Life in Zambales is as sweet as the local mangoes which are celebrated with an annual mango-centric festival in April. This is island life at its juiciest

Where? Zambales is a province on the island of Luzon, in the Central Luzon region.

How? From Manila, take one of the provincial buses that head along the Zambales coast, stopping off at destinations such as Iba (Zambales’ capital).

Why? Tick off rugged mountains, lush forests, private islands and flawless beaches (107 miles of coastline, to be precise) in Zambales, which has been showered generously with gifts from nature.

What? Hikers will love the Sierra Madre mountain range: put on your walking boots and head to Mt. Tapulao, Mt. Cinco Picos and Mt. Balingkilat. Meet the Aeta: the earliest Filipinos to migrate to the archipelago more than 10,000 years ago. Zambales is home to the largest Aeta population; have a jungle survival class with an Aeta in Subic Bay. Beach bums will love San Antonio and its pine-shaded beaches. Discover the little hidden coves around Pundaquit, including Anawangin Cove and Nagsasa Cove. Take a boat trip to Camara Island and Capones Island for surfing (especially good around San Narciso and San Felipe); laze away beach days with picnics and nature-spotting. It’s also worth the trip to diminutive but delightful Potipot Island, which is so small, you can walk around it in an hour.

Try… Mangoes, of course! According to the Guinness Book of Records, Zambales is home to the world’s sweetest. If you tire of yellow fruit, switch to seafood feasts and fresh buko (coconut) juice, best enjoyed from one of the beach shacks.

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