You can hire a boat to Potipot from the Dawal Beach Resort. The boats there have uniform rate of RT P400/boat. You can pay the boatmen after you've come back from the island. Just tell them when to fetch you back to the mainland.
I'm not that good in giving directions so I'll just skip to the part where you get to the steel bridge. The first part of the journey, I'll just summarize a little.
You'll be taking the San Fernando exit at the NLEX and once past the city, turn right at that soldiers' monument heading for Subic/Olongapo. You can take a short cut through Subic or follow the highway towards Subic town proper/Iba. Once in the highway, you'll be passing through several towns and lotsa barangays. Just follow the highway. Past Iba, you can take a short cut through Masinloc to Candelaria... Just follow the yellow brick road from there.
Once you cross the large steel bridge you'll know your almost to Candelaria. Just go straight ahead two or three barangays past the sign where it says "To Town Proper" or something like that. There is a larg sign of Trinidad Bay Resort to the right and if there's enough light, it can easily be seen. Turn left there and enter the narrow dirt road, and straight on till you see the red roof of Alta Niña Resort. It's the one before the gates of Trinidad Bay Resort.
Going back to Manila, you have to have a good sense of timing. It was mentioned in the Victory LIner website that the last trip from Sta. Cruz to Caloocan is 12 nn and you have to allot a 30 minute gauge of waiting time for it to pass the Sinabacan/Uacon area. And the bus is right on time!
If you've missed the last trip, you can always ride the mini bus going to Iba or Olongapo as there's more bus/terminals in those areas that leave on an almost every hour.
We took the 12 midnight Victory liner aircon bus trip going to Sta. Cruz, Zambales, the fare (as of March 2007) going to Candelaria is P340.00 one-way. It is advisable to make a reservation or come to the terminal as early as you can as there are a lot of passengers fighting for seats, especially in the summer/holy week season. You wouldn't want to be a chance passenger and stand in the bus for the five to six hours of travel.
The Caloocan terminal offers the most numbers of bus trip to Sta. Cruz, and it's only the Victory Liner bus that plies that Zambales route.
Just asked the bus conductor to drop you off in the Trinidad resort signage and asked around how to get to Alta Niña Resort (just beside the Trinidad).
Going to Potipot island is only a 5-10 minute boatride. Just approach any boatman in the shore of Candelaria (in our case, in brgy. Sinabacan) and they can get you there for the standard price of P350.00 per boat, maximum of six persons, that's two way already. Just specify to them the time that you wanted to be picked up. In our case, we asked to be picked up between 5:30 and 6:00 in the afternoon but they came in early and we left the island around 4:30 because it became windy and they're just being cautious. You can also asked for them to pick you up the next day if you're staying overnight in the island. :)
The trip from Quezon City to Candelaria is approximately 225kilometers far and will take about 4hrs travel time. Get off SanFernando exit from tne NLE. Make sure you don't miss that right turn going towards olongapo/subic. Enter subic and head towards the Calalan gate. (I think thats what its called). Just tell the guards at the entrance gate that your going to Zambales and they would point you to the right direction. Take care to bypass PALAUIG when you travel that road from IBA to MASINLOC or it will add another 30mins or more to your travel time. Read more in my album
This is our boat approaching the shores of Potipot Island. Pay Php20 per adult & Php15 per kid upon setting foot on the beach. The island is private and though there are no facilities on the island, the fee is supposed to be for whatever little maintenance the caretakers do for the island. However, you can hardly notice anyone who picks up dirt or rake the sand.
To get to Candelaria by public tranport, take the Victory Liner that ply the route to Sta. Cruz Zambales. The route pass by the Subic Port area. Anyways, let's talk about that later in the travelogues because this banca ride is more special.
From the mainland where the resorts are located, Potipot Island is about 5-10 minutes away by motorboat. The sail is good if you're with small kids because the water is almost always quiet and the ride isn't bumpy. Specially true during early morning.
HOW & WHERE TO BOOK: The boatmen are just by the shore always or your resort can make the arrangements for you. Tell the boatman when to bring you over POtipot, he'll drop you off and arrange for a time when to pick you. There are about 20 less boats around that area that bring people to and from the island round the clock (at least until there's sunlight) everyday.
HOW MUCH TO PAY: It's fixed and you will have a hard time bargaining ... I haven't won any bargaining to date. They say they just drive the boats, they're commission-based. Maximum passengers around 6-7 adults. Last year round trip was only Php300, now it's Php400 already. Pay when you're back ashore to the mainland.