If your looking for some fun in the sun this summer, an escape to Zambales is one of the best options (especially those within the National Capital Region)


Pundaquit Beach, San Miguel
Pundaquit Beach, San Miguel


There are plenty of reasons why this province just west of Pampanga and south of Pangasinan is all the hype during summer season. Here's some based on what I have read so far on cyber space.



One: Location


Zambales is part of Central Luzon. Travelling there is easy and hassle free since major highways and roads pass by Central Luzon. Also, Zambales is few kilometers away from Clark International Airport. 

Two: Plenty of things to do


You can go on the beach, hike and trek a famous volcano, surf at San Felipe, visit Subic Bay for night life or camp on the coves and inlets of the province and join a handful festivals of the different baranggays of the province. To name a few, Fiesta Poon Bato, Mango Festival of Iba and Singkamas Festival of San Marcelino.

Three: Grandeur and Simplicity into one


Since 60% of the province composes of its Zambales Mountains, you can feast your eyes to this mountain range grandeur and finest. Even Mount Pinatubo boast a scenery that is world class!

Four: Plenty of places to visit

Mount Pinatubo, Pinatubo Lake, Anawangin, Capones, Nagsasa, Potipot Island. Need I say more?

Five: A place to disconnect and connect at the same time

With these places and tourist spots, they promote the same idea. To experience the world and forget about the complexity of human endeavours. Connect with mother nature and reflect on the things that matter. 

With this check list in mind, me and closest friends ventured last holy week to this province famous summer destinations: Anawangin - Nagsasa - Capones Island Summer Getaway!

San Antonio: Starting Point

From Manila, you can get to San Antonio, Zambales via Iba or Sta. Cruz in Victory Liner Caloocan

Victory Caloocan - Iba - Sta. Cruz
Victory Caloocan - Iba - Sta. Cruz
Or you can ride a bus going to Olongapo from there ride again another bus going to Iba and ask the driver to drop you off at the Municipal hall of San Antonio.

Landmark for your Bus Stop in San Antonio

Food.

From the drop off you can access the public market behind the municipal hall. All you need for a overnight stay at the island havens of Zambales can be bought here. This one for me was the hardest to do: plan what to eat and estimate the amount. Sticking to the Itinerary was easy but organizing what to buy for your supplies? Uhmmm yeah. Bahala na..


San Antonio Public Market

Famous for their Singkamas and Pakwans

Watermelons - Summer Fruit





Transportation and Tour

Talk about convenience. I have read on line about a certain Mang Johnny Olegario to be a favourite local travel guide. Few weeks before we went to Zambales, we contacted Mang Johnny and her wife Ate Peechy for reservation. They just told us to show up at the 7 Eleven in San Antonio and they would take care of the rest. Indeed they did and more!!


Here Mang Johnny's Contact number: 0920-222-4687 or 0915-287-8079



Total Damage

265 pesos Manila to San Antonio

1500 per boat Good for 3 (additional 300 per boat to cover Capones Island in tour).

300 per Tent rental

2000 for food good for 9 people
50 entrance on Anawangin cove
100 per pax overnight stay at Nagsasa Cove
100 cottage rental at Nagsasa cove
100 electricity rental at Nagsasa cove

Island Hopping Experience.

Anawangin Cove
Team Joahnie Marie bound for Anawangin

Due to the impending onslaught of #TyphoonChedeng (#SuperTyphoonMaysak) that weekend April 4 and 5. We initially planned to stay in Anawangin cove since its closer to the main land. 

Upon arriving in Pundaquit beach, starting point for boat travel to the islands, ate Peechy greeted us and offered us to stay in Nagsasa Cove. The reason being is Anawangin Cove has too many campers already and also Nagsasa Cove is a better option for camping. With regards to the Typhoon threatening to wreak havoc in Central Luzon, ate Peechy assured us that its not gonna affect Zambales. We didn't argue since we are no men and women of the sea. We just held on to their years of experience with one of the most fearsome force of nature.

Although Nagsasa is farther than Anawangin Cove (30 to 40 minute boat ride more from Anawangin), each of these coves have basic amenities like open cottages, water sources, toilet, and a 24-hour store selling canned goods, water, etc.

ANAWANGIN COVE



Boat ride in Zambales
Boat ride going to Anawangin Cove, Zambales

We started the tour by visiting Anawangin Cove first. Again this was the most popular camping site. There were plenty of people when we arrive although the cove is not yet fully populated with summer head junkies.

Anawangin
Anawangin Cove and its Pine wood Forest
Foot Bridge of Anawangin Cove

There is a small lake in the camping site. It was murky and knee deep. It adds a unique touch to your photos especially while crossing the bridge. 




Among other activities in the cove was hiking a hill to see the entire cove at a higher elevation for 50 per pax. We didn't push thru with it because we were hungry as it was already 1 PM and we didn't had lunch at the town proper of San Antonio. 




We eagerly went back to the boat and made our way to our humble abode for a day, Nagsasa Cove.


We were lucky that the waves were calm that afternoon, no indication that a weather disturbance was within PAR ( ehem Chedeng).

Zambales Mountain
Zambales Mountain



And the view going to the coves were a picture of Grandeur. Mountains ranges welcomed us with full view no clouds what so ever to cover them. 



The water was the bluest I've seen and within the shores of the cove were crystal clear. You can see the kelp and sea plants shadow swaying in the calm wave of the sea.


Kelps/Sea Plants visible in the waters

NAGSASA COVE



Upon arriving to Nagsasa were immediately directed to Mang Johnnys patron cottage rental place of Ate __ (forgot the name sorry). According to Kuya Ryan, one of our boat drivers, there place doesn't run out of water and electricity unlike the other rental cottages. Although around 12 midnight the generator was off and the water pumps were down around 11 PM and went back after an hour or so.






In our stay at Nagsasa, we set up camps around our cottage. 4 tents. 3 from our reservation with mang Johnny priced at 300 per tent and the other one was my Tent, the Yellow Sexy Tent. It is a 2-3 person tent. Brand is Hanlu. It was Y.S.T. first beach camping!!!

Yellow Sexy Tent!

Yellow Sexy Tent First Beach Camping

After setting camp we then prepared our food for the day; Grilled Bangus, Adobong Pusit, Ensaladang talong, Red egg with tomatoes plus Pakwan, Singkamas and Mangoes.

Fruits and Veggies

Ensaladang Talong with Tomato and Mango

Red Egg and Tomato

Milk Fish - Bangus Inihaw

The good thing about booking with Mang Johnny is that they will provide you with cooking utensils. And our boat driver/tour guide also became our cooks and chefs. They did the cooking while we prepare the ingredients. Hassle Free!!! Don't forget to thank them and ask them to join you in eating.


Chow Time!

After eating our hefty meal, we head on the hill (left side of the cove facing the sea) to chase the sunset. There is a 20 per person entrance fee.


20 per Head hiking the hill on Nagsasa Cove

Spectacular Sunset awaits us on the top.







From the shore, the sunset was eye catching but from the hill, the sunset was magical!!
"Ang Ganda" we all uttered synchronously. We watched the sun go down while enjoying the full view of Nagsasa Cove.

Nagsasa Cove

Go Pro Moments

Team Onyx on Nagsasa Cove

Jump Shot!

After our chasing sunset escapade we head on the beach for a quick dip.


Freshly Burned grass on the Hill of Nagsasa

Later in that night after some fun, games and Emperador lights, we head on the beach to lit up our Sky Lanterns.


1 out of 4. That's our success rate.




Our first attempt took us minutes to float it to the air. Then other sky lanterns were epic fails.

CAPONES ISLAND

Early in the morning we were told to pack up. Around 7 AM, we bid farewell to Nagsasa Cove and headed to Capones Island.

Morning at Nagsasa Cove

Packing up for Capones Island

At our first land on the Capones Island, I was disappointed. The beach we ported on was not what I was expecting. So we asked the guides if we can go to the Light house instead.

This was not the prettiest Sand Bar, Go Around the Island!

Arriving at the cove of the light house you can see the corals below clearly. Kelps and sea plants are abundant.

Approaching the Light House Shore
Rocky Shore
On the shore, instead of sand bar, rocks beds welcomed us. Hirap bumaba sa bangka, sakit sa paa. I had a hard time disembarking from the boat. I slipped from the mossy rocks on the sea floor. Got blisters and soar feet. But arriving at the top, adrenaline pumps with the sight seen from the hill of the Light house.

Climbing Light house

On top of the hill

Entrance to the abandoned Light house

Forgotten Light house

Mystery blankets this Capones Light House

Us, the Lighthouse and the Capones Island



Other sand bars of Capones Island
You can see the other sand bars of Capones. Prestine and seemingly Virgin.
The Lighthouse was abandoned after the solar panels were destroyed and people stole the other machines of the facility after no plans to rehabilitate the Lighthouse. Such a shame.

Going back to Pundaquit Beach.

We bid farewell to Capones Island around 9:30 AM. We made our way back to Pundaquit beach and head home.
Mang Johnny and Ate Peechy accomodated us in there home to take a bath and freshing up before we head back to our respective homes. Such a big heart family. Thanks Mr and Mrs Olegario!!




From San Miguel, you hail a trike 20 per person going back to town proper of San Antonio. And from there bus going back to cubao/pasay or olongapo are passing by in the lane of 7 Eleven.

We had a great time at the 3 islands of Zambales. The 3 generations of Onyx class of Baguio City National High School (2001 2007 2008) plus 2 youthful teens made up the 9 Man Team Onyx 2015 (this is a made up name haha). Here's to another adventure soon!
If you want to make your stay in the Islands of Zambales you can contact Mang Johnnys Island Tours. Add them on Facebook and book now!!

For more pictures of the Different Coves and Island click one of these links:

Anawangin Cove, Zambales

Nagsasa Cove, Zambales

Capones Island, Zambales

1 comment:

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