Location: Brgy. Uacon, Candelaria, Zambales
Visited on: April 22, 2017
Disclaimer: We rode a private vehicle on the way to Candelaria, but had to commute on our way back home since most from the group opted to stay overnight.
Early this April, when the summer heat has started crawling around the corner, my officemate asked me to make a group trip to any beach. The traveler in me felt so excited and I invited our other office friends to join us as I search for a good place to go to.
When I invited our Team Leader, she thought that the planned beach trip could also be our team building activity.
For about two week, we were working on our visit to Magalawa Island. However, a few days prior to our visit, our contact was barely responsive either through SMS or calls.
We then decided to visit Potipot Island instead. I immediately updated the itinerary as we had already contacted a boatman to assist us to the island. Come next day, my officemate said we should rather go to Capones Island instead, so we yet again contacted people and updated the itinerary.
Friday came and arrangements were being finalized, but with our last call, we realized that there are a number of restrictions at Capones Island, so we came back to our second plan.
Our contact, Kuya MJ, was highly responsive and very helpful. He kept checking on us while we were still on our way.
On the way to the Island
It was past 3 in the morning when we left Manila for Zambales. It took us about six hours to reach our destination, and everyone felt restless but excited.
Kuya MJ met us at Petron Gasoline Station in front of the Brgy. Uacon Plaza at Candelaria, Zambales. We followed him in his motorcycle into the parking space near their place. For those who are planning to go via private car, there is a 100php parking fee.
We had a short walk to the beach shoreline, and Potipot Island was already visible. To go to the island, a five minute boat ride is required. A boat can accommodate 4-6 people and costs 400php per boat on a roundtrip basis.
The boat ride was simple but fun, because you wouldn’t actually think that such a small thin boat could transport people back and forth a place.
When we arrived, we settled our entrance fees (300php for overnight, 100 for daytrip) and looked for a place where we could pitch our rented tents from Kuya MJ (400php for tent good for 4, 500php for tent good for 6, 600 php for tent good for 8). When we found a nice, shaded part of the island with a table nearby, we pitched up our tent and prepared to dive into the clear waters of Potipot Island.
The sand is semi-white and fine, and the waters are very clear, too. The place isn’t rocky at all, but there are times when algae fill the shore.
At Potipot Island, kayaks could be rented for 300php per hour. After lunch, my office mates and I went around racing on our kayaks, while others snorkel to see the small fishes swimming under the sea.
The best part of the trip for me was when my office mate and I went kayaking, I asked if we could go as close to the border as we can, but we went past through the border. We somehow panicked because we have gone a little too far and the waves are stronger there, but we thought we should follow the way of the currents instead, and this allowed us to track our way back to where we were supposed to be. It was frightening but absolutely fun because we survived. Lol.
A few more minutes basking under the sun with my office mates when I and another office mate prepared to go home for we both have to attend to other matters, while we left the others who stayed overnight.
The way home
Kuya MJ’s friends fetched us and from the mainland, we road a tricycle to Sta. Cruz bus terminal for 200php, but when we saw a bus to Olongapo, we asked the driver to drop us off then we road the bus for 187php. The trip took about 4-5 hours, and both my officemate and slept throughout the trip.
When we arrived in Olongapo, we caught a bus to Cubao, but the bus almost left me behind because I bought dinner for the two of us. Good thing the guard assisted me and my officemate talked to the conductor as well.
The trip back to Manila took almost two hours, and we arrived at around 1 in the morning.
View more photos on Potipot Island.
You may also view the overnight itinerary here.
You may also view the day trip itinerary here.
1. Day trip is possible but is not recommended. Staying overnight is highly recommended. Bioluminiscent algae and the starry night would make your stay more worthwhile.
2. You may contact Kuya MJ at 09055241706 or 09162565427. He will assist you and lend you tents where you could sleep in.
3. Basic expenses
-Bus to Candelaria: 450 (though we rode a private van on our way)
-Boat to and from the island: 400 roundtrip, good for 6 people
-Tents: 400 for tent good for 4, 500 for tent good for 6, 600 for tent good for 8; but capacity is questionable.
-Tricycle to Sta. Cruz Terminal: 200 php. This is more advisable because you are more likely to catch a bus directly to Manila. Travel time would be around 8 hours.
-Bus to Olongapo: 187 non-airconditioned
-Bus to Cubao: 207 but we almost had to wait for another hour to catch the next bus.
Here’s how to get there:
From Cubao, Quezon City, ride a bus going to Sta. Cruz, Zambales. Fare ranges from 400-500. Ask the driver/conductor to drop you off at Brgy. Uacon Plaza (across Petron Gasoline Station) in Candelaria, Zambales.
To get back to Manila, you may opt to wait for a bus from the highway in Candelaria to Cubao/Pasay (cost: 400-500php; travel time: 6-8 hours). Similarly, you could ride the bus to Olongapo (cost: 187php; travel time: 4-5 hours), then take the bus from Olongapo to Cubao/Pasay (cost: 207php; travel time: 2-3 hours), or ride a tricycle to Sta. Cruz, Zambales (cost: 150-200 per tricycle; travel time: 30-45 mins) where you could board the bus back to Manila.