It’s More Fun in the Philippines: ANAWANGIN ZAMBALES

Warning: Overloaded with pictures!! ^-^

ANAWANGIN is a famous camping site in Zambales. If you’re up for challenge and adventure then you would definitely enjoy the experience of simple back to basics kind of living at the Anawangin Cove. Anawangin Cove was a secret hideaway for campers and mountain hikers before it become famous for its unusual growth of ‘pine trees’ along its shore, for its crystal clear water and white sands. Besides from that a picture perfect landscape of the rocky mountains surrounding it, which makes it isolated from the technology of humans.

My friends and I decided to go to Anawangin, Zambales for 2 days (June 9-10, 2012) for a summer getaway “huling hirit sa tag-init” and my post birthday celebration. It’s my first time to be there and the place never seems to run out of amazing things to offer.

Picture first before heading in meeting place: L-R: Letard, Borbs, Gaena, Me, Michael

Our trip started by leaving Araneta Center Cubao around 4am, which was supposed to be at 3am. We were in a group of 9. At around 9am, we reached the town of San Antonio in Zambales to buy our last minute things for the camping experience but we didn’t buy anything assuming that we already had everything that we need since we had cooked foods and canned goods for the whole trip. The others went out to buy some liquor, Soda drinks, charcoal, fish and bottled water. It is highly recommended to buy everything that you need either on your point of origin or along the public markets along the way as it is way cheaper comparing it when you buy in the island. Aside from that it is highly recommended as well to bring with you some emergency kit, cooking utensils, cooking oil, vinegar or any other condiments. However, though there are some “sari-sari” stores along the beach where you could buy some stuffs.

And then it was a sunny morning, in 15 minutes or less, we reached Pundaquit to ride the boat, which is a fishing village and the docking area bound to Anawangin, Nagsasa cove and Capones Islands. This was also the place of preparation for the camp, where the tents, water, and cooking utensils were available for rent or for sale. There were a lot of fishing boats here complete with names to identify their owners. The Pundaquit shores also had some resorts and few gorgeous private vacation homes.

Clockwise: Michael, Borbs, Kat and Jen
Me :)
L-R: Kat, Me, Gaena, Jen

We were definitely all psyched up despite the lack of sleep and the tiring travel, not to mention the heavy loads. And off we crossed the sea, appreciating the wonders of nature. Voila! The sight of Anawangin Cove brought the sun shining more and the anticipation just won’t stop growing. Excited, nervous and bliss…..It was mixed emotions. Since this is my first camping trip ever the feeling is rather overwhelming.

The boys: L-R: Richard, Michael, Borby, Francis and Marvin

The view of Pundaquit, specially the mountain, fro the boat was ravishing! So relaxing view of the sky, the mountains and the waves water of the sea. There were not so much trees growing at the mountain because its mainly made of solid rock. Only a few plants and much more of a bamboo like plant grows at the mountain.

After a 30-minute ride in the boat, I was finally stepping at Anawangin Cove. I was really excited to experience this, away from the usual day in the city without any connection to the outside world.

Anawangin offers a one of its kind. Truly one can proudly say: “WOW PHILIPPINES!!” or indeed its “MORE FUN IN THE PHILIPPINES”. The beauty of Anawangin cove is adorned with beautiful sceneries of the sea. The enchanting forest is another attraction where everyone can look for pieces of woods for burn fires. Pine trees, lake, and a picture perfect forest specifically designed by everyone who wants to take a photo of the enchanting and yet majestic forest of Anawangin.

Anawangin doesn’t give the comfort of luxurious or budget friendly hotels. It doesn’t give the trend and beauty of technologies. Above all it doesn’t give you the noise of loud strumming music and clubs. It doesn’t give the entertainment of modern party place like any other commercialized tourist destination in the Philippines. It gives a totally different package. Good thing, the place was still isolated from electricity and doesn’t even have signal from the three mobile networks.

It was like I can’t believe what I’m seeing. It’s natural wonder, it’s clear waters, the growing pine trees and take note, there’s no coconut tree here. Not even one local lives here before but because of its ownership, caretakers of the land almost lives here, making business from their nipa hut store selling necessities like food and water at a whooping price.

There are also a few people who are selling souvenir item. Aside from that, before going to the cove you can also rent a tent with bangkero’s. Other activities to choose from are mountain trekking/climbing  on a early morning or before the sunsets and island hoping from nearby islands of Anawangin.

We stayed at the front part of the camping grounds near the entrance since different owners had their own set of frequent travellers, who brought in tourists. A minimal fee was asked for camping overnight but if its included to your travel package going to Anawangin, you need not worry anymore.

I don’t know if the trees were young or just really grow like this, thin branches with not so many leaves to cover the ground. Worrying about the water to use for cleaning or taking a bath?? There’s a deep well free for everyone to use. There were even toilets and dressing rooms for everyone to share.

The guys set up the tent was easy but finding a good shade for the tent was not easy because it’s really scourging hot for us to stay inside the tent during daytime but windy enough to chill and relax. Noontime came and we had to prepare for our lunch, we were really prepared for this since we bought cooked foods and rice. After lunch we decided to rest and play some card games until 4pm so that the sun would be settling down and we could start swimming in the beach, decided to take the risk of sun burn and ran into the water. Things didn’t just end there, after an hour of enjoying the water and waves, an impulse came to hike the mountain, we had our mini-trek to the small mountain top. After you reach the point where water from the river meets the sea water, there’s a way leading to the top of a small mountain. We all succumbed to the thirst for adventure and doing everything we can while we’re in that beautiful scenic spot. It was a shaky hike for me. The shoe wear was nothing, it was slimy and unsteady and the terrain was barely there so we really have to make our own way, wet as we are, and tired at that. We kept climbing but at the back of my mind this is kind of dangerous. The sun is almost setting; I can feel the darkness’ on its way, fear crippling me. It’s always wiser to be safe than sorry, but I want to see what’s up there and promised the whole worth of the strenuous climb. And then, we were there. It was like heaven-timed and sent. Breath-taking. Inspiring. Humbling, I must say. Anyway, I decided to enjoy the scenic views that we passed by. The weather was good and I told to myself that I will enjoy this trip no matter what…

This was the view from the first few steps of the hiking. The water was so blue!! Going up was really hard since stepping stones were not stable. The soil color was red to orange and the only thing you could hold on to was the bamboo grass.

This was the stunning view of the other side of the cove from the top of a small mountain we trekked. No one was camping at the other side of the cove and neither the fences were there. After catching our breaths from the small hike and had our picture taken, we went down the same path where we went up. It’s so dangerous when going down because of its steepness.

When we reached the ground safely, we went directly to the sea to take a dip. The sun was setting down and we need to go back to our campsite since there’s no electricity, it would be difficult for us to comeback. We also had to prepare our dinner. The guys hurriedly started the fire and cooked the marinated pork chop and grilled the fish.

We got rid of the salt and sand in our body with nothing else but poso water (manual, old water pump) with every stranger in the area watching and waiting for their turns. Every part of the experience, the uncivilized ways we had to take were all so rejuvenating. It was hard, inconvenient and gross but all worth the fun goes that goes with camping. While it’s getting dark more people started to flock at the deep well to rinse themselves and wash the cooking utensils that will be used for dinner.

These were the different signs from different land owners who own the cove doing some business. Each has it’s own sari-sari stores. Although, there were fees collected, they kept the shores and campsite clean. 

It’s that scene where you realize we are all dust on this earth; something greater is around us to be self-possessed and ego-maniacs. We are nothing compared to the nature surrounding each of us, and we are all self-serving at times when we think the world revolves around us; everything is all about us. It was more than post-card perfect; it was sanctuary to heal a soul. 

After dinner I decided to rest a while over a hammock under the starry night. As I woke up, bonfire has started, marshmallows roasted, vodka flowing already. I just a half full vodka and then me and my friend Gaena roasted some hotdogs and marshmallows. When I feel the sleepiness kick me off already I decided to camp out and doze at the hammock, thanks to OFF lotion there were no mosquitoes bites. 

Another day has set, and our final dip in the ocean. There’s sad anticipation of the day getting over, of course. While waiting for our boat to get us was the start of unending flow of ideas on how many ways summer escapades can be done. It was a laughtrip all the way, until the raging waves of the sea quieted us down. It was fierce. Rio Grande plus jungle Log jam many times over. I was conceptualizing already how I’m gonna reach the shore if ever the boat tumbles down. 

Sexy girls: Jen and Me :)
Close – up: L-R: Gaena, Jen and Me
Anawangin Baby!! <3

It was a tiring afternoon of June 10, 2012, and a perfect summer has just been created by ten adventurous, fun loving people. It was a weekend to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city and to momentarily spare ourselves of work related toxins, and so we did.

My jolly barkada are as wonderful as they are. Each of us brings magic to every trip we had or to every gathering we organize. We don’t have a piece of dull moments when together. Being happy despite trials and shortcomings is indeed part of their wide array of vocabulary. They call us loud we define it happily outspoken.

With its evergreen forest, gentle stream, breath taking views and off-white sand, Anawangin is one of the best beaches in Philippines near Manila for city people who wouldn’t mind roughing it out in the great outdoors. That was pretty much of it. It was a good day indeed and I was able to sleep soundly the whole night seriously. It was a really good experience when you are with your friends. :)))

This is the end of my ANAWANGIN ADVENTURE post.

The TEAM that ROCKS ANAWANGIN COVE!!! (June 9-10, 2012)


2 thoughts on “It’s More Fun in the Philippines: ANAWANGIN ZAMBALES

  1. I've also been to Anawangin and enjoyed, we had to get back to Subic before eve so we will consider the overnight camping next time. Love the photos! :)

    Potipot Island would also be a great option in case we could make it to Zambales again.


  2. Hi!! Thanks for visiting my blog! I'm glad to know you loved the photos I posted. :) Also, I really recommend you to experience the overnight camping in Anawangin when you go back there, it was such a really nice experience! Good day! :)


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