Tuesday, May 24, 2011

To the Island....... To the Cove!!!

Music: Death Cab for Cutie (shuffled)

Nagsasa Cove

One of the manager’s in the IT department is leaving the company for Singapore by the end of the month, with that he decided to spend time with the usual crazy bunch who go trekking every weekend (once or twice a month). He dubbed the get away “Huling Hirit sa Tag-init” which actually fitted very well since PAG-ASA is somewhat declaring that by Friday this week (May 27, 2011) Summer has ended.

  • Budget: 1500-2000 per person (depends on the days you will stay and number of people you’re with)
  • Pasay-San Antonio Zambales (about 4 hour bus ride) – P280 one way (Victory Liner)
  • Trike: - 30 pesos per person, one way (3 persons per trike)
  • Food budget for 2 days: P500 (if you are a big group this would cover breakfast, lunch and dinner 1st day and breakfast and lunch second day)
  • Boat ride: P500-P600 pesos (for two days)

Our group of 24 left Manila at 11:45pm and arrived at San Atonio, Zambales around 3:30AM. We waited for the trikes who would drop us off at Pandaquit (our jump off). The ride took us about 20 mins to reach the resort (Marvin Bangkero Resort) where our boat will pick us up. It was really early in the morning so a few decided to go the market after an hour to buy our food for two days and I, who loves sleeping continued my snooze at the nipa hut until 7am - it felt awesome haha.

Pandaquit, San Antonio Zambales

Pandaquit, San Antonio Zambales

We were set to visit two islands. We first head to Capones Island which took us about 30 mins boat ride from jump off to the spot. This island is unkept, not as popular compared to Anawangin Cove and Nagsasa Cove. People stay there for a short while for the serenity and just swimming. Place is great tho. 

Capones Island
awesome rock formations at Capones Island
great opportunity for a profile pic hahaha
my friends and I under that rock formation, hiding from the sun

While we were on this island we decided to visit the abandoned Lighthouse which seemed light-years away from where we camped for the afternoon, some of the people I was with were pissed because the shores were so rocky that it was hard to walk. One even decided to swim from the Philippine Navy camp to where were supposed to hike to reach the light house (haha). We trekked from the shores to the light house for about 15 mins. It was a bit steep but there was a rope for difficult areas. Too bad the lighthouse was abandoned, the structure is dilapidated, vandals on the walls, solar panels are not working (good thing not stolen), roofs had collapsed and staircase is wobbly. I hope this lighthouse gets the attention it actually needs (it’s similar to Bojeador Lighthouse – I guess all Spanish era built lighthouses have the same design). If you are looking for a place to seek peace and stillness, this is definitely the place.

we had to pass by these and it was really itchy

our trek to the light house

that is actually the Philippine Navy camp
 i love sights like this
one of the rock formations on our way

this way to the light house

Capones Island Lighthouse

Capones Island lighthouse

Capones Island lighthouse
We left Capones Island about 1pm as we had a schedule to follow. Instead of heading to Anawangin Cove, the group decided that it is best to head to Nagsasa Cove instead. Anawangin nowadays are crowded and the group I was with said that the beach in Nagsasa is better because the sand is fine (tho not white but at least no rocks). We reached Nagsasa Cove after about 1 and half hour boat ride (it felt like we were very still because of the distance). Entrance to Nagsasa Cove is 100 per person overnight.

early in the morning at Nagsasa Cove

waiting for our boat

life doesnt get any better than this

The cove was great, few campers were there compared to Anawangin they say. The bad thing that Saturday was that the breeze was as hot as it could possibly be. Our tents were so humid that instead of us four sleeping there, I had to sleep on the hammock I bought earlier that day because I couldn’t take the heat (thus the amazing fever and cough/colds I am having right now haha). My friends were so proud telling us that there’s falls near the camp site, that we could walk about 15 mins to get there, what greeted us was a stream hahaha. This was due to the very hot weather and it dried up a bit. There was another but it would be about 1 hour trekking which the others did not want to take due to the heat, so we ended up swimming on the beach instead.

heading to the dried out "falls" which was actually a stream haha

the stream haha

this was the consolation, cold water which was deep enough to swim in

end of the stream

sunday morning at Nagsasa Cove

Sunday afternoon gave us a bit of a worry. We packed up lunch time but one boat which was supposed to pick us up by 2pm did not arrive (it got stalled in another island) and the other arrived at 3pm – who waited for the other boat for an hour before deciding to find out what happened. We reached the jump off about 5:30pm which was about 3 hours off our schedule. The boat had to come back to pick 10 of our friends left at the cove. It was a rainy afternoon and the second group was telling us that the waves were big and they saw a shark swimming near Anawangin Cove (hahah definitely a good idea to choose Nagsasa Cover over it).

It took us a while to decide to just head to Olongapo and get our tickets at the Victory Liner terminal instead of waiting for the bus coming from Iba Zambales. We got the last trip to Cubao by 9pm (San Atonio to Olonggapo Zambales was about 45 mins bus ride which cost us 40 pesos a piece).

It was difficult to find the bus going back to Manila from San Antonio, Zambales so I really am suggesting that you take the ordinary bus heading to Olongapo as early as you could. We arrived in Cubao around 12:30am which was a great challenge to everyone since we all have to be at work 9am the latest. End result, most were late and some were absent. Lucky for me, I am used to long rides so I was able to come to work before 9am (or else my boss will kill me haha).

All in all, the weekend ended great. at least the government of Zambales is doing something about their mountains, they have a program for the natives (Aetas) to serve as guide in order to lure them away from Kaingin. The coves are privately owned I was told, which made me think that, it was supposed to be owned by the natives (Aetas) because its their mountains, they live there. But because of political and all other protection issue, they serve as laborers for these “private people”. I have first hand experience from the Aetas in Pampanga and most of their stories are the same that’s why they choose to live further away from the lowlands. Anyway, this is another issue (forgive my Sociologist self, its coming out uninvited hahaha).

With it, I leave you with my favorite time of the day.......

sunset at Pandaquit, Zambales

sunset at Pandaquit, Zambales

I hope you guys get to visit these islands of Zambales. Grab your chance before it gets too crowded.

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