Archive for the ‘ Zambales ’ Category

DIY: Potipot Island Camping

shoreline of Potipot

Potipot is a tiny island off the coast of Uacon, Zambales. Potipot is so small  you can walk around it in about 30 minutes. The sands are a bit fine but I wouldn’t say it’s as fine as those in Boracay. A good place to relax and enjoy the beach, you can even do some snorkeling here.

To get there:

We rode a Victory Liner bus from Caloocan Station bound for Sta. Cruz, Zambales. It took us more or less 5 hours to get to Zambales by bus and from there a 10-15 minutes boat ride to reach this haven.

Don’t forget to:

  • Bring along stuff for your entertainment (frisbee, volleyball, a deck of cards, snorkel gear, a book) to keep boredom at bay.

do some snorkeling ;)

  • Be prepared for night time (bring a sleeping bag/tent, blanket, and a good flashlight).
  • If you are going to go camping, make sure you have enough food (for your meals and snacks to munch on too) and drinking water supply.

snacks! :D

Expenses:

island fee

  • bus fare – 436php one way (Mla-Sta.Cruz)
  • overnight fee – 200php
  • boat – 400php/boat (there were 4 of us in it)

 

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Overnight in Potipot Island

Overnight in Potipot Island

I made a lot of friends because of my love for traveling and there will always be those whom you share a special bond with. So we (I along with 3 more friends) hatched a plan to stay overnight in an island (qualifiers included: should be reached by land travel, not crowded, chill-out place) for some bonding time.

January 23-24, 2010

Meeting time’s supposed to be at 11pm because the last trip bound for Zambales is around midnight. It was a Friday and traffic was heavy. That was why even though Abby and I left Makati (we just had to attend a dinner on that night too ^_^) around 10, we were barely able to catch the last bus. We literally had to run for it!

and we're off for Caloocan bus terminal!

That bus ride was quite memorable. It was packed! Packed enough that not finding seats wasn’t enough. There was barely room for us to stand in. I seriously thought that I will have to stand for the whole 5-hour trip! Good thing it was for only 2 hours (!). The fact that I was catching up  stories with good friends sort of made the whole thing more bearable. After a couple more hours, it seemed like we were the only ones left when the bus conductor informed us that it was our stop, Dawal.

seeking shelter at a shed one early morning

It was still dark (4:30am-ish) and very cold (for which I was happy that I brought a jacket along) when we got off the bus.  We met a man whilst walking and he asked us if we’re going to Potipot Island. Turns out that he and his wife rent out their boat to travelers as well as provide cooking utensils if you ever need some. It was then agreed upon that he’ll bring us to  the island and fetch us the next day all for 400php with a pot of rice thrown in the deal. :D

Sta. Cruz talipapa

We then proceeded to the marketplace to buy some food, drinks, firewood and we had our first meal of the day there, freshly cooked arroz caldo. Yum!

mag-agahan muna tayo! :D

I thought Potipot Island was near Anawangin and Nagsasa Cove so I was sort of expecting a landscape similar to those two (think: pine trees, streams) that’s why when I saw the island, I turned to my friends and was like “Yan na yun? The usual tropical island with coconut trees?” I blame it on the fact that they’re both in Zambales which is no reason at all come to think of it. They laughingly answered “yes” but turns out it wasn’t just your usual island whatever that means. I hate not doing my research! :)

Potipot Island

There are huts for rent in the island but we opted to camp out. First agenda then is to choose our campsite  and to set up our tents.

campsite. :)

Afterwhich, we set out to do different things. They slept while I was enjoying having the island to myself (not counting the caretakers and my sleeping companions).

The day (more specifically the afternoon) was spent swimming, hanging out, lazing around, taking pics and trying to prepare for dinner and the night. Though we weren’t the best campers and we had some boo-boos, it was loads of fun! We even had a mini bonfire and ate burnt marshallows. hehe

mmmmm

The next day was special for us as we had an agenda even before going there: We were going to clean the island! Or at least try to pick up the litters along the coast. We ended up collecting around 2 garbage bags worth of plastic and other-trash-other-people-left-behind. The island’s caretakers were grateful for our help and we were more than happy to do our small part. :)

That being done, we did some last minute swim and photo op before heading back to the mainland and to metropolitan Manila. :)

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Potipot Island Camping

DIY: Trek Pinatubo for a day

The largest volcanic eruption that occurred in living memory was that of Mt. Pinatubo in June 1991. Its effect was felt worldwide; bringing down the global temperature by about 0.5 °C and with ashfall reaching countries like Cambodia, Malaysia & Vietnam.

An early eruption picture of Mt. Pinatubo


The eruption blasted the volcano’s summit and it is now replaced with a caldera that’s 2.5kms wide. Of which, a crater lake was formed. Initially, the lake was small, hot and highly acidic, with a minimum pH of 2 and a temperature of about 40 °C. Abundant rainfall cooled and diluted the lake, lowering the temperature to 26 °C and raising the pH to 5.5 by 2003.


For those of the adventurous spirit who would like to go to this historic & beautiful place…

Ride a bus going to Pangasinan, Baguio or Ilocos Provinces (Five Star Bus, Fariñas Transit, Victory Liner) or catch a direct bus to Tarlac and ask  to be dropped off at Capas Public Market. Fare is more or less P200.00 and travel time is around 3 hours.

From the market, catch a jeepney or tricycle to bring you to Pinatubo Spa Town in Sta. Juliana where the Tourism Office and the base camp of Capas Pinatubo Four Wheelers Club Association are situated. You need to pay the environmental fee in the Tourism Office and rent a 4×4 here, they can assign one for you or you may contact any 4×4 driver you know in advance.

Alternatively, you may want to rent a van for a day for a less-hassle travel though you will still have to ride that 4×4 once you arrive in Capas. :)

The lake formed after the volcano's eruption

TAKE NOTHING BUT PICTURES, LEAVE NOTHING BUT FOOTPRINTS,

KILL NOTHING BUT TIME

Expenses:

  • 3750php for 4wheeldrive capacity is 4 – 5 persons (max)
  • 500php tourist guide per 4wheeldrive
  • 50php conservation fee per head
  • 500php skyway toll fee per 4wheeldrive
  • *rates will be slightly different for foreigners

To summarize:

If you’re a group of 5,  you will spend a total of 5000php or 1000php/person. There are also optional relaxing packages like boat riding at 350php per head; massage, volcanic ash, mudpack at 500php per category good for one person.

Optional Expenses:

  • Shower fee – P20.00 at Baranggay Hall/P100.00 at Mt. Pinatubo Town Spa
  • Tent rental – P100.00 (if you’re planning on staying for the night)

Sample Itinerary:

03:00am – Departure for Barangay Sta. Juliana, Capaz, Tarlac

06:00am – Arrival at Tourism Office, Capaz, Tarlac for Registration

06:30am – 4×4 skyway ride to jump-off point

07:30am – Trek from jump-off point to crater

08:00am – Arrival at the crater, explore, photo ops

11:30nn – Lunch

01:30pm – Departure from crater to jump off point

02:00pm – Arrival at jump off point, 4 x 4 ride back to Tourism Office

03:00pm – Arrival at Tourism Office

05:00pm – Departure for Manila

Contact Info:

  • 4x4s: Wendell Mercado (president of the Wheeler’s Club) 0919 608 4313

Things to bring:

  • bring your own lunch (there are no restaurants on the crater)
  • camera (for souvenirs)
  • cap/ hat/ shades
  • sunblock
  • water/ drinks
  • swimwear
  • change of clothing (better to change at the Spa since you’ll just get covered by dust on the way back)

Have fun guys! Stay safe!!! :D

 

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Trekking Pinatubo

Trekking Pinatubo

A friend suggested a grand entrance for my first blog entry. I asked him what he had in mind. He told me to post my first blog to coincide with my birthday so that it would be more dramatic. And here I am actually doing what he said!

Grand, dramatic, explosive… the one thing that comes to my mind is Mt. Pinatubo and the day trip I made there with 35 other people! :D


December 13, 2009

We had to be up and ready to leave very early in the morning (take that to mean as 3am). There were two assembly point for the group, one van’s in Southmall for those joining from the South (Las Piñas, Parañaque, Muntinlupa) which will then proceed to the next stop, McDonald’s parking lot in Quezon Avenue, where 2 more vans were waiting. After some delays (waiting for some people/ last minute food shopping/ seating arrangement problems), the group then left for a 3-hour travel to Tarlac.

Before shot: people from all over (Philippines, Australia, Spain, Portugal, Taiwan) joining me in this trip

Pinatubo Spa Town in Sta. Juliana is our first destination. This is the place where you will have to register at the Tourism Office and pay the required conservation/ environmental fee. The Capas Pinatubo Four Wheelers Association is also based here. The last part of your journey to reach the famed volcano is an hour long ride in rough terrain hence the need for the 4×4 wheels rental. One will be assigned to you on the spot or if you know any of the drivers, you may contact him in advance. We had to rent 7 of those coz there where 36 of us. They implement a strict-5 people per vehicle rule (we tried to convince them that we’d be needing only 6 coz to rent one more will add an additional 3750php to our expenses to no avail! hehe).

Are you guys having fun? :D

The ride will begin with at least 3 check point then it will take you over a vast land area that’s covered deep in lahar (lahar canyons), over streams, hills that were formed from the volcano’s eruption, and you will meet a small Aeta community along the way. It was a fun & scenic ride!

Traversing lahar canyons

At the jump off point is where the “trekking” will begin. I originally thought that it’s at least two hours of walking but since they want the volcano to be easily accessible to visitors, they’re creating paths to even shorten the current 20-minute trek! Where’s the fun in that guys?! ;)

What's your age? ;)

The most difficult part of that short walk for us “not active” people (yes, i’m avoiding the word sedentary here ^_^) was the climb up towards the volcano’s crater. The “fit” ones were still chatting away while the others were starting to catch their breaths. :D

Chris and Archie walking

Anyways, all the effort was worth it coz once you get to the top of that step, you’ll have your first glimpse of the Pinatubo Lake in all its rich aquamarine colors within the volcano’s caldera. The lake is huge! Mt. Pinatubo is within the borders of 3 province: Zamabales, Tarlac and Pampanga.

Pinatubo Crater Lake

The day was spent swimming (okay, so it was mostly wading in the waters for the non swimmers which is to say almost half of the group haha), cam whoring (!), eating (best to bring finger foods) and lazing around.You have to be careful if you’re not a good swimmer coz there’s a steep decline a few feet (5?) away from the edge of the water. Everyone’s reminded to be careful because the actual depth of the lake is yet to be measured.

Since we don't really swim, we'll take pictures instead!

Time passed quickly that soon it was time to pack up and leave. The ride back was the same but coz of the activities done, the roughness of the ride lulled a number of people to sleep which caused at least (I wasn’t sure how it was in the other cars) one to almost fall off the vehicle. hehehe

I can guarantee that you’ll arrive back at the Spa covered in dust (unless you wrapped yourself up in some shawl) that the best option after swimming in the lake and drying up is to just wait ’til you get to the spa before changing into your usual clothing coz you definitely need to shower after. ;)

After shot: CS Philippines Conquers Mt. Pinatubo

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DIY: Trek Pinatubo for a day

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