While everyone is heading to Zambales to experience social beacheneering, I wanted to discover what’s more to the province. I mean, sure, watching a movie on the beach, buffet meals, glamping, and acoustic nights are great but as you grow older, you sort of want the laid-back kind of escape. This is why Masinloc attracted me. I wanted to see Zambales and discover what’s more to the province than surfing, partying, and events.
The road was long. Reaching Masinloc meant hours of driving, passing through several towns. Thank God we have Waze and we were able to dodge several vehicle build-ups. If you are planning to bring your own car, stock up on food and drinks to avoid unnecessary stopovers which can consume more time.
Once we reached the town, we headed straight to the city hall where the town’s tourism office was located. The office was closed and there was no one to greet us. The day before we headed to Masinloc, I was able to get the tourism office’s number and asked if their eco-tour is still being offered to which they replied yes. The price for the tour is 610 Php per head inclusive of snacks, boat rental, lunch, environmental fee, and gear rental fee. Please note that this price is applicable only to groups with a minimum of 10 people. Since we already ate lunch on our way to Masinloc, we took advantage of just the tour which is priced at 410 Php (minimum of 10). We were just 5 in the group so our bill was slightly higher than 410 Php to which we understood since the gas for the boat is expensive. If you are also wondering if you can join any group to fill the group of 10 pax and pay the published rate, their default answer is “no” although we saw another group on their way back to the shore as we were leaving. I am not ultimately sure if they want every tour exclusive to avoid untoward incidents, but in good faith, this is what I assumed.
The eco-tour started with snorkeling and the viewing of giant clams along the area of San Salvador Island. We hurriedly jumped off the boat to see these for ourselves. There were a lot of giant clams on the sea bed but most of them were already dead. The bangkeros told us that there were typhoons that washed the land from the mountains to the sea and the impact overwhelmed the ecosystem below. In spite of the fact that it is recovering, the phase can be slow and can take years. The community is currently taking care of what’s left of the life below.
The sea of Masinloc is rich and we saw different kinds of starfishes around. I initially thought they were fake because of the good quality they are in until they moved their arms as if to say “hey sucker bring us back to the water!” (hahaha sorry). The current was a bit strong (even underwater) because of the typhoon but on good days, the bangkeros mentioned that the sea is blue and sparkling! I would love to see that one day!
After battling the tide and viewing the underwater paradise, we then headed to Yaha Island or the mangroves. We were provided kayaks to roam around the area and it was sheer fun playing kayak tag. My friends and I were also briefed as to which flower is male or female. The male mangrove is planted while the female is the fruit (that is if I remember correctly. I was not able to take notes because of the excitement I was feeling that time :P). We were also given the chance to plant new mangrove seeds. Although this isn’t as grand as you might imagine it to be, knowing that the tour included this part, and considering the number of people participating in every tour, it’s a huge effort in conserving these mangrove areas!
The last stop of the tour was the Bacala Guesthouse. It was raining hard by the time we were approaching the island that it looked like we were in some franchise of Silent Hill!
The Bacala Guesthouse was originally put up to shelter tired fishermen seeking refuge after hours of working. It is situated on a sandbar that manifests itself during low tide. We were there when that happened. After having lunch at the Bacala Guesthouse, the tide slowly calmed and we found ourselves on a white-sand, absolutely enchanting sandbar, adorned with sea urchins, shells, and sea cucumbers! It was almost magical! Don’t forget to bring a packed lunch if you will be choosing the same package as ours. You also have to remember to take your trash with you! Sadly, among the sea creatures lying around the sandbar were plastic wrappers and even a consumed bottle of alcohol. I was turned off by this. We took the initiative to pick up the trash other tourists left behind.
After frolicking around Bacala Guesthouse, we had to leave and head to our accommodation. We thanked the kuya bangkeros and apologized for arriving late. When we visited, there was still no bathroom to change to dry clothes on. It was still under construction and cannot be used to shower. Thankfully, we found a small space to change clothes on.
We then headed to DFarm and Park which was around 10 minutes away. We were stunned by how beautiful the place was even from the outside. It was adorned with colorful and blooming flowers and it was just as it was shown on TV, probably even better! The best part about the resort is that it is very affordable for a quality place such as this! We stayed at the Guest House for 3,000 Php. It can house 4 people comfortably. We had our own bathroom, a television, a fridge, and a second floor where 2 people can stay. It has a porch where we had our meals and lounged about assessing how beautifully our trip turned out.
The main feature of DFarm and Park probably was their infinity pool that is overlooking the South China Sea. You can also admire the wondrous blue while in their jacuzzi, right beside the infinity pool. For those addicted to Instagram, this place is something you’ll undoubtedly enjoy. But aside from those features, the highlight of the place for me is the serene atmosphere that sort of welcomes you out of the clutches of the city. DFarm and Park, that day, was my oasis.
Masinloc, Zambales is many wonderful things. It may be far but its distance is its charm. The Zambales I knew was crowded and knocking towards toxic tourism. But Masinloc was different. It still belonged to the locals and to nature.
- Masinloc Tourism: (0915) 4518246 or (0912) 4905877
- DFarm & Park:
- Address: Km 3, BaloganonMasinloc, Zambales
- Facebook Page: CLICK HERE
- Mobile Number: (0939) 5386117
How to Go to Masinloc, Zambales:
- From the Victory Liner Terminal in Sampaloc, Manila, take the bus to Sta. Cruz Zambales (500 Php – 600 Php, depending if it will pass through SCTEX)
- Inform the bus conductor to let you off at Masinloc, Zambales.
Alternative Commute Route:
- From Victory Liner Terminal in Cubao, take the bus to Olongapo (300 Php)
- Get off at Olongapo Terminal which is the last stop and ride a UV Express van to Sta. Cruz Zambales
- Alight at Masinloc
By Private Transport:
- Take NLEX and SLEX and exit at Subic, Olongapo.
- Drive through the long path of Castillejos, leading to several Zambales Towns. Here’s the map below:
***Masinloc, Zambales is part of our independently-arranged Luzon Backpacking Adventure in hopes that we finish Project 81 (Or visiting all the 81 provinces of the Philippines)!!!