Dawal Beach Resort/Potipot Island, Zambales
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May 18th, 2009 – by: roseraven11
GETTING THERE: 3 adults and 3 kids in a car, 2 adults riding the Victory Liner bus. Got to Caloocan station at 5:00 AM since the first bus to Sta. Cruz (according to the website) was scheduled 5:30 AM. Apparently it was 6:30 AM. LOL. I tried calling Victory Liner but no one was answering. So... :P.
Those using private transport got to Dawal 12NN. My nephew and I, the commuters, got there at 1PM. Man, that was a long bus ride.
DAWAL BEACH RESORT
- GENERAL: The place was HUGE. So huge in fact that I was disappointed with the layout. To get to the beach from the poolside rooms, you'd have to walk the entire distance of the kiddie and adult pool, cross the parking lot and the row of deluxe and standard rooms: NOT something you'd want to do midday while the sun is at its worst.
Friendly staff, though not very helpful. I had to personally haul our stuff from the parking lot to the poolside rooms. Have I mentioned it was blazing hot and the place was huge? But... meh, I guess I needed the exercise. Haha!
Best thing about the place: if you're on a budget, you can bring your own food (corkage is charged only when you bring it to the pool and the restaurant).
- ROOMS: They ran out of towels so they were only able to deliver them by nighttime. No place where we could hang our clothes to dry either, so I had to request for hangers. There wasn't a phone in the rooms so again I had to walk from our rooms to the front desk (which was by the parking lot). Faaar.
- ROOMS (CR): Clean, but not immaculate. The CR was nice because at least the shower area was separated from the toilet area. Caveat though: not all rooms are designed the same. My only other complaint is that there wasn't a rug inside, so the floor was really wet after coming out of the bath.
Could be better, but hey, it'll do.
Best thing about the room: Bed and air conditioning.
- POOL: Too much chlorine and I didn't like how warm the water was (even though it was nighttime). It was open until midnight though, that's why my family picked it in the first place.
- THE BEACH: The sand on the Dawal beach front was black and fine. The entire point of the trip is to go to Potipot Island, so there weren't a lot of people, which was fine by me. My niece and I spent a couple of hours swimming and then playing frisbee. Not much to see on that side of the beach, but it was good enough for a dip.
POTIPOT ISLAND (despite all my complaining, this is the part that makes the trip worth it)
- GETTING THERE: 6AM is the earliest possible ride to Potipot Island. I scheduled the trip with the front desk the night before, so as to avoid any possible hassle during the morning. It's 400 bucks a ride (round-trip), with a max capacity 6 people.
- THE WHITE ISLAND ITSELF:
They cordoned off some areas of the island to:
(1) ensure the boats land in one place, [the place is privately owned so they charge 50 pesos (adult), 25 pesos (child) for a whole day's stay and 100 pesos for overnight, so once you reach the shore, it's easier for the caretaker to approach you],
(2) for people not to swim too far away (the beach floor slopes down rapidly after about 5 meters from the shore), and
(3) there's a section of the island where they grow giant clams, so it's off limits.
My family stayed in the island for about 5 hours, which, in my honest opinion, was too short a time to actually enjoy it.
The left side beach front had more trees ( = shade) so my family camped on that side, but the sand had small stones so the kids didn't like walking around there because it hurt. That side of the beach had a lot of seaweed, some small clams (the ones used for Capiz) and HUGE starfishes. It was okay to swim there and take a look around but I didn't stay long because I got bored.
The right side was where the kids and I stayed for the most part of the day. The sand had significantly less rocks, and the beach floor didn't steep down as sharply as it did on the left side, so I wasn't that scared to swim a little farther from the shore. There were also huge rocks/some corals at the bottom, which meant fishes. So I spent about 3 hours snorkeling and feeding fish.
GETTING HOME: Another long bus ride for me and my nephew. We caught the 12NN bus (hailed it from the highway) and got back to Manila 7PM. Our companions riding the car stopped by Subic to go shopping, hehe. When I finally got home, I crawled under my bed and slept for 10 hours. :)
*** POST SCRIPTS ***
Pardon all the complaining on the first half of the post, I guess I was really stressed because I was the trip organizer and I was tired from the bus ride so the first day was somewhat miserable.
Personally I think my post is a little too negative... I'll try to revise it when I find the time. The trip was really enjoyable, especially having spent it with my family. And the fact that my nephew and niece learned to swim and snorkel while we were there is just... heartwarming and gratifying. I mean, they're 7 and 9 years old, and they found the courage to swim just because they wanted to feed the fish. Imagine that!
Anyway, to anyone who's looking for a relatively cheap vacation, someplace different from Boracay that's still relatively uncommercialized, I'd recommend Potipot Island.
Reminder: if you're going, please don't litter. And please don't bottle up sand or take rocks home. And please don't take home fishes or starfishes or any of the living creatures from the island. :( These are fairly common horror stories about tourists and it's really sad because it's the first step to destroying a naturally beautiful place. And don't rationalize it with "oh one person doing it won't be noticed". Come on, you're smarter than that.
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