Wild Herbs Restaurant - Where To Eat in Subic

Wild Herbs Restaurant Subic
Looking for the best wine

Every once in a while you get happily surprised. Our friend Dorothy invited us to have a dinner in a restaurant in we had never heard of before. It was an ordinary weekday and since it was a rush hour we had a hard time getting public transport. However, in the end, we managed and boy was it worth the effort!

Mapanuepe Lake: The Loch Ness Lake in Zambales

Lake Mapanuepe Loch Ness Lake Zambales
A Lake in Brgy Aglao and Brgy Buhawen San Marcelino, Zambales

Myriad stories of supernaturalism spread about this lake in Zambales. 'Mermaid' is said to be lurking in its waters as well as 'Kapre' on a tree close to the lake's shore. Deaths due to drowning were claimed to have been done by the mythical creatures. But these stories didn't prevent us from visiting Mapananepe Lake.

Mapanuepe Lake

Lake Mapanuepe was formed in 1991 as an aftermath of the cataclysmic eruption of Mt. Pinatubo. Lahar flows blocked the two major rivers of Mapanuepe Valley (Maranella River and Mapanuepe River) connecting Sto. Tomas River to the west. Villages submerged in flood water. The church of Bojaoen was also submerged except its steeple protruding out of the water until this day.

Mapanuepe Lake Church
Bojaoen Church slowly submerged in freshwater

Hamlets submerged were parts of Barangay Buhawen and Barangay Aglao. Rising waters led the constructions of new barangay halls on higher grounds, south of Mapanuepe Lake.

The Road to Mapanuepe's Sunken Church

The thrill began after negotiating our tricycle fee to Barangay Buhawen. While traveling, Mt. Bagang suddenly popped up when we reached the dike at Sto. Tomas River and the famous Mt. Pimmayong of Sta. Fe to the north. The road has seen a lot of improvement since the year 2016 when construction started. We stopped on a spot overlooking a portion of  Mt. Cawag

Mapanuepe Lake Day Tour
A misty morning 
We reached Barangay Buhawen after an hour of enjoyable riding. It is advisable to look for the Barangay Captain or, in his absence, a Barangay Kagawad for registration. Hanging pictures of Mapanuepe Valley were displayed at the Barangay Hall including Dizon Mines. Mapanuepe visit is for free.

Things To Do in Mapanuepe Lake

  • Banca Ride - We were charged Php 300 pesos for an hour ride circling the Bojaoen Sunken Church and visiting the Mapanuepe Lake View Deck in Barangay Aglao. Note that Mapanuepe View Deck or Floating Restaurant is located in Barangay Aglao while the Sunken Church is located in Barangay Buhawen's part of the lake.
Lake Mapanuepe View Deck
Ric at the View Deck
Lake Mapanuepe Sunken Church
The Sunken Church of Bojaoen
  • Swimming - We managed to swim beside the church's steeple just for 'awhile' due to reports of water contamination
Lake Mapanuepe Swimming
Swim at your own risk.
  • Sports Fishing - Bring your own fishing rod if you want to do this activity. Our boatman boasts big catches at the lake. Take note that the lake might be contaminated with chemicals from Dizon Mines.
  • Camping - There are nice spots to pitch your tent. You can bring your own or rent at thenBuhawen Barangay Hall.
  • Sightseeing - Take a stroll in Barangay Buhawen and Aglao. Barangay Aglao was chosen once as the cleanest Barangay in San Marcelino, Zambales. Additionally,  bikers and motorcycle riders love to visit Mapanuepe Lake.
Lake Mapanuepe View
Overlooking Mapanuepe Lake
Buhawen San Marcelino Zambales
Senior Citizen's Park at Barangay Buhawen welcomes us.
Mapanuepe Lake Sunken Church of Bojaoen
Bojaoen Church Steeple
Placid Mapanuepe Lake
The placid Mapanuepe Lake
Animals at Mapanuepe Lake
A carabao enjoying the day

How To Get to Mapanuepe Lake

San Marcelino, Zambales is approximately four and a half travel by bus and another forty-five minutes tricycle from Marcelino town to Barangay Aglao or Buhawen. Victory Liner buses ply to Zambales and they have several terminals in Manila. 

You can also take Saulog Transit bound to Olongapo City then take a Victory Liner bound for Iba or Sta. Cruz, Zambales. Another option when already in Olongapo City, you can take a mini-bus bound for Iba or Sta. Cruz or a blue jeepney with a yellow top bound for San Marcelino, Zambales.

San Marcelino Town to Brgy Buhawen Jeepney Schedule

Brgy Aglao and Buhawen's main public transport service is a jeep. Daily trips to town are 3AM and 4AM. The trips going back to the barangay are 10AM and 12PM. If you opt to camp at Mapanuepe Lake overnight, this is the best option to lessen your expenses.

Our Contact Persons:

We had a hard time looking for a spot where there's a cellphone signal at Mapanuepe until someone told us the best spot. We found nails hammered on a tree with a transparent plastic for hanging phones.

Lake Mapanuepe Cellphone Signal
Cellphone signal is intermittent in Mapanuepe.

  • Kagawad Jo (Brgy Buhawen) - 09321602273
  • Rj Luna (Tricycle Driver) - 09481424391

Staycation at Samba Bluewater Resort - Inflatable Island

Inflatable Island Olongapo
Sunset at Inflatable Island in Subic Bay

It has been a year now that Olongapo City has its attractive Inflatable Island. Our friend had duties at home so she asked if we could take her son there. First thing I noticed was that the place is only 10 minutes away from home. But there was something else I had noticed while we discussed the option: The very high entrance fee people have to pay. Nevertheless, we went on our way. 

Escape to Bani Pangasinan - Busay Falls

Busay Falls Bani Pangasinan
Busay Falls in Barangay Calabeng Bani, Pangasinan

A road trip to the sleeping town of Bani, Pangasinan in search of a waterfall posted on Facebook was not easy. All we had was a picture and the barangay address where it is situated. It sparked our curiosity because of its scattered waterfalls flowing on different parts of a mountain slope. It looked beautiful in the picture!

Busay Falls Swimming Area
Dodong watched the swimmers in the swimming area covered by the boulder

Busay Falls of Pangasinan

Busay Falls is located in Barangay Calabeng, Bani, Pangasinan; on private property owned by Hortaleza Family. We had a brief interview with Auralina Hortaleza supervising the area the morning we arrived at Busay Falls. We were told that these waterfalls have year-round flow but less torrent during the dry season.

Guide to Busay Falls
Busay Falls Swimming Area

Ms. Auralina said she was surprised it became a tourist destination in Bani Pangasinan and to neighboring provinces. During her teenage years while riding her horse, herding their cows and carabaos; Busay Falls was ignored. Just a scattered waterfalls feeding a water reservoir down below the mountain.

How To Get To Busay Falls
One of Busay's small waterfalls scattered in the area

There was no entrance fee at Busay Falls but you have to register at Calabeng Barangay Hall for Php 10.00 per person. Before going down to the waterfalls, food and refreshments were sold. A parking area is not a problem because the place has a wide open field. There were no toilets, only an improvised dressing area.

Busay Falls Entrance Fee
Busay Falls Registration Area at Calabeng Brgy Hall

Busay Falls Regulations
Behind this reminders printed on tarpaulin is the dressing area.

How To Get to Busay Falls

From Manila to Bani via Alaminos:

You have three choices; either to take a Victory Liner, Solid North or Five Star bus from Manila. Take Alaminos bound buses only if, by chance, there are no buses bound for Bolinao. Travel time usually takes 5 - 6 hours depending on traffic. At Alaminos Victory Terminal, take a minibus bound to Iba, Zambales or Bolinao. Tell the driver to stop at Tiep Elementary School in Bani, Pangasinan.

From Tiep Elementary School, rent a tricycle to Busay Falls in Barangay Calabeng. The fare is Php 300.00 roundtrip. Just tell the driver what time you want to be fetched back.

From Manila to Bani via Bolinao:

Take a bus bound to Bolinao. Alight at Tiep Elementary School in Bani then take a tricycle to Busay Falls. The fare is Php 300.00 roundtrip.

Blog Topics:

  • Busay Falls
  • How to Get to Busay Falls
  • Busay Falls Travel Guide
  • Pangasinan Tourist Attraction

The Hidden Gem of Tarudak Peak and Mt. Pimmayong

Zambales Falls
Tarudak Falls in Brgy. Sta. Fe San Marcelino, Zambales
Picture this: cliff jumping to a waterfall, picturesque backdrop of mountains, rivers, islands, and walking on grasslands while breathing fresh air. If you are the one who loves nature and enjoys tranquility, then you'll find this natural attraction in San Marcelino Zambales a perfect destination.

Niludhan Falls - Guide to Negros Oriental's Underrated Waterfalls

Niludhan Falls Bayawan City
The grandeur of Niludhan Falls
Exploring waterfalls is one of the best ways to get close to nature when visiting Negros Oriental in Central Visayas. On my couchsurfing (stay temporarily in other people's homes, making use of improvised sleeping arrangements) experience on this island, I had the chance to visit three waterfalls - the Palaypay Falls, Punong Punong Falls and Niludhan Falls, all situated off the beaten track in the midst of coconut and sugarcane plantations on the island.

In Pictures: Mt. Pimmayong - San Marcelino, Zambales

Mt. Pimmayong San Marcelino Zambales
Overlooking Mt. Bagang, Sto. Tomas River, and Lake Mapanuepe

I found myself with a group of hikers at a convenience store buying one liter of water in San Marcelino, Zambales. At four thirty in the morning, the town was still asleep. We were actually thirty minutes late on our planned schedule to Mt. Pimmayong day hike.