Zambales is a province in the Philippines located in the Central Luzon region in the island of Luzon. It’s one of the places that is closest to us since we’re based in Angeles City in Pampanga, which is just a few hours drive away. Zambales may be famous for its amazing beaches, but it still has a lot to offer.
This post will be all about the Zambales tourist spots and things to do in Zambales. We stayed for quite a while in Zambales and we enjoyed it so much. Most tourists that you can see in Zambales are locals because it is one of the closest places with a lot of beaches in Manila. There’s also a number of foreigners exploring Zambales. We will discover all these places for you in our Zambales travel guide!
Zambales Travel Guide
How to get to Zambales
How to get to Zambales from Manila
There are buses from Victory Liner in Manila. The trip takes 4 hours via Olongapo and the rate is 270 PHP. There are buses from Olongapo to San Antonio in Zambales which takes 40 minutes and the fare is 55 PHP.
How to get to Zambales from Clark
There are buses from DAU bus terminal in Angeles City to Olongapo City which costs 150 PHP and takes almost 2 hours. There are also PUVs or vans going to Olongapo from DAU bus terminal. The ride takes 1 hour and 30 minutes and costs 130 PHP. This is the way we took from Angeles City in Pampanga to Zambales.
Best time to visit Zambales
Since the Philippines is made up of many different islands, weather conditions may vary from one city to another. If you’re traveling to Zambales, you can expect considerably small variations to the city’s weather. Humidity is high in the Philippines and the warmest months here are April and May. Basically, January to March is the best time to visit Zambales as this is the sunniest period of the year and is relatively cooler than other months.
Currency and ATMs Zambales
The currency in Zambales is Philippine Peso. Occasionally, some establishments can accept dollars but it is preferred that you exchange it to Peso for better and easier transactions. You won’t also find it hard to find ATM machines in Zambales. There are a lot of establishments as well as banks in the town proper that has ATM machines.
Internet and Wifi Connection in Zambales
Hotels, restaurants and coffee shops in most areas offer internet and wifi connection. Using data internet isn’t that bad as well. The internet is reliable enough to have some work done. Read here about the best Filipino SIM for tourist.
Transportation around Zambales
The main mode of transportation used in Zambales are tricycles for short distances and buses for longer trips. There’s a lot of buses in the highway, coming to and from Manila. On places near the sea, they have motorboats for fishing and for going to other islands as well.
Daily Budget around Zambales
Those visiting Zamblaes will find inexpensive but a little bit pricier meals than other places in the Philippines. A full meal in Zambales can go for as low as 80 PHP per person while a bottle of beer can be bought for around 50-65 PHP. Restaurant food can be bought for around 500-800 PHP for two people around Zambales province. Pretty cheap, right? And if you only have 20 PHP in your pocket and you’re feeling pretty hungry, you can even buy plenty of street food with your cash.
Transportation is also pretty cheap with jeepneys going all over town at a flat rate of 10 PHP and 50-100 PHP if you want to move around tricycle.
You have to add extra budget for island hopping and entrance fees in the islands. An island hopping day joining to mroe people can be around 500 PHP with entrance fees included for an amazing day tour around the beaches and islands in Zambales.
Those who are looking for budget hotels in Zambales and can find 900-1200 PHP. There are mid budget establishments go for around 1500-2000 PHP. That’s only $19-38 USD! For those who want a more luxurious stay, you can check in at very nice hotels at around $50-120 USD. You can also try AirBnB in Subic area and find deals starting from $15 USD.
If you want to sign up for Airbnb, we give you $30 USD credit with your first booking!
Zambales Tourist Spots and things to do in Zambales
1. Botolan Resettlement Sites
This is a model resettlement in Botolan that offers an amazing view of the volcano’s crater from the hilltop. Before, it was the place where native Aetas lived before they were evacuated due to the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in 1991. This place is perfect if you love to reconnect with natives and learn their culture.
2. Camara Ancentral House
Camara Ancentral House is an old-fashioned but amazing structure in Zambales. It was the house of the first Filipino governor of Zambales, Vicente Camara, where its name was derived from. This house also served as the headquarters of Japanese during the the war. Because of its extravagant structure and history, it became one of the tourist spots in Zambales.
Olongapo, or the beach city, has a narrow entrance guarded by the navy and has a deep sea harbor. It was also a historic place for the Philippines that made it to the top tourist spots in Zambales. Places you can visit in Olongapo City include the the Subic Bay, Inflatable Island, Camayan Beach, and Baloy Beach.
4. Alwasan Lanum Cave
Alwasan Lanum means “water outflow” and a concave fissure that has a small waterfall inside. The best part about this cave is that you can hear the majestic water flowing.
5. Fort Paynauen
This fort is also one of the historical places in Botolan, Zambales famous to tourists. It served as a prison for the locals and natives in Zambales as well as the Spanish officials who displeased the Spanish Governor General or Archbishop of Manila. If you are into feeling the old vibes of Zambales as well as learning about history, then you should definitely visit this place.
6. Subic Bay Freeport
Subic Bay Freeport Zone, which is known simply as Subic Bay or Subic is a special economic zone covering portions of Olongapo City and the towns of Subic in Zambales and Morong and Hermosa in Bataan.
7. The Hellships Memorial
This peaceful place in Subic served as a memorial place to commemorate the soldiers who fought during the World War 2. It is a great place to relax or when you want to contemplate life. It is also very classy and historical.
8. Ina Poon Bato Church
Poon Bato, Loob Bunga Resettlement Site | Credits to Ina Poon Bato Website
Ina Poon Bato is known for many names including Nuestra Señora dela Paz of Zambales, “Apo Apang”, or The Doting Queen of Zambales. If you came to Zambales for a pilgrimage, this church is something you shouldn’t miss because for the locals, Ina Poon Bato is miraculous. You can stop by this church to pray or experience the vibes of the religious locals praying.
More Zambales Tourist Spots and Things to do in Zambales
9. El Kabayo Waterfalls
El Kabayo waterfals has two falls. The first one is 4-feet high, and the other is 15 feet high. It’s one of the places in Zambales where you can swim, have a bath, and beat the summer heat. There are also accommodations available in Kabayo waterfalls just in case you are planning overnight. There is an entrance fee of 50 PHP.
10. Capones Lighthouse
This activity is quite popular between Filipinos who do overnights in Capones Island. At sunrise, it’s a perfect time for trekking to the Lighthouse and enjoy the views of the island from the top.
11. Hike a Mountain
There are few mountains to hike in Zambales. The most popular hike could be Mt Pinatubo. Trekking this mountain can be done in one day, which involves riding a 4×4 on a lahar field and a 3-hour trekking back and forth. Below are some of the pricing packages if you are coming from Manila:
Package 1 (from Manila to Pinatubo Crater Lake via Capas) – PHP 2000 to PHP 3000
Package 2 (from Manila to Pinatubo Crater Lake via Botolan) – PHP 2500
Take note that this does not include food and may change without further notice. If you have an idea about the recent packages to hike Mount Pinatubo, please comment below and we’ll update the blog post. 🙂
If you like hiking, read our experience hiking Taal Volcano.
12. Island Hopping in Zambales
You can just get a bus and heading to Zambales, less than 40 minutes driving. There are a few island to visit: Camara Island, Capones Island and you can visit Anawangin Cove and Nagsasa Cove.
Prices to organize the island hopping are around 2000 PHP for going to Camara, Capones Island and Ananwangin. If you include Nagsasa Cove in your itinerary, you will have to pay 2500 PHP total for all the islands.
You have to bring your own food to the tour but you can get a gallon of water from the boatmen for 50 PHP for the whole day. You can go around Pundaquit and find a carinderia where you can buy food and rice for your day tour.
If you are traveling alone, we recommend you to join to groups so you will be able to pay around 500 PHP for your island hopping in Zambales.
How to get to Capones Island? You have to ride a bus from Olongapo bus terminal to San Antonio. It costs 50 PHP for a local bus and it takes 40 minutes. Once you are in San Antonio, you have to get a tricycle to Pundaquit. There are 4-kilometers rides from San Antonio to Pundaquit and they charged us 30 PHP per head.
13. Casa San Miguel
Casa San Miguel is one of the tourists’ favorite when they visit Zambales, It was built in 1921 in a 15-hectare mango orchard and where famous people stayed for some quite a long time. Casa San Miguel is where you could find the Museum of Community Heritage which boasts the unique and rich culture of the local community. It has guest rooms (bed and breakfast), a restaurant, a pre-school, and a concert hall for you to enjoy it more.
Entrance fee for adults is PHP 125 and PHP 75 for kids.
14. Camping at the Beach
The most popular beaches for camping are Anawangin Cove and Nagsasa Cove. You have to pay an entrance fee and make sure you bring everything that you need since they aren’t selling food and water. They are renting tents if you need. There will be no electricity but the experience will be awesome!
15. Sunset at the beach
In Subic, the sunsets almost never disappoint, so it’s always the moment of the day we looked forward to. We took magical shots every trip that we did in Subic! Choose your favorite one. If you stay for sunset when camping, be ready with the tent so you can enjoy this magical moment.
16. Spending the day in the beach
Anawangin, Nagsasa, Subic. There are many beaches to choose from in Zambales, whether you visit them for swimming or relaxing. Read our post where we tell you our 15 favorite beaches in Zambales so you can choose your favorite one.
Food to try in Zambales
When you’re in Zambales, the number 1 food you should try is their mangoes! It is the province’s best and main produce and their mangoes are deemed to be the sweetest and most delicious mangoes in the world. Definitely a must try! You can also buy from everywhere in Zambales to bring home to your loved ones.
Where to stay in Zambales
Like what we said earlier, you can find different kinds of accommodation places throughout Zambales- from budget and backpack inns, Airbnb’s to luxurious hotels and resorts. You can find a budget hotel and stay there for around PHP 900 per night. There are also hotels that would cost as high as PHP 6000 and above. With this price you can get the best stay and most comfortable experience from the hotels you’re checking in.
There are different areas to stay in Zambales, depending if you want to stay close to Subic, close to the island hopping and you can even have the possibility of camping in the beach!
If you want to sign up for Airbnb, we can give you $30 USD credit with your first booking!
Festivals in Zambales
Zambales Mango Festival
Paynauen ‘Duyan’ Festival
This festival, which is celebrated from May 3-4 annually, is one of the most popular festivals in Zambales. It features the beautiful women in Zambales by having “Miss Botolan” and “Miss Botolan Tourism” beauty contests. There is also a street dancing competition that everyone prepares for.
This is a festival that serves as a promotional campaigns for businesses via parades, rallies and races. Scooters are on parade at the Scootourista Festival primarily because Subic Bay is where many big scooter companies drop off the goods to sell to the Filipino market. Big names such as Honda and Mitsubishi as well as American motorbike brands participate at the Scootourista Festival and races are held between professional drivers.
If you want to sign up for Airbnb, we give you $30 USD credit with your first booking!
Read here our favorite La Union tourist spots.
There you have it! Are you ready to visit Zambales with your loved ones and friends? Make sure to share them this guide too! Let us know what you’ve experienced in Zambales and let’s talk about it the comments. 🙂