Summer’s here and my first stop is Zambales, particularly Anawangin, Nagsasa and Capones. I celebrated my birthday weekend in Zambales which is very timely because my travel blogger friend (Nina) was itching to go to the beach. Another good timing is I have Polish colleagues who want to explore the Philippines while they’re working here so I asked them to come with me and 2 friends/colleagues who want to tag along.
I’ve seen a lot of photos about Anawangin, Nagsasa and Capones so my expectations are quite high. I already knew that going to these places mean that the the comforts of being inside a hotel room and dining in a restaurant are out of the question.
Travelling to San Antonio, Zambales
Saturday morning, 6 am. We met up at Victory Liner Cubao to catch the bus going to Olongapo. After 3 – 4 hours of bus travel to Olongapo, we rode the non-aircon bus going to Iba, Zambales. After about an hour, we went off at San Antonio to meet our boatman then rode a tricycle going to the beach were boats are docked.
Mang Johnny and one of his boatmen
Prior to arriving in Zambales, Nina was already communicating with Mang Johnny to arrange the things and food we need during the camping.
It is advisable to visit there as a group so that you can share the costs of the boat rental. It is better if you have your own tent but if you don’t, boatmen like Mang Johnny have something that be rented. For the food, we asked him to do the market for us and we divided the cost. Cooking is free of charge. 😀
Michal, one of my Polish colleagues
We were a group of 8 people so we have 2 separate boats. Our first stop was Anawangin which took us almost an hour to go there from the beach of San Antonio. The shoreline is short and there is a lake that separates the campsite and the beach. At the campsite, there are a lot of pine trees so bonfire is prohibited to avoid forest fire. One has to pay PHP 50 entrance fee before you can use the camp site. We only stayed there for a couple of hours then we headed to Nagasasa to camp for the night.
Anawangin was ok but not my ideal place to stay for the night. There were a lot of campers there also, I could just imagine if it’s the peak season. By the way, there are cubicles there which you can take a shower or change clothes.
The sun was about to set when we arrived at Nagsasa. Our boatmen prepared our tents and dinner. Because of the tiring travel going to Zambales, we rested at the beach while the others had a quick dip in the waters.
We all agree that Nagsasa is better than Anawangin because the camp site is just in front of the beach unlike in Anawangin where one needs to cross the lake before heading to the beach.
Dinner was ready and it’s now dark. Did I mention that there is no electricity here (and even in Anawangin and Capones)? Because we’re not usual campers, we forgot to bring candles or even flashlights. After dinner we decided to be cozy at the beach front while roasting smores by the bonfire. Wood can be bought for PHP 140.
I noticed that both Anawangin and Nagsasa do not have marine life or even corals so I asked our boatmen why. They said that Anawangin and Nagsasa coves were formed because of the Mount Pinatubo volcanic eruption during the 90’s. The beach fronts were formed due to the “lahar” / volcanic materials so it was only around year 2ooo’s when visitors flocked to these areas.
The unfortunate event
Weather forecast during the March 2nd to 3rd weekend was sunny but the unfortunate thing happened. While we were cozy by the bonfire, raindrops were getting bigger and bigger until it became a rain shower. We immediately sought refuge at a small cottage where we had our dinner but because there were also winds, we decided to go inside our tents. Then we realized that the water was slowly seeping in our tents so all we had to do really was to wish that the rain stopped. Yes, the rain did stop but only after 20 minutes. Some of us didn’t get much sleep but some of us did although soaked in wetness. Anyway, that’s part of the adventure. 🙂
Activities in Nagsasa? Half of the group likes to trek so they went to the mini waterfalls. And guess what group I was part of? I’m with the lazy ones who just prefer to have a dip in the waters or lie on the sand.
Before noon, we headed to our last stop which is Capones Island. Waves were a bit strong going there. In this island, I noticed that the sand had corals on it so it’s a sign that there is marine life surrounding this one. There’s a cliff which you can trek and from there, you will be able to see Zambales in a different perspective. Not really a fan of going up to cliffs :).
It is quite disappointing that I saw some trash by the shore. Capones Island is beautiful especially the rock formations.
For the overall costing, we spent PHP 960 per person which is inclusive of the boat ride, tents and food. We added a few Pesos as tip for our boatmen.
A weekend is enough to enjoy the three places although if you want to be alone (with no one noisy and drunk campers), I would suggest that you go there on a week day.
Summary of cost:
- Bus ride to and from Victory Liner Cubao to Olongapo – PHP 212, one way (travel time approx 2 – 3 hours without heavy traffic)
- Bus ride to and from Olongapo to San Antonio – PHP 44, one way (travel time approx 1 hour)
- Tricycle ride from San Antonio to boat – PHP 20
- Boat Rental overnight – PHP 2,500 for 4 persons (with free cooking)
- Tent Rental overnight – PHP 2,500 for 4 persons
- Bonfire – PHP 140
For more photos, please check my Zambales set in Flickr here.