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capones & camara islands 
november 28, 2005

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the places

Camara Islands and Capones Island
Welcome to Capones Island
The only way to get to the other side of the island is through this field with tall, wild grasses
A scenic rock formation at Capones Island
The Capones Island Lighthouse
Solar cells that gives power to the lighthouse
The lighthouse... Still operational
Once again, the Capones Island Lighthouse
Welcome to Camara Island
That's mainland Zambales in front of Camara Island
This island can be reached on foot from Camara Island during low tide

the phases

PART 5 - Not the MYMP music video

The sun was already high up when we went to the beach area to look for the boats we rented for our Capones and Camara tour. Contrary to what we’ve read in our research, the sea was relatively calm and we even had life vests on during the entire boat ride.

We opted to go to Capones Island first as it was said to be farther and more difficult to reach especially during high tide. Thirty minutes later, we arrived at its shore hoping to find the famous lighthouse for which it is known for. But what welcomed us were several campers that had spent the night on the island.

We asked our boatman where the lighthouse was but he merely gave us bits and pieces of information. Really, he was no help. The other boatman was more helpful, though. He said that the lighthouse was at the other end of the island, no boat can go in that area because of the huge rocks along the beach, it can be reached by trekking, and that the trail is along the beach. Although informative, we still doubted if he really knew where the lighthouse was. We asked one of the campers and he pointed us to the direction where his friends went. He said his friends left early that morning to go to the lighthouse. And so, we went to that same direction.

That direction, actually, was a field of tall grasses, yes, tall, wild grasses, with barely any trail to lead us to the other side of the island. We can’t really see where we were going as the grasses we’re taller than any of us. We just kept on walking and walking, with an occasional yelp here and there every time sharp leaves and grasses scrape through our skin. We eventually found a clearing, and tried to whiz our way through the wild grasses. We were all itching and full of scratches when we finally reached the beach area. Whew! How come these tall and wild grasses weren’t in any of our research?

Anyway, we continued our trek by the beach, since that was the information we got from one of the boatmen. We had a hard time walking on sand and wet, uneven rocks, it seemed like we were back on Mt. Pinatubo stepping on volcanic ashes and debris again! There were also times that we had to walk by the water than risk climbing the boulders that blocked our path.

Thirty minutes had passed and we still haven’t seen any signs of a lighthouse. An hour went on and we were still by the beach area. Are we on the right track?

Finally, after what seemed like forever, Tito and Laiza saw “something like a trail” going up a hill. Yes, it didn’t quite look like a trail, but we figured, if it was a lighthouse that we’re after, shouldn’t it be constructed on the highest point of the island?

Tito went ahead to check if there was something worth following in this trail. When he didn’t return, we started to follow his tracks. We were not really sure if this was the right way towards the lighthouse but the trail doesn’t seem to end, so we kept on trekking uphill. By the time we reached a clearing up on the hill, we met several people who have just come from the lighthouse. They were the friends of the camper back on the beach, and they said we were already near the lighthouse. And soon enough, we finally got a glimpse of the lighthouse.

The Faro de Punta Capones on the Island of Grand Capon, simply known now as the Capones Island Lighthouse, was built in 1886 and became operational in 1890. Despite its old age, the lighthouse is still operational and is currently powered by solar cells under the maintenance and supervision of the Philippine Coast Guard.

After taking photos of the lighthouse, we went inside and tried to go up to where the light was. Unfortunately, the stairs leading to the top had iron gates and were locked. So, we just went to the other side of the building and continued our photo sessions.

A few minutes later, we decided to leave the lighthouse for fear that the beach might be impassable should the tides go higher.

The trek back was just as difficult, but we were able to maneuver our steps better among the rocks and corals along the beach. We went inside the tall, wild grasses again and came out with lesser scratches. Exhausted from the trek, we rested first under a cliff’s shade, while the others swam into the ocean.

We transferred to Camara Island shortly after. There, we ate our packs of lunch, dozed off to sleep, took pictures, made ourselves be swept by the waves, snorkeled, and swam. Basically, everything was done in a leisurely manner.

We left the island by 3PM and were back in the resort in no time. We readied ourselves for the long journey home… Back to reality.

The entire Zambales experience was capped with Ramil treating dinner at Gerry’s Grill Subic. Definitely, a good way to end a good long weekend with a good out-of-town trip.

the faces