Places to Surf and Glamp in Zambales
Zambales, one of Luzon’s top pre-pandemic destinations, recently unveiled the Surf and Glamp Adventure to highlight two major tourist recreations—surfing and glamping.
Backed by the Department of Tourism – Central Luzon regional office, the launch focused on the coastal municipalities of San Felipe, San Narciso, and Botolan, which have sought-after surf sites and bountiful bodies of water.
“We have everything tourists want—from waterfalls and rivers to beaches and islands. And they can enjoy all of these in relative safety and comfort even during the pandemic,” says provincial governor Hermogenes Ebdane Jr. during the program launch.
He noted that the phenomenal growth of tourist establishments is due to the development of new attractions during the pandemic to provide guests with vast open and green spaces compliant with health standards.
Based on recent tourism figures, its accommodation establishments have more than doubled to 340 compared to its pre-Covid number of 151.
“Aside from beach hotels and restaurants that offer open-air dining, other accommodation types have surfaced and become hugely popular in the last three years: pool resorts, farm and garden resorts, and campsites. These helped local tourism to bounce back after an initial slowdown at the onset of the pandemic,” the local chief executive revealed.
Ebdane predicts that if the growing arrival trend continues until the yearend, Zambales may outdo its pre-pandemic visitor arrival level.
Zambales has a coastline of about 300 km, with most municipalities situated along the West Philippine Sea.
With the famed Liwliwa beach and surf site as the event hub, and The Glamp as the home base, the program included surfing introductory lessons and tournaments, bodyboarding, beach sports, yoga, and evening entertainment.
The participants trekked to Lubong Nangaluan Waterfalls, tucked inside San Felipe’s lush interiors with a curtain-like cascade and a natural icy basin.
The launch swung by the Botolan Mangrove Eco-Park, where guests navigated the area on a stand-up paddleboard, kayak, or pedal board.
This unique ecosystem can be accessed through the Bancal River Adventure Park, which has a cozy boardwalk, restaurant, and floating cottages overlooking the scenic waterway and wetlands.
In a related development, the provincial government also relaunched the Laruk-Laruk Festival in Candelaria town, a cultural activity based on the long-lost tradition of making rice crisps as part of thanksgiving after the palay harvest season.
Held at the beach village of Uacon, the event was incepted in 2012 by Governor Ebdane, who grew up with the tradition dating back to the mid-1800s.
Headed by the Candelaria municipal government, the five-day fest put to the fore the townsfolk’s culture, indigenous games, homegrown produce, and way of life. The core activity is the pounding of rice husks by townsfolk, men, and women, in preparation for the laruk-laruk, popularly known as “pinipig”.
“This is a rediscovery of the culture which defines us as Candelarians and Zambals, and we hope this would rekindle an appreciation of local culture and ignite a love of our town and people among the present generation,” Ebdane said.
The tradition of making laruk-laruk best exemplifies the town’s closely-knit community and cooperative endeavors like “pukot”, wherein neighbors help each other haul fishing nets at Uacon Cove at daybreak.
Sports, entertainment, and special events added color to the farm-themed fest to attract a bigger audience within and outside Zambales.
Candelaria also takes pride in its panoramic Uacon Cove, which has several spacious beach resorts, Uacon Lake, and the white sand island of Potipot, which is being redeveloped for glamping and water-based recreation.
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