. Upon seeing the waters, it made me think of Australian beach waves which are so huge and so foamy.


TRAVEL TIPS:

Arrive early at Pundaquit.  Trips to the nearby islands are no longer available after 4pm.

Buy food at the San Antonio public market before heading to the islands.  Make sure to buy water and bring food that don’t easily spoil.

If you have plenty of time to stroll around you can go to their waterfalls at Pundaquit which is just a 20 minute short walk from the surfing area. 

Read travel guides to compare rates and prices.  Boatmen tend to overprice.  Don’t look desperate and try to haggle.

Talk to locals.  You might just get surprised and discover more.

ITINERARY:

Day 1 – Capones Island, Zambales
https://wengwengwanders.com/2014/08/23/backpacking-in-zambales-day-tour-at-capones-island/

Day 2 – Bolinao, Pangasinan
https://wengwengwanders.com/2015/07/02/when-in-pangasinan-relish-the-view-of-bolinao-rock-formation%E2%80%A8/

Day 3 – Alaminos, Pangasinan
https://wengwengwanders.com/2015/08/06/when-in-pangasinan-cliff-jump-at-marcos-island-hundred-islands%E2%80%A8/

7:30 Departure from Bacolod

9:00 Arrival at Manila

9:30 Pasay Terminal

Brunch

10:00 Departure from Pasay

2:00 Arrival at San Antonio, Zambales

2:30 Arrival at Pundaquit

3:00 Selfies; Check In; Change Clothes

4:30 Surfing

6:00 Shower

7:00 Dinner

6:00 Wake Up  Call

7:00 Island Hopping to Capones Island

7:30 Arrival at Capones Island

9:00 Departure from Capones Island

9:30 Pundaquit

10:00 Shower

11:00 San Antonio, Zambales

Lunch

12:00 Heading to Pangasinan

BUDGET BREAKDOWN: each pax (group of 4)

Airfare to MNL : 1500

Terminal fee: 200

Taxi to Bus Station (Victory Liner): 26.75

Bus to Iba: 307

Brunch: 109

Water: 20

Fish Crackers: 20

Tricycle to Pundaquit: 30

Nipa Hut: 250

Surfing: 400

Dinner: 212.50

Water: 30

Tricycle back to our hut: 20

Boating: 437.50

Tricycle to San Antonio: 40

Lunch: 157.50

Total: 2060.25 exc airfare

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