Sunday, April 06, 2008

Zambales: Capones Island and its lighthouse

Capones Island has always been famous for its white sand beaches and the Spanish colonial lighthouse perched on top of a hill. It was the last stop for our San Antonio, Zambales trip. From Anawangin, we had prearranged with our boatman to pick us up and bring us to Capones Island. We made it there just in time for lunch.

The island was so picturesque as we slowly closed in on it. When we finally made landfall, I was raring to find a shady place to take a nap having had no sleep for the last 30 hours. And I did and found myself cozy on the sand drifting away to lala land.

Since we didn't have much time left, we had to forgo the hike up to the lighthouse. Add to the fact it was hot and I had already consumed my supply of water. So we were content with making one round by boat on the way back to Pundaquit.

What's sad about Capones Island is that its riddled with tourist garbage and vandalism. The fantastic rock formations have been converted into modern petroglyphs etched with names of stupid tourists who do not know any better. And the sand was full of garbage! Here are the list of things that have to be done:

1. The Municipal Government of San Antonio, Zambales should lead efforts to clean up the island. They can charge fees to pay locals to ensure that the place is kept clean all the time and to reprimand tourists who vandalize the rocks or leave their garbage on the island.

2. Boatmen should be trained to brief tourists who hire their boats. They have to remind tourists that everything they bring to the island, especially garbage, they should bring back home with them. In fact, the community should take the initiative to make sure the island is clean since it is their source of income.

3. Finally, tourists should share the responsibility of caring for the environment. As the saying goes: "Take nothing but pictures. Leave nothing but footprints. Kill nothing but time." So don't leave your garbage anywhere.

Anyway, the boats to Capones and Anawangin are quite small. It can fit about four people. Don't even try to be stingy since the waters around Capones are known to be quite rough especially in the afternoon. And these are open seas. So it's best not to overload especially since there are no life jackets. We learned about the rough waters first hand as we went around to check out the lighthouse. There were just four of us and the waves were pounding and water was getting in our small boat. But we did get our photos but not with ease.

The boat ride back to Pundaquit was about 30 minutes and it was relieving when we finally made it. You usually take a shower at the house of the boatman. But since we wanted to leave as early as possible, we just washed out the sand and freshened up.

On the way back to Subic, we stopped by the house of President Ramon Magsasay in Castillejos, Zambales. We made one last stop in Subic for a hefty meal at one of the Korean restaurants before motoring back to Manila.

Part 1: Hiking up Mt. Anawangin and down to the beach
Part 2: Anawangin Cove in San Antonio, Zambales

Related entry
Nagsasa Cove in San Antonio, Zambales

37 comments:

  1. i've been to anawangin thrice already but not yet on capones. it's sad to know that the island is now feeling the side effect of being popular: garbage and vandalism.

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  2. What kind of visitors leave garbage and commit vandalism in places they tour? It is disgusting! They ought to be fined heavily and made to clean up their mess.

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  3. I agree, there should be heavy fines for those caught leaving garbage or vandalizing the place.

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  4. I love Pundaquit, Anawangin and Capones...
    We use to dive around Capones Island because it has great corals and visibility...
    I heard recently though that most of these corals have been blasted...
    The local government in charge of the island is deaf to all these illegal activities taking place in the area...
    They have completely destroyed the place and ruined its potentials to become a top dive spot...

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  5. That's so sad to hear sir. We should make noise before it's too late.

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  6. It's a viscious cycle...
    Poverty is the root cause of all these depradations...
    But you're absolutely correct. We should do something about it now.

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  7. Sir, I think it's just a lack of proper education. There are poor communities which know how to take advantage of their natural environment simply because they were made aware of the need to protect it and ways to harness it.

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  8. Yes, the Apo Island is a perfect example of this...

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  9. I didn't know that vandalism and littering were rampant there. My friends who've gone to Capones Island often say it's quite pretty. I do hope that the local government can do something about that.

    I don't want my trip there to be marred by all sorts of garbage.

    Peace

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  10. helo sir, me and my friends are planning to go there in either capones or potipot island. can i ask for some advice for the fee, location, things to look forward too, how to get there?
    thanks in advance...

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  11. I first went to Capones around 15 years ago. Back then everything was so raw. There were only fisher folk in the area. The only resort then was "Capones" owned by a British national and his Filipina wife. The 3 islands (3 Stooges is what they were called then) were so clean and there were hardly any people.

    Its sad that tourism can sometimes ruin the natural beauty of a place.

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  12. Hi Ivan, I've been checking out your blog. I'm on the team updating the Lonely Planet Philippines book and was hoping to use you for a little advice. I was in Pundaquit a couple weeks ago and went out to Capones Is. We didn't go all the way around the island because the seas were a bit rough. Anyway, I failed to see a lighthouse on the island and was told that a typhoon blew it over last year or the year before. But your photo indicates that it's still there! Maybe I was misinformed?

    Also, the owner of Megan's resort was telling me about a good surf spot on a secluded beach called "Tawangan Cove" south of Pundaquit. But she didn't mention Aniwangain. Could it be they are one and the same?

    Having done some snorkelling around Capones I can confirm that the coral is pretty much ruined by cyanide fishing and there are few fish.

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  13. Also I should add that the garbage problem is certainly not limited to Capones Island (where it actually wasn't that bad by Philippines standards when I was there). The shameless dumping of garbage in public places is a disgrace and IMO is the single biggest drawback about travelling in the Philippines. And we can't just blame it on poverty (although poverty has a lot to do with it). I also see plastic wrappers flying out the windows of Ford Expeditions and BMWs. It's very much a cultural thing that needs to be addressed at the top. If the gov't put one-tenth as much effort into addressing the nation's collective littering problem as they do into its "war on drugs" this problem could be solved. But there's evidently just not enough political mileage involved in addressing the country's pollution problems.

    Is there a grassroots org out there that has made any inroads on this? I would be happy to join and/or help start and contribute to such an organization, and I can list effective organizations in the LP book too.

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  14. @bloomplanet, the lighthouse is still there. On Tawangan, I don't think there is a Tawangan Cove in Zambales. She might be referring to Anawangin but I'm not sure about the surfing part.

    I'll try to ask about organizations in the Zambales area working on this. I really hope there are.

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  15. Hi Ivan. I'm asking about a grassroots org,NGO that is addressing the littering problem *throughout the Philippines*, not limited to Zambales.

    Anyway, is your photo of the lighthouse from this year? I certainly didn't see it although admittedly I didn't go around the entire island.

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  16. Yes, this was taken during my trip in April. If the lighthouse was destroyed by a typhoon, that would have been news. It's best to rely on the locals for information. They should know if the lighthouse is still there or not.

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  17. As I said, it was locals who told me a typhoon knocked it over, so maybe not always best to rely on locals : )

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  18. Oh ok. I didn't know you got that from the locals. I had the boatmen in mind when I said locals since they should know. But it's weird for them not to know.

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  19. Anonymous1.9.08

    Nora's Beach Resort is trying to create a Pundaquit Resort Association in Zambales before the 2009 Summer begins... hopefully all the big, medium and small resort owners will join this association. Basic issue to be resolved in Pundaquit is to make our fisherfolks and locals aware that there is a need to preserve the beauty of the place because tourism is their means of livelihood. Hopefully we can address this problem soon.

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  20. Yes, I hope that works out. Your group can also join the Greater Subic Convention and Visitors Bureau to help you out with your efforts.

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  21. zambales is a nice place to visit, if you have time, try to visit our town..palauig, zambales. there, you can visit the Magalawa Island located in this town, much better if you will come on harvest time of the sweetest mango on earth...zambales mangoes, especially in the town of palauig.

    need companion?

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  22. Anonymous11.10.08

    We there last summer 08, the Lingkod Kalikasan (Link) Outdoor Club lead a clean-up of the island, we were able to fill up 30 garbage bags and still were not done in our activity. When we reached the mainland, still the local government has no garbage disposal system or material recovery facility, which is mandated by law. I think the municipal government should take a more proactive effort to preserve the island.

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  23. We plan to visit the place soon but i have learned that it had fast become a commercial milking cow for the locals, what with the fees here and there ( and some maybe absurdly look at you like some walking ATM huh ), and because of that, we plan of foregoing with the guides and the pumpboat back to pindaquit. We will negotiate the course to and from on foot. Anyway, its what mountaineering is all about, its the "HARDSHIP" that counts. Paying for comfort takes away the essence of the sport and in "conquering" a place with just sheer effort, discipline, and perseverance. Forking money indiscriminately are reserved for plain tourists - the UNDISCIPLINED kind. True mountaineers are advocates of value of camaraderie, love for nature, discipline in the face of limited supply, and simple living. True mountaineers admonish luxury and extravagance. Finally true mountaineers are the EDUCATED ones who adhere to the "leave no trace" principles. P.S. Those trash that littered capones and the vandalism, they'r done by the "tourists - the uneducated ones" ( mostly are deceivingly in backpack and mountaineer attire )...bluntly put..PEACE

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  24. @cabbie, Capones is an island. You can't visit it without a pump boat. Do you plan to swim to the island?

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  25. mr. ivan. my comment on capones ay naka post script po "PS", kaya pahabol lng un sa topic ng msg ko on anawangin which as iv said we plan to visit by pure trekking alone. I knoe capones is an island and it cannot be accessed without a pumpboat, you just have mixed my anawangin comment with that of capones.

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  26. Then you should have placed the comment in the Anawangin post. You make the act of taking a pump boat to Anawangin seem like a shameful thing to do.

    Have fun hiking. Not all tourists are "mountaineers" like you. So don't be self-righteous because they don't share the same interests as you do. And who said said only mountaineers are responsible tourists?

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  27. Anonymous22.10.08

    hi mr.ivan! too lighten things up.. i was wondering when will be the best time to go and visit capones island, since it will be my first time to see that place, i want to see good sand layouts on the beach, because iv been read that the sand layouts changes every season. when do you think will be the best time to go there?

    hope to gather new info from you.. and i hope that the municipality will be alarmed due to garbage and vandalisms in the island..

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  28. Anonymous24.3.09

    hi there Ivan, My friends and I are just planning to visit Capones this april, would you mind recommending a resort or a place we can stay there. thanks a lot!!!

    Nice blog, KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK!!!

    ReplyDelete
  29. hi Ivan, nice blog and amazing pictures too!!!

    im a traveller and been a camwhore ever since.
    thanks for the details...this is my next destination.

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  30. Capones Island was beautiful when I visited there a few times while in the U.S.navy in 1976-1977. BUT, the trash from visitors was already starting to accumulate. It is very sad that this is continuing.

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  31. The president's house is really something! Too bad about the trash though, it's unfortunate people won't take responsibility for their own actions.

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  32. Anonymous21.3.10

    BOAT and BEACH ACCESSORIES RENTAL
    BOAT RATES to ANAWANGIN COVE
    1. P2000 for the big boat (capacity of 8-10 pax)
    2. P3000 for the big boat (capacity of 11-15 pax)
    3. P1000 for the small boat(capacity of 3 pax)
    4. P1200 for the small boat(capacity of 4 pax)
    • extra charges
    1. plus P50/head side trip to capones island
    2. plus P50/head side trip to camara island
    BOAT RATES to NAGSASA COVE
    1. P2500 for the big boat (capacity of 8-10 pax)
    2. P3500 for the big boat (capacity of 11-15 pax)
    3. P1500 for the small boat(capacity of 3 pax)
    4. P1700 for the small boat(capacity of 4 pax)
    BEACH ACCESSORIES FOR RENT
    1. P200/hour for the surfing board (pro and beginner)
    2. P100/hour for the body board and skim board
    3. P300 for the camping tent (capacity of 2 pax)
    4. P200 for the picnic tent or umbrella
    5. P50 for the snorkel set
    6. P100 for the emergency light or petromax
    7. P50 for the bbq grill
    8. P50 for the cooking pan




    Contact number / Smart -09199846963
    Globe -09165254063
    Sun -09323582390

    Email add / gilbertrealms@yahoo.com
    gpp82681@hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  33. pink_eya20.7.11

    i've been to anawangin, only last saturday July 16-17,2011, to celebrate my birthday with my family. The best place to bond with your family, this is the most memorable, cleanest, amazing place i've seen so far, my first time to go island hopping, the best, we make sure no garbage left, you will hesitate to leave any garbage because when we first step to the cove WOW as in all you will see is white sand and the green fine trees, too much clean. really AMAZING.

    ReplyDelete
  34. magandang araw po sa lahat.. lahat higit sa gumawa ng blog na ito..

    gusto ko pong kunin ang pagkakataong ito para magpasalamat sa mga tao na bumibisita sa aming lugar.. (anawangin cove/nagsasa cove/capones at camara) dahil sa nyo nakilala ang pundakit..

    natulungan nyo ang libo libong mamamayan ng pundakit.. bilang ganti gusto ko pong ialok sa inyo ang aming serbisyo, abot kaya ng masang pilipino// text lang po : 09193123992/09228788756.. hanapin po si nanay josie gonzales

    ReplyDelete
  35. anu po ba pinaka magandang ma i recomend nyong spot sa capones island

    thnks

    ReplyDelete
  36. Hi Everyone,

    We offer boat services (following the standard rates),trek guides and tent rentals. Wag po kayong magatubiling makipagugnayan kung kayo ay may katanungan. Salamat po.

    Contact Person: LIEZEL NIEVA
    Contact number: 09172022692
    Blogsite: http://dindonieva.multiply.com

    Dindo

    ReplyDelete
  37. Anonymous17.3.12

    BOAT and BEACH ACCESSORIES RENTAL
    BOAT RATES to ANAWANGIN COVE
    1. P2000 for the big boat (capacity of 8-10 pax)
    2. P3000 for the big boat (capacity of 11-15 pax)
    3. P1000 for the small boat(capacity of 3 pax)
    4. P1200 for the small boat(capacity of 4 pax)
    • extra charges
    1. plus P50/head side trip to capones island
    2. plus P50/head side trip to camara island
    BOAT RATES to NAGSASA COVE
    1. P2500 for the big boat (capacity of 8-10 pax)
    2. P3500 for the big boat (capacity of 11-15 pax)
    3. P1500 for the small boat(capacity of 3 pax)
    4. P1700 for the small boat(capacity of 4 pax)
    BEACH ACCESSORIES FOR RENT
    1. P200/hour for the surfing board (pro and beginner)
    2. P100/hour for the body board and skim board
    3. P300 for the camping tent (capacity of 2 pax)
    4. P200 for the picnic tent or umbrella
    5. P50 for the snorkel set
    6. P100 for the emergency light or petromax

    our cp# 0922-8467501, 0916-2761766

    ReplyDelete

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