Monday, April 16, 2012

Anawangin, Nagsasa, and Capones; Island hoping on budget

The trip was originally designed to be an overnight camping in the uprising beach up north: Anawangin Cove in San Antonio Zambales. I could say that I was too excited and I insisted to invite myself for the adventure. And yes, I was in. The trip was planned by my former boss and his then fiance. It was intended to be a pure beach bumming activity in Anawangin but later on plans would escalate to something more fun than what I originally figured out.
The trip started with the team fetching me at Chowking Balintawak, ( Near Total Gas Station) It was a close to 5 hour trip till we reach the town of San Antonio. Our boatman, Mang Rolly was already expecting us. We had to pay him Php500 per person for the boat ride that would take us to Anawangin with side trips to Nagsasa and Capones.

Our voyage to anawangin started from Mang Rolly's designated jump off point: a beach resort along Baranggay San Miguel in the said township. I was a bit wondering why not the usual Pundaquit Route, maybe just like in Barreto, in Olongapo, their barangay officials or the beach owners impose entrance fees even though we are en route to Anawangin cove, this I was suppose to ask Mang Rolly but I was captured by the amazing beauty of San Miguel Beach where the waves are quite big suitable for board surfing. This could be the same beach my collegue keeps on telling me in his unending harrangue of his bedazlement and love of Zambales. I was amidst this thoughts when Mang Rolly and the rest of the group called my attention. Were ready to take off. This is the beginning of a close to an hour boat ride to Anawangin Cove.
Being used to the waves of the South China Sea, I was a bit of reluctant wearing the life vest provisioned in every passenger boat in this area. I had always trusted the waves along this part of the Philippine sea as opposed to the waves in the Pacific Ocean. Although everyone should be extra careful because waves here can be rough in the afternoon. We passed through the Pundaquit Mountain range and on the right side are the islands of Camara and Capones. Camara Island looks like a male shoe while Capones would remain to be an ordinary island if without the lighthouse erected at its peak. I was too busy thinking about Anawangin Cove that I really didn't bother much on how Capones would look like up close.I almost fall asleep until I noticed the rev of the boats engine tuned down. We were then in Anawangin Cove.

Anawangin to me is a more popular version of Sampaloc Cove, same grayish white sand, almost the same length of shoreline,the presence of a lake akin to Sampaloc Cove. the only difference is the volume of it visitors. I could say that Anawangin has its magical aura that is devoid of Sampaloc Cove. Despite it Anawangin and Sampaloc's kindred idiosyncracies, Anawangin has its distinct beauty and character distinct to its own. Its ambience, peaceful despite the presence of a crowd of excursionists from different walks of life.

The waters in Anawangin cove is perfect for swimming too. I had spotted a british family who, like the rest of the crowd are swimming like fish. The waters in the beach is a combination of clear to turquoise to jade. The coolness of its water is a healing potion for those sun worshipers who doesn't want to do anything but bathe under the sun, and play in the turquoise green waters.The antisocial in me got intimidated with the bunch of people along the beachfront and just got contented camerawhoring after a sumptuous lunch. I was also enticed to try Manangs Halo Halo but was too cautious it would taste plain so I asked Manang to add some more milk to my serving, luckily my charms worked and my serving of Halo Halo is not as disgusting as to that of Alec.

The lake in Anawangin cove is home to some fingerlings seeking for temporary abode. Placid and calm, the breeze that passes through it is soothing and viral to someone looking for inner peace.On the upper part of the lake you can see Mount Pundaquit. This is also a popular route for some mountainers who likes trekking the mountain en route to Anawangin Cove.

We never stayed long in Anawangin. As opposed to the original plan which is to stay overnight in Anawangin and just pitch in our tents at noon time, my boss decided to stay overnight in Nagsasa Cove. My austere personality was silently thankful of this abrupt changes in plan. Thanks goodness I could enjoy this adventure less the crowded place that is Anawangin. We left Anawangin Cove at exactly 2:00PM and reached Nagsasa Cove after roughly an hour of boatride.

Sunset In Nagsasa

Upon reaching Nagsasa Cove, Mang Rolly introduced us to Mang Martin, one of the owners in the Nagsasa stretch. Mang Martin who happened to be an acquaintance from Subic Zambales had been very attentive to our needs. He even gave me special discount for my tent rental. One thing I noticed from the time I set foot in Nagsasa is the opulent supply of free flowing water,as opposed to Anawangin where one has to fetch water from a makeshift water pump.

We had ample time swimming and playing in the calm waters of Nagsasa Cove. Unlike some of the beaches I've been to, the beach in Nagsasa Cove is family friendly. I say this because the seabed here is still shallow even if your distant away from the shoreline. And the calm waters of the beach is as gentle as its people. You cant help but smell the cool summer breeze coming from the mountain while staying afloat the waters. I filled my lungs with the air that my lungs had been wanting for so long, once again, I let myself asunder with the noise and pollutants of metro living, Once again I am free of this worlds complexities but this time enjoying the simple things that life can offer, that once again I am a child, yes Nagsasa is my piece of Paradise up north, indeed swimming in the afternoon is more fun in Nagsasa Cove.
Like most beaches in the Philippines sunset watching is a must do activity in Nagsasa cove. The view of the sun bidding adieu to the waters is such a bliss. Its a constant reminder of temporal communion with nature, that everything in this world is temporary, that we only live once therefore we should live our life the way we want it to, that we should cherish and invest not on the tangible ones but in our relationships. That life after all is not about the wealth that we gain as we grow old, that life after all is about relationships. Relationship with our loved ones, our relationship with the things unseen, relationship with our Divine creator, relationship with mother nature.
We pitched in our tent just near the cottage with an easy access to the bathroom. we had plans of spending the night with empoy session (Emperador Light Party) but something happened that broke our momentum. We ended up getting to our tents as early as 7:00 PM, I was still hoping someone would call me that would signal the party isnt over yet, but my hopes of getting drunk and pass out went astray. The winds coming from the mountain is like a lullaby bringig me to sleep. However the wind gets stronger as the night passes by, it was almost 2:00AM when I was saddenly awakened by the strong winds that seems to topple my tent, I was too afraid I hold on to the ground afraid that the wind could blew my tent carrying me and my teammates to the ends of the sea. I was literally shaking when the wind stopped. I uttered a sigh of relief that the wind was over. When asked Mang Martin told me such strong winds is normal phenomenon in Nagsasa Cove in the early part of summer.

We stayed until lunch time in Nagsasa cove. I enjoyed the rest of our stay swimming in its clear waters, with my new found travel friends Kaye, Mico and Alec. No one cares about getting sunburned, everyone just wanna enjoy the time left for us before we left Nagsasa for our Capones sidetrip.

The Lighthouse in Capones

We left Nagsasa Cove before lunch time. Our foods for lunch had been cooked in Nagsasa so we can have lunch as soon as we docked to Capones Island. We stayed in a lime stone formed cave and set up our picnic style lunch there. This part of the island is popular for picnics,here the sand is course white unlike the grayish white sand in Nagsasa and Anawangin. No entrance fees are imposed at least as of yet, hence some traces of plastic and other garbage are scattered in the area, courtesy of some of our not so environmentally friendly friends who wouldn't bother taking with them their rubbish as they leave the place.

From the cave it would take nearly an hour trek to reach the light house in Capones, so the team decided to take the alternate route which is taking the boat and swim to a the rocky shore that serves as the main entrance to the lighthouse. A bit dangerous way of getting to the lighthouse specially if there's current in the said point of entry. The waves here are a bit bigger but everyone was wearing their vests so getting off to the shore was not an issue. From the shore we climbed some close to a hundred steps, in total it would take at least 20 minutes trek to the lighthouse using this route.
According to one of our boatmen, Capones Lighthouse was built around 1890 or during the Spanish era. Looking around, the light house was still in good shape and there's a solar panel that I would say was just built recently, but the keepers house is a total wreck. My acrophobia stroke me and I didnt finish the climb to the lighthouse, after getting close to the top.Too bad I was really wanting an aerial shot of the island from its tower.

We left capones with a smile on our faces hoping someday we will be back and this time I will conquer the fear in me and will reach to its tower. It has been an early summer getaway full of adventure, less the expenses, all in all every member of the team spent Php1,400 for the 2 day adventure.

Banca Operator : Kuya Rolly
Contact Number : 09094989432


  1. sir ilan kayo nagpunta jan? magkano bayad nyo sa boat?

  2. Hi Efraim.. 7 pax kami... Php 3500 binayaran namin sa boat.. back and forth, Anawangin, then Nagsasa.. Tapos may side trip na to Capones Island..

  3. Ang ganda naman jan... were planning to go there on the second week of July.. may iba pa bang puwedeng i side trip pwera sa capones and Nagsasa na malapit lang din dun sa lugar???

  4. You can try Silangin Cove ( 1 hour away from Nagsasa) and Lansi, or if you have more time you can also visit Sampaloc cove which is an hour and a half away from Nagsasa cove..


    Roundtrip AC Van Manila-Zambales-Manila transfer All Included!
    (gas, tollfee, drivers meal & parking)
    P1200/head minimum of 12pax and above..
    P1300/head minimum of 10-11pax
    P1500/head minimum of 8-9pax

    Pick up along EDSA
    boat ride to Anawangin Roundtrip
    2 days 1 night stay in Anawangin(entrance fee included)
    OPTIONAL BOAT TOUR: island hopping to Capones &or Camara island
    or trekking to Capones lighthouse or snorkeling(if available)
    Trekking to Hilltop to anawangin (ask the caretaker)
    TENT FOR YOUR GROUP CAPACITY(3pax capacity each tents)
    cottage or table for your group
    cooking utensils(kaldero,kaserola,kutsitlyo etc.)
    cooler na with ice pa!
    Mineral water (For the group capacity)
    Bonfire woods 1set

    We also offers boat package only for those commuters or with their own vehicle…

    Package “B” Rates
    Meet up point: Town proper of San Antonio Zambs or to the Pundaquit port
    P 500 per head for 10 pax above
    P 550 per head for 8 -9pax
    P 650 per head for 6-7pax (big boat)
    P 550 per head for 5 pax


    boat ride to Anawangin Rountrip
    2 days 1 night stay in Anawangin(entrance fee included)
    OPTIONAL BOAT TOUR: island hopping to Capones &or Camara island
    or trekking to Capones lighthouse or snorkeling(if available)
    Trekking to Hilltop of Anawangin(ask the caretakers)
    TENT FOR YOUR GROUP CAPACITY(3pax capacity each tents)
    Cottage or table for your group
    Cooking utensils(kaldero,kaserola,kutsitlyo etc.)
    Cooler na with ice pa!
    Mineral water(For the group capacity)
    Bonfire woods (1set)

    for more info contact us at:
    Smart: 09185595597 or 09399398456
    TM: 09358118095
    Sun: 09223753555
    TExt or please call for immediate response..
    Look 4 Jen or Alan Arlantico
    Email us @: