Finding the Aetas -- 9 Places Where Tourists Can Meet The Native Filipinos
More than 10,000 years ago, the Aetas were the earliest inhabitants to migrate to the Philippines. They have dark brown skin and curly hair, they are experts in weaving, plaiting and the use of herbal medicines. They also live in houses that are made of bamboo and cogon grass
If you want to meet, interact and even be entertained by these amazing people, visit these top tourist destinations in Zambales, known as the bastion of Aetas (although they are scattered all over the Philippines); and enjoy numerous exciting activities there at the same time!
In the Forest
#1 - Subic Bay Freeport Zone
Can be called Subic Bay, for short, this astonishing place used to be a U.S. military base and is now a supplier of services and products for the Central Luzon Development Program, according to Wikipedia.
Interesting spots to visit are the resident eco-tourism theme parks, the Ocean Adventure, Zoobic Safari and the Pamulaklaking Nature Park, where Aetas live and can teach some people, how to survive in the jungle.
In the Mountains
#2 - Mount Cinco Picos
One of the favorite destinations of hikers, Mount Cinco Picos' trail difficulty is 5 out of 10, with 10 being the most challenging. This pretty mountain has a total of 5 peaks and is also called Tatlong Tirad by Aetas.
#3 - Mount Tapulao
It is the highest mountain in Zambales, and thus many mountain climbers go there and savor the scent of the pine trees and cool temperature. Located in the municipality of Palauig, Zambales, it is 6,683 feet high or 2,037 meters tall. Majestic!
#5 - Mount Balingkilat
Mount Balingkilat means "Mountain of Thunder" for the Aetas. As one of the highest peaks in Zambales, it is best to climb it early in the morning or late in the afternoon for better endurance of the heat. However difficult is your climb, it's all worth it at the top, where you'll see the South China Sea, and picturesque Anawangin, Talesayen, Nagsasa and Silanguin Coves.
In the Coves
#6 - Anawangin Cove and Nagsasa Cove
These coves are two of the top tourist attractions in Central Luzon. Somewhat near Manila, Olongapo and San Fernando, beach lovers, campers and mountaineers alike find these inlets to be the perfect weekend vacation location. You can come across some Aetas there too, and avail of their unique hand-made native products.
Take a bus from Caloocan or Cubao, heading for Zambales, and then ask to be dropped off at San Antonio Municipal Hall. From there, take a tricycle going to Pundaquit Beach. After which, rent a boat to take you to Nagsasa or Anawangin Coves. Should you prefer to go there using a private vehicle, take NLEX going towards Mac Arthur Highway.
At the Beach
#7 - Camara Island
You are going to be amazed at the different rock formations there, the white sand, and clear blue water. Stunning for picture-taking! To get there, hop onto a boat from Pundaquit, San Antonio, and gleefully ride for just 15-20 minutes to reach this island, as well as the next one...
#8 - Capones Island
Marvel at its Old Lighthouse, reachable via a trail, and a 15 to 20-minute trek. Upon climbing this amazing landmark, you will definitely adore the view of the outside from the inside. Delight as well in swimming and snorkeling in this wonderful island, as part of your to-do list in capping off your summer fun.
#9 - Potipot Island
Situated about 1 kilometer from the shore of Uacon, Candelaria, in Zambales, Potipot Island is also known as the Boracay of Luzon. The water is very clear, the sand is white, cabanas are well cared for, and everybody is so friendly!
Moreover, the cottages are cheap and you can cook your meals there. Also, not a crowded place, Potipot Island is an excellent venue to bum around at the beach.