I’ve been in Zambales countless of times and I thought I’ve seen enough of it. This province, probably one of my favorites for its laid back ambience, boast for its secluded coves and surfing spots, picturesque mountain chain, and fine sand islands. Little did we know about it is the underrated beauty found in the town of San Marcelino.
October 2017 – the Municipality of San Marcelino opens its nature wonders to outdoor enthusiasts. One of which is Mt. Pimmayong at Brgy. Sta Fe. Standing at 657 masl, this little giant had taken my breath away. We started our morning trek at four a.m. in trails evidently covered with lahar. Soon after, it became steeper on every assault, passing by the rugged ridge of Bira-Bira, and finally hitting the campsite after two hours of continuous walk. The camping area was fairly established with nipa huts and even latrines. We continued our ascent in an open wide pathway with the goal of catching the touch of first light on its highest point called Tarudak peak.
I was overwhelmed by its mesmerizing allure. It’s like this mountain has been strategically placed in the area for one to witness the beautiful landscape of the province in 360° view.
Facing east, one could have a bird’s eye view of the lahar-carpeted plains and fields of San Marcelino with the Cabusilan mountain range on its background. At its centerpiece is Mt. Bagang fixed along the Sto. Tomas river. Behind it is Lake Mapanuepe (known as “lawa” in Aglao) glistening as the sunlight hits its surface. Faintly outlined in the south are the mountains Natib and Mariveles of Bataan and the coastline of Subic Bay. The highlight of the west are the Zambales coastal mountain range where the isolated coves of San Antonio could be found and the famed islands Camara and Capones. And finally up in the north are the slopes and ridges of the sierras of San Narciso, San Felipe, and even the “High Peak” of Palauig could be seen.
Aside from the beautiful scenery at the peak, one could also trek to the waterfall similarly named. It is a single tier fall about two and half hours descent from the campsite of Mt. Pimmayong.
And if looking at it from afar isn’t enough for you, you could add up Lake Mapanuepe in your itinerary located in the adjacent town of Aglao, still in San Marcelino. This lake is an aftermath of Mt. Pinatubo eruption in 1991 where a whole settlement was submerged under water. The cross of the church still protruding at the surface of the lake remains the highlight of the trip. Renting a boat to have a close-up look of it is possible. On a clear, sunny day where the water is calm, one could still see parts of the flooded community below like the famed Sunken Cemetery of Camiguin.
Zambales has a lot more nature wonders to explore and discover. And our day trip and first hike of the year was definitely one for the books. Big thanks to Ms. Mikee Labio of San Marcelino Tourism for assisting us and Rex for inviting us in exploring this town.
🔅 Travel Guide: San Marcelino