Our 4th year anniversary cut short (Potipot Island, Zambales)

We were on leave from Wednesday to Friday because of our trip to Candelaria, Zambales. I have to admit, I haven’t been feeling well since the weekend and I started seeing rashes on my legs last Tuesday when I took the bath. I just did not want to disappoint Mon about cancelling our trip, and I also wanted to go out of town for this long-awaited, post-exam, relaxing trip. But turned out, it wasn’t.

We booked last Friday, a double, poolside room from Dawal Beach Resort, costing Php 1,600 per night, which we would be renting for two days. But before reaching the place, we have to, of course, commute from Victory Liner in Caloocan (to take the Sta. Cruz-bound bus). The air-con bus was Php 451/pax up to Sta. Cruz and has a Wi-FI available for passengers.

Victory Liner - Caloocan

Victory Liner – Caloocan

I wasn’t able to take a lot of pictures because I was really stressed out with the rashes on my left leg. I was already half-blaming myself for not seeking medical attention prior to leaving because once we set en route to Zambales, there would be no turning back and I would just have to deal with them with the ointment and ibuprofen pills I had with me. To make matters worse, I did not realize that the trip would be that looooooooooooooooooooooooooooong. I initially prepared myself for a 5-hour ride, leaving Caloocan at quarter to 11 am. But it was already around half past 6 PM when we reached Dawal. I, of course, have deluded myself that the trip will be shorter than that, especially that one of the drivers in Caloocan had given us an unrealistic ETA.

From the Victory Liner station in Caloocan to Candelaria, Zambales --- excruciating 7 hours of travel time

From the Victory Liner station in Caloocan to Candelaria, Zambales — excruciating 7 hours of travel time

Looking at the map, I just realized how near it was to my father’s hometown of Mabini, Pangasinan; and he even told me days after that he spent his grade school years in Santa Cruz, Zambales when my grandfather used to work in one of the mining companies there.

We were extremely tired of the long journey, but we still managed to drag ourselves to the beach just to chase the already setting sun. But it was all worth it, seeing Potipot Island from the distance, with the wonderful colors of the sky:

Potipot Island seen from Dawal's beachfront - Zambales

Potipot Island seen from Dawal’s beachfront

However, by that time, I was really feeling feverish and the chilly atmosphere did not help. We ate a quick dinner courtesy of their restaurant. The menu was reasonably priced (at more or less, Php 180-200), with their “small” serving already good for two people. Since I was in dire need to eat something healthy, we had to have a serving of ampalaya, which I did not mind because I eat them even on a normal day.

Our first dinner in Dawal

Our first dinner in Dawal

After eating dinner, we had to quickly decide on what to do the following day. I was already feeling extremely sick, and I was torn between staying to make things work, and going home to Manila to seek medical treatment. Personally, I would have wanted to push myself to stay for two whole days, but I upon assessing my condition, I would have been lucky to even go home the Friday after because I was really feeling weak. Mon and I reached a consensus: we’d visit Potipot Island the following morning, and will check out around lunch time to leave for Manila. Reality bites — the total travel time to-and-fro was greater than the total time we’ve stayed in the resort. I was really in a bad state that even when the clock struck twelve for our anniversary, I was already fast asleep, for the first time in four years. But I think Mon understood my condition, and I couldn’t be more grateful about that.

Mon on our boat ride to Potipot Island

Mon on our boat ride to Potipot Island

Potipot Island in the background

Potipot Island in the backgroundSo the following morning, after eating a quick breakfast in their restaurant, we embarked on a 5-minute boat ride from the beachfront to Potipot Island. It cost us Php 400 for the rent of the boat (fixed rate, maximum of six people) and I can’t be more happy of the sunny weather.

Potipot Island as seen from Google Maps

Potipot Island as seen from Google Maps

Potipot Island was very near the shoreline. And judging by its size, I think it was about the same area as Pulau Mamutik in Tunku Abdul Rahman Park in Sabah, Malaysia.

This is where we decided to stay - Potipot Island, Zambales

This is where we decided to stay

Good thing the weather cooperated - Potipot Island, Zambales

Good thing the weather cooperatedNorth side of the Island - Potipot Island, Zambales

North side of the IslandPerfect blue skies - Potipot Island, Zambales

Perfect blue skiesLooking at the west side of the island and facing the open South China Sea, I just realized again how wonderful our beaches in the Philippines are. I said to myself “Oh no, China! You can’t have all of this!“. LOL Few kilometers from this island was the Scarborough Shoal. I was a bit morbid though. With the recent occurrence of various earthquake in the country, I was paranoid of abnormal recession of water in case of a tsunami and was already thinking on how on earth can we hold on for dear life or whether there will be time to contact the resort to send a boat to fetch us.

Anyway, I forgot all about my worries and even how bad I was feeling that day. The island just took my breath away! Not to mention, there were only the two of us guests in the island the whole morning, accompanied by two caretakers, the one collecting the entrance fee (Php 100/head), and a black dog with two adorable puppies with their wagging tails. =D I was first hesitant to take a dip because of my rashes, but I remember the old wives’ tales of seawater being ALWAYS good to any skin affliction, so I swam to my heart’s content. And naturally, I took LOTS of pictures.

Look at the clear water - Potipot Island, Zambales

Look at the clear water


Mon enjoying the beach - Potipot Island, Zambales

Mon enjoying the beach

Mon and I with the waves - Potipot Island, Zambales

Mon and I with the wavesHe still knows his Korean - Potipot Island, Zambales

He still knows his Korean 

Feeling swept away in the island - Potipot Island, Zambales

Feeling swept away in the island

My feet and the white sand - Potipot Island, Zambales

My feet and the white sand –Heart from our hands

Heart from our handsHeart on the sand - Potipot Island, Zambales

Heart on the sand – 

I was really stupid not to take my goggles with me. I just realized I had left it in my bag in the resort when we have already reached the island. I wasn’t able to see any fish because of my abysmal vision, and given that the goggles do not even have a grade, they could have at least helped me see clearly. But there are other interesting things and creatures in the island that caught my attention. This hermit crab was very difficult to photography because it was always creeping inside its shell whenever I tried to get close:

Very shy hermit crab - Potipot Island, Zambales

Very shy hermit crab

Shells Mon picked from the shore - Potipot Island, Zambales

Shells Mon picked from the shoreClaw of the crab in the hole - Potipot Island, Zambales

Claw of the crab in the holeOne of the friendly canine residents - Potipot Island, Zambales

One of the friendly canine residents – 

We had a really nice time in the island, even though we spent only about three hours! Mon was really concerned about my rashes and thought it would be better to go home earlier than what was planned to get medical attention.

On our boat ride back to the main island - Zambales

On our boat ride back to the main island

Dawal's beachfront rooms --- and they are still constructing more

Dawal’s beachfront rooms — and they are still constructing moreI think Dawal was a really nice place. I don’t have any bad thing to say regarding their service, although there were lots of flies in their restaurant, which you can’t avoid given that it was an open dining area. It’s either you stay in front of a fan and risk your hot and delicious food getting cold, just to shoo the flies away, or free one hand to shoo them on your own. I really feel bad not getting the most out of our stay, and we even soaked in the pool for exactly 10 minutes (I had my alarm on).

Nice looking vane - Zambales

Nice looking vane

They have LOTS of cats that we love

They have LOTS of cats that we love 

I think these are Manila palms

I think these are Manila palms

Flowers and pseudo-flower on the table

Flowers and pseudo-flower on the table 

Our poolside room - with its own AC, bathroom, cable TV, etc

Our poolside room – with its own AC, bathroom, cable TV, etc

Even up to now, I feel quite mad and regretful of what could have been a much better vacation/getaway. But due to an unforeseen and unwanted event, we had to cut our trip short. But on hindsight, I think I could not withstand another night of fever and chills and Mon was right to decide to go home and seek medical attention first — which should have been the case even before we left.

Dawal's sign by the gate

Dawal’s sign by the gate

It was a short but nice vacation overall. I was able to endure the longer trip home (nine frickin’ hours!!!) and I was already aching all over. The moment we reached home, Mama and I went straight to the emergency room, only to be misdiagnoses by the attending doctor, as rectified by the dermatologist the day after.

I could no longer count how many times I’ve said sorry to Mon because of everything, but I guess he really understands the severity of the situation. Well, it could have been worse. We normally go out of the country for our anniversary, but what could have happened to me with my medical emergency, had we spent it abroad? Thank you and happy 4th anniversary again.



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