A natural disaster has a way of reshaping a landscape which may in the beginning cause so much havoc and suffering but later on would be a source of blessing and abundance. This is the case of the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in 1991. The eruption caused so much disaster and suffering to many towns of Pampanga, some of them being submerged in the ensuing lahar flow. However, the lahar has now become a primary source of income to the province. Although found in the province of Zambales, Mt. Pinatubo did not cause much damage in the province as it did in Pampanga. The thick ashfall which covered the mountains of Zambales, after several years flowed down the hills and down to the seacoasts giving birth to new beaches out of rugged coastlines especially in the town of San Antonio. Anawangin and Nagsasa coves were never heard before. Ten years after the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo, Anawangin has gained notice and has become a good camping ground for those who like to escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.
I wanted to go camping in Nagsasa Cove having read in blogs that the place is much better than Anawangin. Being farther, one passes by Anawangin and other islands in going to Nagsasa thus one can visit all the others in just one trip. My decision was justified when we found the day after, passing by Anawangin on our way back that it was jampacked with campers who, just like us, wanted to get away from the traffic in Manila. We had a rather glorious and quiet night in Anawangin amidst the serenity and beauty of the place.
Brgy. Pundaquit in San Antonio is the jump off point to the islands and coves of Zambales. After having our lunch in one of the resorts in Pundaquit we took off for our island hopping. We first visited the island of Camara which was just across Pundaquit. Then we visited the island of Capones. Capones has a lighthouse in the other end of the island, but we did not have time for it. We just contended in swimming in its white sand beach. Then off we went to Nagsasa cove which took us more than an hour to reach. It was indeed serenely beautiful. It had a wide expanse of white sand made from lahar. There were several pine trees on the beach and the mountains surrounding the cove were already covered with cogon grasses.
We pitched our tent near the end of the cove where our boatmen docked. I learned the following day that the cottages where we stayed belonged to the owner of the boat. Being quite far from Pundaquit, an hour and a half away by boat, there were few campers. About a half kilometer long, the other campers were just far from our place. There was a videoke for rent in one of the cottages and a sari-sari store in the middle part of the cove. At the back of the cove near the foot of the mountain, we were told that there was a settlement of the Aetas. One of the workers in the next cottage where we were was an Aeta, but the wife was from Manila who settled there. After we had our dinner with tuba for drinks which still came from Leyte, I spent the night stargazing. I saw plenty of shooting stars that night. It was low tide the following morning and one had to walk far in order to swim. The Aeta said that before the Pinatubo eruption, that place was deep. They would spear fish in that area. There was no sandy shore for that matter.
The clouds were forming as we left Nagsasa cove that morning. It was drizzling when we passed by Anawangin cove. There were indeed plenty of people there camping. The front of the beach and the campsite at the back across the stream was filled with tents. Anawangin cove is smaller than Nagsasa. Since it is nearer to Pundaquit, it is the more popular besides having a cheaper boat fare. For a small boat for four persons, the round trip fare for the boat to Anawangin is 1,000, add another 500 if it includes a trip to the Camara and Capones islands. We were asked 2,400 for Nagsasa cove and that included the side trip to Camara, Capones and Anawangin cove. The boat owner provided free for us materials for cooking our meals from the kalan, kaldero, thermos and other utensils.
1. Brgy. Pundaquit, San Antonio, Zambales.
|A steel bridge connecting to Pundaquit.|
|The beach area in Pundaquit. Just across are the Camara and the Capones Islands.|
|Pundaquit beach area, the jump off point for Nagsasa and Anawangin coves and the Camara and Capones Islands.|
2. Camara Island
3. Capones Island
|Just a few underwater vegetation that could be seen in Capones Island.|
|The Zambales coastline on the way to Nagsasa cove.|
|Entering Nagsasa cove.|
3. Nagsasa Cove
|Clear waters of Nagsasa cove.|
|Sunset in Nagsasa cove|
|The place where we pitched our tents.|
|It was low tide the following day.|
|Tents of some few other campers in Nagsasa cove.|
|Beach volley ball in Nagsasa|
|A panoramic view of Nagsasa cove.|
|The mouth of the cove of Nagsasa.|
|A photo op with an Aeta residing in the area.|
|Another panoramic view of Nagsasa.|
|Some reeds and a creek just at the foot of the mountain.|
4. Anawangin Cove
|Cottages for rent by the beach.|
|Perhaps the bamboo fence was there so that visitors may pass through the main entrance to pay for the entrance fee of fifty pesos or 100 for an overnight stay.|
|The main entrance to the camping grounds.|
|There were plenty of visitors arriving that day. |
|The whole Anawangin cove.|
|Tents being pitched besides the cottages.|
|Just behind the beach was a stream which led to another camping area.|
|There was little water at this time of the year.|
|The stream separating the beach and the other camping ground.|
|There were plenty of tents at the back of the beach across the steam and under the pine trees.|
|They had public toilets for the guests with flowing water.|
|Some souvenirs being sold.|