Iba Travel Guide

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Paynauen Beach House

Paynauen Beach House

Ramon M. Ignacio


      Iba is the capital of Zambales in Region III. Iba, one of the oldest municipalities of Zambales, has a total land area of 15,338 hectares. It is bounded by the towns of Botolan on the South, Palauig on the North, China Sea on the West and mountain ranges on the East.   It is more or less oblong in shape. Like most of the other towns in the province, Iba has a geographical feature of being situated between the sea and mountains. This town is easily accessible to Manila and Pangasinan by land transportation. It can be also reached by small aircrafts using the Iba Airport. Iba is about 200 kilometers from Manila using the roads north of Manila.

      Iba has become a popular destination for summer vacationists and tourists due to the pristine and beautiful beaches that line the shorelines of Iba, and adventure trekking to the unique 3-series of Iba waterfalls. Its pollution-free beaches due to the absence of industrial-polluting activities in Iba, make it one of the best places in the Philippines.

     Visitors enjoy the fresh marine bounties from nearby towns of Sta.Cruz, Masinloc, Palauig, Botolan and Sajorda River Park floating restaurant in Iba. They include “banagan” (lobsters), crabs, tuna, “papagot”, “tarian”, “loro”, “pusit” (squid), octopus, “tanguigui”, “lapu-lapu” and many other species. Seaweeds include “pu-pu-lo”, sapsapuyot and others. These seaweeds when mixed with sliced green mango, tomatoes, broiled eggplant and white onions dressed with bagoong would beat any appetizers around.

     Sauted sabiddukung is a native Zambaleno food that one should taste in his life-time. The flower of sabiddukung blooms only in a week annually. It is rare. Originally a local, Ilocano food, it has become very popular among food gourmets in Zambales. One should never leave Zambales without tasting and bringing home a “tiklis” of Dinamulag mango – The best tasting mango in the world. This Zambales mango has been traditionally of premium quality for table purposes. Mangoes abound in Zambales during the months of February until May. 

    The people, the beaches, the food, and the sceneries make vacationing in Iba and the rest of Zambales an experience worth repeating. COME TO IBA. COME TO ZAMBALES!

     Founded by Recollect priests in 1611, the village of Paynawen moved from one place to another until it settled permanently along the banks of Bancal River, where a fort "La Playa Honda", was built as a defense against pirates who constantly molested the region. How the town got this name became a legend, that has been told, retold and handed down from generation to generation. The story happened during the early days of Spanish colonization. It was told, that while most of the Spaniards were busy establishing the pueblo, one of their men sneaked out from the group and curiously wandered around the village of the natives. Along the way, he saw a group of people, who incidentally were eating a certain kind of soft fruit.   This particular Spaniard, being stranger to the place, approached them and asked the name of the place, but because of language differences, the natives thought, he was asking the name of the fruit they were eating, immediately, they replied “Iba. Iba. Iba . “ from then on, this small pueblo was named Iba.

   The early formation of Iba was attributed to the Zambals, an ethnic group who belonged to the Malay race. They originated from the Celebes. They pushed the dwarfish, kinky haired Negritoes or Aetas eastward to the hinterlands. These Zambals eventually established their settlements on what is now the Municipality of Iba. Through the course of time, other ethnic groups like the Tagalog and Ilocanos migrated, occupied and formed their settlements on the southern portion of the province. They later on inter married with the Zambals and became the ancestors of these present generation. At various points in history, the capital of the province shifted from each of the three towns earlier established by the Spanish colonizers, namely, Masinloc, Sta. Cruz and Iba, but because of Iba’s strategic location, it finally became the permanent seat of the provincial government. Several history milestones had swept over the Municipality during the early days. One of which was during the declaration of the establishment of the Zambales province on August 28,1901, by the second Philippine Commission, headed by William Howard Taft at St. Augustine Cathedral - a church built in 1700 out of coral and limestone.
     Another memorable event was when WWII broke out, the   Japanese invading forces conducted a devastating bombing ran on Dec. 08, 1941 at Iba Airfield which resulted to the annihilation of both civilians and US forces stationed in the area. The Japanese Imperial Army later on, established their garrison at Poblacion, Iba. Originally, the municipality comprised of forty- five (45) sitios, eight (8) barrios and one (1) poblacion. These barrios were created by virtue of Republic Act 3590 on June 22, 1963. By virtue of Presidential Decrees of then Pres. Marcos on October 1974, Presidential Decree 86 and Presidential Decree 86-A, the poblacion were subdivided into six (6) zonal districts, and all sitios were integrated to their mother barangay.  


     The faith first came to the territory of the diocese in 1607 through the efforts of the missionaries of the Order of the Recollects of St. Augustine.

They settled in Subic, Masinloc, Sta. Cruz, Iba, and Cabangan where they established the first centers of the faith.

     The faith flourished in the region until the troubled days of the Revolution of 1896. Leaving ruined churches and convents in its wake the revolution rendered the region practically unattended; only some time later did secular priests take over some of the vacated parishes. In this state of things the territory became a fertile ground for the Aglipayan schism to gain a foothold and prosper, so much so that almost the whole length and breadth of the province come under Aglipayan influence.

     Upon invitation of the Archbishop of Manila, Michael J. O'Doherty, the Divine Word Fathers took over the spiritual care of Zambales some time in 1928.

     Starting their missionary activities in Iba and San Narciso, they gradually took over other towns and localities, concentrating their work in rebuilding ruined churches, building new ones, establishing more parishes, erecting schools and conducting catechism centers whereby they hoped to regain much lost group through the young.

     The administration of the faith in the province changed hand when the territory was transferred to the care of the Columban Fathers in 1951.

     The prelature of Iba was erected on October 18, 1955 as suffragan of the archdiocese of Manila. The Most Rev. Henry Byrne, SSC was appointed the first prelate ordinary and he took economical possession of concentrating on their work.

     The prelature of November 4, 1956. On November 15, 1982 Iba was elevated to diocese. Upon the death of Bishop Byrne the Most Rev. Paciano B. Aniceto, then auxiliary bishop of Tuguegarao, was appointed second bishop of Iba. On January 31, 1989, he was appointed archbishop of San Fernando, Pampanga. The Most Rev. Deogracias S. Yñiguez, Jr. succeeded him on December 27, 1989.  


     Iba's population has become a mixture of different people over the last twenty years as opportunities in employment and business attracted people from Pangasinan, Bataan and Batangas. Originally Iba's population  was composed of the Sambal and Ilocano speaking people. While Sambal and Ilocano are spoken by many of the population, Tagalog or Pilipino has become the common dialect spoken in Iba.   Being the center of employment and commerce as well being the host of major educational institutions, the population of Iba almost doubles during the daytime.Traders, market buyers, students, government and private employees flock to Iba in the daytime and return to their respective towns in the evening.

     The Municipality of Iba had registered a population of 34,678 persons during the NSO Population Census 2000 and posted a population growth rate of 1.86 percent for the last five (5) years. Assuming the rate of increase will remain steady over the next seven years, the population of Iba in 2005 is estimated to be 38,025 and by 2007, the town is expected to grow by 39,453 persons. During the same Census Year, male population outnumbered female population by a ratio of 96 female for every 100 males. In 2005, there are 19,382 males compared to 18,643 females. On similar survey, the age group category of; Young Dependents, Working-age group, and Old-Dependents contributed 37.46 percent, 58.19 percent and 4.34 percent respectively, and by absolute figure at present, there are 14,246 (0 - 14), 22,128 (15 - 64) and 1,657 (65 and and over). This will likewise translate to a dependency ratio of 72 persons (young and old) for every 100 working-age persons. At present, the population density of Iba is approximately 248 persons per square kilometers.   Lesser concentration of people are noted in the Poblacion compared to out-lying rural rural barangay.

     There are 6,218 person or 16.35 percent of the total population living in urban area compared to 31,807 persons residing in rural areas. Based from 2000 NSO Survey, registered household reached 7,260, equivalent to 4.78 persons for every household. At present, there are 7,961 households. The prevailing demographic structure of the town is considered to be relatively young so there is the greater possibility that population will accelerate growth over the coming years


      Iba is centrally located in the Province of Zambales and geographically situated at the coordinates of approximately 15 0 – 20’ north latitude and 120 0 east longitude. It is the capital town and the seat of Provincial Government. It is about 210 km. away northwest of Manila, 83 km. north of Olongapo City and 85 km. south of Infanta, Pangasinan. The Municipality of Iba is made up of 14 barangays. Of the 14 barangays comprising the town of Iba, six (6) constitute the Poblacion. These are Barangay Zone I , Zone II , Zone III , Zone IV , Zone V and Zone VI. On the other hand, six (6) of the eight rural barangays are situated along the coast, namely: San Agustin , Amungan , Bangantalinga , Sto. Rosario , LDP (Lipay-Dingin-Panibuatan) , and Brgy. Palanginan. Brgy. Dirita-Baloguen and Brgy. Sta. Barbara are considered interior barangays.  


     The Municipality of Iba spans a total land area of 15,338 hectares. Bounded on the north by the Municipality of Palauig , on the east by the Province of Tarlac , on the south by the Municipality of Botolan and on the west by the vast South China Sea, Iba occupies an area of 153.38 square kilometers. Almost 48% of its territory on the eastern front is forest cover, while 80.08 square kilometers at the western section are alienable and disposable lands.

     The Poblacion, where Central Business Districts are located, constitutes 1.06% or about 0.85 square kilometers of habitable area.   Coastal villages of rural barangays, along the 12 kilometer stretch of pristine beaches, adjacent to a breathtaking scenery of 180 square kilometer of municipal fishing ground, are founded in a relatively gently sloping flat land, elevated to about 5 to 10 meters above the main sea level.   But some 7 kilometers further eastward are the panoramic view of undulating to abruptly sloping terrain of hills, with elevation ranging from 200 to 600 meters.

     Mount Iba, considered to be the highest point in this Municipality, is estimated to be 1,670 meters above the main sea level, and straddles between the boundary of Iba and the Province of Tarlac. Several natural drainage channels of the town originate from mountain slopes, flow westward towards the South China Sea. These long and winding rivers not only provide irrigation supply within the vast expanse of agricultural lands but also serve as outlet of flood waters accumulated in the low lying areas of the Municipality. Most notable among them are the Bancal River, Tacar River, Bagsit River and Marangla River . 


     Natural Resources Like many of the towns in Zambales, Iba is endowed with natural resources. Its mountains, fertile lands, rivers and seas provide sources of economic income  for its people. The mountains although  partly denuded protect Iba from typhoons and winds coming from the east while the river systems provide the way of water overflows to the sea - thus preventing flooding.

     The Bagsit and Bancal Rivers provide water for irrigation to thousands of hectares of farm lands. Likewise, they provide the breeding and growing grounds  for fresh water fishes and animals. Although not yet explored, the Iba Mountain contains several mineral resources such as pumis, silica, asbestos, lime and semi-precious stones like jade, serpentinite and quartz. The rivers provide sources for gravel, sand and stones that vital components in the construction industry.


    Various rivers and creeks slice through the various necks of Iba-they are the sources of irrigation waters and are the lifeblood of farms and others that depend them for irrigation. Some of these rivers are the Marangla River, Tambac River, Prenza, Tacar, Baong and other small creeks and rivers distributed in the different barangays.Marangla River provides irrigation waters for the people of San Agustin, while Prenza River provides water for Sta. Barbara farmers. Tambac River is a source of livelihood for the people in the sitio where small fishes and shrimps abound.    
     Fishing and Agriculture  Iba may not be a vegetable or rice valley like other towns but certainly, it boasts of being endowed with productive fishing grounds, rice lands, and vegetable plantations. Coastal barangays of Iba such as LDP (Lipay-Dingin-Panibuatan), Sto. Rosario, Bangantalinga, Amungan and San Agustin provide fishermen and fish dealers with a stable source of income with their daily healthy catch of different species of fish from the rich sea such as tuna, tulingan, lapu-lapu, alumahan, pusit, and others while several fishponds yield hundreds of kilos of bangus, tilapia and sugpo. Lush vegetables and ricelands are familiar sights in San Agustin, Amungan, Bangantalinga, Sta. Barbara, Dirita-Baloguen and Palanginan where vegetables like ampalaya, okra, eggplant, tomato and others fill the farm after harvest time.  

      In Iba, one can not get hungry if one is not lazy, for deep in the river or creek yields shellfish known as balisara, suso or lukan and small shrimps and a trek towards the pilapil will yield kuhol, papaet or other vegetables.

Flora and Fauna

      Flora is the different species of flowers and plants in the locality. These are composed of breadleaf and semi-deciduous trees. Grass family is abundant such as wise, bamboo, kawayan-kiling, rattan and buho. The presence of cogon and talahib are also noticeable during its season. Leguminous plants such as mongo, patani, beans of different varieties, peanuts and others are also grown in the municipality. Fruit trees are found growing in the locality but only mangoes are produced economically. Calamansi, chico, fruits and others are grown but only for domestic consumption.

      Fauna species originally found in the forest and nooks of the municipality is fast reaching extinction. In a very small quantity, species of horn, pigeon doves, ovials, wild duck and hip fishers are still present. Hunters who either go hunting for pleasure or to satisfy their hobby, or who for necessity, sometimes go with their catch of wild boars or wild ducks. Amphibians and reptiles, lizards, snakes, and fresh water fish varieties like hito, the Taiwan hito, abounds the rice fields during planting season.   Domesticated animals like dogs, poultry, cattle, goats, and hogs are present in many homes in the barrios.

Soil and Water

      Soil types vary from sandy to loamy. Sandy muddy soil can be found along the swamp lands. Sandy soil can be found in the coastal barangays, sandy clay loam soil which is prevalent in almost all barangays are suitable to rice, sugarcane and all types of vegetables. The presence of clay loam or red clay in Bangantalinga was noted, which is the future source of bricks, bricks - by - product of the barangay.    Like other towns of Zambales, Iba has two (2) types of water:   the fresh and the salty or brackish. A dark crystalline soil (black soil), which indicates the presence of chromite, is found in barangay Sta. Barbara.

Economic Development

      Iba has become the center of trade and commerce in the province of Zambales due to the aggressive investment efforts of businessmen, taking advantage of locational advantage. RHOI Enterprises in year 2000 led the efforts by developing a large area adjacent to the public market into a commercial center. Today, this commercial center is filled up with various commercial enterprises that include Jollibee, Monterey Meat, VHS Appliances, Spa/Salons, Electronics, Fashion, Clinics, Drugstores and the like. It has influenced other investors to set-up mini-malls. Among those that have business presence in Iba include Chowking, Mercury Drugs, Manson Drugs and soon to open are Franchise companies.

      Iba has also become the medical center of the province. Medical clinics, diagnostic centers and drugstores have proliferated in Iba. The Zambales Doctors’ Clinics is one that offers complete medical diagnostics services. Located near the Zambales Provincial Hospital, Zambales Doctors Clinics are staffed with excellent and well-experienced doctors and medical service technicians. Other medical care providers include Sta. Cecelia Medical Center and others. There are at present efforts undertaken on the development of housing. The Teachers Village, located at Balili is one of the first residential subdivision. There is another one with more than 1000 lots being built at the back of barangay Dirita.

 Physical Features

       Iba is centrally located in the province. Although the town is located in the low area, destructive floods seldom ravage the place. It is however, prone to typhoons because of its geographical location. The western section of the Municipality of Iba is a gentle sloping coastline plain with elevations of 5-10 meters above the main sea level. Some 7 kilometers farther east, abrupt increases in elevation maybe seen.   Hills and mountains with elevations ranging from 20-600 meters occupy this municipality.

Meteorology and Rainfall

      The town, like any other town of the province, is blessed with a mild climate of two types: the rainy and the dry season. Iba’s climate is no different from the other towns where rainy season begins from June and ends in September, while the dry season is from October to May. An average of 43.15 centimeters deep is noted with a temperature of 22 degrees centigrade is observed during rainfalls. The highest temperature experienced during this season is 34 degrees centigrade while the lowest is 19.18 degrees centigrade. A temperature as high as 35 degrees centigrade characterizes Iba.                         

Prevailing Winds 

      The northeast, southeast monsoon prevails over the municipality when            intensified during period of typhoon, storm. Because of the exposure of the town to the vast China Sea, winds become destructive during strong typhoons. However, because of the presence of towering mountains on the eastern side, winds are  controlled.      


        Tourism is one of the major economic activity in Iba during the summer period. Iba has become known to be a destination for beach activities and vacationing. In response to the  growing number of both local and foreign visitors, investments in beach resorts have increased in the last fifteen years. Today there are about 50 beach resorts in Iba. Iba is only 200 kilometers or a 4-hour drive from Manila. One will pass the new North Luzon Expressway and SCTEX with scenics like ricelands and rural living. The NLE exits at San Fernando Pampanga, a city that is fast developing. The road going to Iba passes the small portion of Bataan Province before reaching the road entrances to SBMA. One may find some extra time to visit SBMA and see the development of this tourism and industrial complex.It would take another one hour to reach Iba. Except for Sand Valley Beach Resort which was established in the late 60's, Iba's beaches where not given attention. It was only in the 80's that many of each resorts cropped up as tourists began looking for pristine beaches and peaceful vacationing places. Today, Iba's coastline is dotted with beach resorts of all kinds. Iba's beach resorts pride their being clean and have the safe waters for swimming. It very fortunate that because there are no industrial activities in Iba, its waters have remained pollution-free.

       Iba is endowed with resources that appeal to tourists and vacationists. The well-knoiwn Zambales mangoes are plentiful in summer. The distinct taste and texture of the mango make one's palate crave for more. Other delicacies that visitors bring for "pasalubomgs"  are the Pastillas from carabao milk, linga candy bars, suman, puto, kutsinta, bibingka and fruits like duhat or lomboy, kaimito and many others.         Contributed by: Ramon M. Ignacio


April 07, 2007 change by ram535 (2 points)

April 18, 2006 change by giorgio

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