Potipot Island: Hits and Miss

Potipot from Uacon Shore line
Starting the year with a trip to Zambales with my office mates. The timing was perfect when the Government declared a long weekend holiday last January 21 - 23 (chinese new year).

We all decided to not plan the trip (not a good idea) just pack our bags,meet at the bus station and go. Read a couple of blogs and tips for Potipot, how to get to the island but the rest is yet to be unfold, not all who wander are lost.

With high spirits we trooped to the bus stations, then came the first challenge.

LESSON LEARNED NO.1: Anticipate, ask, secure
- We didn't made any reservations, as per the phone conversation, as long as we came in early, pay for our tickets then we are good to go. Yes, we went to the station early, the boyfriend reserved the tickets but he didn't paid for it. The worse has yet to come, only to find out that the seats that was reserved for us was given to other passengers. So it was like a a ping - pong affair with the customer service girl and the konduktor.  To cut the long story short, we were able to take the 11pm bus to Zambales, Sta. Cruz but we were not seated all together.

- Based on our research we have to take the bus from Caloocan to Zambales, which directly passes by Candelaria, where Potipot Island is located, called the terminal and I was advised that the 12pm trip is fully booked.

There are other options going to Potipot from Cubao, 

first option: take the Victory Liner bus to Sta. Cruz, Zambales, get off the terminal and take the mini bus to Candelaria, or in our case we took the ordinary bus going Caloocan bus in the terminal since we arrived early am then got off Candelaria.

Second option: take the Victory Liner bus to Olonggapo and take another bus to Zambales 

if all else fail ASK, ASK, ASK for directions!

Left at 11pm and arrived at Sta.Cruz around 430am, killed time inside the Victory liner terminal and took the ordinary bus at 5:20am - Caloocan bound, got off the Candelaria market. We were surprised to see that the market looks like a ghost town, there were no vendors, though some of the stalls and vegetable vendors were already there and setting up.

Bought what we needed to survive overnight in the island, water and food. Took the jeepney back to Dawal and called Aling Minda (she's soooooo nice!!! ) for our boat to the Island.

It was the shortest boat ride in my entire traveling life haha 5 mins. and the sea was so calm!

Upon our arrival we paid for the entrance and scouted for the best spot and kubo

Camping trips will never be complete without the challenge of how to start and maintain the fire, lucky us, Gerard is a good cook. First menu for the day, liempo!!! We borrowed cooking utensils from aling minda ;)

Grilling stations are located in the island

Based from my past camping experience in Pagudpud, one should really  be careful in cooking rice haha we don't want any choco rice incident (burned rice). 

So I asked my friends if the measurement of the water and rice is correct hahaha, it's a different shindig you know, rice cooker and pot. plus, I don't wanna mess our first meal of the day. Everybody was starving after that 7 hour bus ride, thank god for free wifi on-board. 

I think if we came in much prepared and with a list of things to bring,you won't miss anything like plates, Candles and Oil. Yes, we missed the essentials but we managed to survive overnight with limited resources and no love lost, this was a good test of friendship haha. 

As soon as we finished our brunch, we went on to explore the beauty of the island :) it would take 20 - 30 minutes to roam around the island. 

creamy white sand

The afternoon was well spent, bumming around the island, sleeping under the shaded trees and swimming.

I will never forget this trip, I LEARNED TO SWIM! ahaha learn to swim: bucket list - checcck!!!

Gerard also asked the boys from our boat ride to get us fresh coconuts and mangoes, ooh this is the life, the island life. Staying on this island doing nothing makes the time go so slow.

We started to prepare dinner as early as 4pm, again, we don't have any electric light to help us cook in the dark plus the island don't have any electricity, cool right? at first, but when dark comes, i don't think so, imagine taking bath with no lights or eating with no light ahah but it was all good and it was a challenge to start the fire, again, limited resources people. never ever embark on  a journey with less utensils, fire starter, coal and the works.

What we have is this left over candle in the cottage, an led flashlight to give us light while preparing for dinner. It was a happy dinner, menu was adobo, sinigang and the risotto - adobo rice that failed us ;) but we were still grateful hahaha :)

Island and camping trip wouldn't be complete without the Alcohol, while playing charades and pinoy henyo, we were taking shots for wrong and missed answers. At around 11pm we decided to maximize our 300 pesos overnight - entrance fee by exploring the island pitch dark.

Stargazing was the best highlight of the trip, the stars and planets were like arm's reach, feels like we were inside the planetarium. it was so beautiful plus the fact that the island was ours to play hahaha.

Slept in the sand, froze our butts and woke up waiting for the sunrise. Sunday came, prepared our food, left the island and waited for an hour, sitting in the pavement.We took the bus to Olonggapo and transferred to the Cubao bus.

It's nice to go out, out of the comforts of our home, comforts of hotels, travel package and itineraries, get lost, be disorganized and at the end of the day you laugh and learn about it, then you treasure the good times.


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