Zambales is a province the Philippines which lies the western shores of Central Luzon Region surrounded with charming tourist spots. Its natural attractions like white sand beaches, coves, islands and famous mountains makes tourism industry continues to play an important role in its economy.
The capital municipality of Zambales is Iba. The province is bordered by Pangasinan (north), Tarlac & Pampanga (east), Bataan (south) and South China Sea (west). There are around 500,000+ people living here and they speak in Tagalog, Ilocano, Sambal, Pangasinan, Kapampangan and English.
Zambales is around 4 hours travel time from Manila. If you are interested in visiting its beautiful places this year, the following are the top tourist spots in Zambales.
Top 10 Tourist Spots in Zambales
1. Mount Pinatubo
Mount Pinatubo is one of the most popular tourist spots in Zambales. Its eruption on June 1991 is one of the most destructive volcanic eruptions in 20th century which severely damaged the surrounding area. The eruption also made the global temperature drop and contributed to the ozone depletion. Moving on, today it has interesting landscapes covered with lahar and the center of attraction is its beautiful crater lake (formed after the eruption) which the waters changes to green, blue green, or blue depending on the season and temperature. This makes it the most popular trekking destination in Zambales but swimming in the lake is highly prohibited.
Mount Pinatubo falls inside the borders of Zambales and two nearby provinces.
2. Potipot Island
Potipot Island is one of the best places to visit in Zambales, a favorite beach camping destination among locals and tourists. It is a small island with gradually sloping fine and creamy white sand beach and crystal clear waters. The island has many trees providing good shades from the blazing sun and good sites to pitch a tent. There are no resorts in the island but there are few cottages, shower rooms and toilets. It is possible to circle around the island for 30 minutes. This is a paradise island for beach lovers who just want to relax away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Potipot Island is located in Candelaria, Zambales. If you want to stay in a beach resort in the town and visit the island on a day trip, Potipot Gateway Resort is your best choice. They can arrange your trip to the island and they have a speedboat. From the resort, it’s just around 10 minutes away via speedboat.
3. Anawangin Cove
Anawangin Cove is one of the best tourist spots in Zambales, another famous camping ground in the province. It is a beautiful crescent cove with white sand beach and crystal clear waters. The Agoho trees near the shores and rugged mountains makes a good backdrop. During holidays, expect a lot of day trip visitors and campers here. Swimming, trekking, camping, star-gazing and building bonfires are the fun things to do in the beach. Few years back, Anawangin Cove is just a rocky beach but after the eruption of Mount Pinatubo, ashes covered the area and Agoho trees began to grow. The cove is just one of the 3 popular island/beach-hopping destinations in the province, the other two are Capones Island and Nagsasa Cove.
Anawangin Cove is located in Pundaquit, San Antonio, Zambales. The cove is just 20-30 minutes boat ride from Pundaquit Beach, the jump-off point to the famous coves and island in the town.
4. Nagsasa Cove
Nagsasa Cove is the second-most popular cove in Zambales, the farthest among the beach/island destinations in town of San Antonio. Though it has similarity to Anawangin Cove, Nagsasa Cove has wider shoreline, more cottages and very less people. It has grey sand beach, clear waters and its shoreline is dotted with Agoho trees. Swimming, snorkeling, camping and building bonfires are also fun things to do here. In addition, there is a cliff diving area in the beach and a viewing area on top of a hill which gives a jaw-dropping view of the blue sea, white shoreline and mountains.
Nagsasa Cove is located in San Antonio, Zambales. It would take around 1 hour to reach Nagsasa Cove from Pundaquit Beach, the jump-off point. If you are interested in visiting the mentioned coves, it’s better to bring your own tents. It’s more practical to buy one instead of renting. Regarding bonfire, woods for bonfire are for sale in the coves.
5. Capones Island
Capones Island is one of the known tourist spots in Zambales, a small island characterized by steep cliffs and rock formations surrounded by white sand beaches and some rocky shores. This island is one of the island/beach hopping destinations in Zambales along with Camara Island (connected with Capones Island via sandbar), Anawangin Cove and Nagsasa Cove. This island is more of a sidetrip destination when going to the coves. Swimming, snorkeling and diving are fun things to do here just bring your own gears. The main attraction of the island is the Capones Lighthouse which is located on top of a hill, around 15 minutes trek from the beach. It gives a beautiful view of the blue sea, white sand beach and nearby mountains. According to visitors, it’s like a mini Batanes.
Capones Island is located in San Antonio, Zambales.
6. Crystal Beach Resort
Crystal Beach Resort is one of the most popular beach destinations in Zambales. It has a vast expanse and long stretch of grey sand beach dotted with nipa huts. Agoho trees are also abundant in the area. Among day trippers, the fun things to do here are swimming, kayaking, playing beach volleyball, basketball, billiards, darts and obstacle courses. For those who wants to stay overnight, they offer different types of good accommodations. Camping, socializing in bonfire area and stargazing are great things to do here during the night.
Crystal Beach Resort is also a famous surfing site in the province. During surfing season, varying wave breaks makes it an ideal destination to beginners and advanced surfers. For interested one’s, they also offer surfing lessons.
Crystal Beach Resort is located in San Narciso, Zambales. You will surely enjoy your stay in this family-oriented beach front resort.
7. Ramon Magsaysay Ancestral House
Ramon Magsaysay Ancestral House is one of the iconic tourist spots in Zambales. It is the old house of the former President Ramon Magsaysay, the 7th president of the Republic of the Philippines. He has been very close to the heart of the Filipinos that’s why he is dubbed as “The Champion of Masses.” He died on a plane crash on 1957 and an estimate of over 2 Million people attended his funeral.
The ancestral house is a two-storey building that functions as a museum. It contains the old furniture, books, pictures, medals, appliances and personal belongings of the former president. A vintage car can also be found at the back of the house which is said to be in good running condition. Experience a brief history and heritage of the province by visiting this house full of old treasure.
Ramon Magsaysay Ancestral House is located in Castillejos, Zambales.
8. Mount Tapulao
Mount Tapulao is the tallest mountain in Zambales, hence dubbed as High Peak. It is a popular mountain climbing destination in the province with an elevation of 2, 037+ meters above sea level. The peak can be conquered on a day hike or overnight trek and the most recommended time to start is in the early morning so you won’t be caught hiking under the blazing sun. The summit is 18 kilometers away from the jump-off point located at Sitio Dampay, Barangay Salaza, Palauig. The trail going to the peak of the mountain is composed of mostly rocky roads passing though pine tree forest and mossy forest. The peak is marked by the iconic world tree.
Mount Tapulao is located in Palauig, Zambales.
9. Subic Bay
Subic Bay is one of the best tourist spots in Zambales, a famous dive site not just in the province but also in the entire Philippines. The bay is a very famous historical wreck diving site, there are around 19 shipwrecks in the area and among them are USS New York, El Captain, San Quentin, Tank Landing Ship Wreck, Utility Landing Craft Wreck and more. There are also interesting reef sites in the bay like the Canyon Reef, Nabasa Reef and Runaway Reef and more.
Aside from its dive sites, the shores of Subic Bay are lined up with beach front resorts. It has white sand beaches and crystal clear waters that are favorite weekend destinations among the locals and foreign tourists in the province.
Subic Bay is located in Olongapo and Subic, Zambales. If you are a beginner or technical wreck diver, this is the perfect place for you. The Blue Rock Resort and Dive Centre and The Camayan Beach Resort offers best dive experiences in Subic Bay.
10. Inflatable Island
Inflatable Island is the newest, most exciting and colorful tourist attraction in Zambales. It is the biggest floating playground in Asia and the first in the Philippines. It is a 3,400 square meters of inflatable fun, as big as 8 basketball courts packed together. The playground has giant Tarzan swing and slides, trampoline, human launcher, jungle bars and many more. There are also various floaters in the shore such as unicorns, dragons, clam shell and more. A Bali-inspired Lounge in the creamy grey-sand beach is very comfortable and colorful which is a great place to relax. Overall, this is the best place to bring your family or group of friends to have fun.
Inflatable Island is located in Olongapo City, Zambales.