Interesting Places in Zambales Recommended for Excursions
If you are looking for some of the country’s hidden gems and are traveling north, then look no further than Zambales—one of the provinces in Central Luzon alongside neighboring provinces, the Ilocos Region’s Pangasinan to the north, Tarlac and Pampanga to the east, and Bataan to the south. But at its western border lies the West Philippine Sea.
Often overshadowed by sites further south, Zambales has been in relative obscurity when it comes to being a tourist hotspot. But therein lies surprises that make even the locals be impressed by their native homeland through sheer discovery.
It’s hard to speak of Zambales without ever mentioning one of its prominent fixtures, Mount Pinatubo. When it erupted in June 1991, this volcano set in between three provinces was considered one of the most devastating in the 20th century, causing the displacement of many and the destruction of affected regions. But in its wake comes the formation of a significantly new geographic structure—a lake—whose body of water is known to change in color depending on the season and temperature. Mount Pinatubo is regarded as a place for tourism, partly for its unique physical transformation.
Once regarded as just a rocky beach, Anawangin Cove soon became a place of interest among tourists and Zambalenos when it grew foliage, primarily Agoho trees, because of the ashes brought by the explosion of Mount Pinatubo. Adding to the greeneries, the rugged mountains make for a beautiful embellishment to its stunning seashore. To get to Anawangin Cove, visitors will need to head to Pundaquit, San Antonio, Zambales, and charter a 30-minute boat ride to it.
The watery parts of Zambales are known for their inlets, and Nagsasa Cove makes one of them. Dubbed the second-most prominent of its kind next to Anawangin Cove, Nagsasa Cove is marked for its more expansive shoreline, relatively sparser Agoho trees, and gray sand beach. But due to its more distant location, this lough is often less traveled, though simultaneously, what makes it ideal to those looking for a refuge from the crowd.
If you have got a thing for heights and are willing to put the effort to get to the zenith, then Mount Tapulao—Zambales’ highest peak—is for you. At only more than 2037 meters above sea level, it only takes a day of a hike or an overnight trek to it. The journey to reaching the High Peak’s apex begins following an 18-kilometer trip from the nearest jump-off point in Sitio Dampay, Barangay Salaza, Palauig.
Ramon Magsaysay Ancestral House
It is not just Mount Pinatubo that made history from Zambales. Among its people, the name Ramon Magsaysay is perhaps the most popular. This former Philippine president is one of the most beloved among those who were privileged enough to hold the position. To see where this iconic figure once lived—thus, the Ramon Magsaysay Ancestral House—would give a glimpse of the kind of life that the ex-president lived when he was still among us.
The seawaters of Subic Bay may not be the clearest-looking in the entire region of Zambales. But the area known as such is more known for its many diving sites, which gravitate around shipwrecks.
Among the wreck sites are El Captain, USS New York, San Quentin, Utility Landing Craft Wreck, Tank Landing Ship Wreck, et cetera. But if going deep into the waters is not your thing, the city of Olongapo and the nearby municipality of Subic are also home to shores that provide a decent to good seawater experience if you feel like soaking in the waters or basking in the sun.