A lot of people who visit Botolan in Zambales head straight to its beaches or the trail going toward Mount Pinatubo’s crater lakes. Recently, I was blessed to discover another attraction in this town: the Bancal River Adventure Park.
The Bancal River Adventure Park offers eco-adventure activities along Bancal River, including kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, and pedal boating. They also have an in-house restaurant where you can enjoy Filipino delicacies while appreciating the riverside view.
I went here as part of the 3-day trip hosted by DOT for its Surf and Glamp Zambales program Once we arrived at the Bancal River Adventure Park, we were greeted and oriented by the staff.
From there, we were supposed to head to the Botolan Mangrove Eco-Park for a mangrove tour and tree planting. It is about a kilometer away along the river.
Here is what I gathered about Bancal River. Bancal River is a 2-kilometer stream with tributaries flowing through the mangrove forests along the river banks. It’s connected to the West Philippines Sea and hence abundant in fishes, crabs, and other marine life.
The staff assisted us with lifevests and into our respective rides: kayak, paddleboard, or pedal boat.
I love kayaking, but I haven’t tried pedal boating yet so I went with that one. I sat at the passenger seat at the back, so the ride was fairly relaxed. My colleagues who were pedaling at the front couldn’t say the same, since we didn’t realize that the mangrove forest was a bit far and they eventually grew tired. Haha.
After several minutes, we reached the Botolan Mangrove Eco-Park, where we were informed about the importance of mangroves as natural defense against typhoons and other calamities. Then we were given each a mangrove seedling to plant. It was really fun! I think I’d like to go on more tree plantings in the future.
Afterwards, I went back on the pedal boat to explore the mangrove area. It was quiet and peaceful – certainly the type of activity that I love. We passed by fisheries on the side and a narrow route that unfortunately is only wide enough for a kayak.
After this short tour, we went back to the Bancal River Adventure Park. I went on a kayak this time. It was manageable although a little tiring because there was a current flowing to one of the riverbanks. I think I was going slow because eventually a guide on a separate kayak asked me if I wanted to my kayak to be pulled instead, and I said yes.
After the tiring activity, a delicious lunch awaited us at the Bancal River Adventure Park.
It is my first time to hear about and visit the Bancal River Adventure Park. From what I know, locals visit here for family-friendly meals along the river. The sunset views are also supposed to be amazing. In my experience, it’s also a great side trip in Zambales especially for those who like outdoor activities.
Bancal River Adventure Park rates
Here are the current rates (Updated as of 2022):
- Environmental fee – P30 per person
- Kayak – P100 per person
- Pedal boat – P500 for 6 people
Other things to do in Botolan
Here are other activities you can do in Botolan:
- Trek to the crater lake of Mount Pinatubo
- Swim at Tukal-Tukal Falls
- Head to Camp Kainomayan for outdoor activities
- Go on an ATV ride in a lahar field
- Visit Balin Pamana Heritage Center for museum tour and pasalubong.
For inquiries, you can contact Bancal River Adventure Park on their Facebook.
Have you been to Bancal River Adventure Park in Botolan, Zambales? What was your experience? Let us know in the comments section below!
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Katherine Cortes is a 30-something freelance writer/editor. She likes beaches, snorkeling trips, and relaxing staycations (preferably with bath tubs!).