In recent years Zambales has become a tourist hot spot with the growing popularity of Nagsasa and Anawangin cove. The two sites attract hundreds of campers yearly with their pristine beaches, majestic mountain ranges, lakes and waterfalls. Their proximity to cities like Metro Manila, make them accessible to people seeking a quick weekend vacation without having to spend a lot.
Travelling to the coves from the city of Manila will take 3 hours by land. Several bus liners service the Manila to Iba, Zambales route which passes the town of San Antonio. Nagsasa and Anawangin cove are located in Baranggay Pundaquit in the town of San Antonio, Zambales. This is the jump-off point to Nagsasa and Anawangin coves. Campers must get-off the bus at the town of San Antonio, in front of the Municipal Hall and take a 10 minute tricycle ride to Pundaquit Beach.
To prepare for a camping trip one should list food provisions sufficient for the number of campers and the length of stay at the coves. A few other items to take note of include:
· Sleeping bags, beach towels
· Flash lights, matches, kerosene, charcoal
· Garbage bags, waterproof cover for backpacks
· Swim wear, slippers, outdoor footwear, leggings
· Suntan lotion, shades, summer hats,
· Newspaper, mosquito repellant
· Cooking utensils, eating utensils, food containers
· Toiletries, dishwashing liquids
· Cameras and charged extra batteries
The coves are located in remote underdeveloped mountainous areas of the province where electricity and network signal is not available. Food sources are also scarce. Thus, sufficient food provisions must be bought at the town center. A wet market sits behind the Municipal Hall and this is where campers can purchase their camping provisions before heading-off to Pundaquit beach.
Getting around the town of San Antonio is mainly via tricycle. A traditional 3 wheeled motor vehicle with a galvanized carriage that can accommodate 2-3 passengers on the inside and a third one seated behind the driver. The tricycle drivers busily course through the town in search of passengers and hiring one is easy.
At Pundaquit Beach, campers can hire boatmen to take them to either Nagsasa or Anawangin Cove. On a typical Philippine pump boat, it takes 50 minutes to 1 hour to cover the 42 kilometer distance from Pundaquit Beach to Nagsasa Cove. Whereas, it takes 15 to 20 minutes to cover the 1 kilometer distance between Pundaquit Beach and Anawangin Cove. Many campers flock to Anawangin because of the shorter travel time.
Nagsasa and Anawangin Cove are remote, nearly isolated beaches along the coast of Zambales in Luzon. Established as beach camping sites, there are no commercial hostels available. Also, stores are limited to 3-4 sari-sari (miscellaneous) stalls annexed to the owner's beach huts. Admission fees are charged at each cove. These fees cover the usage of public bathrooms and fund the maintenance of the campsite. Although, the shower facilities are crude with no light and tiling, they have fresh running water and are cleaned regularly.
The beach dwellers are readily available to assist campers with setting up their campsite. They can assist with pitching tents, gathering firewood and setting bonfires. Some of the beach locals are of Aeta heritage. They are identifiable by their short height, dark-skin and kinky hair. There are Aeta communities in Nagsasa and Anawangin Cove. Aetas are indigenous people who have a nomadic lifestyle. Historians have suggested that they are the first inhabitants of the Philippine islands. In Nagsasa and Anawangin, some Aetas have begun to adapt to modern ways earning a living as boatmen, travel guides or food vendors.
A camper's typical itinerary at Nagsasa Cove would include a 1-2 hour trek to the waterfalls nestled behind the mountains surrounding the beach. The province of Zambales is composed of 60% mountainous and forest land ideal for hiking and other outdoor sporting activities. The Nagsasa Waterfalls has three levels each with a small lagoon at its base; catching water that flows down to the next level. On the hand, a camper's itinerary at Anawangin Cove will usually include a tour of the forest area and the lake situated a few hundred meters behind the campsite.
There are several scenic coves and islands along the Zambales coastline which campers have an option to explore depending on their time and budget limits. There are two islands named Capones and Camara Island which are ideal for a quick side-trip. These islands are close to Pundaquit Beach, the jump-off and finishing point of a camper's trip. A historical lighthouse stands on top of a hill on Capones Island. It is still actively used for guiding cruising vessels and is one of the main attractions for campers. Camara Island on the hand is a tiny neighboring island on the western side of Capones with peculiar rock formations and small sandy beaches.
There are other coves along the Zambales coastline that are less visited because of the longer travel time and less established campsites, but all have the same attractive qualities of Nagsasa and Anawangin coves. Among these are Talisayin Cove, Silanguin Cove and Agnain Cove.
The Zambales coves provide for a quick and pleasurable weekend trip out of the city. They have grown in popularity not only because of their scenic qualities but also for the ease of planning and minimal costs required for the trip. A weekend trip to the cove entails a reasonable budget of 2,000 PHP to 3,000 PHP.
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