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Pamulaklakin Aeta Forest Trail - Zambales

Located at Subic Bay Freeport Zone in the province of Zambales, Pamulaklakin Aeta Forest Trail or simply Pamulaklakin Forest Trail is a wildlife refuge where visitors are toured deep in the forest by indigenous Aeta tour guides.

Pamulaklakin Aeta Forest Trail

Pamulaklakin Aeta Forest Trail Details

Pamulaklakin Aeta Forest Trail got its name from the Pamulaklakin vines that abundantly grows in the area. These plants were once used by the Aetas as an alternative to vaccines.

Pamulaklakin Aeta Forest Trail - Subic Freeport Zone, Zambales

For my foreign readers, Aetas or Agtas are nomadic indigenous people who once lived in mountainous areas of Luzon. They are typically characterized by their dark brown skin complexion, small stature, and kinky hair. Due to their skin color, the Spanish colonizers labeled them as Negritos. Aside from that, their nomadic lifestyle and looks made the lowland people indifferent to the Aetas during the Spanish colonial period - a feeling some still have even until today.

Time to head to the picnic area for lunch

Crossing the bridge to the Picnic Area of Pamulaklakin Aeta Forest Trail

Binulo Lunch at Pamulaklakin Aeta Forest Trail

Our lunch was prepared by our local Aeta hosts

Check this out! Rice cooked inside bamboo


Our viand is also cooked inside bamboo

Boodle fight at Pamulaklakin Aeta Forest Trail

Members of the Molave Outdoors Club partook in their sumptuous meal.

The interest in the Aetas boomed during the American colonial era when Henry Otley Beyer studied the indigenous people of the Philippines. Aside from that, the Aetas also proved to be invaluable during the Second World War because of their knowledge of the jungles of Central Luzon. Hence, the name Aeta became synonymous with Jungle Survival Skills.  

From the American colonial era until today, the Aetas continue teaching jungle skills to those who want to learn them. If you want to get a taste of this, then the best place to do so is at the Pamulaklakin Aeta Forest Trail. The Aetas living in the refuge offers very affordable packages for those who want to experience their culture and also for those who want to explore the jungle with an accredited Aeta guide. 

Pamulaklakin Aeta Forest Trail Rates:

Sightseeing - P100 per person

Pamulaklakin Aeta Forest Trail Sightseeing

This covers the entrance fee for sightseeing and the use of picnic grounds.

Mini-jungle tour - P100 per person

Pamulaklakin Aeta Forest Trail Mini Jungle tour 


This tour goes for 30 minutes and is inclusive of an Aeta guide.

Ecology Tour - P250 per person

Pamulaklakin Aeta Forest Trail Ecology Tour


This tour goes for 2-3 hours and is inclusive of an Aeta guide.

I got to visit Pamulaklakin Aeta Forest Trail last February 2020 when I was invited by the Molave Outdoors Club in their expedition to Subic. During the said visit, we availed of the Ecology Tour. Our group was guided by Nanay Rosario who, to the best of her ability, tried to describe the different plants that the Aetas used for their medicinal needs in broken English. I helped her by translating the information to the mostly English speaking members of the club.

However, before our adventure began, we partook of the Aeta-style binulo lunch at the picnic area. What made this lunch unique was that the rice and viands were both cooked inside bamboo tubes. We ate these boodle-style, meaning we ate with our bare hands. 

Molave Outdoors Club Ecology Tour Pics

Nanay Rosario showing us the different medicinal plants of the Aetas

Jungle Survival 101 - Know your plants

Going deep into the jungle

Jungle Survival 101- Make your own straw



Jungle survival 101 - Drinking from vines. 




Back to civilization - End of Ecology Tour


After the memorable meal, we proceeded to explore the jungle for about two hours, stopping every now and then to talk about a particular plant. To remember her, Nanay Rosario even crafted bamboo straws for each of the tour participants. She even made us experience drinking water from water vines which I think is the highlight of our Ecology Tour.

Group photo with the wacky Tata Kasoy

Tata Kasoy showing us how to build a fire


When we got back to the jumpoff point, we were ushered to an open-air shed where Nanay Rosario and the comic Tatay Kasoy demonstrated how the Aetas traditionally made a fire. 

Pamulaklakin Aeta Forest Trail Rates:

Pamulaklakin Aeta Forest Trail rates

Why visit the Pamulaklakin Aeta Forest Trail?

Overall, the tour was one for the books. It made me realize how rich the Aeta's culture is and how they value each object in the forest. So if you're looking to escape the city and learn something new, I highly suggest that you visit Pamulaklakin Aeta Forest Trail.

Things to Remember when visiting Pamulaklakin Aeta Forest Trail:

  • Register at the jumpoff point and make sure to avail of a local guide before embarking on an adventure into the forest. 
  • Leave no trace behind. Bring your own trash back with you.
  • Bring your own drinks or buy one at the jumpoff point.
  • There are no toilets along the trail.
  • Listen to the guide at all times and don't expect them to explain things to you in fluent English.

Getting to Pamulaklakin Aeta Forest Trail

 

 There is no public transportation that can ferry you to this wildlife refuge. The best way to reach it is by private vehicle. Waze and Google Maps can help you navigate the 2-3 hour drive from Manila to Pamulaklakin Aeta Forest Trail.

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