Thursday, September 21, 2006

Travelogue [Zambales]

“I shall return” was all that lingered in my mind as I reminisced the times when I was welcomed aboard to a wonderful world of marine life, thrilled by an exhilarating ride of a lifetime in a tiger safari, and captivated by the exquisiteness of two unique islands, in just a matter of two days, all in one spectacular place called Zambales.

The sunny Saturday morning of September 16 featured a perfect weather for our tour in Ocean Adventure located at Camayan Wharf, West Alanin Forest Area, Subic Bay Freeport Zone. On our way to the marine park, my friends and I were greeted by monkeys on the roadside. It was really an amusing sight. One of the monkeys we saw had her child clinging on her. We just had to stop the car and take pictures of the monkeys.

We reached Ocean Adventure after nearly two hours of travel. We immediately paid our tickets at the booth since we were all excited to get in the park. For as low as 450 pesos, visitors will surely have many reasons to enjoy a lifetime adventure that can only be experienced in the first and only open water marine park in Southeast Asia. For one, there was a sea lion show wherein the enormous mammals showed off their painting prowess. We were not able to catch the show but I can tell that the seals have talent for I saw their paintings in the fish-smelling sea lion show area. After the show, visitors are allowed to take pictures with the seals. Second, there was the Discovery Aquarium. The aquarium houses different kinds of fishes and corals. In here, visitors are able to explore the fascinating waters of Subic Bay and South China Sea without getting wet. We observed the natural behavior of fishes as they move around in their sanctuaries. We were enthralled with the beauty of coral reefs right before our eyes. We also learned a lot after our exploration of the aquarium. With the help of our friendly guide, Kuya Eric, we acquired more knowledge to store in our minds. Third, there was another show wherein whales and dolphins were the lead characters. The stadium was filled with an excited audience. The exact moment of entry of the whales and dolphins shook the place. Everyone was awestruck of the gracefulness of the marine creatures’ movements. Every time our friendly marine entertainers tossed and flipped their bodies in mid air, the people get wild and impressed and loud cheers were heard. Even the trainers had participated in the show. They joined the marine animals in gliding and somersaulting in the air. Their act surely gathered applauses from the amazed audience. The Whale Presentation is truly an entertaining and informative show, providing the audience the opportunity to learn about the whales, while being thrilled by their grace, agility, power, and intelligence. After the show, visitors are again, allowed to have pictures taken with the dolphins and whales. The slots for the picture taking are limited, though. We concluded our visit at Ocean Adventure by buying keepsakes in the park’s souvenir shop. In the shop, memorabilia such as stuffed toys, shirts, caps, bags, figurines, and other goods are sold in reasonable prices.

Our next stop was in Zoobic Safari Adventure which is located at Group I, Ilanin Forest, Subic Bay Freeport Zone. It is known as the only Tiger Safari in the Philippines. We paid an entrance fee of 395 pesos and then, we were briefed before the tour. We listened intently to the instructions so that our group will not meet any misfortunes during the tour. The first part of the safari adventure was a walk-through tour wherein visitors passed through cages of wild animals. We had the chance to take pictures of the various animals during the walk-through tour. There were monkeys, mountain goats, wild cats, ostriches, wild pigs, albino carabaos, eagles, a bear, and a lot more. We even saw monkeys with stylish hair doing acrobatics while we were passing. There was also the Rodent World which is a collection showcasing different breeds of rodents raging from hamsters to ferrets. The last part of the walk-through tour was the visit to the Serpentarium which offered a good view of snakes, lizards, iguanas, turtles and other cold blooded animals. The ride of our lives was the next part of the adventure. We rode the safari jeep which seemed like a big cage since it was fenced to ensure protection from the untamed tigers. After a few minutes of travel, we reached the tigers’ territory. In total, there are 12 tigers in Zoobic Safari Adventure but only five tigers were roaming and frolicking around the area. Then, the feeder who accompanied us started to entice the tigers with the chicken with bought for 200 pesos. Instantaneously, the tigers followed the safari jeep wanting to devour the chicken. At first, we were scared of the tigers but as soon as we realized that the tigers can’t do us harm since we were inside the safari jeep, we became more at ease and we started taking pictures. As one of the tigers ate part of the chicken, I can hear its deep breathes from the place I was seated in. The whole encounter lasted for about 15 minutes and our group really enjoyed that part of the tour. Our jeep left the tigers’ area and went back to the park proper. Our tour guide was waiting for us there. She told to us pay another 50 pesos for the transportation purposes of the last part of the safari adventure. This time, we were going to Savannah, a place where a wide range of ostriches, potbellies, wild boars, and guinea fowls are featured. After the Savannah trip, our tour guide called it a day and so, our group headed home.

The next day, September 17, a Sunday, was yet another adventure for us. We left the house early in the morning. We were bound to Pundaquit, San Antonio, Zambales. In the village of Pundaquit, we hired a fishing boat to take us to the Capones and Camera Islands. Capones and Camera are known for their white beaches, speckled with colorful crushed corals. Clear turquoise waters held visitors spell-bound. High rock cliffs beckon rappellers. Capones is known for an old Spanish-era lighthouse that brings visitors back in time.From the village, the Capones Island looked like a man lying flat on his stomach. The formation of the rocks made a facade of a man’s face and his butt. Our fist stop was in the Camera Islands. The boat ride from Pandaquit to the Camera Island took us 30 minutes. Then, we finally docked on the shore. The island has crystal clear waters and fascinating white sand. The waters were still calm when we arrived. Anyone in the island would love snorkeling and enjoy the view of coral reefs, and high cliffs of boulders. We limited our time of fun in this island since we had to flee to the next island. We didn’t want to catch rough waters on our way back to the village so we transferred right away to Capones Island. The island was famous for its picturesque form. It was connected by a sand bar to another island. In the sand bar, one is able to swim on two opposite shores and at the same time, transfer from one island to another by feet. The waters surrounding Capones Island in particular is known to be generally rough. It is relatively calm only on early morning up to near noon time. It is advised that visitors take a boat ride on the early morning and head back noon time at the latest. Before noon, our group left the islands and headed back to Pandaquit. We didn’t stay that long in the islands but I sure did have a splendid time swimming and enjoying the view.

Traveling is fun. As for me, it is not only fun but also educating. I went home to Marikina with more knowledge to share. In Zambales, I learned that tigers don’t have collar bones; ostriches’ eyes are bigger than their brains; female monkeys have bigger butts than the males; and a group of frogs is called an army. Above all, I learned that I can manage to be independent and that I survived two days of being away from urban fads and gadgets.

BOZAR, Debra Jane S.


  1. your blog entry help me :)
    cuz I'm planning to go to Pandaquit.

  2. hi.. were planning to go at pandaquit and will stay at Megan's... just wanna ask... White sand den po ba ung shore sa pandaquit,, san antonio zamba? thanks..=)

  3. hi. white din po yung shore. crushed shells nga lang po and hindi super fine ang sand. but the place is wonderful talaga. yes, sa san antonio, zambales po sya =)


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