Tag Archives: Zambales

Our Truly Epic Nagsasa Cove Adventure (and My Equally Epic Blog About It): Part 3

I just loved my job as our beach chef. :D

I just loved my job as our beach chef. 😀

126 Days to go. There was no time for our hangovers when we woke up to our second morning in the alluring cove of Nagsasa in Zambales. I immediately got up, breathed in the fresh air from the sea, and got ready to collect firewood to cook our breakfast. But first, there was the task of toothbrushing and washing last night’s dishes. This brings us to a possible challenge in Nagsasa: securing water.

Get Ready to Line Up for Water

First, let’s put this into its proper context. Chemae and I went to Nagsasa in April 9-11, a long weekend due to a holiday, so we’re talking about the summit of the peak season. And with the El Niño phenomenon, we can probably assume all the beach buddies in the Philippines were just itching to go to local beaches and frolic in the cool waters. Plus, since Anawangin was already overflowing with campers, Pundaquit’s boatmen decided to bring some of their booked clients to Nagsasa instead. This explains why there were so many people in Nagsasa, more than 40 camps in Chemae’s estimate, scattered all over the long stretch of beach, with some camping in the area of pine trees further to the back of the cove.

You can pretend here for a while that you’re not in the Philippines.

This clearly wasn’t the case when Chemae and I went to Anawangin December of 2009. Even though Anawangin was already popular, we shared the entire cove with just a single camp, so we never had any problems with water. Continue reading


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Our Truly Epic Nagsasa Cove Adventure (and My Equally Epic Blog About It): Part 2

The horizon was still hazy at a little past 5:00 in the morning but four or five boats carrying passengers wearing orange life vests were already speeding toward the famous shores of Anawangin. I looked on and remembered our memorable trip there in December 2009. Chemae and I had just been together for a month back then. This time, we have more than a year’s worth of memories with us as we zoomed forward to a less known cove in Zambales — Nagsasa.

The boat ride from Pundaquit to Nagsasa Cove took about 45 minutes, whereas our trip from San Miguel to Anawangin before took only 30 minutes, and the town of San Miguel is farther away than Pundaquit. Unlike my trip to Anawangin, I didn’t feel like the ride took forever and the boat’s engine was defeaning this time. I was just too mesmerized with the majestic dark rock formations that line the shores of Zambales. I kept thinking that a bangkero without focus could easily veer too near such jagged limestones and wreck his thin boat, his passengers toppling down to the bottom of the hungry sea. But in boat rides like this, you just have to trust your bangkero with your life, so it’s crucial to get a trusty contact who have a soild experience traversing these waters.

Nagsasa VS Anawangin

When the boat hit the shores of Nagsasa, Chemae had already decided which cove she liked more. Nagsasa is three times bigger than Anawangin and its waters were also noticeably calmer — so calm, in fact, that high tide still offers gentle waves that pose no danger to anyone who swims near the shore. And the shore is amazingly shallow, too, kind of like Boracay’s without the pristine powdery white sand. The shore isn’t littered with jagged rocks of any size, just pure white minerals and black volcanic ash that’s soft enough for your feet. Had Nagsasa cradled pure white sand, you would clearly see the bottom of the water because of its fascinating clarity. Kids can also safely play and practice their swimming strokes here because the shore gently slopes downward for several meters and there are no sudden steep spots, at least in the middle of the cove where we set camp. Continue reading


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Our Truly Epic Nagsasa Cove Adventure (and My Equally Epic Blog About It): Part 1

Nagsasa is 3 times bigger than Anawangin, with calmer waters and more stunning sights.

Our trip to Nagsasa Cove, Zambales was a test of our will to never give up. From the moment we headed out to the streets to wait for a cab to the bus ride homeward, we plodded through a plethora of challenges we thought would ruin our vacation. But I watched her back, and she watched mine, and because of that, I can smile here and say, “The trip was purely awesome.”

Cab and Camera: The First Challenge

127 Days to Go. The landlady thought something tragic had happened when she saw Chemae carrying two pillows and a huge backpack behind her back. She thought we were going to a hospital to visit someone who had an accident. As sad as that thought was, going home and postponing our trip to Nagsasa ’til tomorrow morning was more depressing to me that night. Chemae and I were just waiting for a taxi cab to get us to the Victory Liner terminal at Caloocan City. Our plan was to buy tickets for an 11:00 bus to San Antonio, Zambales, but as usual — we were late. It was nearly 11:00 and we were still walking along the dark streets of Pag-Asa, Quezon City ironically losing pag-asa (hope). She said that if we can make the 12:00 bus, we can still go for the cutting trip to Olongapo, and then to Zambales. The problem was, every taxi driver we flagged down had his own alibi why we can’t snug in his stinkin’ car. So we kept on going, walking and walking, dragging our stuff like a homeless couple looking for alms around SM North. Continue reading


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Neverland: 129 Days to Go



I worked from 8:00 AM ’til 8:00 PM today. If I were in Canada or in Singapore, I’d be so filthy rich by now I’d have my own pad filled with PS3 and Xbox games, all the guy and geek magazines in the store, endless supplies of beer in my ref, and a siberian husky lapping at my ears.

But I’m in the Philippines so I have nothing.

I have a plan, though. A plan to get rich as quickly as possible or else risk losing the girl of my dreams. It’s a shoddy plan that involves transporting myself from the Philippines to Singapore and then to Canada as I’ve been saying quite repeatedly here in my ongoing countdown.

But before I start moving along with that plan, Chemae and I have to go through our tiny plan this weekend: a beach trip to Nagsasa Cove, Zambales. Continue reading


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“My Amazing Trip to Anawangin” (or “The Last Shots of My Samsung Digital Camera” or “My First Attempt at a Travel Blog”)

Sunset in Anawangin

The camera got soaked into the salty water as I fumbled for her pink Havainas sandal that the crashing waves took off my foot. That was a good camera but it’s gone now. The memory card was all right however, so all our priceless memories were preserved. I consider such a thing a near-death experience.

Our destination was Anawangin, a secluded beach at Zambales. Chemae and I originally planned to go there together next year but changes were made during a seemingly ordinary Wednesday Starbucks coffee conversation. We don’t even remember how our conversation turned into planning a weekend in a beach but it did. In a matter of minutes, we were leaving the cup of coffee behind and rushing to the mall to buy a tent. The beach weekend was sealed when we handed over the money to the cashier at Toby’s.

The First Sign of Luck

We rode a cab to the Victory Liner terminal in Caloocan. There, we paid Php251 to get to the town of San Antonio in Zambales. The trip took three and a half hours, just like our reference travel blogs say. A bit sleepy, we were jolted into nervous wakefulness when the conductor suddenly boomed out, “O, San Antonio!”

Chemae left her wallet in the bus. The devil almost had us. Had I been a bit quicker to get off the bus and more nervous that we’re already in an unknown town, that wallet would have traveled to Iba without us; then a few minutes after alighting from the bus, we would have teared each other’s hair out and hailed another bus back to Manila. But I was lucky that day, so I saw the wallet and phase one was complete. I’d tease her all throughout the trip about it.

Tip: check everything before you get off the bus.

How to Get to the Boats and Other Challenges

The first problem of the day was getting the supplies we needed to survive. Our lunch in the bus consisted of Gardenia with liver spread. The bus stopped over in Olongapo but we didn’t get off because we were contented with our loaf of bread. We were going to eat that loaf of bread all throughout the next day, and I’m going to decide to not eat it for another five months when it’s all over.

We survived on Gardenia. I don't recommend it, though.

We survived on Gardenia. I don’t recommend it, though.

Tip: bring your own portable stove so you don’t condemn yourself to chewing Gardenia all day. You can also buy charcoal in San Antonio if you want to cook in the beach the traditional way. Don’t forget to purchase food, water and toiletries in the town.

There are tricycles where the bus stopped at San Antonio. After a few minutes of nervous discussion on what to do next, Chemae proposed that we hire a tricycle to get us all the things we needed and get us to Pundakit, the town where we’re supposed to ride a boat to Anawangin.

Continue reading


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A is for “Am Outta Here!”

A – Agreed to do it to be with her longer and uplift my sinking spirits for the last days of this year.

N – Not gonna see her during the Christmas vacation so I’m getting worried.

A – Amazing chance to be with her, alone, in a little piece of heaven on earth.

W – Wish it was Saturday already and I’m peering at the sea from my tent.

A – Apprehensive about the budget, but I’m lucky when it matters so this should work.

N – Not possible without the 13th month pay.

G – God, help us make fire and surpass cavemen.

I – I haven’t told my family yet that I’ll be gone over the weekend.

N – No going back. We’ve already bought the tent and I already crave for her too much.


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