Thursday, February 26, 2009

Zambales: A Surprise

After being able to pass all the requirements to renew my passport, my sister Joy and I decided to visit my other sister, Jenie, who is now based in Zambales. They used to live in Pasay City... but decided to go back to her hubby's hometown in Candelaria, Zambales.

It was a surprise visit. You can imagine if a family member whom you haven't seen for 4 years just showed up in your doorstep. That's what we did. Showed up at her doorstep.

My shy niece, Sheila Joyce

My nephews (Jeriel Isaiah and Jan Evan)

Go figure. LOL.

Zambales was a nice province. I liked where my sister lived. It's quite remote... but not totally. And oh.. the beach was just a kilometer away. So we went to the beach and bought some freshly caught fish.... like the fish I saw when I was snorkeling in the beach of raya Island. They probably swam to the Philipines to be caught, grilled and eaten. LOL. kidding.

Anyways, we had grilled fish and kinilaw (a raw fish dish soaked in vinegar with onions, ginger, salt, chili, etc) for dinner that night.

The highlight of my Zambales trip was when we rented a videoke. Yes, we did... for 500 Pesos for 24 hours! I sang my heart out that day... which I never did in my whole life. Okay. I'm lying. I did... but only in the shower. Hehehe.

And because the house was too small for all of us to have party, we had videoke outside the house where you can sing and at the same time hear the dog howling... lol. and ducks quacking...

We stayed there for 3 days and 2 nights. Really had fun with my sister's family. We attended church there as well. It was an awesome trip, being able to spend time with my sisters.

More facts about Zambales: (source:

Zambales is a province of the Philippines located in the Central Luzon region. Its capital is Iba. Zambales borders Pangasinan to the north, Tarlac and Pampanga to the east, and Bataan to the south. The province lies between the South China Sea and the Zambales Mountains. With a land area of 3,700 km, Zambales is the second largest among the seven provinces of Central Luzon. It has a population density of 170 people per square kilometer², one of the lowest in the country. The province is noted for its mangoes, which are abundant from January to April.

Zambales is served by the Subic Bay International Airport, which is located in Cubi Pt., Subic Bay Freeport, Zambales and part of Bataan province. Subic Bay Freeport Zone is host to many tourist attractions which include casinos, beach resorts, parks, beachside huts and cottages and historical artifacts.

Zambales hosts 173 kilometers of beaches, with coral reefs, dive spots, surfing areas, hotels and day-use beach huts. The province is approximately a 3 to 4 hour drive from Manila, though this can vary greatly with traffic.

The "Fiesta Poon Bato," (literal translation is Feast of the Sacred Stone) held in January, is a religious festival that attracts over half a million people each year. The festival venerates Ina Poon Bato (literal translation is Mother of the Sacred Stone) also known as Nuestra Senora de la Paz y Buen Viaje (Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage), the oldest known image of the Virgin Mother in Asia[citation needed]. The Barrio of Poon Bato located in the Town of Botolan, that is host to the image and the fiesta, was completely destroyed during the 1991 Mt. Pinatubo eruption. The icon was saved and moved, along with the barrio inhabitants, to nearby Loob Bunga Resettlement Area.

The "Mango Festival" is held in the provincial capital of Iba every April, and the "Domorokdok" (Sambal word for Dance) Festival is held each May in Botolan. These include street dancing, agricultural shows, competitions like sand castle building and "bikini open" beauty pageants.

The Capones Island in Barrio Pundaquit, located in the Town of San Antonio, is home to a Spanish Light House built during the 1800s.

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