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Featured Wedding Destination

Zambales – Wreck Diving Capital of the Philippines

Gifted with a coastline painted by white sand, Zambales has become one of the famous beach destinations in the country. But Zambales offers something quite unique to its visitors – its wreck dive sites. Subic Bay is home to ten different wreck sites which silently tell a fraction of the history of the Philippines. These wreck sites has served as the sanctuary to the country’s wide array of marine species.

The infamous Mount Pinatubo is also located in Zambales. Famed for its eruption in 1991, tourist and locals now see the once feared volcano as a new means of recreation for tourists and income for locals.

Demographic

1. Population – 720,355(as of 2007 Census)
2. Land Area – 3,714.4 sq. km
3. Capital – Iba
4. Language/Dialect – Tagalog, Ilocano, Zambal, English, and Filipino
5. Divisions

Cities (1)

  • Olongapo City

Municipalities (13)

  • Botolan
  • Cabangan
  • Candelaria
  • Castillejos
  • Iba
  • Masinloc
  • Palauig
  • San Antonio
  • San Felipe
  • San Marcelino
  • San Narciso
  • Santa Cruz
  • Subic
Famous For...

Subic Bay Freeport Zone
Once the biggest U.S. Naval Base in Asia, it is now a fully developed Freeport zone where several international companies deploy their goods imported by the company.

Beaches and Wreck Sites
The province boasts of the wrecks found deep in the seas of Olongapo. These wrecks are mostly composed of warships, which makes them very appealing for wreck divers.

Mt. Pinatubo
Known for its most destructive eruption in 1991, Mount Pinatubo’s image has transformed from a feared mountain to a tourist hotspot ideal for trekking and other outdoor activities.

Delectable Food
Zambales mangoes are said to be the sweetest mango in the Philippines. Aside from that, a tourist must-try are

  • Binagis - sautéed pork meat, heart, kidney, and liver parts
  • San Felipe’s bagnet - Zambales’ version of Ilocos’ chicharon (fried pork skin)
  • Ginipang - dried rice grains flavored with a uniquely sweet concoction to taste.
  • Linga - sesame seed candies
PLaces of Interest...

Cultural

Botolan Resettlement Sites
Location: Brgys. Baquilan, Loob-bunga and Taugtug, Botolan, Zambales
Aeta families affected by the eruption of Mount Pinatubo in 1991 were relocated in these areas. Now, these natives have opened their doors to tourists and share with them their unique culture.

Casa San Miguel Center for the Arts
Location: San Antonio, Zambales
The center is a popular venue for recitals and concert. Facilities include an artist's residence consisting of 7 bedrooms, a sunken terraced garden, and a convenience store where books, postcards, community crafts, and souvenirs are sold to concertgoers.

Historical

Magsaysay Ancestral House
Location: Castillejos, Zambales
This is the residence of the seventh Philippine President, Ramon Magsaysay. He was known as the "Man of the Masses” because of his

Subic Bay Wreck Sites
Location: Subic, Zambales
Subic Bay has become the resting place of several battleships, cargo boats, and even an aircraft which made the province a wreck diving haven.

  • Oryoku Maru – a Japanese hell ship used during the World War II
  • El Capitan - a freighter of nearly 3,000 tons just under 130 meters long
  • USS New York (ACR-2) – a US Navy armored cruiser scuttled in December 1941
  • USS Lanikai - a 2-masted schooner that sank due to a typhoon in 1947
  • San Quentin - a 19th century Spanish gunboat scuttled by the Spanish in 1898
  • Nikko Maru – a Japanese patrol boat that sank in November 20, 1943 during a battle with USS Harder.
  • Seisan Maru – a Japanese freighter that was sunk during battle in 1944.
  • Three unnamed vessels - Landing ship tank (LST), a landing craft utility (LCU), and a Japanese patrol boat.

Fort Paynawen
Location: Brgy Parel, Botolan, Zambales
The fort was considered as one of the most formidable garrisons in Central Luzon.

Man-made

Rizal Triangle
Location: Provincial City Hall, Olongapo City, Zambales
The marker was built in dedication to the lasting friendship between the American and Filipino nation whose soldiers fought side by side during the World War II.

Marikit Park
Location: Olongapo City, Zambales
The park is a favorite play area of children. Its shady trees and playground provide much recreation for the young and young at heart. There is an amphitheater-like section where some of Olongapo’s big activities are staged

Subic Bay Freeport Zone
Location: Subic Bay Freeport Zone, Olongapo City, Zambales

  • Volunteers Park and Wall
    This long narrow park is dedicated to the 8,000 volunteers who established the foundation of the Freeport Zone under the leadership of former Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Chairman Richard J. Gordon. The names of the volunteers are engraved on the wall, made from granite slabs.
  • Ocean Adventure Park http://www.oceanadventure.com.ph/
    Visitors can interact, swim, and pet dolphins and whales. These sea creatures also perform occasionally
  • Zoobic Safari http://www.zoobic.com.ph/
    It is dubbed as the only tiger safari in the Philippines. Aside from tigers, it houses several species of animals which are endemic in the Philippines.
  • JEST (Jungle Environmental Survival Training) Camp And Butterfly Garden.
    US Navy-trained Aeta Training Officers provides jungle survival techniques for tourists. Visit the Mini Zoo in which diverse biological resources and all sorts of beautiful butterflies can be seen.

Subic Bay Lighthouse
Location: Subic, Zambales
The lighthouse offers a scenic view of Olongapo City, Subic Bay Freeport Zone, and Subic Bay.

Natural

Snake Island
Location: Subic, Zambales
The island got its name because the roots of the island appear like snakes on water. Visitors will enjoy swimming, scuba diving, boating and other water sport such as regatta, water skiing and wind surfing.


Capones Island
Location: Brgy. Pundaquit, San Antonio, Zambales
Another surfer’s paradise in the province. It has average yet manageable waves.

Camara Island
Location: Brgy. Pundaquit, San Antonio, Zambales
Located near the Capones Island, the island has few trees and several huge rock formations found at the white sand shore of the island.

Anawagin Cove
Location: Brgy. Pundaquit, San Antonio, Zambales
The shore is a mixture of volcanic ash and white sand. Visitors will be amazed with the presence of pine trees in the area. The seeds of these trees were brought to the island during the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo.

Grande Island
Location: Subic, Zambales
Living up to its name, it offers a grand experience of a beach resort in an island setting. Tourist will also enjoy the scenic ride to the island aboard motorized bancas.

Hermana Mayor
Location: Santa Cruz, Zambales
It is often called as “Ms. Universe Island” because it is located in the middle of the sea.

Potipot Island
Location: Brgy. Uacon, Candelaria, Zambales
From the Filipino words puti or white, the island boasts of its white sand, which surrounds the whole island, lush vegetation and trees, and caves.

Anghalo Falls
Location: San Felipe, Zambales
Legend has it that the giant Ang-halo knelt down to take a drink of water above the waterfalls and left the imprint of his toes,knee,and hand in the bedrock thus creating the formation for a pool of water. Water from the falls comes from the rain that falls down Mt. Kimmalogong. During dry season, the falls dries up and no water flows to the pool below.

Mt. Pinatubo
Location: Botolan, Zambales
On June 15, 1991, Mount Pinatubo erupted, sending volcanic material as far as Vietnam, Cambodia, and Malaysia. The eruption took over 800 lives and damaged millions of pesos worth of agricultural land, livestock, and poultry. Years after its eruption, the volcano became a favorite spot for mountain climbing and trekking.

Mt. Tapulao
Location: Palauig, Zambales
Rising 2,030 meters above sea level, Mt. Tapulao is the highest point in Central Luzon. The mountain is a favorite campsite and hunting ground for Negritos.

Religious

Ina Poon Bato Church
Location: Botolan, Zambales
Referred to by the Aetas as “Apo Apang, the image of Ina Poon Bato (Nuestra Senora de la Paz y Buen Viaje) is said to be the oldest image of the Virgin Mary in Asia.

Grotto of Lord of Pardon
Location: Brgy. Mabayuan, Olongapo City, Zambales
Devotees of the Lord of Pardon, Jesus Christ, visit the grotto and pray and pay homage before His crucified image

St. Agustine Cathedral
Location: Iba, Zambales
The cathedral is often referred to as Iba Cathedral. This is the seat of the Diocese of Iba.

Festivals...

Dinamulag – Mango Festival
Place: Iba, Zambales
Date: April 13 – 15
Dinamulag was derived from a Zambal word meaning “Kinalabaw”, the mango variety dominantly grown in the province. This yearly celebration was created to accommodate and promote the mango industry in Zambales and to show the Provincial Government’s support to mango farmers.

Fiesta Of Ina Poonbato
Place: Botolan, Zambales
Date: January 24
Devotees from all over the country flocked to the church before or on the feast day to worship Ina Poonbato. Religious activities and procession are held during the feast.

Singkamas Festival
Place: San Marcelino, Zambales
Date: February 17-26
Singkamas (raddish) is a major root crop grown abundantly in San Marcelino. Its peak season of harvest is in the month of February. Street dancers flock the town plaza wearing colorful costumes and celebrate the abundant harvest for the year.

 
Learn More

How to get there

By Land:
Olongapo City is a two hour drive from Manila via the North Expressway (NLEX) passing through Bulacan, Pampanga and Bataan. Turning right at the San Fernando exit, you can head straight to Olongapo via the Olongapo – Gapan Road, which will lead you to Dinalupihan, Bataan and eventually, Olongapo City. From Zambales to Pangasinan, Olongapo City can be reached through the National Road, going southward. There are buses that ply Olongapo-Manila in Cubao, Pasay City, and Caloocan City.

By Air:
Subic Bay International Airport provides regular direct international and chartered flights to Olongapo.

Related Links
Wow Philippines Zambales Page

 
 
 

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