Tag Archives: Iba

Soaked and Sunkissed in Scenic Zambales Pt. 3

Following the trek to Nagsasa Waterfalls and a short but sweet dip in the waters of Nagsasa Cove, we set out for our island-hopping itinerary for the day. Anawangin Cove was going to be our first stop, followed by lunch at Capones Island ending the day with a visit to neighboring Camara Island.

Anawangin Cove

Since it was a weekend marking the end of Summer, Anawangin Cove was packed as expected. We were glad to have spent the night in Nagsasa instead.

Today, when you look at Anawangin and the intriguing combination of pine trees and fine, glittering ash-colored sand on the beach and the majestic mountains embracing the cove,  you’d be amazed to find that prior to the Mt. Pinatubo eruption this was not the scene you would have beheld.

As was narrated by the locals, this part of Zambales facing the South China Sea was a rock-laden coast which was supposedly filled with mangroves. I like the way one blogger looked at the entire event saying that the Mt. Pinatubo eruption was Nature’s way of “redecorating”.

Anawangin has a lusher field of pine trees.

We clambered up the rocks on the eastern side of the cove and had an impromptu photo shoot. On closer inspection, I found that the rock cliffs were mostly granite (yes the ones that end up as counter tops in your kitchens). With it’s rock cliffs and treacherous undercurrents, I see how much Anawangin lives up to being a “dangerous beauty”.

Capones Island

We reached Capones Island in time for lunch. The island is nothing short of spectacular with its fine, white sand beach and beautiful rock formations. It seemed that this island was spared Mt. Pinatubo’s eruption being located a little way away from the mainland.

Capones Island in the distance

I wanted to capture how clear the water was and how its hue blended together with the cloudy skies and mountain silhouettes like pastel crayon colors smudged together.

While most beach combers shied away from the sun’s glare and heat by running to the nearest tree for shade, the fearless Good Vibes Crew braved the scorching sun and even laid down a picnic blanket (courtesy of Makati Prime Tower Suites. Lol!) where we could set our food for lunch.

We lingered on the island for a good hour and waded in the waters. It was too bad we didn’t have the energy nor time to have navigated through the rocky edges of the island to get to the other side and see the lighthouse.

One thing I had noticed though was that the island was becoming littered with tourist trash. I wish people would make a conscious effort to keep from littering. Capones does not have an entrance fee unlike Nagsasa Cove and Anawangin Cove, which means that there are no maintenance committees tasked to clean up after tourists. From other travelers I’ve met who have been here, our observations were similar. Hopefully, awareness will be raised in regards to this and San Antonio local government would put up regulations to protect Capones.

Camara Island
Camara Island is the smallest one among the islands we went to. Initially we had agreed amongst ourselves that we were only going to take pictures then leave. But when we got there, the island’s turquoise waters were so inviting we couldn’t resist another dip.
This was our last stop for the day. On cue, our cameras’ shut down just in time as if it knew the last few moments on Camara would conclude this adventure.

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Soaked and Sunkissed in Scenic Zambales Pt. 2

May 22, 2011
D A Y  T W O

The Trek to Nagsasa Falls

I woke up to a misty and quiet cove on the beach by the remnants of last night’s campfire at about 5 am. On impulse, Jimmy and I decided to take an Aeta guide’s offer to pursue a trail leading to Nagsasa Falls. It was about an hour’s trek to the hidden gem on the island. As we prepared to leave, we were joined by Merci, Chas and Henry who became the sweeper and put his basic mountaineering skills to work.

The beginning of the trail was through a wide open space.

Followed by a grassy plain

We picked some wild berries along the way and munched on some.

Soon after, we walked through a dried up river bed.

As we went further inland, the earth turned softer and into a deeper red clay.

We walked on the riverbed which later on led to a rockier trail, and bigger boulders.

It started to get a little difficult navigating through the rocky trail especially when we approached the spot where the water from the waterfalls source started to flow.

Nagsasa Waterfalls

Before we could get to the falls, we had to endure a brief exercise in rock climbing as well.

But ultimately,  the sight of the Nagsasa waterfalls was all worth the sweat, the slips, the stress and the muscle strains.

The cool black waters more than refreshed and rejuvenated us.In no time, our energy levels soared back up and we readied ourselves for the hour-long return trek to camp and for our island-hopping adventure scheduled to occupy the rest of the day.

..cont’d with next post

Soaked and Sunkissed in Scenic Zambales Pt. 1

May 21, 2011

D A Y  O N E

Six months or so of researching and reading through countless materials about the dynamics of getting to Zambales has finally paid off and proudly, I can now cross it out on the list of places to go to and re-write it under the list of places I undoubtedly would want to visit again. It seemed that Lady Fortune was smiling down at us and playing in our favor the day we embarked on the journey to breathtaking coves of this province. From start to finish, my journey together with the other 8 spirited “Good Vibes Crew” was seamless and stress-free.

How We Got There

From Makati at about 9:00 am, we took a cab to the Gil Puyat LRT station and from there, took the trip bound for Monumento in Caloocan City which is roughly about 15 stops from Gil Puyat Station. After getting off at Monumento, we walked a bit towards the Victory Liner Bus Station and went for the bus headed for Iba, Zambales (Php260.00). The bus was clean and had AC and a TV so we took the time to sneak some snoozes within the 4 hour trip.

On the LRT to Monumento

When we got to Iba at about 2:30 pm, we shopped for provisions (that would last us until the next day) at the market in Brgy Pundaquit close to where we got off the bus. We had to keep in mind that there will be no other places to buy water and provisions from and neither will there be cell phone signal and electricity. I had already gotten in touch with someone to take us across the islands from Pundaquit. So after the market run, we took a tricycle to Pundaquit Elementary School where we were greeted by Daisy, who was to be our overseer for the transfers and the Island hopping.

Walking to Pundaquit Port from the Elementary School

The boat ride to Nagsasa

From the Port in Pundaquit we decided to see Nagsasa Cove first, since it was the farthest one among the island stops we wanted to make (Anawangin, Capones Island and Camara Island). We went on a breathtaking 45-minute banca ride to Nagsasa Cove.

Nagsasa Cove

Zambales waters are a deep blue to an almost-black shade. The mountains and rock formations stand tall and imposingly like sentinels guarding the mainland from the South China Sea. Nagsasa is beautiful and strange all at the same time. Crystalline black and gray sands owing to the last eruption of Mt. Pinatubo, greeted us welcome together with the pine trees in the distance while the golden brown mountains softly echoed their salutations.

approaching Nagsasa Cove

Crystalline black/grey sands of the cove. This was an aftermath of the Mt. Pinatubo eruption.

The Good Vibes Crew!

Dusk at the Cove

The Cottages on the beach

Camp Headquarters

The Lake

We were told Nagsasa Cove wasn’t too crowded for the weekend unlike Anawangin at the time so we decided to spend the night in Nagsasa. Immediately we started to unpack and the friendly boatmen, together with the cottage owners Kuya Butch, and his wife Ate Laling who were all extremely warm and friendly assisted and accommodated us. I’m real happy to have gone on this trip with this bunch too: everybody knew their roles and proactively did their share in making the trip a success. Tents started getting pitched and we began going about the business of what we were having for dinner whilst we chilled through Sundown and talked to some of the friendly and interesting people from the Aeta community.

While the rest laid back, some of the crew took care of preparing dinner. Dinner was a menu of grilled pork, grilled tilapia and itlog maalat with tomatoes and shortly thereafter, we started to light the lampara and tied our cellphones with flashlights to the ceiling of our cottages for some dramatic lighting. After dinner we laid down on the beaches and stargazed our way through random conversations and drowsed off for a while.

Chastine: (with knife in hand) “Yes, I am your Coach. Is there a problem?” lol.

The bonfire was lit a couple of hours after and soon we started roasting cheese-filled hotdogs over the fire while guitar-playing and singing from the other campers on the island softly serenaded another round of campfire revelations.

..cont’d with next post