Zambales located in the Central Luzon noted for its mangoes and Subic Bay Freeport Zone
Zambales is a province in the Philippines located in the Central Luzon region in the island of Luzon. Its capital is the Municipality of Iba which is strategically located in the middle of the province. Zambales borders Pangasinan to the north and northeast, Tarlac to the east, Pampanga to the southeast, Bataan to the south and the West Philippine Sea to the west. With a total land area of 3,830.83 square (including the independent city of Olongapo), Zambales is the second largest among the seven provinces of Central Luzon after Nueva Ecija. The province is noted for its mangoes, which are abundant from January to April. Zambales does not have a functional airport – the closest functional airport is the Clark International Airport in the neighbouring province of Pampanga. Subic Bay International Airport, which is located in Cubi Point (geographically located inside Morong, Bataan) in the Subic Bay Freeport Zone is no longer functional for domestic and international flights. The Freeport Zone (SBFZ) is host to many tourist attractions which include casinos, parks, malls, beach-side huts, cottages and resorts, as well as historical sites.
Zambales province’s name came from the word zambal, which is a Hispanized term for Sambali. Zambal refers to the native language spoken by the early Austronesian inhabitants of the place. A contending version states that the name was derived from the word samba, meaning worship, because the Spanish supposedly found the native inhabitants to be highly superstitious; worshipping the spirits of their ancestors. It could also originate from the word “Zambo”, a term used by the Iberian (Spanish and Portuguese) empires to distinguish people of African ethnicity/descent. The province is home to the Aetas, the aboriginal people of the Philippines who share Afro-ethnic similarities. How to get there? There are three options in getting to Pudaquit from Manila. First option is from Cubao, take a bus bound for Olongapo city. Once there, transfer to another bus that goes to San Antonio, Zambales. Travel time is around 3 hours, total bus fare is 250 pesos. In San Antonio, take a tricycle and head out to Pundaquit. Travel time is roughly 20 minutes, fare is 20 pesos per person. Second option is from Cubao, Pasay and Caloocan. At their designated bus terminal, take a bus that goes to Iba, Zambales. Tell the driver to drop off in San Antonio public market. Travel time is roughly 3 hours, bus fare is 250 pesos. At the public market, take a tricycle to Pundaquit. Third option Hop into a Victory Lines bus to Sta. Cruz fare is 450 pesos and get off in Uacon, Candelaria. Then, travel by tricycle to the port going to Potipot fare is 15 pesos and hire a boat to the island (400 pesos, up to 4 pax). Subic, a coastal municipality, was the go-to destination for beach-lovers. It had almost everything a Manila urbanite seeking a quick escape could ask for: a seaside hideaway, top-notch resorts, and a chance to go shopping in peace. On top of all that, it is just an easy drive away. Hotels, restaurants and coffee shops in most areas offer internet and wifi connection. Using data internet isn’t that bad as well. The internet is reliable enough to have some work done. The main mode of transportation used in Zambales are tricycles for short distances and buses for longer trips. There’s a lot of buses in the highway, coming to and from Manila. On places near the sea, they have motorboats for fishing and for going to other islands as well.
Things to do in Zambales? 1st activity. Visit Potipot Island, Before the beaches of San Antonio were “rediscovered,” there was Potipot Island in Candelaria, a secret that was known only to a few travelers. Potipot Island is privately owned, but it’s one of those islands you should visit to seek some peace of mind or just a quiet, more intimate moment with nature. How to get here: Hop into a Victory Lines bus to Sta. Cruz fare is 450 pesos and get off in Uacon, Candelaria. Then, travel by tricycle to the port going to Potipot fare is 15 pesos and hire a boat to the island. 2nd activity. Visit Crystal Beach Resort, in San Narciso, offers surfing lessons with Quiksilver Surf School for 400 pesos per hour, inclusive of the surfboard, rash guard, and Quiksilver instructor’s fee. For non-surfers, Crystal Beach has something for you too. It’s one of those resorts where “you have the beach practically to yourself; it’s cleaner, and you don’t have to talk to anyone if you don’t want to. You can just sit under an open hut and listen to the rain’s patter on the roof while you read a good book, or listen to your favorite Spotify relaxation playlist.” 3rd activity. Visit Anawangin Cove has captivated more visitors, which has also sparked a growing interest in nearby beaches. Almost in an instant, the village of Pundaquit has transformed from a sleepy fishing village into a tourist town. 4th activity. Visit Nagsasa Cove is strewn not with your regular sand but volcanic ash spewed by Mt. Pinatubo and carpeted by a forest of sea pine trees. It has all the good things Anawangin is famous for — including a natural viewpoint on a hill and a postcard-worthy inlet — but retaining the more laidback atmosphere that has started to slip away from the other. But unlike its more popular stepsister, Nagsasa doesn’t get too overcrowded, although it’s starting to attract more and more tourists each year. 5th activity. Visit Silanguin Cove is the least crowded of all the newly rediscovered beaches of San Antonio; thanks to its remoteness. Be warned: the sand here isn’t white, not even off-white. It is light gray, at best. But don’t judge a beach by its color. Unlike the other coves, the water here is much shallower and less violent, making it more ideal for swimming (soul searching, if you’re into that thing). The reddish soil of the surrounding mountains combined with the bright greenery also makes for the best view in San Antonio. 6th activity. Visit Capones Island is covered in rocks on one end and strewn with fine sand on the other. You can easily recognize it by its sharp cliff that overlooks a glittering beach and is crowned by the historic Capones Lighthouse. Together with Camara Island, it is a popular island-hopping sidetrip destination. Visitors may enter the building and climb to the top of the tower. The lighthouse guides vessels to and from Subic Bay and Corregidor. 7th activity. Visit Camara Ancentral House is an old-fashioned but amazing structure in Zambales. It was the house of the first Filipino governor of Zambales, Vicente Camara, where its name was derived from. This house also served as the headquarters of Japanese during the the war. Because of its extravagant structure and history, it became one of the tourist spots in Zambales.
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