Saturday, April 28, 2007

greeting summer in san antonio, zambales

ah, to feel sand beneath my feet again!

i still can't believe it took me a few weeks to finally get to the beach. just imagine my envy whenever my friends would parade their tans around me and tell me tidbits of their beach escapades.

so susie and i packed our bags (we packed lightly! hooray!) and drove to zambales saturday morning. the drive was pretty long. the usual travel time to zambales takes 3 hours, but it took us 4 hours this time, due to the traffic.

we were billeted in megan's resort for the weekend. we both fell in love with the place when we first stayed there in august for manila surfers' association's zambapalooza. the resort is simple, pretty straightforward, and exudes a laidback, homey feel. we reserved a room with a king-sized bed, aircon, and clean bathroom. like i said, straightforward.

since we arrived at around lunchtime, we quickly dropped our bags off into the room (check-in was a breeze!) and headed to the carinderia that partly serves as the reception area as well. we chose a can of corned beef from the store shelves and brought it to the outdoor kitchen to have it cooked. cooking charge is a mere P15. we ordered rice to go along with our corned beef lunch, and ate happily on a bamboo table.

and after filling our empty stomachs, it's now time to enjoy the beach. pundaquit is a good jump-off point to exploring capones island, the camera islands, and anawangin beach. we put off visiting capones for the next day, and decided to explore a more private area: megan's cove. the cove is owned by megan's resort as well, and is a good thirty-minute boat ride from pundaquit. we asked our trusty boatman to drop us off the cove and to come back for us after two hours.

there isn't much to explore in megan's cove. it's a short strip of beige-colored sand with pretty rocky waters. the island itself is riddled with trees, and three huts are scattered on the island, hidden from sight. the only other beings on the island with us were a few goats. a large mountain looms behind, giving you a nice, calming view of browns and greens.

getting yourself marooned in a private cove is the best way to get a tan. we decided to spread our sarong under the scorching sun, away from the shades of the trees. we'd soak in some rays, then get into the water when it's getting too hot. swim and bake. loooovely. before we knew it, our friendly neighborhood boatman was back, and we headed back to pundaquit beach, a bit darker than when we came.

dinner was by the carinderia again. this time, we ordered one whole grilled chicken from the kitchen. while waiting for our meal to cook, we whiled away the time by swigging down beers and talking while sitting on the carinderia bar stools. it took them a while to serve the chicken, but the wait was worth it. the skin wasn't too burnt, it was just the right type of crispy. the white meat was tasty and soft, and went perfectly well with toyo and kalamansi.

one more thing i love about megan's is that you don't need to bring your wallet with you everytime. if you're ordering something from the kitchen or their carinderia, you can simply ask them to list it down under your room number. when checkout time comes, that's when you pay for everything. so convenient, and so professional for such a homey establishment.

dinner was shortly followed by sleep. we didn't realize that an afternoon of lounging around under the sun could take up so much of our energy. we didn't even remember how we dozed off. we just woke up bright and early the next day, excited for our trip to capones island.

you can see capones island directly from the shores of pundaquit. it's a strangely shaped island (actually, don't all islands come in strange shapes?), and as our boat brought us closer to it, we found that it's mostly made of rocks. we asked our boatman to take us to the capones lighthouse. it's at the tip of the island, far from the nice strips of beach.

to get to the lighthouse, first, we traversed rather rocky terrain, which led to a long flight of cement steps to the top. but the hike is well worth it: the view from there is amazing. the lighthouse won't immediately greet you when you reach the summit. you will have to walk along a grassy path to finally see the famous lighthouse.

the capones lighthouse stands 56 feet tall and is made of white brick. the keeper's house, on the other hand, is built of red brick, but could use massive renovation. susie had ideas for the keeper's house left and right, and it was fun to actually imagine the place as a hot tourist destination.

after a few photo ops, we were back in the boat and off to another beach. again, we asked to be marooned for two hours, as we wanted more time to fry. we asked to be dropped off at an area of capones that seemed secluded and clean enough. all around the spot were rocks and mountains; even the water was riddled with large corals, which made swimming out to see almost an impossibility.

we spent a good part of the morning just walking along the beach, taking a short dip every now and then. susie went off to go exploring on the other end of the island while i stayed put, soaked up the sun i so missed, and just looked out to sea. it's been a while since i spent time by the sea, and as always, the experience was highly calming. my nerves, fresh from a week of chaotic work-related stuff, were finally soothed.

after his exploration, susie came back and told me of his adventures. it turns out there was another beach on the other side, and a hut, too! so i finally relented and took the short hike with him to see what he was talking about. the beach had a shorter shore, but it did look more pristine and peaceful. we spent the rest of the time under the nipa hut, shielding our burnt skin from the noon sun.

our boatman arrived earlier than expected, which suited us perfectly. we rode back to pundaquit, our shoulders aching from all the heat. but no matter. the adventures we had: pretending to be marooned on an island, seeing the capones lighthouse, and exploring peaceful coves, are enough to keep us smiling despite our burnt shoulders.

to see more of zambales through my eyes, click here.

contact information:
megan's paradisio beach resort
bgy. pundaquit, san antonio, zambales
tel. nos.: (047) 6210507; (047) 7133784
mobile nos.: 09194808520; 09217936797

room rates:
room with 1 kingsized bed, aircon, and cold shower: P1,600.00
room with 1 kingsized bed, aircon, and hot and cold shower, and TV: P1,800.00
room with 1 kingsized bed, aircon, hot and cold shower, TV, and ref: P2,500.00
beachfront room with 2 kingsized beds, aircon, hot and cold shower, and TV: P2,800.00
beachfront room with 1 kingsized bed, 1 queensized bed, electric fan, and porch: P1,400.00
extra mattress: single: P100, double: P200

boat rides cost P600.00 per boat per trip
areas to explore: anawangin beach, capones island, the camera islands, and megan's cove

cooking charge: P15.00
rice: P15.00
bottle of beer (pale pilsen): P30.00
one whole grilled chicken: P300.00


Anonymous said...

Wonderfully written, as always. *grin* You have a knack for making me want to experience everything myself, whether it's a locale, an activity, a resto (and the food they serve, drool!)---uhm, you get the picture... =Þ -Steph

Penny Lane said...

waaaaah! nakapunta kayo sa lighthouse hehe.

i luuurve megan's too! perfect for us who crave hassle-free beach time!