Island hopping is always best done in the morning during summer. It’s the season of the year where you get to see the islands in perfect shape. So instead of spending my weekend at home doing nothing but eating and sleeping, I asked my brother and cousins to join me as I was planning to revisit Camara and Capones island. Since it would be there first time, I didn’t have any problems with the convincing and preparation.
This was the time the islands revealed their scintillating shades. My pictures couldn’t even do justice. So here’s our quick experience and my attempt to give you at least detailed tips.
Camara Island is the closest and most accessible island from the shores of Pundaquit. It is just 20 minutes away from any nearby resorts depending on the ocean currents. The island appears like a giant rock in the middle of the sea. It showcases white sand, splendor beach and huge rock formations.
There are two Camara island according to our boatmen. Most visitors make a quick stop at the bigger island and just pass through the smaller one. It is not perfect for swimming if you’re looking for a beach where you can just go bumming for longer hours, run along its shorelines or make sand castles, but is a good venue for snorkeling. Its white sand is not fine enough to match the perfection of the aquamarine water. Rough boulders and pebbles are very evident in the island.
This is my favorite rock formation. It’s the best spot to see the vastness of the ocean and waves smashing the island. Since trees are unavailable to give shade to visitors veering away from the sun, big rocks are there to accommodate them.
From Camara island, you wouldn’t miss the picturesque contour of Pundaquit and mountains surrounding it. It was a rare moment to see a scene like this— so rare that I had to stare at it for more than a couple of minutes before I realized that it was time for us to go to the next island.
Capones island is located 30 minutes from Pundaquit. With fine and rough white sand, emerald and blue water, and famous lighthouse, it gains more popularity than Camara.
More than the beach, Capones is known for its lighthouse. The 57-ft fortress was built in 1890 during the Spanish era. It was also first lit in the same year.
We arrived there before 9 in the morning right after enjoying the rough sail from Camara for 20-25 minutes. Our boat wasn’t able to dock at the nearest place going to the lighthouse due to strong waves so our boatmen just dropped us at the far end part of the island. The island harbors trees and grassy areas. It looks like a colossal form of rock and has long elongated stretch compared to Camara.
We started trekking the rocky foundation of the island as soon as we alighted from the boat. It took us 45 minutes before reaching the lighthouse, including rapid pauses to take pictures. Since the lighthouse is perched on top of the hill, aside from braving its unsteady parts, we also trailed its steep portions.
Trekking Capones would require someone to wear durable footwear because the pathways to the lighthouse are rocky. Bringing water is a must to keep you going along the trek. You wouldn’t have any problems looking for cellular signals in the area. If you’re a traveler or photo enthusiast, there are best spots waiting for you. Campers must bring tent and enough food as there are no cottages and stores in the island. Tents can be rented at the resorts in Pundaquit. If you already have a contact, might as well ask if he could provide tents for you.
Reaching the peak of the lighthouse was the highlight of our stay in Capones. It gave us 360 degrees view of the whole coast of Zambales that extends through the South China Sea. There, every angle was perfect. We witnessed how the trees swayed with the winds and how waves danced from one island to another. We also spotted how the hues of the beaches changed from blue-to-emerald-to-turquoise-and-to-royal blue.
Lighthouse shouldn’t be missed if you plan to visit Capones. You won’t achieve the sense of satisfaction and fulfillment if you fail to hit its tower. If you want to catch your breath in awe, go ahead and make your way to the top.
Let me make it clear, Pundaquit is a barangay in San Antonio, Zambales. It’s also consumed by mountains and beach resorts. Pundaquit serves as a jump off point of the tourists going to Camara and Capones Islands, Anawangin Cove, Nagsasa Cove, and Taliyasin. If you only want to have a quick stay on the above-mentioned, and you’re looking for a place with comfortable and air-conditioned rooms, modern ambiance and swimming pool, I suggest that you look for a classy resort in the area of Pundaquit. But, if you prefer to explore the beautiful beaches of Zambales, look for adventure and experience the relaxing setting of the coast, it is best if you wouldn’t stay long in Pundaquit and head directly to any of the said islands.
Like me, I know you also want to save money while being compensated with good service. I looked for the best deal before I pursued my trips to Camara Island, Capones Island and Anawangin Cove which I found easy because I’m from Zambales.
Here’s the best deal I found.
Contact person: ALVIN BONAN
He’s also an owner of a small resort in Pundaquit.
Amenities: If you want to stay in Pundaquit, there are cottages available for P400-600. It’s a small Nipa hut, with bamboo bed and table inside. Shower rooms will be renovated next week according to the owner. Two video-oke machines are also provided.
Contact numbers: 0928-779-9849 and 0917-993-5166
TENTS: 2pax- P250, 4pax- P400
BOATS: (Round trip) From Pundaquit to
Anawangin Cove- P200-250/ pax
Capones Island- P200-250/ pax
Camara Island- P200-250/ pax
Nagsasa Cove- P300-350/pax
Smallest boat can carry 4-5 pax. Largest or the ferry boat can carry a minimum of 20 pax. Kuya Alvin can also provide a service tricycle to pick you at San Antonio Market.
Prices are always negotiable so please learn how to negotiate. You can get the best deal if you choose to go to two or more islands.
HOW TO GET TO CAMARA AND CAPONES ISLANDS
Using a public transport
1- Ride a bus bound to Iba, Zambales or Sta. Cruz, Zambales. There are Victory terminals in Caloocan (Monumento), Cubao, Sampaloc and Pasay.
2- Get off at San Antonio Market.
3- From there, ride or rent a tricycle to Pundaquit.
4- From Pundaquit, rent a boat to bring you to the islands.
Approximate travel time is 4 hrs from Manila to San Antonio through public transport. But it would only take you 3-3 ½ hrs if you have a private vehicle.
HAVE FUN! :)
(Date of travel: March 19, 2011)