Camping is nature’s way of promoting the motel business.– Dave Barry
After a long drive from Manila, it was still dark when we arrived at San Antonio, Zambales at dawn. We were going to catch sunrise at Capones, an island off the coast of Pundaquit.
Capones, aka, Isla Gran de Capon, is one of the islands or coves you can visit in Zambales but unlike the other coves, Nagsasa and Anawangin, there are no people inhabiting this island. It does not have any facilities that are offered in usual beach resorts. No restroom, no huts and no stores or food sellers. It’s just you beneath the sky and the stars, the rocks, the waves and the fireflies. For some, these reasons may ward you off from staying in this island but its the perfect spot for our blissful escape from urban life and cheaper alternative to having the usual vacation – CAMPING.
Slippers of different colors and sizes blanket a small part of the shore. Some people are disappointed about this and usually mistook this as trash left by people in the area. There are not even people who inhabit this island, let alone visitors who would want to leave their footwear behind. A few months back, I visited the other side of Capones where I also saw lots of slippers in the area and when I came back, it was on this side of the island. When we asked the boatman, he said that these are trash usually washed up from other surrounding areas when there are typhoons. At night, there are fireflies surrounding the area. The presence of fire flies is one of the signs that the environment is clean. Trash washed up from the surrounding areas may need to be addressed but do not let yourself be misinformed about Capones and let us be responsible travelers on that note. LET THE ISLAND BE AND TAKE YOUR TRASH WITH YOU.
We gazed upon the sea of stars as night-time came. There was another group enjoying their catch of the day over bonfire. It was a welcome surprise when we saw a dog roaming near our area. The dog was then followed by two military men who were doing their rounds. They were strong built, young men in their shorts and fatigue attire with a rusty rifle that was doubtfully reliable to shoot and not even a life boat to back them up. The men were said to be guarding the island from illegal dynamite fishing and there were suspicions that there were some who were interested in taking over the island. I was put into slumber as the men continued with their long talk.
The next day we prepared to leave and set off for another boat ride to the other side where the Capones Lighthouse is located. Faro de punta de Capones, is one of the main reasons people visit this area. It is best to be traveled in the morning when the waters are still calm. The rough waters and rocky shores actually freak me out as I am a limpy, non-swimmer type. But this is one of the best views of the island and I was glad not to pass on it.
One of my companions mentioned to the military men we met of a plan to shoot sunset at the lighthouse and maybe set the camp there. But we were surprised that the Capones Lighthouse actually gave them the creeps, especially at night. Well, that’s another ghost story to tell and unless some people dares to camp there, we can never really know what to expect. For now, I am glad to have experienced the raw beauty this island has to offer and plan to come back and hopefully shoot the countless stars that serves as its natural light at night.