Thursday, December 26, 2013

One Summer Camp Tale in Zambales

Summer is one of the best time of the year to try something new in travel. One of the new things I try is camping. I never experience this kind of activity while in another place. As a first timer, I find it exciting and unique for a summer activity. And the camping sites in the coves of Zambales were the perfect place for one memorable summer camp tale.

The beauty of Nagsasa Cove from the boat's eye view.
I was scouting for a place to spend my birthday with friends when I stumble upon Zambales weekend camp escapades. It was a perfect place to spend summer and to discover Zambales' beautiful beaches, hidden beauty of nature and charming coves. So I invited my friends and went off to San Antonio, Zambales for a 5 hour bus trip. There is only limited bus schedule that goes directly to San Antonio so we take an alternate option by taking an Olongapo bound bus (3 hour ride from Manila) and then change bus for an hour and a half trip to San Antonio.

The beauty of Zambales.
Mountain ranges of San Antonio, Zambales.
Since we're on a camping trip, we bought our food supplies first at the public market of San Antonio before going to the port of Barangay Pundaquit where the boats are located that will bring us to the coves. After buying enough food supplies that we will cook, we took a 15 minute trycycle ride to Pundaquit were our guide and bangkero, Marvin is waiting for us for the boat trip. San Antonio is a second class municipality of the province of Zambales where one of its 14 barangays is Pundaquit - the jumpoint to its islands, beaches, and coves.

In Zambales, there are many coves and islands to choose from to visit. Bangkeros or boatmen that also serves as guides to these sights offers standard island hopping rates for various packages that visitors can choose from. As the organizer of the trip, I choose to camp in Nagsasa Cove for its secludedness, quietness and wonderful sights with a side trip visit to Anawngin Cove and Camara Island. Another famous island for its lighthouse, Capones Island and Talisayin and Silanguin Coves can be visited as well depending on your preferred choice of island hopping package with bangkeros.

From Pundquit port, I can already see the island of Camara and Capones but we will first visit the famed camping cove of Anawangin first. It is a 30 minute boat ride to Anawangin Cove where upon arrival you'll be greeted by lined Agoho trees (Pine trees). Anawangin Cove has many beautiful mountain ranges to view but I find it very crowded since there are a lot of campers and visitors in its camping sights. It is also unfortunate to see that its beach shore is eroded deeply making it a very low shoreline to the water. But on the good side, Anawangin Cove has a gorgeous pine tree forests to explore towards its inner area where table picnics and benches for group gatherings and lunches can be found. On the other side, there is an intersecting lake within the pine tree forests that visitors cannot only explore for photoshoots and scenic viewing but also do kayaking activity. I explore those sights of Anawangin except doing a hike to its hilly ranges to view the cresent moon shape cove of Anawangin. I explore the shores again before me and my friends return to the boat again to proceed to our camping cove.

The shores of Anawangin Cove greets you with this scenic line of pine trees.
Bejeweled beauty of Anawangin Cove.
Nagsasa Cove is our next destination. This is where we will stop for an overnight camping. From Anawangin Cove, it is approximately 40 minute boat trip to Nagsasa Cove. I felt it was a very long boat ride to Nagsasa but good thing is the sea waves are calm so boat ride is smooth but my eyes were the one in real delight. My eyesight feasted to the beautiful mountain ranges and gorgeous seascape of Zamabales' landscape and seascape while enroute to the cove. The amazing beauty of nature made up for the long boat ride to Nagsasa Cove which is an eyesight delight too!

Setting our tent at Nagsasa Cove.
From the boat's eyeview of Nagsasa Cove, it is wider and huge than Anawangin Cove. It has a charm of its own that visitors will surely fall in love with. The mountain ranges and hills are stunning and bewitching. Whether you look to your left or to your right eye view, you will be greeted by its astonishing beauty. We arrived at almost 12 noon - just the right time to prepare our lunch meals. I was still in awe to the beauty of Nagsasa Cove. It wasn't just stunning. It is beyond marvelous, something divine beauty in it. The shoreline, the white sand beach and the mountain ranges that makes you feel you're not in the country but somehwere in New Zealand or Switzerland mountains as your daily nature backdrop while fronting you are calm waters and at the back are scenic pine trees - Nagsasa Cove is a complete bliss for nature lovers like me!

Just one of side of beauty of Nagsasa Cove.
Our boatmen and guide, Marvin leave us this time at the cove. He will fetch us the day after in the morning for the continuaton of our island hopping. We prepare our lunch and thereafter we set up our tent for the overnight sleep. I find it fun and exciting to cook our own meals in camping style and setting up our tent. We cook a lot of food as if a feast is coming well its my birthday but also because it is enough up to dinner because there is no electricity in Nagsasa Cove which it will be hard to cook dinner by night time. Taking a restroom, using water and washing in the cove's campsite is not a problem. There's a clean restroom and enough tap water from the mountains to use. I also had a great bonding time with my friends upon seeting our tent. It was all first time activity for me that's why I'm enthusiastic to all this camping activity.

Since there is no electricity in the cove, you have to fully charged all your electronic gadgets before going there or else your memories of Zambales camping trip will be ruin in total regret! Beware also that there no mobile signal in the coves too. And stores for your needs are scarce and if there is, it is very expensive since you are in a remote place. It's a total seclusion to the busy urban life to fully appreciate Zambales' beauty.

Zambales Sunset.
After we settle our meals, its time to explore the cove of Nagsasa. The cove is wide and I think an afternoon exploration is not enough to see and visit all of it. We even failed to swim in its waters because we we're so into exploring the cove.We started going to its left side to explore Biri Biri Camp where there are huge rock formations to explore We spend a lot of time there that we were caught by sunset time at the area. Zambales sunset is totally stunning just like Nagsasa Cove. It was undoubtedly breathtaking as it goes down behind the mountain ranges.

Birthday night dinner at Zambales.
It was getting dark so we return to our camp site for dinner. But before we dine, my friends suddenly surprise me with birthday cupcakes to celebrate my birthday night! I'm delighted and extremely happy to their surprise because I'm clueless and wondering on how did they hide those cupcakes in their backpack bags considering we went on a long and rough ride. We had a feastful dinner, enjoy sharing stories in front of the bon fire while roasting hotdogs and ended toasting a booze of beers and Irish cream to celebrate my birthday and our happy stay in Zambales until we got drunk.

The following morning, Marvin fetch us very early to continue our island hopping. We quickly settled our things especially our tent and leftover food. Before we got on the boat, we savor our last stay in Nagsasa Cove by taking addtional souvenir photos on top of the previous day that we had. Then, we're off again into the sea to cruise for an hour to Camara Island - our last destination in Zambales.

The islet at Camara Island.
Camara Island has a pristine white-sand beach and an islet connected by a sandbar that submerges when the level of tides changes. The scenic seascape of the island makes it an ideal for summer photoshoot. The island also has shallow waters ideal for a relaxing swim. Other sections of the island has nice spots for sunbathing, for viewing seascape sceneries and for beach bumming. After we stay for photoshoots, exploration and a 15 minute swim, we left Camara Island to return to Pundaquit port which is just a 10 to 12 minute boat ride from the island.

Camara Island from Pundaquit Beach.
I amor Zambales too!
We ate our remaining meals at a nearby beach hut resorts in Pundaquit which also offers bathroom use services for a minimal fee. We took a bath and fix ourselves so we look fresh when we arrive to Manila later. By 1pm, we took an Olongapo bound bus that passes across the main street on the opposite side fronting San Antonio Municipal Hall. The bus arrived at Cubao bus station just enough time that I can catch my night shift duty schedule that day.

I'm glad that I was able to celebrate my birthday with my friends this time. I had a good laugh, shared stories, happy moments and joyful bonding with them. I'm also glad to celebrate my birthday along with the high time of Summer season on a perfect summertime places of Zambales. With all of these ingredients of a perfect summer trip adventure, this trip is definitely a memorable one summer camp tale!

One Summer Camp Tale in Zambales is part of my Zambales trip blog series that happened last March 18-19, 2013. This is my third trip of Summer 2013 and part two of my birthday travel trip.
You may also like to read the other parts of the series. (Link available soon)
+ Anawangin Cove: In one Summer Camp Tale in Zambales
+ Nagsasa Cove: In one Summer Camp Tale in Zambales
+ Camara Island: In one Summer Camp Tale in Zambales 


  1. It's been a while, sorry for the long hiatus in travel blogging. Merry Christmas everyone!

    1. This is also definitely my last post of 2013 too... I hope readers learn a lot from this blog throughout 2013. May all of us have a great year of travel and more to come this 2014. Cheers and Happy 2014!

  2. hindi ko pa napupuntahan to sana ngayong 2014 mabisita narin to :) pwede to sa summer....

    1. Tamang-tama ang punta dito pag-summer... Piliin nyo lang na hindi weekend para mas hindi crowded.

  3. Our Anawangin trip was one of the most memorable not only because of the beach, the scenery, the camping experience, and the trek but because of the giant waves that slammed our boat while navigating back to Pundaquit.

    I enjoyed it a lot but it was traumatic to some of my companions. Memories...anyway...

    Hmmm, you my name is also iAn :-)
    Cheers to your travels this year!

    1. I'm glad you also had a great experience in Zambales... Thanks for reading my story. More travels to you as well this 2014!

  4. Halos sabay pla birthday natin sir ;) Nagsasa is beautiful... i hope to visit it on my birthday as well.. hehe

    1. Try to plan it this coming March... it is so worth it. Cheers we're both March celebrants. The perfect month to travel!

  5. hi ian,

    I have a questions. From Davao here, Kaya ba ang 1 and a half na visit sa Anawangin at Nagsasa, then proceed naman sa hundred islands sa pangasinan for another day naman?

    From Davao here and we plan to visit these places, hopefully this MAY...

    Friday - Arrive in Manila and off to San Antonio Zambales (overnight) - 4 hours trip
    Saturday - explore Anawangin and Nagsasa and Capones
    Saturday Night - off to Alaminos, Pangasinan
    Sunday - explore 100 islands
    Monday Morning - Off to Manila (6 hours)
    Monday evening - Flight back to Davao

    Btw, kasing ganda din ba ang lugar na ito ng sa Palawan? I read na you've been to PP na rin. Plan sana ng group namin mag Palawan, but walang promo fare ang Davao-PP :)


    1. I think doable yung 4 days na sinasabi mo basta alam nyo yung sakayan going to Alaminos, Pangasinan. Pero I think mas malayo sya from Zambales coming from Manila.
      Regarding Palawan, kung i-compare mo sya sa Zambales at Hundred Islands mas maganda sa Palawan dahil mas organized ang sistema ng turismo dun. Pero kung sa lugar na pupuntahan at makikita pareho lang sila ng PPS, yan ay according to me. Sa iba maaring iba opinion but for me pantay sa sila sa mga lugar na magaganda,

  6. Seeing this made me crave more for Nagsasa cove. I am planning to go there alone at least before the 20th but still looking for the cheapest possible way to enjoy these coves. anyway, thanks for this blog! Keep it up!

    1. Thanks Lavern for reading... Come back soon when I released the series that will follow about my adventures in Zambales.

  7. hello sir. i'm planning to go at nagsasa/anawangin this march. it could be very helpful if you can give me the breakdown of your expenses when you went there. thanks po.. God bless!:)

    1. We avail a 950 per person package from a bangkero. Food and bus ticket not included. For more info, email me at


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