Here’s a handy guide to our June 2013 trip to Potipot Island, to save you the trouble of reading through all my posts 😀
How to get there: Take the Victory Liner Sta. Cruz bus (Caloocan/Sampaloc terminals only), preferably the 11:55pm last trip so you arrive at around 4am-5am. Seats run out fast, so better buy your tickets at least a day in advance. First trip is 4am. Alternatively, you can take the Iba or Olongapo buses, and get another bus to Sta. Cruz. Check Victory Liner schedules here. Fare to Dawal (the drop off point for Potipot Island) is Php432 each. The conductor will drop you off opposite the waiting shed marking the small street leading to Dawal & the other resorts in the area where you can find lodging and/or rent a boat to take you to the island.
Where to stay: Most resorts are clustered around Dawal Beach Resort, so you can just walk along the beach and choose one you like. If you’re the adventurous type, you can also choose to camp on the island itself 🙂
- Dawal Beach Resort – read TripAdvisor reviews
- Potipot Gateway Resort* – read TripAdvisor reviews
- Puerto del Mar* – read TripAdvisor reviews
- Sunbloom Resort – read TripAdvisor reviews
*These resorts are located in different areas from Dawal; kindly refer to their respective websites for directions 🙂
We passed several resorts on our way to Puerto del Mar that aren’t mentioned on websites/TripAdvisor, so you can probably choose when you get there, as long as it isn’t peak season, when most resorts are fully booked.
Potipot Island fees: Php100/pax day trip | Php300/pax overnight | Cottages start at Php500
Boat fee: Php400 for 2-6pax
Where to eat: The only restaurant we saw was at Dawal, but most resorts will allow you to cook your own food; you may either bring your food or shop at the town market. Puerto del Mar offers both meals and paluto services; you may check their website for rates 🙂 On Potipot Island, there are no restaurants, and no vendors that we saw when we were there. So just to be sure, bring EVERYTHING with you to the island (water, ice, drinks, food, utensils, etc). There are tables, cottages and grills on the island; tables & grills can be used for free.
What you need to know about Potipot Island: The sand is white (well, beige), and very fine. Water is clear (unless there’s a storm), and not itchy. We didn’t see any big jellyfish, just small ones that didn’t sting. There’s an area where the sand slopes sharply downward, so be careful where you swim. The sand is fine enough to walk barefoot on; but bring slippers and watch where you walk as there are sometimes bits of broken bottles buried in the sand (some people are just so barbaric :().
There are ARMIES of ants; be careful where you set down your bags, and bring bug spray and/or any meds you need for bug bites. There are 2 sets of restrooms, 2 hand pumps, and buckets for you to haul water from the pump. The restrooms looked kinda…yucky, so if you’re very particular about where you shower and do your business, I suggest just spending the day (or half a day) on the island, and showering at a resort.
DO NOT LITTER. Bring a trash bag, and take your trash with you when you leave. We can gripe all we want about caretakers who don’t clean up, but we also need to ask ourselves where the trash came from in the first place 😐
What to bring: Pack clothes that you won’t mind getting wet; you WILL get wet on your way to the island, trust me 😛
- Sarong, malong or lightweight towel
- Slippers or aqua shoes
- Sunblock & bug repellent
- Allergy or asthma meds (if applicable); vinegar for jellyfish stings; Betadine/alcohol/wipes
- Food, drinks, ice, utensils, etc.
- Tent or hammock (if you’re camping overnight)
- Flashlight (add lamps and extra flashlights if you’re camping on the island)
- Trash bags for your trash, and for covering your bags on the boat trip
How to get back to Manila: Go back to the main road where the bus dropped you off, and wait for a Manila-bound bus (Caloocan or Sampaloc). However, we chose to take a jeep to the Sta. Cruz Victory Liner terminal to make sure we got seats. Ride takes approximately 30 minutes; fare is Php13 each. Ask the driver to drop you off at the bus terminal; don’t get off at the market where most people will disembark. We took the Sampaloc-bound bus and paid Php456 each to Balintawak.
Summary of my Potipot Island posts:
- Zambales: Potipot Island, Uacon, Candelaria
- Zambales: Puerto del Mar
- Zambales: Potipot Island, at last!
- Zambales: Puerto del Mar & The Day After 🙂