The village of Pundaquit along the open coastline of Zambales faces the West Philippine Sea and is home to a thriving fishing community that maintains many colorfully painted small banca outrigger boats, either anchored in the river or dragged up on the broad sandy beach.
To the south there is a set of coastal mountains that harbour three pristine sandy coves named Sinlanguin, Camara and, the nearest and most frequented, called Anawangin Cove. Less than four kilometers offshore are a group of three small uninhabited islands, with a Spanish era classic lighthouse on the hill top of Capones Island, and a pristine sand bar on Camara island.
This compact area of natural beauty is about an hour’s ride from Olongapo City, less even without traffic and your own vehicle, and lies on the outskirts of little city of San Antonio. Here local boatmen and guides are available for rides to explore all these natural wonders. The coves and islands are without built-up accommodations so tents are the way forward for those who wish to chill out and count the stars in the night sky. In and around Pundaquit there are quite a few beach resorts or inland places to stay which sport reasonable kitchens and the odd bar or two. Along the side roads can be found a few restaurants and a handicraft shop or three.
Boat trippers are sometimes rewarded with sightings of pods of dolphins and occasionally a whale will surface and give everyone a little show. Beachcombers can hang out and feed off local fish catches on the beaches – and let me say, there’s nothing as good as the taste of a freshly caught meal.
Scuba diving on the several corralled reefs is a popular pastime off the shores in and around Capones island. In the monsoon season surf boarding is available, and wake boarding keeps the younger set well occupied year round. Fishing trips can also be arranged by those patient enough to float and drift, or keen enough to motor around slowly dragging fish hooks to attract the bigger fish like marlin.
One of the highlights is the climb up the hill on Capones Island to the Spanish lighthouse and then on up its spiral stairway to the outside terrace, 15 meters up the classic tower, which gives a fantastic scenic view of the coastline both north and south. This lonely sentinel of the sea has been used since 1890 as the guiding light for all coastal vessels.
All in all, Pundaquit is perhaps one of the very best beach spots in southwest Luzon. When you head down stay in one of Wave Song Resort’s five native-designed cottages where a wonderul view comes with a sandy front yard. The resort is located smack dab on the beach, and each unit is comfortably appointed with air-conditioning, a large covered patio, free WiFi, and a great little restaurant around the corner. (wavesongresort.com)