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General Information on Zambales, Botolan & Binoclutan
The Province of Zambales
POPULATION: 627,802 (2000 Census)
CAPITAL: Iba, established 1578 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iba,_Zambales
CLIMATE: Tropical, consisting of 2 seasons, "Dry" season, October to June and "Wet" season, July to September.
The Municipality of Botolan is the largest municipality in terms of land area in the province. Located just south of the provincial capital of Iba, Botolan is known for its friendly people, excellent Law and Order situation, silver sand beaches, good roads and as the location of the famous Mount Pinatubo. According to the 2000 census, it has a population of 46,602 people in 9,629 households.
BINOCLUTAN: The barangay of Binoclutan is the "Beach Capital" of Botolan, featuring several first class resorts. The area is a habitat of sea turtles, as is all of the Zambales coastline. Olive Ridley, Green and Hawksbill turtles nest along the beaches of Binoclutan every year between September and January. Rama International Beach Resort has a turtle hatchery located adjacent to the resort. The area also has many other attractions, beach resorts, waterfalls, hiking paths, views of the lahar fields left by the 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo, and views of Mount Pinatubo itself. The area is also fast developing as a recreational and retirement housing area with a large number of Foreigners now living in the area plus housing developments that have been implemented by local entrepreneurs, such as Botolan Point Recreation housing area and the developments around West Coast Beach Resort and Rama International Beach Resort.
TRANSPORTATION: Victory Liner Bus Company run both regular and Air-conditioned Busses to Zambales, Olongapo (South), Iba (Central) and Sta. Cruz (North) on an hourly basis from their Manila Depots at Caloocan and Pasay also from Cubao and Sampoloc on a less regular basis, consult their website for schedules. All busses for Iba and Sta. Cruz pass through Binoclutan Botolan. Travel times by Air-conditioned Bus from Manila, Olongapo 3 to 3 1/2 hours, Binoclutan Botolan 4 to 4 1/2 hours, Iba 4 1/2 to 5 hours, Sta Cruz 6 to 6 1/2 hours. By private vehicle about 1 hour less.
LOCAL TRANSPORTATION: A very efficient and cheap local transportation system consists of Local Busses, Jeepneys and Tricycles. Private hire vehicles are also readily available.
HEALTH CARE: The Provincial Capital of Iba, 15 minutes North of Binoclutan, has a large, well equipped Provincial Hospital that can handle all types of Medical Emergencies, also in Iba there are a number of Private Clinics, some of which are licensed by "Tricare" for the treatment of Retired U.S. Military personnel, the largest and best equipped of these is Sta. Cecilia Medical Center which has a 24 Hour Emergency room, also Dental, Orthopedics, Physical Therapy, X-ray, Laboratory and a Pharmacy. There are also major Hospitals at Candaleria, San Marcelino and Olongapo City, such as James Gordon Hospital. SBMA (the old Subic Bay Naval Base) also offers Hospital facilities. Cabangan also has an Emergency Infirmary which is manned 24 hours a day.
SHOPPING: Botolan has a reasonable size Public Market which can supply most daily needs, Iba has a very large Public Market that is especially good for seafood, Iba also has a number of Supermarkets, Mercury Drug store and Fast Food outlets such as Jollibee and Chow King. Duty Free shopping is available at SBMA, one hour South, and is a good source for good Meats, Cheeses, Fresh Milk Etc.
BANKING: Iba has branches of Bank of Commerce, Land Bank, Metrobank and Philippine National Bank. Local Rural Banks, such as Zambales Bank also exist. Olongapo has Branches of most Major Philippine Banks. Soon to open also are Bank of Philippine Islands and Banco De Oro.
COMMUNICATIONS: All of Zambales is covered by Mobile communications with Smart, Globe and Sun Cellular, land lines exist in about 50% of the Province, with areas North of San Felipe lacking land lines in a number of areas. Internet is available by DSL or Wyfi in most areas. Land line operators are PLDT and Digitel. RCPI and a number of other firms handle Western Union Money transfer and FedEx, LBC and other courier Companies operate in the area. Cable TV is available in some areas and the entire Province is covered by Dream Satellite Television.
SCHOOLS & EDUCATION: Binoclutan hosts an Elementary School, but not High School, it also hosts the Botolan Campus of the Ramon Magsaysay University. Nearby Panan, 2 Km, hosts a High School as do Botolan and Cabangan Towns (8 Km. away). Iba also hosts a variety of Private Schools such as Iba Kiddyland Montessori (Classes through Kinder to 6th grade), Saint Augustine School and College, the head campus of the Ramon Magsaysay University and a number of other Private and Church run institutions plus the National High Schools and Elementary Schools. There are also private school transportation services available.