Candelaria: Tayo na sa Potipot!
White sands, clear waters, lots of trees serving as shades, bonfire every night, beautiful sunrise and sunset — these are just a few reasons why tourists frequently visit the paradise-like Potipot Island at Candelaria, Zambales.
I just knew that there’s a place such as Potipot through a souvenir keychain given by a fellow sheep (I found it funny because it rhymes with “Batibot”, an 80’s children TV series). My interest grew when I saw it on Metrodeal and other travel sites. So, the time that we had the chance to ‘gala’, Potipot was our number one list.
It was early morning when we arrived at Barangay Uacon, the drop-off site going to the island. Just as the usual habit of Tupang Gala (thrifty), we rented a boat on the residential part of the seaside instead from hotels. The rent of the boat costs 400php back and forth the island, but it can accommodate 8-10 persons.
With a distance of just one kilometer, Potipot Island can already be seen from the shore. The weather is good and the sea is peaceful that day so we arrived at the island for only 7 minutes. There’s a mandatory registration required for all tourists with entrance or environmental fee worth P100 per head.
Aside from the powdery white sands, the abundant stretch of trees caught the attention of visitors. The trees there a very bushy, that their branches reach the seawater which serves as natural shade for sightseers. Driftwoods can also be seen along the beach.
There are also cottages for visitors to rest on and for those who want an overnight stay. Facilities are also available such as comfort rooms, multipurpose hall, basketball/volleyball court, tree house, and sari-sari stores. What’s more, phone signal loss is not a problem on the island since it’s just near the mainland.
After wadding its pristine waters, I strolled around the small island (about 7.5 hectares in size). I didn’t even feel weariness thanks to the tree shades and the fresh sea breeze. I easily reached the eastern side of Potipot wherein a perfect view of sunset can be seen (it’s a shame that we can’t afford to do an overnight stay).
Boats disembarking visitors were nonstop that weekend. We noticed that the one side of the island was getting crowded, in addition to the locals selling souvenirs, taho, chichirya, and kakanin. There were also fishermen selling their newly-catch fishes, and locals offering diving services.
Potipot is so captivating, we didn’t notice the time and missed the chance of trying other activities there. Well, it’s okay. It’s indeed worth visiting for the second time (or maybe more than twice).
Potipot is about 250 kilometers or approximately 5-6 hours far from Manila.
Travel the route going to Sta. Cruz, Zambales (via Subic: NLEX/SCTEX). Then proceed to Barangay Uacon, and rent a boat going to Potipot Island.
From Cubao, ride a bus (Five Star or Victory Liner) bound to Sta. Cruz, Zambales. The frequency of trip is daily.
Alternative: From Olongapo, there are provincial buses, mini-buses, and jeeps with the route to Sta. Cruz. Just inform the driver or conductor to drop you on Uacon or Potipot.
400 – Boat Rental
100 – Entrance Fee (per head)
*Separate fee for overnight and cottage rental
- Park on the residential part of Uacon where you’ll also hire a boat to save on parking fee.
- There’s a limited selection of what is being sold there and quite expensive than the normal price. So, it’s better to bring provision (magbaon).
- Keep an eye on Metrodeal for any available offers to trip to Potipot including transport and accommodation packages.