2011: The Year That Was

And here goes my year summarized in photos taken from all over the Philippines. I have thus proven that once bitten by the travel bug, one can never go back. Thanks to all the friends I met online at first, on the road eventually. I hope 2012 has a lot more in store for me and my itchy feet. 🙂 Cheers!

Pundaquit Weekend Getaway | Capones Island: Of Ruins and Lighthouses

Capones holds a very special place in my heart and I vowed to revisit it. 3 years later, I found myself falling in love again. The huge well-rounded rocks in rows of black and white made every step unstable. The long stairway, seemingly to heaven, will make you hesitant to go any further. The thin but sharp blades of waist-high grass piercing through the skin on your legs, will make you itch and hurt and bleed. But everything will be worth it for the lighthouse is a surreal thing of beauty. On top of the world, unmindful and serene, you hold back tears for nature’s bounty is simply breath-taking. Ang sarap mabuhay!

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Pundaquit Weekend Getaway | Commuting back home with a trusty companion – the greatest of luck

From our gracious host’s residence in San Miguel, we rode a tricycle to San Antonio Town Proper (for 20pesos) with the hopes of catching a Victory Liner bus bound for Cubao. But with a dozen other backpackers lounging by the shed, I knew the chances were slim. So we hailed the first ordinary Olongapo-bound bus that passed by. The fare was 40pesos and the ride lasted for an hour. We sat at the back since all other seats were taken and we imagined this to be a class fieldtrip and that we were the class bullies. Ha!

In Olongapo, we took refuge in a Dunkin Donuts branch and had coffee before the 3hr journey ahead of us. It was already 5:30 pm. All pumped up, we headed for the Victory Liner Terminal and the situation was in every bit similar to the subject enlistment process at university. THE LINES WERE TOO LONG! I think I saw a loop already in the works. It was hopeless.

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Pundaquit Weekend Getaway | En route to San Antonio: the perfect host, the perfect timing

We were already at the Victory Liner Terminal in Cubao around 5:30 in the morning. Seeing the throng of vacationers lining up to get tickets had my hopes hit bottom, but to my relief the queue was for Baguio. Why of course, Baguio afterall is the summer capital of the Philippines.

As there was still no posted trip for Iba, Zambales, I was thinking of getting on the Olongapo Bus and just hopping on another Iba-bound bus from there. Fortunately, an employee announced the 6:30 am trip for Iba so I booked for 4 people, 270pesos each.

We decided to get a quick caffeine fix via countrystyle coffee and doughnuts situated just outside the terminal. While we were sipping coffee and battling sleep deprivation, we ranted about not being able to buy booze from the convenience stores due to a city ordinance banning the purchase of liquor from 10pm to 8am. Tequila was on the menu; we already stocked up on lime and salt so it was really frustrating. And we also doubted the availability of tequila in San Antonio, our drop-off point in Zambales.

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Capones Island, Zambales: A lesson on petrology

This was less of a fieldwork and more of a vacation.

My petrology class went to Zambales 3 years ago. Oh my. these photos are ancient, dated Feb 20-21, 2008.

Feb 20, I had an exam scheduled for the morning. Linear equations and matrices. I badly wanted to join the fieldwork not so much as a student interested in geology but as an individual wanting to escape and reward herself after a frustrating exam. And considering how lax and cool our instructor was, I knew that the trip would be for the sole purpose of education. haha!

Good thing I had a classmate in the same geology class who also took the exam that day, therefore missing the 5am trip. We were left with no other option but commute to Iba, Zambales. Not catching any bus from the Cubao Station, we were advised to check the other station in Espana. True enough, luck was on our side and we were on our way to Zambales by noon. We were dropped off in the town of San Antonio and from there, picked up by the class van. We may have missed the whole day stopovers at ophiolite sequences and other formations, but we didn’t miss the night socials and the trip to Capones the day after.

All I remember is the great force of the crashing waves, the fine white sand, the beddings in the rock formations. I never got to see the lighthouse and I regret not doing my research on the island prior to the trip. Next time, when I go back, I will see all other attractions and exhaust the list of activities that tourism sites and travel blogs have been raving about. This site might prove useful : http://www.pundaquit.com/attractions-in-pundaquit/capones-island-lighthouse.html

I might also go island and cove hopping on my next trip. The question is: when will that be?