#HappySunshineCamp: A Visit to Coto Kidz Pool in Masinloc, Zambales



Aside from its stunning beaches and sandbars, secret surfing spots, lush forests and mountain ranges, and remote coves, here’s another reason why you should head up north and visit Zambales

“Welcome to Happy Sunshine Camp! Once ika’y mag-check-in, mahihirapan ka ng mag-check-out dahil serbisyo namin all-out!”

My Perfect You movie poster | Photo Credits: Star Cinema

Have you watched the movie, or even just the trailer, of Star Cinema’s newest romantic-comedy offering, My Perfect You, where Burn (Gerald Anderson), after a dark time in his life, met the overly-animated and stunning Abi (Pia Wurtzbach) in a perfect getaway resort, aptly called the Happy Sunshine Camp? Majority of the film’s scenes were shot on location at Coto Kidz Pool Mountain Resort in Sitio Coto, Masinloc Zambales. Masinloc is a town in the northern part of Zambales, which is about a 4-6 hour land trip from Metro Manila.

Ever since I knew that their filming location was in Zambales, I’ve been all over social media, stalking pages and posts about the place. I must have been bewitched by the clear sea-green water and the magnificent landscape, which I first saw on their trailer. Apparently, I was not alone because I’ve also read a lot of reviews and tweets admiring the movie’s shooting location. 



Screenshot from My Perfect You trailer 


I made it a mission then to go to Coto Kidz Pool since Masinloc was the neighboring town of where my family lives in Zambales. So one Sunday, I hired a jeepney and dragged my sister, who was just to happy to oblige as she was as excited as I was to visit Coto. 

HOW TO GO TO COTO KIDZ POOL, MASINLOC, ZAMBALES 

From Metro Manila:

  1. Ride a Victory Liner Bus going to Sta. Cruz Zambales. This route is available at their Pasay, Caloocan, and Sampaloc terminals. Alternatively, you can also take a Victory Liner bus bound to Olongapo or Iba, and then transfer to a bus going to Sta. Cruz once you arrive at the Olongapo or Iba terminal.
  2. Ask the conductor to drop you off at Masinloc town proper. 
  3. Ride a passenger jeepney going to Coto. The Coto jeepney terminal is located near RMTU Masinloc and Masinloc Baywalk. The trips going to and from Coto are scarce and scheduled. 
  4. The Coto community is at KM 27 while the Coto Kidz Pool is at KM 28.The jeepney terminal is at KM 27, in front of the community court. From here, you must walk one kilometer going to Coto Kidz Pool Mountain Resort. 
  5. If you want to control your schedule and go straight to Coto Kidz Pool, you can rent a jeepney for Php1, 500 one-way or Php3, 000 roundtrip. Contact Kuya Chris Quiroz (0949 624 1448) or Kuya Gil (09090173589). They both hail from Coto so they will be able to guide you, give you some tips, and talk to the personnel at the checkpoints for you. 
  6. There are three security checkpoints going to Coto Kidz Pool. Prior to this, prepare two copies of your guest list. At the first station, your vehicle will be inspected and you will be asked to leave your names (first copy). The second station will do the same. At the last station, which is the main gate going to Coto Kidz Pool Mountain Resort, you must write your names on their logbook and pay the maintenance fee, which is Php200 per vehicle / group of 10 pax.
    The last security checkpoint / main gate going to Coto Kidz Pool 

WHAT TO EXPECT ON THE WAY TO COTO

Knowing full well that the ride going up to Coto will be long and winding, we decided to rent a jeepney. 

Almost one hour into the journey, I was jostled from my slumber when our jeepney halted to a stop. Kuya Chris, our driver, pointed to a damaged car at the road side. 

“’Yan ‘yung hinulog nilang kotse ni Gerald sa ilog. Inahon din naman tapos iniwan na dito,” he proudly tells us. I hurriedly asked my sister to go down and take a photo. After a few minutes, we were back on the road. 

“Malayo pa po ba?” 

“Kung nasaan ‘yung kotse, KM 17 ‘yun. ‘Yung Kidz nasa KM 28. Lagpas sampung kilometro pa.” 





All in all, it took us one hour and 30 minutes to get to Coto. We passed by asphalted pathways but about 80% of the ride is made up of narrow dirt road.  Traversing 28 kilometers of rough road, pebbled with gravel and rocks of varying sizes, was butt-numbing but seeing the crystal clear river made our meandering and bumpy journey all worth it. The view along the way is plain wilderness—rolling mountains, vast fields, and thick forest. We also saw a few houses. 

Going back, we rode the 4:00 PM passenger jeepney, which was the last trip from Coto going to Masinloc town proper. It was another experience as we were able to get high up and top load. We were fortunate as the driver kindly picked us up at the Coto Kidz Pool resort so we did not need to walk back to the court. 




THE COTO MINES COMMUNITY

Upon entering the mountain resort, we were greeted with the sight of bright, sunshine-y yellow villas. Prior to the filming of My Perfect You, the cottages here were a bit rundown already and were coated in moss green. Star Cinema really transformed the place into a literal #HappySunshineCamp.




But even way before that, Coto Kidz Pool is already a happy place for hundreds of Cotonians who consider this spot as their secret and sacred treasure. 

During its glorious days, Coto used to be a booming mining site, where a community of miner families reside. The mining corporation, which handled the operations, built uniform houses for the families of their staff. Some looked abandoned during our visit but I can only imagine how it looked like during its golden days—there’s a church, a basketball court, a wide plaza, schools, and the community’s very own clinic. Today, mining operations have stopped at Coto but there is still a small community there. 







COTO KIDZ POOL: HAPPY SUNSHINE CAMP, HOME OF MY PERFECT YOU

The pool is actually a river stream. At first, I was thinking, “Why KIDZ, and not KIDS?” But eventually, I thought it was a perfect touch to the name of the resort—a nod to the province where it belongs (Z for Zambales). 

This secret paradise is tucked away between rolling terrains of lush forests and green mountains and a flowing river that streams farther outside Sitio Coto. Its beauty is raw, rugged, and unspoiled. Being there is like being stuck in an enchanting experience where you allow yourself to become one with nature and its pristine goodness. Everything was just fresh.  






Aside from the summer-y vibe of the yellow villas, what immediately caught my attention was how clear the spring water is. We could see right through the depth of the river. It was in the perfect color of aquamarine, bordering into beryl. What made the experience more mesmerizing was the thought that this isn’t man-made—it’s designed by nature! 


   






There are villas that can be rented overnight—Php 350 for the studio / one-bedroom and Php 700 for the two-bedroom cottage—but there is no electricity at the community. If you want to stay overnight, you need to rent a generator set which would cost around Php 500 (gasoline not included). There are cottages by the river banks, a public restroom, and a common, open two-storey villa. 

Before crossing the river going to the picnic area near the river pool, we took photos by the “Happy Sunshine Camp” signage used for the Star Cinema film. 





Another screengrab from the movie's trailer, featuring a mural that is still at Coto Kidz Pool today. 




We then walked past by the cottages where some groups where camping and decided to trek away from the crowd. The protruding and sharp rocks made us walk cautiously. There were even slippery and loose stones which we had to look out for, unless we wanted to end up with a bruised knee. 

We found our spot under a few verdant agoho trees which provided us shade for the rest of our stay. Our worries floated away as we dipped into the cool river. Further towards the end of the river, we can see the ruin of the hanging bridge which was once emblazoned with the signage ‘KIDZ POOL.’ There’s a tall rock a few meters behind where some daytrippers have gathered to jump and dive.




When it was time to go back, I noticed a few ruins of hanging bridges, which added to the scraggy vibe of the place. There is also an old playground with a swing and rotating wheels.  I was wondering where the hanging bridge featured in the film was located. Fortunately, our driver gave us a tip and we were able to find this secret spot. I won’t tell so you’ll have a little adventure finding it once you get to visit Coto Mines. 

As I tread along the rusty yet sturdy bridge, I relished the breathtaking view at the bottom. With the summer breeze enveloping me into a relaxing embrace, the jagged mountains around, and the blue green river streaming below, I couldn’t help but think that this was a perfect end to a perfect getaway in my very own province. I can go on and on gushing about this place, which makes me proud to be a ZambaleΓ±a


The hidden hanging bridge.



TRAVEL RESPONSIBLY: TIPS WHEN VISITING COTO KIDZ POOL




  • First things first: leave no trace. This is a basic principle when traveling anywhere. Don’t leave your trash behind and do not vandalize. Bring a trash bag with you so you can carry back your garbage afterwards. 
  • Private vehicles are allowed but I highly recommend that you go with someone who is familiar with the place. Better yet, hire a jeepney from Masinloc / Coto. 
  • If using your own service, get a heavy duty van or jeep. Lowered vehicles are not recommended as they might not survive the rough road going to Coto. 
  • Prepare for a long ride—one hour and thirty minutes of narrow, and winding road. 
  • Pay attention at all times for natural disasters. Be prepared to evacuate when necessary. Along the way, you will see a lot of posters that read: “Mag-ingat. Posible ang pag-guho.” 
  • As in every waterscape, be careful when swimming. The water in the pool might be clear but they can go deep and further. Also, the stones at the bedrock are slippery and covered with moss so take extra caution. 
  • Bring your own water and food. The nearest store at the Kidz Pool is a kilometer away so make sure you have everything you need before going to the resort. 
  • There are villas for overnight rent at Coto Kidz Pool Mountain Resort. The single room which has two beds is Php350 / night while the double room which has four beds is Php700 / night.
  • There is no electricity at the vicinity. You can rent a generator set from the caretaker or the residents for as low as Php 500, excluding the gasoline. 
  • In general, take extra care when going to Coto, as you would in any place that you visit. It’s remote and far from the town proper—like the end of the rainbow. Be mindful of your surroundings at all times. 
  • There is Smart cellular signal but none for Globe users. 
  • Jeepney rental contacts (20 pax capacity) : Kuya Chris Quiroz (0949 624 1448) or Kuya Gil (09090173589).
  • Coto Kidz Pool Mountain Resort Contact: Mr. Rogelio Magno (caretaker) 09127848828.

   

If you like this post, hover over the images above to save and share it on Pinterest! 

Follow my adventure on InstagramTwitter, and Facebook by searching for the hashtags #GirlChasingSunshine. Thank you for dropping by! :)


8 komento

  1. Meron po bang package tour for 2pax?

    TumugonBurahin
  2. I want to go to this place. For a 1 week of stay how much will be the estimated cost?

    TumugonBurahin
  3. Hello.. Thank you so much for this blog.. I used to stay in Coto with my father during the mining years as a small kid. Even then, the place was already nice as I can remember. Reading this article made me nostalgic. It made me miss Zambales all the more... More power!

    TumugonBurahin
  4. Hi! Is the place would fit for a solo traveler and stay for 2nights? I mean of course, you rented a jeepney to get there and you just stay for a day. And do I have to book in advance for the room? Thanks in advance

    TumugonBurahin
  5. Nice. Want to go there with my family.
    How ... Help and inform me ... Pls.
    Thank you so much ... πŸ˜‰πŸ˜ŠπŸ˜˜

    TumugonBurahin