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Zambales

Zambales

Discover this province's beaches and coves, go wreck diving, or trek majestic Mt. Pinatubo.
By Kristy Texon

Overview

Zambales is a beach lover’s haven, with Anawangin Cove, Potipot Island, Capones Island, and Subic Bay as its prime attractions. While travelers can enjoy downtime at Zambales’ beaches, the adventurous will also find the province thrilling as it is hailed as the “wreck diving capital of the Philippines.” The famous Mt. Pinatubo is also found in Zambales, and treks are now offered to travelers who wish to see the volcano and its crater lake up close. Ramon Magsaysay’s ancestral house is also in Zambales.

History

Zambales has a rich history that traces back to the pre-colonial period. Some highlights:

  • Zambales got its name from zambal, which in Hispanic described the language spoken by the area’s early dwellers. Another version on the province’s etymology was that it was named such because the locals worshipped anitos, and they were called “Sambali” referring to the Malay word samba (to worship).
  • Juan de Salcedo first explored the province in 1572. Masinloc, Iba, and Santa Cruz were the first few towns to be founded.
  • Aetas were the first inhabitants of the province, followed by the Sambal, who were Austronesian people.
  • In 1991, Zambales’ Mt. Pinatubo erupted, causing a major earthquake in Central Luzon.

Travelers’ Attractions

  • Zambales is home to several picturesque beaches, and the most popular ones are Anawangin Cove, Capones Island, Camara Island, and Potipot Island.
  • Foodies will feel at home in Zambales as it offers a variety of sumptuous specialties like the dinamulag mangoes, ginipang, and pastillas.
  • Thrill-seekers will also find fun in Zambales. Surfing spots like Crystal Beach and High 5 Lahar are known among the locals. Wreck diving is another possible activity near the Subic Bay area.
  • Travelers can enjoy the nightlife in Zambales, as there are a lot of bars in the area.
  • Subic Bay is another attraction—Ocean Adventure and Zoobic Safari are among the family-friendly spots in the area. Shopping is another possible pastime while in Subic.

Getting There and Away

  • Victory Liner buses leave Pasay, Sampaloc, and Caloocan every 30 minutes. Travel time ranges between three to six hours.
  • Travelers can drive to Zambales by passing through NLEX and then through the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEx).
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Anawangin Cove

Anawangin Cove is known for its ash-colored sand and Agoho trees. There are no resorts on the beach, so visitors must bring their own tents.

Capones Island

The main attraction at Capones Island is the picturesque lighthouse. The island also has some white sand beaches sheltered among its rocky shores.
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