Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Pundaquit



I've heard only from a couple of people about a beach known as Pundaquit. They told me it was one of the lesser-known gems of Zambales and that I should definitely try and visit it. So, on a particularly hot day, I finally decided that I would.

Instead of taking a jeepney to the city that harbors Pundaquit and then paying a local tricycle there to take me to the beach, I decided instead to "arkila" or rent a tricycle from Subic. Although the travel is considerably longer taking a tricycle all the way, it is much cheaper as the local transportation at a foreign place tend to boost up the cost of their fares to new visitors. So, traveling on an old rickety tricycle from Subic, we were off to Pundaquit. Before achieving a steady pace, we struggled to overcome a few initial hills. There were a few times that I had to get off in order to push the smoking tricycle as the driver forced the motor to its limits. After overcoming those hills, we were finally able to steadily chug down the road, although much more slowly than a jeepney would have.

After about an hour, we were venturing into unfamiliar ground. Farm fields covered the stretch of land and large mountains towered in the distance. The straight road was, for the most part, vacant of vehicles. Small provincial bars and karaoke huts peppered the area. After this long stretch of expanse, we reached the town of San Antonio. From the town market, we took roads that were in the direction of the mountains, as that is where the ocean meets the land. We eventually ended up in a small-town residential area. Here, we roamed the residential streets back and forth, looking for a sign leading us to Pundaquit. After a while of going in what seemed to be circles, we finally decided to ask someone sitting on a bench. He pointed us to a series of directions that eventually did lead to the road leading to Pundaquit. It was a long dirt road that curved through a beautiful scenic area that seemed to be hidden from mainstream Zambales. Horses grazed on green pastures. A pristine shallow river crossed the countryside. Women could be seen washing clothes in the clear water. A few huts lined the river and utilized the shallow running water to grow some crops. A thin bridge, wide enough for a single small vehicle to pass over, crossed over to take us to the other side. Brown rocky cliffs now began to emerge on this side of the river. There was a peculiar house atop one of the cliffs that struck my curiosity. The area then soon gave way to the green towering mountains we had seen earlier that was much closer now. Not long after that, to our surprise, we finally reached a post that welcomed us to Barangay Pundaquit.

Pundaquit was a small barrio next to a glorious ocean and surrounded by paramount mountains. It is home to many fishermen as several bangka boats lined their beach. The sun was glaring as I tried to take in the striking surroundings. The beach was very clean, unlike some of Subic's beaches and the beach I went to in Bataan (in Lamao), which was covered with trash. There were not very many tourists at all. Perhaps only two or three. However, many of Pundaquit's citizens were on the beach either fishing, making nets, or resting in the shade. Fishermen were throwing large fish onto shore and headed out into the ocean for more. Children were playing and even catching flying fish along the shore as well. I was told that the set of islands visible from the beach was Capones Islands. I ran across the beach for quite a long distance in order to survey the area of what it contained. But apart from the area with the boats, not much else lined the beach. There was just a long stretch of empty beach expanse. I was quite surprised that the place was not horded by resorts already, but I was happy that it wasn't. I headed back, and we decided to find a place to eat. We were looking for a "carenderia" where typical traditional Filipino foods are cooked by locals for relatively cheap prices. Unfortunately, we were late, and all of those who had meals to serve were already out. But we were happy to find some people along the street selling fresh sliced fruit, which I thought was quite unique since I had not come upon such in other areas I had been to. While eating, I thought about the potential of Pundaquit. I'm not really in favor of making tourist hotspots out of areas in the Philippines like Pundaquit. However, I believe the formation of such places into tourist hotspots is inevitable unless of course the government intervenes somehow. In due time, I predict the place will become lined with resorts and will have more resorts being constructed next to them out of competition. Resort tycoons will then control the place. I just hope they control the damage they do to the area as well by limiting their clutter, pollution, and disformation of the land. I know the Philippine government has realized the profits that can be made from tourism and that is why they have been promoting it. And I can see how it helps some of the citizens by the jobs and potential foreign consumers that the resorts bring in. I just hope that the trade-off with nature isn't so unbalanced that the beauty of a place like Pundaquit is forever destroyed, scarred, and irreplaceable.

After eating, we walked back to the hot sand and dove into the cool deep blue water. Pundaquit's waters are not like some beaches where it is shallow for an extended area, but instead it dips quickly. Stories circulate the area that many people have been taken by sea monsters and mermaids. And sharks too. After being told that, I decided to wade in the very near shallow waters. Just in case, you know. And my mind was also dissuaded from any idea of swimming across to reach Capones Islands. Although taking a bangka boat across would have been fine, however the price being charged was too high for me (300 pesos). So we spent the little time we had on the shore eating buko salad ice cream bars, which tasted great and had a great texture too from the strings of coconut in the ice cream. It wasn't long before the sun was headed towards the horizon to call it a day. We had to head back home. It would have been nice to get closer to the horses, walk along the river, explore the homes on the cliffs, trek up the mountains, or discover the treasures of Capones Islands, but perhaps another time. Actually, not perhaps, Pundaquit more than deserves another visit. And I can certainly attest that Pundaquit is indeed one of Zambales' lesser-known gems if not the gem of Zambales.

Tidbit: The popular series/movie Esperanza, was partly filmed in Pundaquit, overlooking Capones and Camara Islands.

Pundaquit Beach, Barangay Pundaquit, San Antonio, Zambales Pictures / Photos:













































17 comments:

Anonymous said...

Nice Pundaquit adventure!

Maraming marami pang beaches to visit at maraming marami pang stories to tell!

Anonymous said...

hi, how r u? can i ask permission on using some of your photos in msking pin buttons? more power to you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Coconuter said...

hi nono, it depends on what you want to do with them... please e-mail me about this...

Anonymous said...

Pundaquit is good beach to visit. Quite far from Manila, but it's worth the trip.
Been there several times when my hubby was assigned there in the Naval base and still looking forward to coming back to the place.
Why not visit next time the 100 islands in Pangasinan. After Sta Cruz in Zambales, it's already near the place.
More power.

Affectionately,
gilgab

Anonymous said...

ooooooooh..i smell something positive afoot for ze coconuter ..hehehehe :)

first...pins.... next.. the world!!. hahahahahaha!! (evil cackle)..hehehe.. :P

gandaFL said...

Hi Coconuter! I've been reading your blog since I watched the "Nagmamahal Kapamilya" episode about you. Im residing in the US (Florida) but I grew up in the Philippines. I am very amaze on ur adventures. More Power to You!

Erik said...

Wow nice beach! I was in Zambales 3 months ago. me and my friends almost died though! our boat flipped over! not a nice experience but I want to go back and get to Putipot Island and that island that you have in your pic!

Anonymous said...

ang gaan sa mata at isipan kong titignan ang mga pics mo its great!!!

Mark said...

Wow nice beach!!

Linked u in my blog.

rainbowreels said...

Wow!!! I've never been to Zambales but your pictures says it all!! I wanna visit ZAMBALES NOW!!!

Thanks for all your posts. I enjoy reading your blog - and wish I was young enough to do the adventures you are undertaking...

I love the Philippines!~!!

Migs said...

hi tol...

kmusta ka na? it's been a long time na since last tayo nagkausap..

well, hope your doing ok. i think so. ang gleng mo naman eh.. kahit san ka mapunta.

by the way, timing nakita ko ang blogs mo re: pundaquit. hanap kse ng mapupuntahan na beach ang mga friends ko.. eh dalawa lang ang alam ko... boracay and pundaquit.... kaya eto, puede ko pabasa sa kanila.

'yan lang muna tol... keep it up.. ingat ka lagi.

Anonymous said...

hi coconuter!!! thanks for that wonderful review about our town. i am from san antonio, zambales where barangay pundaquit (pundakit) is situated. why not try to go there again. i think you could save more if you travel by bus this time. take a mini bus or victory liner bus and alight infront of the municipal hall. then ask the vendors at the waiting shed for the tricycles bound to pundakit are parked. that would cost u 35 pesos only or less if you have a companion. they will take you to the barangay proper at no extra charge. also try visiting the CASA San Miguel. another barangay situated at the South china sea also here in san antonio.

Anonymous said...

You are one amazing person. I admire you. Keep it up! Someday, maybe we could tag along on your trips. Me and my friends are quite adventurous and interested with nature too.

Cheers,
Annalyn

Anonymous said...

hi, your pix and comments on san antonio and pundaquit makes me so homesick i wanna go back home. i am a native and proud san antonian and it's been years since i've been home. i showed this blog to my coworkers, and living in az, they are so surprised we have such beautiful beaches in our place, and mountain treks to hike (like we used to do back in highschool). thanks again.

Anonymous said...

hi! salamat sa pgbisita saming lugar..hope u can come visit again..

Anonymous said...

hi,thanks for the insights and tidbits about pundaquit. i'll be going there with my friends this weekend ^_^
appreciate the pictures..

Domino in Pundaquit said...

Nice pictures of Pundaquit, enjoyed my summer in that beach. Hope to visit that place gain..

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