We left the apartment at 11:30 in the evening hoping to be in Zambales by 3 or 4 in the morning. We were excited, what can we say? With a prayer to guide us, especially JM – our driver, we were off to the north! Taking shortcuts through Manila instead of traversing the long EDSA, we got to NLEX at around midnight. We made a bet about our arrival time: Mami Fifi – 3:30 , me – 4:15 , JM – 4:30, Arn – 4:45, Maui – 5:00, Lemon – 5:15 & Roche – 5:30. Who won? Well, nobody. You see, the trip was as fun and eventful as our stay at Potipot.
Our first stopover was at Total Gas station – fuel, food, drinks, CR, etc… After that, it was non-stop to Subic. Lemon had printed the map/directions that the resort owner sent to him. We were diligently following it and as a result we got lost for the first time. After San Fernando, we just continued down the highway instead of turning right at that soldiers’ memorial in order to get to Subic. All of us were arguing about the route to the place. Silly us! The result? We found ourselves in some place called Orani. That’s in Bataan, and boy, the highway was all dark, with the trees seemingly closing in on us. God, it was like a scene from a horror movie! We had to make a U-turn, call the caretaker of the resort for directions, and ask some drivers at some LPG refuelling place the way to Subic before we got on track again. There goes 30 minutes of travel time! Haha!
After an ‘uneventful’ drive to Subic, we decided for another stopover, this time @ Petron/Treats (I bought a pair of sunglasses since I didn’t have one). Inside Subic, we got lost… Again! Can you imagine driving through deserted streets with no one to ask for directions? We finally saw someone and asked where we could find the Zambales exit. Funny thing is, the man wasn’t Filipino, from the middle east or at least Arab countries so we couldn’t really understand him. I believe he really knew the way but couldn’t clearly explain in English. Oh, well. We found a local anyways and asked again. Haha! Now that’s what I call road trip! We were feeling what participants of the Amazing Race must be feeling everytime they had to find a place on their own. Well, anyways, we found the exit and breathed a sigh of relief. Double sigh actually. The guard at the exit asked for the gatepass. What gatepass? Oh, that piece of paper that the guard at the entrance gave us. Good Lemon didn’t throw away that piece of paper. We thought it was just for information and some policies/rules inside Subic. After that obstacle, we were on the highway to Iba.
We passed by bars, restaurants, beach resorts in Subic Town proper. We even passed by a huge cemetery by the hillside. Traffic there must be so damn heavy on November 1 and 2. Haha. We didn’t stop for anything until we got to our third stopover. Somwhere in Iba, we asked some locals where Candelaria was. Was it far? How do we get there? We were so surpised that it was another 40 km or so. Huwaaattt? That’s far! But since we were already there, there was nothing else to do but continue on with our journey. When we got to Masinloc, we asked the gas lady at the small Total gas station on our third stopover. But you know what? Before we got there we had to pass by about 10 or so towns and a LOT of barangays along the Zambales highway. Creepy moment # 2 – we passed by 3 buildings along the route that exactly looked alike. The first two within minutes of each other, the third one after 30 or so minutes. It was really got me thinking, that maybe we were just traveling in circles. Scary thought! We found out on our way home that those 3 buildings were actually schools.
So, how many time did we almost get lost? Only two times actually, but if you count the fact that we had to ask directions from locals about Candelaria, then that’d definitely be three times! Haha! We got to the resort at around six in the morning. Funny thing is, on our way back to Manila, we managed to get to Subic in just two hours! Hehehe. Well, it was an adventure, alright.
Continued at: Discovering Potipot