Sunday, May 2, 2010


It was labour day weekend and so although I had work to do, decided to do an overnight trip out of town to get some beach air and water before I hunker down. So headed for Zambales province.

I essentially drove North West of Manila - through Subic Bay and then just drove North on the coast.  I was aiming for this little island called Potipot which is a small uninhabited white-sand island 1km from the shores.

Delicious Potipot


But I did not make it. It took me nearly 8 hours to just the reach the towns of Botolan and Ida because of there was just too much traffic. The traffic did not came from the long weekend holliday crowd as much as because of events and electioning going on. At Subic Bay, they closed a lot of roads just for a bicycle race and that took up just an hour.  There was a lot of election activities with slow moving convoys vehicles, procession and loudhorns blasting messages. Its more than just the presidential race here although that receives the most foreign press. Its election of Senate, Congress, Mayors, local Councilmen. AND there are multiple candidates for each seats.  Senate seats are national, not provincial or state level seats like US. That adds up to a lot of campaigns to win over the voters. You see banners of so many people all over the place. They have these convoys with loudspeakers going around campaigning. Add all that and the activities of the summer like bicycle races and local festivals etc and the traffic was impossible.

When I hit the town of Botolan, the road got really bad. There was a lot of diverted path which were essentially just rocks. Its a major project by out-going president GMA who now want to be a local congresswoman.  Since the car did not belong to me, I would risk damage as well as not make it in time to catch boat and return in time to find a place to stay.  I may not find any place to stay near the island as all the major resorts are booked and its pretty rural in those parts.

So I decided to turn around and was going to head back to Subic when I saw some interesting beaches and decided to stop. However, the property was private and I could not get in. But next door to the property was a couple of small resort which I decided to get my much delayed lunch.

After lunch, I checked out the beach and while it was not beautiful, it was pretty OK especially the private property next door. A friend explained to me that a Japanese expert once explained to him that in the Philippines, the great beaches faces the East because the during the Monsoon season typically from June-Sept known as Habagat, the sands are washed up on the East sides of islands. If you  look at the white sand beaches of Boracay, Palawan, Cebu, etc, they face the East. The only exception is down south in Mindanao where the monsoon is less pronounced.

Anyway for P125, I could sleep on the beach and use the facilities like the swimming pool, the bathroom. So instead of heading back to Subic, I decided to camp out until tomorrow.  I drank beer, swam and chatted with some of the other guest  and took some pictures.  The sea was actually pretty calm and I was told that most of the times the waves are pretty strong and you could even do a bit of surfing.  Dinner was basic, not cheap but not exorbitant like the top resorts.  I grabbed an early night and headed back even before first light.

On the way back, I stopped at a couple of other places and was glad that I stayed where I did because the beaches did not get better.  I stopped at Crystal Beach and Subic Bay.

At Subic Bay, I decided to explore it a bit further. The place pretty much still look like a piece of American small town with football/baseball field, strip malls but it has a gorgeous yatch club with some beautiful boats in it.  You have to hand it to American military - when they built something, they do it right, probably expensive but they last forever.

There was less activities going on  the return trip so I actually made it back less than half the time it took me to get there including all the stops. All and all it was a pretty good excursion.

1 comment:

J-me Pikman said...


By the way, have you ever heard about I hear they just started a new contest called Mama's day out!