I am a big fan of Pundakit, Zambales. I have seen its progress from a small fishing village to now a jumpoff to spectacular tourist attractions such as Anawangin Cove, Nagsasa Cove, Talisayen Cove, Capones Island, Camara Island and the water falls that are around the place.
Last weekend was my 10th time on this place. I still could remember my first time in Pundakit last 2006. The tricycle drivers did not mind us as we alight the bus in front of the Municipal Hall of San Antonio. Tricycle fare was just 20 pesos per person and the price for the boat was just 600 pesos if you are going to Capones Island and Camara Island. But as the price of fossil fuel hiked up so did the price for tricycles and boats, but that did not stop the increase in the number of people going to Pundakit.
With the increase of the number of tourist going to Pundakit, so did a lot of problems occurred. I’ve met people that payed 2000 pesos per boat just to go to Anawangin Cove, which is only 1000 pesos per boat. Tricycle drivers also asking for 50 pesos per person, which only should cost about 25 pesos per person. Tricycle drivers dropping tourists not at their boatman contact, but on another boatman. There are also people at Pundakit that will block the tricycle that you are in so that you will get to hire their boats rather than your contact. Problem also with irresponsible tourists occurred just leaving their trash behind and caring less for the people around them.
With so much problem occurring in Pundakit and the bad public image of the government, I never thought that the local government would do something to help the problems in Pundakit until I saw this last weekend.
At first I thought that our boatman was a policeman, but I curiously asked him if he really was. He answered that this was an identification card (ID) being issued by the San Antonio Police Station with the cooperation of Pundaquit Fisher Folks and Boatman Association to help tourism on the site.
So they have an ID, how does it improve the tourism of the place? Just check the back of the ID and you will see how.
- PASSENGERS and BOATMAN should wear a LIFEJACKET.
- OVERLOADING is not allowed for the PASSENGERS and their LUGGAGE.
- Going to the sea is not allowed if the weather is bad or the waves are strong.
- Let the passengers know that there is no cellphone signal in Anawangin Cove, Talisayen Cove and Nagsasa Cove.
- Wear the identification card (ID) and proper attire to promote tourism.
- Do not allow throwing of garbage to the sea or in any island or cove in Pundakit.
- Collect the garbage and throw at the proper place.
Not only do they have an ID, but they also have uniforms. You can identify boatmans with the orange shirt that they wore. According to our boatman, they have about 3 to 4 shirts so that they could wear it everyday and be identified as a registered boatman for tourists.
According to our boatman, this is a project of the police chief in San Antonio but the problem with this is that our hired boatman does not think that this project would be sustainable. This is because of the election on May, where there is a high probability that the police chief would be replaced and assigned somewhere else. I hope the our boatman is wrong. Let’s see in the future what would happen.
Let’s do our part and be responsible tourists. Please, Leave No Trace.