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Potipot Island Camping Trip

POTIPOT ISLAND… beautiful… quiet… another perfect place for a family bonding time.

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April 28, 2013… the day my lovees (that’s my husband and my kids) and I had our first ever camping trip. We went there with my sister and her family. Everybody was excited! My kids couldn’t wait for the day, that they put up the tent in our garage, the night I bought it (that was like a week before our planned trip)… haha… they so wanted to know how it feels to sleep in a tent. They were so thrilled and were counting the days. When it was just two days before the trip, they were completely energized already… like they couldn’t sleep or think of anything else.

We left Manila at 11:55PM – the last trip of buses bound for Sta. Cruz, Zambales. We didn’t want to ‘waste our time sitting on the bus for 5 – 6 hours’, so we decided to leave at night… at least we can just sleep the whole travel time. We arrived in Zambales at about 5:20AM and we said to ourselves — YAY! We have the whole day to swim and explore the island.

Before enjoying Potipot or this whole camping trip, though, we first had to go through a not-so-pleasant situation at the bus terminal and on the bus.

Let me share our story. I didn’t know that we HAD to call first, at least a few hours before our trip, to reserve for seats. I know… I know… I had a long exchange of emails with the Victory Liner customer service representatives and I DIDN’T even think of asking if I should already make a reservation and because of that… everything was fully booked… WE WERE CHANCE PASSENGERS!!! Oh my gosh!!! What’s ‘OMG’ about that is not only the possibility of not being able to sit… and there’s a big percentage it’ll be for the whole 6-hour travel time, but that we had two little girls with us. Plus, since we had to bring a lot of stuff, especially food (for 4 meals), my husband and son had to carry our big bag of goodies and cooler from our house (south area) all the way to the terminal in Caloocan and I kept assuring them that they can sleep on the bus anyway… they will indeed be able to sleep for about 5 – 6 hours… a big ‘oh no!’. If we were just chance passengers… then we won’t even be able to sit, how much more sleep… at all… whaaah!!! ­čÖü

Good thing we are “the favored of God”. I was instructed by the terminal cashier to ask the guard about chance passengers, and thank you, Lord… when the guard asked me to write my name, I was the first on her list.

It was just about 10:30PM then and we had to wait till 11:55PM.

Tadadadan!!! The time we were waiting for finally came and after all the passengers with tickets were seated, the people in the guard’s list were called. Again… being really fortunate… my older daughter was able to sit right away. When the bus left the terminal, there was still one seat available so our two little ones got to sit next, and there was also a rectangular stool that my sister and I were able to use.

After more than an hour, the person who was supposed to be seated on the seat where the two girls were sitting said he just forgot his seat number earlier… haha! We all thought that spot was free. The guy got his seat but then two ladies were getting off so… the girls were saved and since the seats are quite big… the two cutees sat on my and my sister’s laps… and all four of us were able to sit well… tulugan na to!! ­čÖé

Good things came one after another and all 9 of us were already properly seated before the 3rd hour of our much-awaited adventure.

Lesson learned here… hmmm… I’m sure you’ve already guessed what it is ­čśŤ

Don't forget to tell the bus conductor to drop you off at Uacon (Wakon) / Dawal (Resort). Some people get dropped off near the market (coz the conductor assumes that people need to buy stuff first), which is about 6kms away from Uacon and if you get off there but don't actually have plans of going to the market, you will have to ride again... a jeepney with a Candelaria or Sta. Cruz signboard.

Don’t forget to tell the bus conductor to drop you off at Uacon (Wakon) / Dawal (Resort). Some people get dropped off near the market (coz the conductor assumes that people need to buy stuff first), which is about 6kms away from Uacon and if you get off there but don’t actually have plans of going to the market, you will have to ride again… a jeepney with a Candelaria or Sta. Cruz signboard.

At Uacon / Dawal Resort, just after getting off the bus, we were approached by a certain Michael, who told us that they can give us a discount on the boat ride.

There are resorts that are affordable and there are also a few that are a bit pricey because they have better facilities, nicer rooms, and a pool. We didn’t check-in to any resort, though, simply because our plan from the beginning was to camp in the island.

Another favor was waiting for us. Michael introduced us to Ate Minda (the owner of the Three Brothers boat), who only charged us 700PHP for the round trip boat ride… that’s like paying a hundred per head for us adults only and my 11 year old daughter and 8 year old niece got to ride for free. Ate Minda was really nice and she even told us that if we would need anything when we get to the island, we can just text her and she will have the stuff we’ll request for (ice, soft drinks, bread, etc.) delivered for free ­čÖé

There are also many ‘bangkeros’ (boatmen) that can take you to Potipot. In fact, the resorts there have their own boats too.

Potipot… here we come ­čÖé

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You can contact Ate Minda at 0939 323 3495 or Michael at 0947 695 4783.

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Upon setting foot at Potipot… oh my! We were all WOWed by the clear cyan-blue water and fine almost-white sand (pasencya na sa mga readers… that was our first time in a nice beach kase… we’ve never been to Boracay, Palawan, or any of those ‘it’s-more-fun-in-the-Philippines’ beaches… hehe). The place was clean and the caretakers were very welcoming.

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Potipot is just a small island. We were able to explore it in less than an hour. Every part of it is beautiful, but there is a part, the one where no one camps, that is rocky, so it’s not really nice for swimming. It is perfect, though, for taking pictures… ‘kodakan’ to the max! ­čÖé

Please take note… and MAKE SURE YOU DON’T FORGET… that this area is really rocky and full of sharp corals. You should wear slippers if you want to stroll in this part of the island and take pictures. The view is lovely but… BUT… you wouldn’t want wounds or scratches on your feet; so please take good note of this ‘warning’. Aside from this part, though, everywhere else is okay… okay to walk on without slippers… that is. In fact, I walked around… the whole time… with my bare feet. I loved the feel of the fine sand on my toes ­čÖé

Here are some photos of the rocky area (by the way, all photos were taken using a regular camera – no filters used… no editing done); you can click on each image to see the caption…

Of course… more photos… of Potipot and… of us ­čÖé

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DELL - 2013-04-20 17.11.26Since there wasn’t electricity in the island, we had to bring flashlights (we brought tea candles too and had a ‘candlelight’ dinner ­čśŤ ).

This Akari rechargeable flashlight was only 119.75PHP when I bought it at ACE Hardware (last April 19). This flashlight uses a LED bulb so it’s really bright and is very suitable for use in rather dark places. You even have the option to use ‘low brightness’ if you don’t want to drain the battery that quickly, or ‘high brightness’… if… well, you just want it bright ­čśŤ

Another quality product I bought was a set of Eveready flashlights. It comes with free batteries and cost only 269.75PHP. Each flashlight also uses a LED bulb.DELL - HPIM0751

Like I mentioned, that was our first camping trip… therefore, we didn’t have any tents or sleeping bags, as well. Good thing SM and ACE Hardware were on sale on selected items at the time I bought our camping stuff, so I was able to buy a tent, good for 2 persons, for 595PHP (from 799.95PHP) only. It says on the label that it’s good for 2 persons, but if you’re short on budget and can only afford to buy one tent, this tent can fit 3 ‘small’ people. My three kids can actually fit in it. It’s dimensions are 200CM x 140CM x 100CM.

DELL - HPIM0749My brother-in-law bought theirs from Sulit.com… 800PHP good for 10 people… HOOWOW!! That’s like a small nipa hut ­čśŤ

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If you're planning on camping... of course... you have to be resourceful and must know how to cook; otherwise, you'll have to bring cooked food. The caretakers were very generous to lend a pot to my husband... we were able to cook rice :) and oh... you also have to know how to start a fire for cooking.

If you’re planning on camping… of course… you have to be resourceful and must know how to cook; otherwise, you’ll have to bring cooked food. The caretakers were very generous to lend a pot to my husband… we were able to cook rice ­čÖé and oh… you also have to know how to start a fire for cooking.

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Mr. Sun woke us up the next day with his bright sunny rays. We loved the cool air, especially since it is very hot in Manila… and yay! It’s high tide… hmmm… a good time for more salt water fun!!

We all had fun in the water — posing for pictures, collecting rocks, shells, and starfish, and of course… just swimming even during the hottest time of the day.

Our trip had to end ­čÖü and despite the ‘rough’ start… I’d still say it was worth it and we would love to go back someday.

Bye-bye, Potipot…

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Going back home, we had to go to the Victory Liner terminal in Iba, Zamables. It might be good to take note of the schedule of trips from Sta. Cruz and Iba going back to Cubao and Pasay. The information below is from one of Victory Liner’s customer service representatives…

We only have two terminals in Zambales – Iba and Sta. Cruz. Trip to Cubao/Pasay from Sta. Cruz leaves at 5:00AM daily. Trips from Iba to Cubao are: 2:00AM (Cubao only), 4:00AM (Cubao only), 7:20AM (Cubao only), 9:40AM (Pasay), 12:00NN (Pasay), 2:20PM (Cubao only), 5:45PM (Cubao only) and 11:30PM (Pasay).

Some updated facts about Potipot Island:

  • The place is generally nice and clean. Since not so many people know about it yet (I think), the place isn’t that crowded yet… and if people already know about it… considering that it is a small island, I wouldn’t even say IT IS crowded at all.
  • There are island helpers / cleaners who pick plastic soda bottles, plastic cups, and other trash up and clean the nipa huts every morning; however, I believe that it is still EVERYONE’s (as in all who go there) responsibility to clean their own mess. If people want Potipot to be clean, then they should go there ready with garbage bags so that they won’t have to throw their trash in the sand.
  • The caretakers and cleaners are polite and helpful.
  • If you will stay in one of the resorts, you don’t have to worry about food and water coz, of course, you can just order from the resort, but if you’re planning on camping in the island, make sure you take food and water with you, as there aren’t many stores in Uacon / Dawal that you can buy from. There aren’t any stores in the island either so YOU REALLY HAVE to be prepared before going there. Bringing paper plates, cups, spoons and forks, a pot and a pan (small, light ones), water water water for drinking, ice (although, there is a guy who goes around, like all other vendors, and sells ice [the smallest block that he sells costs 50PHP]), and other important utensils you might need will be very useful.
  • You can rent a small nipa hut (no room) for 500PHP or a big nipa hut┬á (with one room) for 1500PHP. These prices are the same for both day trip and overnight stay.
  • There is a grilling area and there is a caretaker who sells charcoal (30PHP/pack)
  • The bathrooms are clean enough to use (it’s not a resort, so don’t expect too much). There’s also an old fashioned water pump (poso) that you can use if you don’t mind taking a bath with some clothes on ­čśŤ

Other good-to-know information:

  • Bus fare from the Victory Liner terminal in Caloocan – Sta. Cruz, Zamabales : 432PHP (one way)
    * Please take note of this other information from another one of Victory Liner’s customer service
    representatives. This was in their April 18 email to me —

Dear Ms. Gadia,

Greetings!

Our trips to Sta. Cruz, Zambales will only originate from Pasay and Caloocan terminals. Daily trip schedules from Caloocan are as follows: 4:00AM, 7:20AM every hour interval until 10:20AM, then 12:30PM, 1:30PM, 3:00PM, 5:30PM, 8:00PM, 9:30PM and 11:55PM as last trip while we only have one trip leaving daily from Pasay terminal at 1:00PM. Fare is P432.00 per head (one way only) from Caloocan and P447.00 per head from Pasay terminal. Travel time would take approximately 6 hours.

Thank you so much for trusting Victory Liner and we look forward to have you in one of our trips.

I’m happy to provide you further information. Just follow us on twitter @victorylinerinc to get alerts re our trips, promos, road assistance and LIKE us on Facebook. OR feel free to text/call our hotline nos. at 0922-8428679 or┬á 0917-8425463 and landline nos. (02) 361-1506 to 10 local no. 1202.

All the best,
Nhida Aguilar
Customer Service
Victory Liner, Inc.

  • The round trip boat ride is 400PHP for 4 – 6 persons (the ‘bangkeros’ can give you a discount depending on how many you are in the group… or on how well you bargain with them ­čśŤ )
    * Again, you can contact Ate Minda at 0939 323 3495 or Michael at 0947 695 4783.
  • Island fees:
    Day Trip – 100PHP
    Overnight Stay – 300PHP
  • For those who want to bring their own vehicles, Ate Minda charges only 50PHP for a day trip and 100PHP for overnight parking.
  • The entire trip is about 5 1/2 – 6 hours with 3 – 4 stop-overs.

Here are four resorts that I inquired from (for those who prefer to stay in a resort for the night). They all have Potipot Island tour in their packages:

  • Dawal Beach Resort & Restaurant
    Ms. Veverly Lago / Mr. Lawrence Pascual
    +63919 573 0952 / +63920 665 1577 / +63916 723 1108
    reservations@dawal.com.ph
    www.dawal.com.ph
  • Isla Vista Beach Resort & Restaurant
    +63917 514 9007 / +63922 885 1964 / +63920 969 6845
    isla_vista_resort@yahoo.com
    www.islavistabeachresort.com
  • The Harvest Beach Resort
    Mrs. Marina Paringit
    +63922 831 3018 / +63917 865 0002
  • Sunbloom Resort
    Mr. Allan Buenaobra
    +63906 279 3607
    m2albano@hotmail.ca
    www.sunbloomresort.com

Comments

4 Comments

  1. oh wow! kumpleto recados!!! two thumbs up!!! i will definitely go in potipot island! ­čÖé

  2. Hi Donna, thanks for dropping by my site. Nice blog entry about Potipot Island. ­čÖé

  3. Cool blog! Love the look and feel of it! Very welcoming!

    Reading your blog makes the experience come alive for me. Almost makes me want to go to Potipot Island…then I remember that I’m not much of a camper! So, I’ll just experience it vicariously! ­čÖé

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