San Antonio in the province of Zambales is known for its pristine beaches and is a favorite destination for campers. Once a location of a US Navy Base, San Antonio now caters to locals from Manila who look forward to a quick vacation not far from the Philippine capital.
From Cubao, Pasay, or Caloocan, take a Victory Liner Bus to Iba, Zambales. Be sure to tell the conductor that you’re main destination is San Antonio Public Market. Once there, take a tricycle to Pundaquit, and find yourself walking towards San Antonio’s famed beaches and camping spots.
If you’re taking your own car, take the North Luzon Expressway and head to Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX). Make an exit to Subic, and enter SMBA, then drive to Pundaquit.
Unless you’re using your own transportation, tricycles are the best options to go around San Antonio.
Before arriving at Pundaquit, make a stop at San Antonio Public Market to sample local kakanin (rice cakes) and grab some carbs you’ll definitely need when trekking towards Anawangin Cove. This crecent-shaped cove is one of the most popular places to visit in San Antonio. Known for being beautiful camping grounds and beaches, it’s San Antonio’s open secret if you want to get away from city life (currently there’s poor to no cell signal).
Back in Pundaquit, music lovers will enjoy visiting Coke Bolipata at the Casa San Miguel and listen to the sounds of practitioners honing their skills in classical music.
Beach-hopping is a favorite activity among travelers, especially with San Antonio’s crystal clear waters – but trekking towards these beaches is also something fun to do as it gives you breathtaking views of endless landscape of mountains. Once reaching a beach, if you want to spend the night there, you can always camp out with a tent and enjoy nature from ground zero.
Many frequent travelers say to bring food with you, but you can buy ready-cooked meals at San Antonio Market. Make sure to bring some rice cakes from there, too. Zambales in general is also known for having some of the sweetest mangoes in the world, so bring some with you on your trek.
If you’d rather sit down at a restaurant, chill at Bigfoot Zambales, a restaurant and hotel where you can order your favorite comfort food.
Once you’re out there in Anawangin or Nagsasa, nightlife means looking at the stars, setting up a small fire with your friends, and gathering around it to tell stories and enjoy each other’s company. While there are bars in Pundaquit, it might be better to be drunk with the beauty of nature.
Camping out is the preferred way to spend the night at San Antonio, but some budget hotels stand to accommodate those who want to sleep soundly on a bed. Casa San Miguel offers non-smoking rooms between PhP4,000-6,000/night. If this is too steep for your budget, you can opt to stay in The Garden Resort for less than PhP2,000/night.