I told Asher to move one more step to the left while I moved one step to the right. I was carefully framing our shot to capture a good sunset picture with the island at the background. I ran back to align my Go Pro camera and then positioned myself again into the frame. I signaled for both of us to hold our stance while looking at the sunset. Good shot!
Touchdown: Candelaria, Zambales
It was almost lunchtime when Asher and I arrived at Dawal Beach Resort in Candelaria, our home for the weekend. We were on the road for 7 hours from Manila, with a brief breakfast stopover in Olongapo, and we were just eager to take on the beach as soon as we touched down.
Candelaria is a municipality that sits along the foot of the Zambales mountain ranges. It has created a niche in the tourism market as it serves as the jump-off point for travelers heading off to Potipot Island. Its coastline, facing the West Philippine Sea, is lined up with a number of resorts that offer accommodations for those intending to stay a night or two in Zambales.
After a nice lunch of chicken and shrimp at the resort, we headed for the beachfront. Our destination was Potipot Island but since we were too tired to take on the short trip to the island, we decided to just enjoy the beach and wait for the sunset by the sandy shores of Candelaria.
The dark brown sandy shores of Candelaria has its own charm. I think that the tourist pull of Potipot Island had downplayed the beauty of Candelaria’s beach. It is the typical rural shoreline where you see locals taking a nap under bamboo huts. It is very laid back.
Asher and I had the beach for ourselves. We enjoyed the strong waves hitting its shores while trying to build sandcastles. Every now and then, a motorized banca docks along the shore to bring back resort guests from the island.
Candelaria is also a good spot to catch the sunset. We were lucky to enjoy viewing the sun as it sank into the waters of the West Philippine Sea. It was amazing to watch the sky turn into different colors, highlighted by different cloud formations. It was a great show to end the day.
Potipot Island: My Birthday Treat
I make it a point to travel to a new destination to celebrate my birthday. This year’s destination was Potipot Island – a destination that has been on my list for quite some time. This 7.5 hectare island off the coast of Candelaria boasts of powdery white sand and clear turquoise waters. So imagine my excitement as I woke up on my birthday to explore the island and the best part of it was having Asher with me on this trip.
It only takes 15-minutes via motorized boat to cross from the mainland to Potipot Island. There are boatmen along the shore who can bring you to and back from the island for Php500. These boats are allowed to dock on one side of the island preserving its shorelines. Guests are free to roam the island after paying the Php100 entrance fee.
There are cottages for rent for those who intend to spend the night in Potipot Island but the best way to enjoy a night’s rest in the island is by pitching a tent. The island have very basic facilities. In our case, we chose a spot close to the beach where I installed my AluyanPH hammock.
Potipot beach is a great destination for those who want to just chill. There is always a silent spot where you can lay down to sleep or read a book. Walking the beach is highly suggested as the island is small that you can walk around it in 30 minutes. You will be treated with the different facets of the island – the powdery white sand, the rough “coral” shores, and its turquoise blue waters. The beach is a perfect spot to beach bum. Asher and I enjoyed taking a dip and enjoying the sun and sand.
Post Travel Notes
I must say that Potipot Island is an underrated beach destination. Its white sand shores and clear waters are comparable to the other great beaches in the country. The Potipot experience is enhanced by the rustic and untouched vibe of the island. I think that if the owners invest more on improving its facilities while keeping its “raw” feel, Potipot Island can attract more tourist that can eventually generate business and employment opportunities for the community.
Despite the gruelling 7-8 hours travel to Potipot Island, it was one of those trips that I enjoyed. It was a perfect destination to just chill. Its beach bumming at its finest. If you are in the mood to travel for hours just looking for a good beach spot then Potipot Island is our suggested destination.
I guess I could say that I spent my birthday… chilling like a boss.
Getting There: Victory Liner have direct trips to Sta. Cruz, Zambales. These buses pass by Candelaria. However, direct trips are limited. Another option is to take a bus bound for Olongapo or Iba and then catch a bus bound for Candelaria. Just ask the driver to drop you off at your preferred resort or at the town proper where you can take a trike to your resort.
Where to Stay: Asher and I stayed at Dawal Beach Resort. Potipot Island is just 15-minutes away from the resort. Dawal offers great accommodations, swimming pool facilities, a restaurant, and boat transfers to Potipot Island. You can reach Dawal Beach Resort at (0919) 5730952.
For those who are on a tight budget or who prefers camping out, you can go directly to Potipot Island and pitch a tent. Potipot Island has a Php100 entrance fee per person.
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Marc del Rosario
I believe in education, entrepreneurship, and caring for the environment.