struck by zambales

a visit to capones island, anawangin cove and nagsasa cove
by: carlo morales

the beauty of traveling is that you get to experience a whole different thing from what you normally do and bask in the afterglow that follows a most memorable journey. every once in a while, you are likely to visit a place that does not only bring out the goodness in a friendship but also provides a wonderful moment to discover god’s artistic design of nature. when a friend invited us on a trip to zambales, i didn’t hesitate knowing that part of my bucket list is to explore the whole world around. he mentioned the place’s name, anawangin but the name didn’t really stick to my head simply because it didn’t even ring a bell.  

i was half-excited knowing it would be my 2nd trip this summer after spending holy week in bukidnon. it was carefully planned by my friends, all we needed was to contribute php1500 each, which covers pretty much everything (food, transportation back and forth, entrance fee, boat ride, etc). we were a group of 12 so maybe that explains why it sounded cheap.

since i wasn’t really hands on with the preparations and its sort, I did a little research to give myself something to expect.  anawangin cove is by far one of the most popular destinations for campers and beach-goers alike. the cove faces the south china sea and surrounded by mountains of rocks theoretically known to be formed by ages of volcanic activities in the past. what really got stuck on my head was the fact that the cove was still not covered by electricity and cellular networks as well. no hotel rooms, no spas and gimiks, no rides such as parasailing and zorbings. it’s simply a hidden cove.  upon knowing this, i knew it would be an adventure in the making.

we departed from manila early saturday morning for a 4-hour land travel trip to olonggapo city, where we alighted and transferred to another bus which transported us to san antonio, zambales.  then from san antonio, we rode on a short tricycle ride going to pundaquit, a small fishing village considered to be the best jump-off point if you want to visit the camara island, capones island and anawangin cove since it is the closest shores to these destinations. here we were warmly welcomed by the locales, treated us as their very valued guests. if you’re planning to have an overnight stay at the cove and you forgot to bring your own tent, then it’s best to rent from them. we were able to haggle for a tent good for 4 persons at the best price of php300 only. Not bad. 

capones island, anawangin and nagsasa cove can only be reached by a ferry ride from a small town called pundaquit, where you can ask fisherman folks to carry you around. usually it comes in a package so you’d better group yourselves into four per boat.  the sea was a little bit wavy so it feels like a roller coaster ride.  but the experience was unwaveringly fun.  the boat ride was ecstatic as we simply danced with the waves.  our first stop was capones island, known for its haunted stories surrounding the famous lighthouse. the view from this island was simply spectacular and breathtaking.  we had lunch at the island and later on decided to stroll around the place. too bad we weren’t able to visit the famous light house because it was believed that snakes were out on the ground due to extreme hot weather. although it was extremely hot, a lot of the tourists were never bothered to be kissed by the sun. we also had fun basking under the heat. who wouldn’ if the place was as beautiful as the one you see above.

we took a short ferry ride going to anawangin cove. from afar, it simply looks like boracay island with a mountainous backdrop. but when we got closer, it was heaven to our eyes. it was beautiful and exquisite in its grandeur. the place is different in its own way, a mixture of white sand and volcanic ashes covers the land and a beautiful lagoon artistically decorated with pine trees added flavor to the picturesque view.  we were truly captivated by such splendor and all we can say is, “philippines is just so blessed. everybody needs to see and admire this.”  we were like a bunch of excited kids thrilled to stroll around the cove with nothing much but extreme enthusiasm and unspoken delight.  

since anawangin cove at that time was a little bit overpopulated, we opted to stay at a neighboring cove at nagsasa cove, which bears more or less a lot of resemblance to anawangin. still a boat ride ferried us to the other cove for another 30 minutes.  it’s best to bring towels or sarong to protect your skin under the sun.  don’t forget to sprinkle some sunscreen protector as the sun rays might get a little too hefty on the skin.  as expected, nagsasa cove was as beautiful as anawangin. the place’s perfect for amateur photographers or for lovers perhaps. every part of it spells abundance.  it’s a gift to us so it’s a wishful desire on my part to ask visitors to leave no dirt on these beautiful coves.  let’s help preserve its bounty and beauty so our future children will get to have the splendid opportunity to bask around these coves.  part of our itinerary was to visit a falls uphill. it was just a short walk from the mainland part of the nagsasa cove. although the sun was blooming at full set, it was definitely worth the trip.  one of the best part of the trip what that we had a wonderful opportunity to interact with the cove’s locales, the Aetas.  

it was definitely a one-of-a-kind experience for all of us. sad to say the government wasn’t doing much to promote such magnificent tourist attraction. i’ve tried asking my fellow officemates if they’ve ever heard of anawangin, but none of them ever did.  well, only the adventurous and the seekers will always get the price and the experience i’ve had in these islands and coves was simply priceless, till now while writing, it still stirs something in me — something immeasurable, in vast unspoken ways, and leaves unforgettable memories long after the trip had concluded.

Biyaheng Pinoy

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