Friday, April 8, 2011

Potipot, a Small Island Paradise

Potipot Island is a privately owned island. Rumors have it that it is owned by a high ranking military official and politician. That doesn't matter much though. What weighs more is the fact that setting foot in this paradise-like island is allowed, even camping for the night is accommodated.

Potipot is separated from the main land and crowd of Candelaria Beach located in Brgy. Uacon. The best thing is it's very accessible, only a 5 minute boat ride before you get to exhale in awe for the beauty of this small yet promising island.

We arranged for our lunch to be cooked very early in the morning. Mang Noel, Alta Niña Beach Resort's caretaker agreed to cook our food through our entire stay at their resort. He also arranged a boat ride for us going to Potipot. Usual boat rate is Php400 and boat can accommodate maximum of 6 people. We left the resort bringing our lunch basket with kilaweng tuna, grilled porkchop, hotdogs, fruits and breads.

It was my second time to be in the island, having visited it about two and a half years ago with my colleagues. I don't usually go back to the same place twice, thinking it's always better to invest money, time and energy with something new. This is different though. I kind of fell in love with this island and I can't wait to see my family's reaction once they set foot in its creamy white shores. Their facial expressions and remarks assured me they felt love at first sight too. :)

We paid Php100 entrance each, it doubled since the last time I was there. Overnight fees doubled up as well.

Right after breakfast, we all basked into the very inviting waters of Potipot. The cyan to bluish water never failed to tempt me and I always gave in. The sand is creamy white and looks really white from the shores of Candelaria, thus the name Potipot. It is fine unless you walk to the other side of the island but that's tolerable and not annoying at all.

I'm not sure how long we've swam and wallowed in the shallow crystal clear waters but I found myself going back to the shades of the trees and lying on my hammock. It was really relaxing, the view, the tress, the cool wind, being with my family.. Well, life was perfect that moment and I wished it remains like that forever, haha!

After lunch, cumulonimbus clouds start appearing yet the sun seemed to have been in a competitive mode for it shone even brighter and it kind of hurt my skin even after applying a lot of sunblock. That doesn't stop us though from going back to the waters, frolicking under the heat of the sun and the crystal clear water. You’d even see your feet while standing.

One of the best features of Potipot besides the color of the sand is the stillness of the water. It is the most calm of all the beaches I've been so far. It's just like hundreds of olympic sized pools joined together, no wonder why I fully learned how to swim in its waters. About an hour passed and the clouds turned blacker then it rained. We we're laughing and shouting, we are all like kids once again. I can't remember the last time I bathe in the rain, this time it happened while we're swimming. It was nothing but fun. I noticed that the sea suddenly got warm once the downpour started.

Few hours after the rain, we decided to explore the rest of the island. We walked around it and should have made it in 30 mins if we didn't stop frequently to take pictures.

At the other side of the island, we saw there's grass area. The sand is still smooth until we walked further and rocks started to appear in the waters.

We saw a dead sea snake in the shore, and my sister walked past it right away, she's terribly afraid of snakes. We also saw two blue star fishes, sadly, one is left dead and drying in the sand. I took that dead star fish, placed it is a mossy rock in the waters then captured a photo of it. I remember seeing more starfish on my previous visit. I was thinking where they might have been :(

Walking further, I noticed that a long stretch of the shore is teeming with see weeds. If there's an influx of tourists in the island, it would make it impossible for them to swim in that part of the beach, I'm sure it would be very bothersome feeling things rubbing on your skin. I'm not sure though if the caretakers clean that area during peak season, otherwise people will be concentrated on the eastern side of the island.

Nearing our rented table, we walked to the nearby tree house. It looked simple but with uniform balustrades in each side of the stairs that added a touch of a little elegance. Visitors are not allowed to climb up and check it out, the guards said it is for the exclusive use of the island's owner. For visitors who would like to stay in the island and who don't wish to bring their own tents, there are huts available for accommodation ranging from Php1500-2500 the day we went there. There is a water pump as a water source as well as cemented bathrooms. I just wonder why the faucet inside the bathrooms wasn't working anymore. I was able to use that on my first visit.

After getting ourselves exhausted from walking around, we tired ourselves even more by swimming. It’s worth to get tired anyways. I know that my family had a really fun day in Potipot.

Time is really fast when you're enjoying, for we didn't notice it's already about time to leave. We fixed our things then I took pictures for the last time, had a few more shots before our boat arrived to take us back to the resort.

How to go to Potipot Island from Manila

Ride a Victory Liner bus going to Sta. Cruz, then ask to be dropped at Brgy. Uacon, Candelaria, Zambales - the town right before Sta. Cruz. (Iba bound buses will work but you need another ride going to Sta. Cruz) You will need to pass a resort of your option (there are many options) to get to the shore of Candelaria Beach where boats can take you to Potipot Island. Our boat was arranged by Alta Niña's caretaker. Trinidad Bay Resort beside Alta Nina has their own boat as well as Isla Vista Resort on the farther end of the beach. Rate is ranging from Php400 to Php600 depending on yor haggling skills.

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