I’d like to start this post with a one-word preamble: Waterproof. I’ll explain further below:).
We are one of the privileged corporate rats to have fixed weekend rest days. Considering that, plus the fact that holy week is the most coveted season for a lot, I mean REALLY A LOT of people in the metro and all over to go on a vacation (being that it’s usually a long weekend), we wanted a vacay without having to elbow our way through people with the same purpose and being part of what’s already over-rated: the crowded resorts and usual places for vacation. It was an Overnight stay. Not so bad. It was actually better than some people can get.
With only the web as our source for info and contact we were able to come up with a firm plan of going on a trip. The Destination? Not so far, Zambales that is, the actual place? Nagsasa Cove. You might have heard of Anawangin Cove, well it’s almost the same scenery for both, Nagsasa just happened to be more peaceful, relaxing and most importantly, not crowded.
Nagsasa Cove is less than 30minutes away from Anawangin. But the added travel time is definitely worth it.
This kind of trip by the way, is for people who are brave enough to face constant wavy waters. The kind that’s 2 to 5 feet and sometimes more. If you fear even the thought of it, I guess this is the part where you stop reading, hehehe. Well it shouldn’t be a problem because the trip is so much safe. I mean for whatever we do there always something that could go wrong, so this trip doesn’t really exempt itself from being a mainstream. So much for sugar-coating, I’d like to emphasize 3 important things about this kind of trip- Fun, Wallet-Friendly, and Refreshing.
Must Bring: (you can forget your cover-ups or wetsuits, the area doesn’t have swimwear restrictions, you can even leave your phone, it’s useless in the cove area. Well u might wanna take it it with you in case that’s your source of music, it’ll come handy).
Water, source of fire (matches/lighter), flashlight (if it’s rechargeable, make sure it’s fully charged, there’s no electricity in the island), food, a lot of sunscreen protection, and garbage bag (going back to my preamble, garbage bag is your dependable friend in waterproofing job for this kind of activity). This is a trip to an island in a small motor-boat than can carry a maximum of 5 people including the boatman. So don’t expect boat ramps and spacious boat leg room. It is highly imperative that there’s wetting(don’t be sleazy, it’s from sea water and rain if you’re that lucky:D) involved. The boat is prepared, they have a huge plastic bag where all passengers’ baggage will be kept. But for the sake of avoiding unwanted scenes, just be ready. I bet you don’t wanna wear salt rinsed clothes. Just imagine your underwear, hahaha. My friend had to sun dry his clothes because he dropped his backpack. During the bus trip while we were packing our clothes in large plastic bags, and finally to our bags, he was boasting that his bag is water proof and he will not need to do what we were doing. The material was indeed dependable. But he still had to dry all his things because he dropped his bag and a waterproof bag is just of no good during this kind of situation:).
Departure from MLA(around 3 hrs trip). It’s best to take the first trip- 7am(be sure to be there at 6am because the bus can leave at an earlier time upon completing seats), so that by lunch you’re at Nagsasa cove already or at least just a little after lunch, thus you’ll have more time spent relaxing than waiting or travelling. We took Victory Liner(Munoz) going to Olongapo, one that goes straight to Iba Zambales, just tell the Bus Manager (kundoktor lang talaga, haha) to drop you off at the town of San Antonio. They usually stop at the front of the municipal hall.
At the back of the hall, is the public market where you can buy things that you need, esp those that are bulky and uncomfortable to carry if you’re commuting. If you’re a hardcore backpack traveler, you can have your lunch in the market area(like we did). They have this building of karenderia– a hall that goes around to the same entrance/exit, all serving food. They actually cater mostly to travelers because of the perfectly woven bus sched. I don’t have much idea on how to go there when you’re driving your own vehicle because during the bus ride I was shut asleep(we work at night so pls don’t blame me, hehe). I can remember one thing which is passing through a Pampanga tollgate, the rest are dreams:). From The town proper our boatman/contact himself came on a trike with 2 more. we were 9, so 3 on each. They drove us to Brgy San Miguel where we will be riding the boat to Nagsasa.
We were on the boat for approximately an hour. The weather was lovely, the scenes were breathtaking, I almost wanted to have my own island there:P. Upon arrival we set up our grilling area, tents(which we rented from the boat owner as well) and ourselves. Relaxation, photo ops, chats about a lot of things and adoring the whole place. Came 4pm, we had to start cooking our food because it’ll be pitch dark even @5:30pm. It was indeed. Lucky us, we had a camp cooking set. We cooked our rice and dinner food just about the same time, plus with our “Inihaw na Saba” merienda from time to time. Our contact/boatman was so nice, we asked him if he can prepare for us a marinated liempo so that when we get there it’ll be ready for grill, and he did. Of course it was included to what we paid. After eating we had to take a bath already because there’ll be a scarcity of water. Skinny dipping is not really a blessing in this place. Unless you can sleep after just drying yourself from sand and sea water.
At night we set up a bonfire, which we had to pay PhP100 for the wood to the island keepers. That’s because they literally gather and keep them. You will not find a single wood for bonfire but a stick, hahaha. We had a little exchange of stories over a small bottle of vodka, just enough to send us to slumber. The place was safe. I guess we were lucky with the people who went there at the same time with us. No one touched our food or things, they were just by the hut while we were sleeping inside our tents.
The Nagsasa cove sunrise is equally beautiful as the (high)daytime and sunset. It’s so calm and refreshing esp if you wake up at around 5:30am. After our breakfast and numerous picture taking, some took a dip in the morning sea. Shortly after, we were guided to the Falls area of the Cove. it was a 1-hour trek under a hot daytime sun with seldom breeze and sheds from trees. The mountains and plains are composed mostly of rocks, that’s why there’s not much tress growing there. During summer going there is not promoted because there is no actual water falling anywhere. Nevertheless, the place is still lovely. After the trek, we went for a swim and just before lunch we had our Island tour. To Capones(where the lighthouse is erected) and to Anawangin Cove, then back to Brgy San Miguel. Our Contact/boatman was a nice catch that he even allowed us to shower at his house, since we didn’t do it before the Island tour.
We had our lunch in another karenderia in the town proper and queued for a bus. luckily the first one that arrived was a straight-to-Manila-route-bus.
I would say, this kind of trip is perfect for circle of friends and intimate relationships. It’s where you get to appreciate nature and you getaway to something unusual from something usual.
Breakdown of the Expenses:
Bus Fare: PhP260 pax-one way
Boat: PhP2,000 4pax(max) – roundtrip (inclusive of 2 containers of drinking water and things lent to us- huge Ice box already with ice, knife, and a pot)
Tent: PhP400 for a capacity of 4 people or PhP300 for 2people
Food: we paid PhP300 for a 3 kgs marinated liempo, the rest we brought and bout from the market.
your expenses on food will also depend on your consumption and preference, but since this is a camping trip, char-cooked food is the best, imagine what we did with saba and tasty bread, hahahaha.
Nipa hut: PhP100
Overnight stay at the cove: PhP100
Woods(for bonfire): PhP100
Guide to the Falls: PhP50 pax
Some other things you might want to bring when you go there:
Own water bottle
Toiletries (no store there)
IF YOU HAPPEN TO GO THERE PLEASE HELP KEEP THE ISLAND (and the earth, for this matter) CLEAN. LET’S MANAGE OUR GARBAGE THERE AND MINIMIZE PLASTIC. LET’S KEEP A GREENER WORLD NOT OUR MINDS:)
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