Candelaria weekend 1: Friends

Regular readers of my blog will notice that I often talk about my dad’s hometown, Candelaria, Zambales. Over the years, I’ve been inviting people over and so far only my two best friends have taken me up on that. Ironically, a few other people I invited went to visit on their own because they wanted to go to Potipot Island.

Anyway, fast forward to last weekend. I had invited some friends for a visit and we thankfully were able to push through. After a few delays, we got on the midnight trip to Candelaria.

Thus begins my rant.

In my past night trips, the lights were often turned down and music was kept to a minimum. The bus company also tries to limit extra passengers so, I presume, the trip would be quiet.

Well, that wasn’t the case in this trip. There were more than ten extra passengers, all who yapped until their stop. We couldn’t sleep at all.

I hope that people would realize that as much as it is their right to have fun while on vacation, they should also respect the other people who are on vacation as well, whether or not they know them. Oh, there’s a part two of this rant.

Anyway, we arrived home, got a few hours of shuteye then headed to the beach. We stayed at my great-uncle’s place for lunch, then headed for a swim later in the afternoon. Plans of staying overnight was ditched in favor or sleeping in actual beds, and we decided to just wake up early to head to Potipot the next day.

On to the island

When I was younger, Potipot Island wasn’t really given much attention. It was known as a resting spot for fishermen who, instead of going back to the mainland, would stay in the island until their day is done. Over the years, it’s been basically ignored by the locals, including my own family, for personal reasons. Ownership has changed hands so many times, it’s quite hard to trace back the original owners.

In the past few years, Potipot has become a popular vacation spot for anyone who wants to experience white sand beaches without having to compete with the crowds in Boracay or Galera. It’s also known for those who want to “rough it” without having to travel long distances (from the mainland it’s only a five minute boat ride).

During my first visit to Potipot several years ago, there were about less than ten people on the entire island: me, my sister, my parents, my friends Den & Ching, our banca man and one or two fishermen. We were able to go around the island in thirty minutes. Silly me forgot to bring extra film so I wasn’t able to take pictures.

My parents took us to Potipot Gateway, where we initially thought of getting a boat, but it was way too expensive for our budget. The place is nice though, much better than when I first saw it years ago. We decided to go to Dawal, where we could rent boats at a more reasonable rate.

In the end, we got a friend of my mom to take us to the island. We had fun swimming and heckling people, especially those who were hogging the big driftwood. We also aired our frustration at how people were so inconsiderate to just leave their trash on the beach. At first glance you wouldn’t see it, but at a closer look you’ll see bits and pieces like cigarette butts, chips and candy wrappers etc. It was so maddening that I’ve got half a mind to tell the governor to close the island to visitors. Haha, swapang.

Be responsible tourists people. Being there is a privilege. We should be thankful that the island’s owners are letting us use it for our enjoyment.

It was around lunch when we headed back and I was so glad to back on terra firma. We cleaned up, had some lunch and prepared ourselves for our trip back to Manila. The bus was full, but after a few minutes we got seats. Slept for most of the trip, then when I woke up, had a chatfest with Lorna.

Thanks for the great weekend girls! I hope you enjoyed it!


  1. Mare, thank YOU for everything. We'd be delighted to come back. Anawangin, Capones and Camara naman next? Saka Nagasa Cove? :DI really love your parents and grandfather. I'd be happy to have a gabfest with them again. 😀

  2. Instead of requesting to close the island from visitors (actually, wouldn't you be considered a visitor too?), ask them to strictly implement rules and regulations for the island's maintenance. If it's locally-owned, they should be taking care of it in the first place. They could make extra income out of it too.

  3. True, I'd be a visitor but with special access lol. As if naman I can make them close the island, especially since it's earning them a lot of moolah. I'm pretty optimistic at what the owner plans to do for the entire town, actually. There are caretakers but it's still a two way thing. Everyone should learn how to pick up after themselves :p

  4. best weekend, ever! 🙂 please extend our thanks to your family. :Dp.s.: i like that last pic of all 4 of us. bibihira lang akong nakakasama sa mga pics. haha!

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