It’s December, it’s our 5th month – we thought it would be a good idea to have a good year-ender somewhere we haven’t been in before, aside from the fact that I was beach-deprived for 11 months. We initially planned to go to Puerto Galera (could’ve been my second time, but it’s supposedly Gelo’s first) but there was a storm in the south that time. So instead of risking our dear lives, we opted to go north.
We weren’t exactly experts in planning for that trip as we were used to going with our friends who would plan everything for us. This was our first time, made obvious by the VERY long time spent on a bus from Pasay to Zambales (READ: 10 hours). We put the pro in procrastination, too.
We made our first stop at Victory Liner Pasay. We were just done shopping for swimsuits, a sunblock, and a travel bag at Landmark Makati (the travel bag I brought gave us back aches). We were all smiles while waiting for a bus to arrive– we didn’t know then that we would have one of those “ARE WE THERE YET?” moments later that day.
12/5 3PM: Left Manila via Victory Liner
Pasay to Olongapo/Iba: ₱357/ea
From Iba to Candelaria: ₱90/ea (another bus fare)
12/5 11PM: Arrived in Candelaria, Zambales after A LOT of stopovers.
Since we arrived in Candelaria that late, we had to check out some resorts that are open for 24 hours so we could make a reservation, stat. Luckily there’s one called Dawal. It was familiar because of another travel blogger I checked out that morning. If you want to save more, though, you can choose to just bring a tent to Potipot Island. I was told you’ll only have to pay ₱300/night.
The rates were cheaper compared to the others, and the place was nice. The cheapest one was for ₱1,800/night for 2 persons and it was near their pool which was a plus. The poolside rooms have an AC, a TV with cable, and a private bathroom. When we came to our room, we suddenly felt all the exhaustion and hunger brought about by the 10-hour trip. But since we wanted to enjoy the whole day the next day, we chose to just sleep everything off.
12/6 around 9AM: Breakfast at the resort
The food was great and enticing to look at. They have big servings for every dish.
This was just one out of the many meals we had there. 😋
After breakfast, we prepped ourselves to visit Potipot Island. We only paid ₱500 for the boat trip. That’s already from and to the resort, and we the pick-up time was totally our choice.
I think we spent a good 3-hour worth of swimming, hanging out by the shore, and taking pictures before we decided to go back to the resort for lunch.
The sand was nice. Not as powdery as some other beaches, but it was okay. For 3 hours and ₱100/person entrance fee, we had the island for ourselves.
I swam like a n00b and since that didn’t impress my boyfriend, he didn’t let me swim very far. I just underwent diving lessons with him because he wanted me to. I am actually a good swimmer, but I think since I hadn’t been swimming for almost a year, I became a little rusty.
We went back to the resort at lunchtime and stayed in one of their karaoke rooms for ₱200/hour. The room was big enough for 20 people.
We were so full after that we decided to take a nap. It was longer than planned because when we woke up, it was already 6PM, just in time for dinner and the live band. But before any of those, we had a massage first. ₱300/ea for a Shiatsu massage and honestly, we weren’t that impressed.
Piña Colada for moi, and Bacardi for the mister. The rest of that night was filled with dancing, laughter, and people-watching. Haha!
12/7 9AM: Kayaking for ₱200/hour
We went from and to two islands unsupervised. We also got stuck in the middle of the sea and the experience was awesome. ✨ That was our first time kayaking, actually. We figured it would be great to have another first just before leaving and meeting up with Gelo’s family.
This trip taught us a lot of things, like NEVER to procrastinate, for one. Each trip has to be well-planned and we know that now, to avoid painfully sacrificing travel hours. Despite the chaotic travel to the north, it was a very fun getaway for first-timers like us.
Total spendings per person: