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Zambales lies on the western shores of Luzon island along the West Philippine Sea. Its shoreline is very ragged, and features many coves and inlets. The Zambales Mountains, the mountain range on the eastern part of the province occupies about 60% of its total land area. Subic Bay, in the southern end of the province, provides a natural harbor, and was chosen as the location of the U.S. Naval Base Subic Bay. The peak of Mount Pinatubo lies near the tripoint of Zambales, Pampanga, and Tarlac provinces. This volcano, once considered dormant, erupted violently in 1991 blowing off its summit, leaving a caldera (now filled with Lake Pinatubo), on the mountains of Botolan, Zambales. A vast portion of the province acquired desert-like features after being buried by more than 20 feet (6.1 m) deep of lahar.

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