Beachin' & Campin' at Potipot Island

by - September 27, 2014

It has somehow become a tradition for me and my college friends to have an "annual" summer escapade. It started in Laiya, Batangas way back year 2011 - our graduation year. Then headed to Puerto Galera in the summer of 2012. Ilocos for the summer of 2013. This year, 2014, Candelaria, Zambales was our latest destination.

We were actually invited by my friend's relative to their house where there was a local Zambales wedding. We arrived early in the morning at around 7:00AM. After some rest, we headed to the virgin beach where we just chilled out and enjoyed the morning sea breeze. It's astounding how this place is still undeveloped and good job to the local community government for being able to preserve this beauty.

Virgin beach at Candelaria, Zambales

Then going back, we feasted on freshly fetched crabs, shrimps and ripe mangoes. Amazing how big the crabs and shrimps were! And actually so yummy when cooked! Ahhh, province life. Sometimes I really do wish that I live near a beach.

Seafood feast for breakfast

Dawal Beach Resort

Later that night after the wedding, we opted to check in at Dawal Beach Resort. The resort was pretty big and decent for a short stay. There's a restaurant, a sports bar and a swimming pool. Their beach front was also good and clean wherein you can have a view of the Potipot Island from afar.

Dawal Beach Resort

The dormitory room was actually too big for our group. But it was clean with a good number of restroom cubicles.

Swimming pool at Dawal

Beach front at Dawal. That little island from afar is Potipot.

However, I do not highly recommend this resort due to bad customer service. During our stay, there were power fluctuations that cause the water supply to halt. The staff was ignoring our complaints at first and my friend needed to rant first before they recognized us. Then it took more than an hour to be fixed.

Potipot Island

Anyhow, on our second day, we rented a small pump boat from Dawal to Potipot Island. It only took around 6-8 minutes. We contracted the boatmen to fetch us the next morning 'cause we planned to camp overnight.
Look how excited our faces are! 

Pump boat to Potipot Island

Potipot Island does not have any developed resorts to stay neither electricity available. So if you are planning to have an overnight stay there, you should be prepared with all the stuff you need most especially food and water. Our group actually went first to the Sta. Cruz market to buy our needs, including some disposable utensils, blanket, a small ice cooler, etc.
Take note that there is an entrance fee at 100php for day trippers and 300php for overnight campers. It was literally a convenient, little island wherein you can walk around the isle for less than an hour.

Now, time for setting up the camp! There are tent rentals on the island that costs 500php for a tent good for 4 pax and 300php for a tent good for 2pax. Some tips on choosing a perfect camping spot:
  • Should be near a table or nipa huts
  • Should be under a shade of a tree
  • Should be beach front
We chose a spot somewhat far from the other campers as we only want to hear our own noises. 

For our food, we grilled pork and fish for dinner. The good news is that there are grilling stations at the center of the island along where the water pump is.


Potipot Island is unexpectedly so beautiful. The pristine waters and fine white sand could really make it as the "Little Boracay of the North". At night time, it would be completely dark except for the flicker of lights coming from the few campers staying overnight. I discouraged my group building a bonfire though, as I know that it ruins the fairness of the sand.

It was Mother's day when we visited Potipot so we made this little gesture for our Moms!

Look at how clear the water is

Night time at Potipot. Thanks to the camera's flash! :)

How to Get to Potipot Island

From Manila, one should catch a bus to Sta. Cruz, Zambales. Victory Liner is the most known and secured public transportation that offers trips to Zambales. They have quite a number of terminals around the metro so check their website for locations and schedules. It's much better to reserve a ticker days before the trip, especially during peak season.
Due to the peak season, there were no longer available seats to Sta. Cruz, Zambales for our desired time. As an option, we took a bus to Iba instead. Then got off at Iba proper where we waited for buses going to Sta. Cruz.

The jump off point is Uangco where you can take a tricycle to some locals offering boat rides to Potipot Island. The trip is approximately 5-6 hours from Manila.

Camping is indeed fun. But please do remember to pick up all your trash before leaving.
Leave nothing but footprints, take nothing but memories, kill nothing but time.

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