With over 7,000 beautiful islands, the Philippines has definitely a lot of awesome destinations to offer. One of these is Potipot Island located off the coast of Candelaria, Zambales. And what a better way to spend a team outing than to have an overnight in a secluded place like a real castaway.
As a way of celebrating milestone at work and more so, to take a short break, my team decided to have a Potipot Island getaway. After ample planning, we prepared everything – from food to our transportation. As much as we were all excited, we were a bit anxious a week prior to our scheduled vacation. This was because of the bad weather taking over the metro and nearby provinces. We were just waiting for advice from our boat transfer provider if there will be any trip cancellation due to the heavy downpour.
Fortunately, our Potipot Island tour pushed through – but with an adventurous twist.
About Potipot Island
Potipot Island is an island off the coast of Candelaria, Zambales that can be reached by a five-hour drive from Manila. It’s a small island with a powdery, white sand beach. For some people, it resembles the beatiful beach of Boracay.
There are numerous big cottages you can rent in the place. But for a better feel of the island getaway vibe, you can bring tents and go camping. Water supply is available but not suitable for drinking.
Driving to Potipot Island
Our group rented a van via Aloha Transport Services for PHP9,000. This includes toll fees, gas and a driver for an overnight weekend in Zambales. We just have to provide all meals of our driver and pay any parking fee.
It was my first time to book for a van for an outing and I’m glad that I came across with Aloha Transport Services. Based from the researches I did, I think I got a pretty good deal. The vehicle (HIACE Toyota Commuter 2015) they provided to us was really new and clean. The driver was also nice and polite to us.
Driving to Potipot Island, take the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX). You will pass by Subic Bay in Olongapo City. Get throught the towns of San Felipe, Cabangan, Iba, and Masinloc until you reach Candelaria. Look for Uacon (landmark is Dawal Beach Resort).
Getting to Potipot Island by Bus
Take a Victory Liner Bus (one-way fare is around PHP500) bound for Sta. Cruz, Zambales at Pasay terminal. Tell the conductor to drop you off at Dawal in Uacon in Candelaria.
Once you reached the town of Uacaon, you need a short boat ride going to Potipot Island. For boat transfer, we availed the service of Three Brothers Boat Rental. They are located beside Dawal Beach Resort. The boat ride only takes around 15 minutes. Round trip boat transfer costs PHP400 with a maximum capacity of six persons.
The vicinity of Three Brothers also offers a parking lot where we left the van with our driver. Overnight parking fee is PHP100.
What You Need to Prepare
If you plan to stay overnight, make sure to prepare important stuff. Remember, there is no available food, drinking water, and electricity in Potipot Island.
Below is a sample list of the essential things you must bring.
Potipot Island Life
When we arrived at the island, the first thing that we did was to look for a spot where we can pitch our tents. We actually went on the other side from where our boat drop us off. We found a good, empty place just near the beach and also near some cottages.
After setting up our tents, we proceeded with the best part – swimming! We swam until the sun slowly bid goodbye. We then started preparing our food. We brought several flashlights but it was a little challenge cooking in the dark. Despite of this, everything was fun, the experience was not something you’d get to have everyday.
And about the adventurous twist I mentioned in the beginning? We were hit by a strong rain in the morning – the time when we were just about to make our coffee. It was a heavy and crazy downpour for about an hour – our tents got swept away and were all broken. Good thing we stayed near the cottage areas and we were able to immediately evacuate. Unfortunately, the island caretaker asked us to pay for the cottage rental even if we didn’t really used it during our entire stay.
It was my first time to camp over night by the beach. The things that I really enjoyed: swimming in the clear waters, strolling at Potipot’s lovely shoreline, watching the sunset, and most importantly, the castaway vibe.
Summary of Expenses
- You can opt for a day or overnight stay at Potipot Island.
- There is no food, drinking water, and electricity at the island.
- You can rent a cottage (PHP1500) or bring your own tents.
- There are toilets available in the island.
Three Brothers Boat Rental
- Located beside Dawal Beach Resort.
- They provide roundtrip boat transfer.
- They provide overnight parking.
- They have a small souvenir shop.
- They provide tent rental for PHP400 (good for six persons).
- Restroom and shower areas are available for minimal corresponding fees.
- Contact Person: Minda (Contact Number: 0939-3233459)
Aloha Transport Services
- Van Rental
- FB Page: https://www.facebook.com/AlohaTransportServices/