The province of Zambales has recently gained prominence due to the Scarborough Shoal (Baja de Masinloc) issue. Located in the western part of Luzon, it traces its history to the coming of Spanish conquistador Juan de Salcedo upon the invitation of the Malay natives who inhabited the land. Its name is taken from the word 'Sambal' (almost equivalent to the spoken language of the natives referring to worship). I first visited this place in early 2000 during the combat operations of the Scout Rangers against the NPA bandits in the hinterlands near the border with Tarlac. My first visit was focused more on finding the bandits' forest lairs. I returned to discover interesting places and to shoot with my Nikon D90 camera (not with my gun).
There are two routes leading to Zambales. The longer route is through Camiling, Tarlac-Bugallon, Pangasinan highway. The other one is through SCTEX, passing through Dinalupihan, Bataan and SBMA. I had tried passing through these routes and your choice depends on your own interests. If you want to see the terrain of western Pangasinan and perhaps drop by at the famous Hundred Islands, then take the Camiling route.
Along the way, you will see this terrain. You can find this in the border of Pampanga and Bataan. The border with Zambales is in the horizon.
Subic Free Port
Olongapo got its name from 'Ulo ng Apo' (Head of and Old Man/Leader). He was a respected man in the village whose head was decapitated by evil people, in order to terrorize the villagers. The people took revenge and punished the culprits and named the village Ulo ng Apo in honor of their tribal leader. Later, it evolved to become Olongapo, the name of an independent city which takes pride of having Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority. Remember, if youi see old Apo, you must turn around and head towards direction of Iba, Zambales. Follow the directions posted near this statue otherwise, you will end up in Tarlac.
This is Subic town. It is located west of Olongapo City. Hey, you might be confused: the famous SBMA is in Olongapo City. It so happened that people refer to SBMA as "Subic".
This is the ancestral house of the late President Ramon Magsaysay in Castillejos town, Zambales. (Photo by Pfc Cesar Lopez)
This is Porac River as seen from Bucao bridge in Botolan, Zambales. Enormous volume of lahar flowed down towards the West Philippine Sea during the 1991 explosion of Mt Pinatubo. The traces of the lahar flow is still visible up to this day.
This is the seashore in Masinloc town. I am pointing towards the general direction of Baja de Masinloc.
Potipot island, Candelaria, Zambales (definitely not owned by the Chinese even during the time of Sun Tzu and Confucius)
I hopped on a banca from Dawal beach resort in Candelaria town to reach the little island (Potipot) which is only about 3-5minutes away. (Photo by Pfc Cesar Lopez)
Potipot island has fine, powdery beach and an excellent view of the neighboring islands
The island offers some modest accommodations for a fee if you want to stay overnight. You can also opt to erect your own tent.
If you prefer to have better accommodations during your stay, you can try Dawal Beach resort.