Capones Island

Satellite image of Capones Island off the mainland of San Antonio, Zambales.

There’s something weirdly romantic about a rocky cliff-strewn island off a mainland coast (think Ko Phi Phi Ley from The Beach). But there’s nothing romantic about Capones Island. It’s not a tropical paradise. It’s rocky. And it’s mostly barren. But it invokes instead a sense of adventure that would appeal to those people who are looking for secret hideaways far from the madding crowd.

Capones Island is a 2-kilometer long bone-shaped volcanic mass located 4 kilometers off the coast of Brgy. Pundaquit in San Antonio, Zambales. To get to the island, you take a short boat ride through the rough waters of the South China Sea. There are no resorts on Capones, but you can camp overnight on the beach as long as there’s no typhoons. If you prefer a study roof over your head, you have to stay among the resorts in Pundaquit. (Pundaquit is also a surfer’s destination, albeit a minor one.)

Although there are no commercial accommodations on the island, there are actually structures there. One is a lighthouse (photo) and the other is an unfinished building (photo). Constructed by the Spanish colonial government, the lighthouse went into operation on July 16, 1890. Today, the lighthouse is unmanned, the adjacent quarters abandoned, and is solar-powered like many other lighthouses in the country. (I guess someone goes to the lighthouse regularly to do maintenance?) There are plans to restore and preserve the lighthouse as part of the Philippine heritage. See this extremely informative EPAFI webpage to learn about that plan and to read up on the history of Faro de Punta Capones. As for the unfinished building, I couldn’t find any information about it and what it was supposed to be.

View of the Capones Island (left) and the Camera Islands (right) from the beach at Brgy. Pundaquit, San Antonio, Zambales. Photo by a certain Kyuzee2.

The island is surrounded on its sides by white sand beaches and this is where the camping takes place. There are anecdotal stories that the beaches are not permanent and that they shift around all-year round due to the changing weather and sea currents. Check the beaches around in Google Maps; I think there’s a tent pitched at the eastern beach.

Closer to the mainland are the two Camara Islands (east-northeast of Capones in Google Maps), which you can also opt to go to if you want a less rougher boat ride. Interestingly, the two islands, often misnamed as the Camera Islands, are sometimes joined by a sandbar, which appear and disappear just like Capones’ beaches. Furthermore, the EPAFI also has plans to make the waters surrounding the Capones-Camara Islands into a marine sanctuary.

Still intrigued by this island? Read up about Isla de Gran Capones from travel bloggers the Tutubi and Ferdz Decena (also check out his InMotion account). How to get there? WaypointsDotPH to the rescue. Need more pictures? Flickr has tons of them, like this beautiful sunset version of the photo above.

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Posted on
September 25, 2007
Filed under
Beaches / Water ResortsCentral LuzonIslandsLighthouses
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  1. indiegirl23 wrote on February 9, 2008 @ 01:26PM

    thanks for publishing. its very informative. i had been to camara and witnessed the beauty of it. i fell in love in the place the 1st time i went there. it was so captivating. i just wish we can preserve the island the way it was. im begging to those tourist to please practice the leave no trace policy.

  2. grace wrote on April 2, 2008 @ 03:23PM

    Have you got any recommendation on the best and cheapest place to stay in Pundaquit? I want to go to Capones this summer. I saw it on one TV show and I got amazed by its simplistic beauty. Thanks

  3. Eugene wrote on April 10, 2008 @ 02:05AM

    @indiegirl23, amen to the “leave no trace” policy! I like the motto a mountaineering friend shared with me: “Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints, and kill nothing but time.”

    @grace, unfortunately, I haven’t been to Capones Island except on Google Maps, which is what this blog is all about, so I can’t help you there. Sorry.

  4. emman wrote on April 30, 2008 @ 12:20PM

    sir we have a scheduled climb at pundaquit this week end,anyone from your group who wants to join .here is my contact # 09219782301 or e-mail me at thanks and GOD bless.

  5. jack wrote on January 11, 2010 @ 01:55AM

    the unfinished building was supposed to be built by a politician, but ppl there stopped it coz the don’t want the island/area to be commercialized. the lighthouse is a rough walk/climb, capones is great and the anawangin is also good, but quite farther.

  6. reynald liwarin wrote on August 7, 2010 @ 09:02PM

    hi..f u want to vsit the entire islands and beautiful spot at san antonio pundakit just text me.htid ko kau for cheapest prce of boating servce.09108162974

  7. leslie yllana wrote on March 8, 2011 @ 09:33PM

    hi there,i just want to share the number of our boatman to anawangin and capones island.he is kuya jay-r agasa and he is very accommdating and very mabait.they even guide us all the way to the lighthouse and its for can contact him at 09173809104.go ahead and make reservations..enjoy!

  8. Raymond wrote on May 11, 2011 @ 01:36PM

    May iba pa po kayong option maliban sa resort nila Grace Armada na yan. May camping area po sa harap ng isla kung saan mas malamig at may mga cottage din. Nakapunta na ba kayo ng Anawangin or Nagsasa cove? Parang ganun din ang style. Mahangin din at mas maganda ang Magalawa Island hindi naman sa nagyayabang…
    Kung gusto niyo pong i-try na pumunta tawagan niyo po ako sa Manila at tutulungan ko po kayong magcoordinate sa caretaker na isla na uncle ko din na si Uncle Mulo. Ito po yung landline number ko sa Maynila (02)983 0432 or sun number 09222688111 or smart number 09093414621 hanapin niyo lang po si Raymond (ako po yun). Ang number po ni uncle Mulo ko sa Magalawa ay (smart) +639294670505.

    Ito po ang presyuhan doon sa campsite :

    Boatpick up (2 way)
    — 100/pax-kung galing luan
    — 200/pax-kung galing masinloc

    Entrance fee 100\pax overnight,

    Cottage 1000\night (kasya 6pax)

    Kasama na po sa entrance fee ang paggamit ng cr at maintenance ng lugar. Ingat lang po na huwag magkalat masyado kasi po maliit lang po na isla yun at mahirap kung magka garbage-problem. You will be spending about 300 or less for food siguro. Maraming nabibilhan ng pagkain sa loob ng island. Puwede rin po kayong magpaluto for a small fee. No available rental of snorkel/mask/fins dun for now so its a good idea to invest on a good set nalang. Wala pa rin po available na rental ng tent pero malapit na po. Mag inquire nalang po kayo kung may available na pagtawag ninyo. Kung magdadala po kayo ng sarili ninyong tent ay libre na po ang puwesto kasi po kasama na po sa entrance fee yun kaya entrance fee nalang at boatride nalang ang babayaran ninyo.

    Ang puwesto na kung san nakatayo ang resort nila grace armada ay may problema kasi lumalabas na nagsquat lang sila dun.Dahil dito tuwing pumupunta ang may ari ng isla na si madam L.Ruiz ay pinapasara nila pang samantala ang resort nila Grace Armada. Dahil dito ay kailangan mag ingat kayo lalo na kung hinihingan kayo ng deposit ni Grace Armada. Kung magkabulilyaso tulad ng nabanggit ko ay hindi niyo na makukuha ang deposit niyo.

    Basta tawag lang po kayo sakin o sa caretaker na si mang mulo.

    If you like to see my place pls visit this blog.

  9. raymond wrote on May 28, 2011 @ 01:09PM

    Sorry but this resort has been sold. Please do not contact mulo or any numbers anymore. Thanks

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