Cabangan, Philippines - The Undiscovered Getaway in the North

January 1, 1970

by Elaine Therese Abello


Philippines is home to more than 7,000 islands and recognized as a tropical paradise. For people residing at the North area, where do we normally go for a quick dip?

They say we shouldn’t use the term summer to describe the three hottest months in the Philippines, we do have two seasons though which are the dry and wet season, but it is sunny almost all year round making it really easy to plan and go for a beach trip. For people settled in Manila which is the capital of the Philippines, we’re still a plane ride away from the diamond beaches of the South like Boracay and Palawan, so just when it happens that we have an itch for the beach, where do we normally go?

One would be Zambales which is located in the Central region of Island of Luzon which is the largest among the three major islands in Philippines. This place is distinct for its geographic record holding numerous mountains, a long shoreline and an active stratovolcano. Facing the West Philippine Sea, it features numerous coves, beach resorts and surfing spots making it a sure fire “summer” destination of nearby regions and cities.

Planning the Trip:

Happiness is spotting an uncrowded beach ♥

My friends and I opted to stay in a beachfront resort settling at a secluded area in Cabangan, Zambales and compared to other coves and resorts, this one is literally empty which made me really excited. The place wasn’t crowded and what’s there to see are just the long stretch of white sands and the view of mountains from the neighboring town.


How to Get to Cabangan:

Via Bus – Go to the nearest Victory Liner terminal and take a bus bound to Zambales, have yourself dropped at Cabangan Town Proper and ride a tricycle which would take you to the resort itself, or have it coordinated with the hotel staff to pick you up.

Via Private Vehicle– Cabangan, Zambales is a three to four-hour drive from Metro Manila via either NLEX (North Luzon Exress Way) or SCTEx (Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway). We took the SCTEx route as it saved us tons of cash. It is not as smooth as NLEX but it’s not that bad also.




Club Monet Resort offers rooms and beach houses for solo, couple and group. In our case, for we always travel on a budget, we were allowed to bring tents and just pay for the entrance fee that comes with an access to the outdoor washrooms and shower area. (Disclaimer: Ask the hotel itself for the price and accommodation details). Just in case you don’t have the means to bring your own food, the hotel do offer freshly cooked meals, and also provide first-aid assistance, karaoke machine, and sports equipment (volleyball, kayak). I didn’t have the chance to take pictures of the actual hotel, but here is the picture of the tent we brought and at the back is the the Club Monet beach establishment.

Cabanas are visible in the area which you could stay in for free, they have areas to do beach picnic and naps. The owner would check on us from time to time and ask if they could offer something which is a great thing.


Cabangan is more of a hideaway from the buzz and stress of highly urbanized towns and cities, it’s not a party place, so don’t expect to see bars or club in the area, but they do allow drinking and karaoke, which is basically how filos celebrate! If you’re after loud parties and drinking, you might wanna check out Subic and Olongapo as these places are popular for its left and right bars and clubs.

Here Are The List of Fun Activities

  • Paddle boarding
  • Beach Volleyball
  • Kayaking
  • Beach Camping
  • Karaoke



The Beach 

Frankly speaking, the sand in Zambales isn’t as white and fine as those in Boracay and Palawan, but check out the crystal clear water, the cleanliness is due to the place’s seclusion from the more popular areas of the region like San Antonio and Subic. We personally enjoyed taking pictures both outside and underwater. We just paused at noon to save ourselves from sever sun damage and continued some hours later.  The sea itself was calm and waves weren’t that huge not exactly an ideal surfing spot but best for kayaking, swimming and paddle boarding.




The Sunset

Who wouldn’t love this kind of view. We spent the entire afternoon swimming and started our barbecue at sunset hour. We gathered and witness the sun setting in the vast ocean, the three hour journey is nothing once you’re there. The combination of the tranquil water of the ocean, the warm sand in my toes and just the total peace this beach provides is enough.





Personally, I loved this quick trip to Cabangan, my mom is from the nearby town, San Antonio, so we would always go there and see the now renowned as the jewels of Zambales which are the coves of Anawangin and Nagsasa, and the island of Capones,  these places became so popular and crowded that I miss the privacy that this new discovered gem provided, it is surely a breath of fresh air. It might not be the fanciest, but it is surely worth it. Sometimes, it is best to just enjoy the simplicity and wonders of nature. And this is a proof that we don’t need to spend too much on trips to be able to discover awesome places.

You may also want to checkout nearby beaches and attractions

  • Anawangin Cove  – Located in the town of San Antonio, barangay Pundaquit and another 45 minutes boat ride from Pundaquit beach or you can trek which would give you a great view of the entire beach.
  • Nagsasa Cove- Also located in the town of San Antonio, barangay Pundaquit but this one is around 1.5 to 2 hour boat ride from Pundaquit beach.
  • Capones Island- the very visible island from Pundaquit beach and holds an old rustic lighthouse and white sand beach.
  • Subic Bay, Olongapo City – This is around 1 hour from Cabangan, it is highly urbanized with more establishments. Bars and clubs are located here
  • Mt. Pinatubo – Ride a 4×4 and trek to the crater and see the stunning Pinatubo lake.
Elaine Therese Abello

By Elaine Therese Abello

Hey! I’m Elaine, a Philippine local whose passion is to travel and explore places. So far, this passion has taken me to different South East Asian countries like Malaysia, Bali, Indonesia, Hong-Kong, Singapore and some areas in my hometown. My regular job is at a clinic in Manila, working as a Corporate Nurse. I’m also trying to develop myself by doing online training related to writing, blogging and photography. My goal is to be able to visit the seven continents and see more places on the coming years.


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Jolli bee

July 26, 2019

Thanks elaine! This was very helpful.