This a from a write-up from a trip in 2010. Includes a set of photos taken with a Nikon CoolPix 3100. Touch-up of photos using Photoshop.
Brief Description of the Capones Island, Pandaquit, San Antonio
Capones Island is off the southwest coast of the province of Zambales, Philippines. The island of Capones is west of the Camura islands (two smaller islands closer to the coast line). Looking out from coast line of Zambales near the Capones Vista Resort, the islands appear as one island with a deep water lagoon in the middle. Farther down the coast in the small town/village of Pandaquit, San Antonio the three islands are individually visible. Access to the three islands via boat is available in the town of Pandaquit. A banca boat is available for rented for a day incursion to the islands, and Anawangin Beach, located inside of Anawangin Bay. The Anawangin Bay is a 45 minute boat ride from the Town of Pandaquit. More information described later in the trip notes.
If you are coming from Manila or passing through Manila on the way to Capones Island, take the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) Toll Road. The travel time is about 30 to 45 minutes once you have cleared the Metro Manila area . Traffic in Manila is heavy depending on the time of the day, and time of year. An early morning passage through Manila is highly recommended to avoid traffic. The cost from Manila to the Spur NLEX Interchange was P174.00 (Note: cost has changed since 2010). Take the Mabalacat Interchange to the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX), and then take the south exit towards Subic Freeport.
You will be somewhat surprised by the lack of traffic on the SCTEX during the week. On weekends and holidays the traffic is extremely heavy. My travel on the SCTEX during Easter Week in April indicated how much the traffic can increase. The wascost from the Mabalacat NLEX Interchange towards Subic bay is P112.00. Stay on the toll road until you reach the Barrio Tipo Hermosa Bataan Segment, then go ahead towards Subic Bay Freeport. There is a small toll of P18.00 from the Tipo Segment to the Freeport entrance.
Once inside the Subic Bay Free Port, you can spent a night, stop at one of restaurants, shop at one of the duty-free stores such as Pure Gold (side note) or visit one of the tourist attractions. You will need to exit the Subic Freeport at the Kalaklan gate. Once you exit the gate, go ahead across the bridge and turn left (North) into the National Highway. Continue along the National Highway through the towns of Subic, and Castillejos. When you arrive in the town of San Marcelino, turn west/southwest towards the town of San Antonio. Once in the town of San Antonio, continue southwest towards Pandaquit beach area.
|Side Note: You will begin to see small billboards advertising hotels/resorts. If you happen to get lost/going in the wrong direction, stop and ask a local tricycle driver. They are very helpful.|
Capones Island Trip
Our trip to Capones Island/ Pandaquit, San Antonio was on 28 to 29 March 2010. We stayed at the Capones Vista Resort for one and one half days. Please check with Bong, the Vista manager for rates (see links). Our group reserved a Beach Front Room for P3500.00 (2 capacity) and a Family Room for P8000.00 (7 capacity), additional quests were P500.00 each. Two members of our group stayed on the beach in a tent under the palm trees.
We brought all of our own food and cooked at the resort. The Capones Vista Resort contains cooking areas and sinks outside of the family rooms.. Also, BBQ stands were available at the the hotel. The rooms at the hotel were very clean, as well as the pool. The first afternoon into the evening our group swim at the pool and BBQ outside the room. My driver Daniel (who has driving for our family for years) and I walked down the beach into the town of Pandaquit to check-out other hotels and banca boat availability. The walk from the resort round trip took about one hour. The walk was a little challenging due to the slope of the beach area in Pandaquit. The slope of beach drops off very quick within a few yards of the coast line, depending on the tides. If you have children make sure that they go swimming either in the pool or down in Pandaquit where the slope is not so dramatic.
|Side Note: Surfing is possible along the beach area due to the orientation and the slope of the beach. The manager at the Vista indicated that the surf was higher the previous week..|
During our walk to Pandaquit, we meet a local Pandaquit resident (Max). We talked to Max about renting a larger banca boat the next day. Our travel party was a total of 14 people. The Vista does have two banca that hold 4 people each. After BBQ, swimming in the pool and a few margaritas we retired for the evening.
The next day, we eat breakfast at the hotel and a few of us went swimming at the beach. It was then that we realized how the deep can rapidly increase within a few yards of the beach. After swimming for about 20 to 30 minutes and getting the younger members of our group out of the pool, we packed and headed towards downtown Pandaquit.
Pandaquit is only about 10 to 15 minutes from the Capones Vista resort. Once we entered the road that parallels the beach near Pandaquit, we stopped and began to ask about a banca boat. I indicated to Daniel to find Max and see if he was available. In ten minutes Max appeared and we were on our way to the beach. Our party began our boat trip to Anawangin Beach, which took about 45 minutes to one hour. The coast line is very scenic with volcanic rock formations. After arriving at Anawangin Beach, we did some trekking beyond the beach area. There were several parties of campers located within the pine trees that located just near the beach area. After one hour of trekking, we were back into the banca and headed towards Capones Island.
The ride from Anawangin Beach to Capones was about 30 to 40 minutes. On arrival at Capones we did some trekking around the island and then Max, Daniel and I went snorkeling near the beach landing area. There is a wall located about 50 feet from the landing filled with sea life. Getting out to the wall is a little tricking. We snorkel for 30 minutes. Then our party departed on the banca around to the southwestern side of Capones and went snorkeling again in deeper water. What was remarkable was the clarity of the water. There was a scuba boat just north of our boat that had made the trip up from Subic Bay Freeport. After 30 to 45 minutes of snorkeling, we returned to the beach area in Pandaquit, and then back to Barrio Barretto, our beginning place.
Things to Do
- Take a day trip seeing to the islands
- Go camping at Anawangin Beach
- Go snorkeling or diving near the islands
- Take a fishing trip.
Places to stay
- Capones Vista Resort (place of stay on trip)
- Canoe Beach Resort
“Jim The Kano”
This is an excellent post Jim!