2012 Starter: Roadtrip and Stories from Potipot, Zambales

It's Friday and all I think about right now is weekend and my date with Lisbeth Salander. This week has been hellish challenging, that my stress-induced pimples refuse to budge with any spot correcting gel. My mom thinks I'm on graveyard shift and the boyfie said my temper tripled, bordering on bipolar. I find it amusing because I'm actually clueless that I'm stressed not until my boss and good friend tapped my shoulder and said "Get some air, and parang habag, get something to eat." So I got up and got a rice bowl from the convenient store, and happily ate my first meal of the day at 7:00 PM. You see, our team was recently assigned additional roles, and surprise, multimillion-peso challenges. But I refuse to take it negatively, and rather treat this as a vouch of confidence on my talent and hard work instead. In times like this, flattery can help you survive. ;) And since this is a personal blog, I'm free to bore you with my stories so thank you're still reading this part!

Moving on, I'm finally sharing my recent getaway with my colleagues and friends that literally changed my view on road trips. Flying can definitely buy you more hours on the beach but 7-hour drives can do more for the friendship. My first assignment for 2012 is to plan a team getaway, to take advantage of the long weekend in January. Since three days is too short to fly to some faraway land, we decided to head North and go to what they call the poor man's Boracay, Potipot Island in Candelaria, Zambales

Let my photocaps do the storytelling. 

Make sure to have a reliable and comfortable vehicle to make sure you have a pleasant and hassle-free road trip. We hired this macho, audio-loaded van with our ever dependable driver, kuya Ramil.
Stop over at Xtremely Expresso in Subic for a quick lunch. Unfortunately, their famous giant pizza is not available! Boo!
But we pigged out, anyway. :)
All relaxed and beach ready!
Another stopover at PureGold Duty Free to hoard food and what else? Alcohol! Smirnoff is only Php 300/1 liter! In the photo are my super cute buddies Pia and Nina, arguing who's taller than the other! Ahem. :)
After seven hours, we finally reached the shores of Candelaria, Zambales. Sunbloom Resort is rustic yet clean enough and the staff treated us like family. We brought raw meat and veggies and they cooked them for us for a minimal fee, and boy they are such good cooks!
We arrived at around 4:00 PM, and nothing can stop us from reaching Potipot island even though the boats can only transport people 'til 6:00 PM. In short, we chased the sun (or whatever's left) on the first day! Potipot island is just minutes away from Candelaria beach; upper right portion of this photo. 

I'm almost there!
First sight and I knew seven hours on the road is well worth it!
No more sun, but all good!
We woke up very early the next day to get as much sun as we can. My friend on the left, Jelly, is a closet albino, she never gets dark! Peace, Jell! :)
We bribed the bangkero to bring us to the most secluded part of the island and used the handicapped excuse (my boss, K, has a cast on her left foot) to dock on the normally restricted area. The beach photos will tell you why we took all the trouble!
I used a normal point-and-shoot camera, with no Photoshop help, whatsoever. Amazing, isn't it?
Peace and quiet at long last
Should it be called "Poor man's Boracay"? I think NOT!
The beach essentials
Party favors. Please don't judge us.
The Wicked Gang with Jim Beam and Malibu!

Sexy cat, Nina

Obligatory solo shots ;P

The bangka picked us up just in time to watch the most beautiful sunset!

I hope you didn't get tired of the photos, I actually stopped myself from posting more. If you want to read my nuggets of wisdom from the trip, you may click HERE

I also suggest you visit pretty Potipot, it's fun especially for a big group. You can do camping but no electricity or amenities in the island other than a common toilet, so be ready. The whole trip cost me Php 5,000 inclusive of transportation, accommodation and really generous meals! The DutyFree shopping on the other hand, is a different story.:)

Van rental = 13,000 (drop off/pickup for 9-seater van)
Room = 1,200/2 pax 
Bangka = 400/2-way, good for 6-7 pax
Entrance Fee to the island = 100

'Til my next beach getaway! :)

From the Nook,