Four years ago since my last island trip to Potipot in Zambales and I noticed its huge changes. From the construction fascade of each resort and its entrance path from the highway, to a mainstream look of the tiny paradise island, Potipot.
Potipot Island is a tiny paradise island with approximately 7.5 hectares patched over a gigantic surface of West Philippine Sea, that is located in the North West Coast of Luzon, Philippine Island. It is roughly 249 Km. travel distance from Manila to reach its mainland location of the a.k.a. “silent little Boracay” in Brgy. Uacon, Candelaria Zambales. It’s about 3-5 minute boatride from Uacon off shore. It is uninhabited isolated place with no electricity nor even public accommodation and the likes are present. But options like camp night staying in the island with your tent or simply just staying in a certain resorts in the mainland could be done by the travelers.
How to get there?
By commute. You could simply go to Victory Liner, Monumento terminal station in Caloocan City since it is the only bus terminal in the metro that has a daily trip to Zambales every hour. Bus ticket per person is amounting to Php451 that will head to Sta. Cruz, Zambales. Just inform the conductor to drop you off in Brgy. Uacon, Candeleria, Zambales particularly in Potipot because they are very much aware of the place since it is one of the popular tourist destinations in the Northern part of Zambales. Once you get there, you could simply go directly to Uacon offshore and rent a boat that will bring you to the island (3-5 minute boat ride). Around Php70 per person would cost you in renting a boat but may vary depends on the number of passenger per boat.
By private vehicle. It’s so easy to get there in Candelaria, Zambales thru your own ride. You have to approach NLEX and SCTEX that would pass along Subic free port. About 4-5 hours of land travel and you will reach Brgy. Uacon in Candelaria. Along the way you will see several billboards and signages of different resorts and hostels in Uacon offshore that will lead you on which you would prefer to stay. You may coordinate with the resort staff about their boat rentals going to the island.
Where to stay?
Potipot Island is an uninhabited place where there is no electricity and no commercial establishments to find, and hence, if you are a practical budget traveler and opted to stay within the island, you have to bring your own tent and all your necessities such as foods and drinks in order for you to survive and enjoy the island staying. But if you prefer to relax and to stay in the air-conditioned rooms and hotels with some extra activities involved such as billiards, beach volleyball etc., you can choose from different hotels and resorts within the Uacon mainland. Resorts like Dawal Beach Resort, Sunbloom Resort, Isla Vista Resort, Potipot Gateway Resort and many more. Most of these resorts have different amenities (e.g. videoke, swimming pool, billiards, beach volleyball, and many more) that will make you relax and will make your stay in the offshore more enjoying.
* * *
* * *
What to do in Potipot Island?
There are different ways to enjoy Potipot Island, aside from swimming you can go for snorkeling and see the view of the underwater seabed. Taking numerous photos with nice and relaxing scenery of the island along are the shades of trees, white powdered sand, rocky offshores, tree house, view of Uacon offshore, and a huge dead tree laid down along the seaside. You and your companions can do also drinking session along the island with some packed foods for snacks or even grilling some foods thru your own device.
* * *
* * *
Potipot Island then and now. There’s a big transformation of what Potipot Island was way back in year 2010 as compared nowadays. Resorts entrance from national highway improved the passage of the tourists’ vehicle in getting towards to their desired hotel and accommodation. From wooden and conventional barb wire property partition, to a newly cemented wall with direction instructions of different hotel location posted in every corner of the street. From a vacant lot with bushes and sort of trees along the narrow entrance passage, into a converted huge parking lot to accommodate growing numbers of tourist vehicle including big buses for the field trippers. Before, only Dawal resort has an exclusive swimming pool amenities among others. but nowadays, almost all resorts in Uacon have their own pools to swim by if you’re not clingy into a beach bumming. Potipot island in this present days is well-known for all travelers and backpackers. And so, annual visitors in this place is increasing rapidly. The result is that the island shore is crowded anywhere you go especially during peak season. Four years ago, having a boat ride from resorts was absolutely free. You could just give the boatman a tip on any amount you would want. But now is another story, there’s a certain amount of money for you to get you in the island. Around Php50-70 per head depends on the number of passengers to be loaded in the boat. Island entrance was just Php80 before but now it increased by 20 pesos (Php100) per person. But same beautiful scenery would please you to comeback in this island, a big tree laid down in the seashore with some rocky formations in the nearby shore. Its white powdered sand in the whole island is still present. The clear seabed that is view-able from island side is same as what before. Hopefully the island should be maintained properly for more years to come and the visitors should leave nothing but only foot prints and not a thrash.