I wasn’t planning to go out immediately after the Alay Lakad cuz I still had blisters under my feet, but I chanced upon my friend Ailyn on Facebook two Saturday nights ago. I knew she had Mondays off and I asked if she wanted to go on a daytrip with me on her next rest day.
Daytrips are really tempting for those who work six days a week, and Ailyn wasn’t able to resist the idea of sea, sun, and fun.
At 9:30 AM last Monday, we were already on the shores of Pundaquit, getting ready to ride the small boat that would take us to Camara and Capones Grande islands. Capones Grande Island (Isla de Gran Capon) in Zambales is frequented by foreign and local tourists normally as a side trip for visiting the nearby Anawangin or Nagsasa Cove. I had been to Anawangin two years ago but the group I went with were too tired after two days at the beach that they just dropped the side trip.
phone pic of the whale-like portion of Camara Island
The supposed two-island hop, however, turned out a failure because waves were so strong near the shores of Camara Island plus our bangkero told us we had to get off the boat in chest deep waters and walk towards the shore. We refused and decided to just circle the island and go straight to Capones Grande.
A group of local tourists was swimming on the sandy beach of Capones when we arrived. It wasn’t the shore nearest the lighthouse, though, because (again) our bangkero told us he couldn’t get near the shore that’s nearest to the lighthouse because of the waves and the rocks.
We were made to walk towards the other side of the island, we even passed by an abandoned building that was being used by the navies. The navies were friendly, though, and we were made to write on a log book.
Sadly, waves were even bigger on that part we couldn’t even walk between the rocky shore and the cliff wall. The navies advised us to just wait for the low tide at around 3 PM.
So we just went back to the sandy beach, where the other tourists were, and had lunch and enjoyed the water afterwards. It’s quite disappointing, though, to see piles of garbage in the area.
Anyway, I wouldn’t leave without seeing the lighthouse so I asked the boatman to take us to that rocky shore he told us about. I put our gadgets inside my waterproof bag just in case we really had to swim to the shore.
As we approached the area, however, there were two boats on the shoreline, unloading local tourists. We realized our boatman just didn’t wanna take us there (might be to save gas?).
It was just a few minutes of walking towards the lighthouse.
The view at the top of the hill was romantic. The refreshing breeze and the picturesque surroundings would make one wish for a longer stay. We, however, couldn’t do that that’s why we just made good use of our time to roam around as much as we could.
The lighthouse was finished in 1890, the same year it was also first lit. It was made to search and guide ships entering and leaving Subic and Manila Bay. It had first-order Fresnel lenses when it was first used. The original lamp and lantern, however, were replaced with modern solar-powered lighthouse light as part of the Maritime Safety Improvement of the Philippine Coast Guard (wiki). But while the tower was renovated, other parts of the station were not, leaving the keeper’s house and the other buildings around it having an eerie feel.
It was midday when we visited the place, but I’m sure I would have found the lighthouse creepy had we went later in the day, say, when the sun is about to set, with longer shadows and cooler breeze.
How to get to Capones Grande Island:
- From Pasay, ride an Iba, Zambales-bound bus. Victory Liner fare as of this posting was P280. Drop off in front of the plaza.
- Ride a tricycle to Pundaquit. Fare: P60
- Rent a boat. Small boat was P800 (good for 4 pax). I personally recommend renting from JayR Agasa (09173809104). He and wife Liezel were very nice to us. Also part of the package was the use of shower rooms, plus free hot and cold drinking water after the island hop.