My idea of a perfect weekend involves a long road trip, a stretch of fine white sand, a bunch of happy campers, a bonfire and a pack of marshmallows in an isolated island with no network signal at all. I want a total stress-free weekend lounging on a hammock listening to songs of my favorite artists and band. Can you imagine how fun it could be? If so happen that we share the same idea, you can head all the way to Anawangin Cove in Zambales to make it happen.
Anawangin Cove amongst the places to visit in Zambales is your perfect hideout, though you will find yourself among crowd of escapist you can still have that perfect lone time for yourself. Located just 4-5 hours away from the Metro and a good 20-30 minutes boat ride, you will find yourself in a crescent shaped cove endowed with lush pine forest not to mention its ash-spewed sea bed.
Travel tip: You can book package deals for your Anawangin trip for more convenience. You can have one for as low as 399php and it is inclusive with tent, boat ride and entrance to the cove.
Together with my office mates and a red Toyota, armed with a GPS, we journeyed our way to San Antonio, Zambales. It took us like 5 hours before we reached the town of Pundaquit, close enough to the supposed to be four hour trip. We rented a nipa hut in one of the resorts, cooked our foods, readied our things and waited for Mr. Sun. 6AM came and we were all set and ready for Anawangin.
Info: Aside from the deal you paid for the package from travel companies, there is a mandatory 200 php guide and environmental fee.
When we arrived in the area, we immediately look for the best spot for our camp. I took my breakfast and asked everyone to go and explore the place. Based from the pictures and the movies I’ve seen, the feel is as if I was in New Zealand. Over-looking mountain top, pine trees, the lake and the vibe – it was all beautiful.
Travel tip: Make sure to bring enough bottles or gallons of water with you. Also goes with the drinks and the alcohol. You don’t want to spend that much in the cove and they are not selling any hard drinks.
Being known as a mountain person in the office, I was challenged by my friends to climb a hilly part of Anawangin. And Kenny being Kenny, my adventurous alter ego – I did not say No. From where we were, the hill looked like a piece of cake. The trek was really easy and it took us and two of my office mates about 10 minutes to reach the very top. After that quickie trek, we went to enjoy the beach.
The sun was about to set and we just had fun bumming around the beach. The group decided to scavenge on some woods for our bonfire and prepped for our dinner. We had camp-style grilled pork tenderloin, grilled bangus and the left over chicken adobo we had for lunch. It was dinner in the dark style having only the moon as our source of light. It was quite an experience.
Right after dinner we gathered around the bonfire and lit it. We had roasted marshmallows and we tried to make smore’s as well. I was a happy kiddo then and it was such a total foodgasm. To top it all, even if we were already full, we still cooked the poporn that we have brought. The only thing that was missing that night was alcohol – bottles of it. Bummer!
After a couple of hours and after our bonfire became the only bonfire that is still on fire, some of us called it a night. For me, the night was still young and so I decided to stay outside while the rest went to travel to dreamland. I put my playlist on, rocked the hammock and whisper to myself with my eyes closed – what a good life.
The following day, right after I had my breakfast I went straight to the beach. I pushed myself by going on the farthest side of the beach, there I discovered a small cliff and I tried jumping for several times. An hour of bliss ended after we decided to get ready and pack our things. A short 20 minutes boat ride it was and we found ourselves back in Pundaquit.
Travel tip: If you weren’t able to get enough of the beach you can also do an island hopping to neighboring destinations like Nagsasa, Capones and Camara Island.
When we were on our way back to Manila, the group decided to have a side trip in Subic and have our lunch in there. Everyone agreed and next thing we know we were already in Shakey’s Subic indulging on some pizza and pasta. After our lunch, while others took advantage of the sale and bought with them imported goods, me and two of my office mates went to explore Subic a bit more.
We went home tired from the long hours of travel but definitely happy with the trip. The experience we had in Anawangin was our much needed break. A complete nature experience like no other.