Zambales is listed in the 1995 World Guinness Book of Records as having produced the sweetest mango fruit in the world, a pride that the province is still reaping from every year with every celebration of its 6-day mango festival. Known as Sweet Elena, the mango fruit was also recognized for being the biggest type by the Philippine Bureau of Plant Industry for three consecutive years. It's only fitting that I had it for a refreshing drink in the form of a shake over lunch when I recently visited the province. The venue of the sweet experience was Rama International Beach Resort in the municipality of Botolan.

At Rama International Beach Resort, my overnight stay rewarded me with more than the sweet taste of a fruit. With pleasant weather scheduled according to, I enjoyed the spectacle of a splendid sunset since the location is in the Western part of Luzon. Foreigners in the '90s would remember the beach resort to be a procrastinator's paradise. It's less than a couple of hours away from the nearest airport (Clark) and no more than 3 hours away from Metro Manila. Someone without a plan like me could just hop in a Victory Liner bus in Cubao, Quezon City and be in pleasant Botolan for an instant getaway. The escape can be done in a heartbeat, a sweet rendezvous with the fine sand of the beach sans the agony of a painful commute ...

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