Showing posts with label San Antonio. Show all posts
Showing posts with label San Antonio. Show all posts

Friday, January 30, 2009

Zambales: Nagsasa Cove in San Antonio, Zambales

Who ever said Anawangin Cove is one of a kind? Well, it is! But Nagsasa Cove is most definitely in the same league! Just 20 minutes further down from Anawangin Cove, Nagsasa is one amazing beach! Just like Anawangin, it's perfect for camping and it doesn't get too many visitors. It's a beach that was created by the Mt. Pinatubo eruption when volcanic material found its way to Nagsasa.

At the same time, Nagsasa Cove is home to an Ayta community which relocated there. There are about four picnic tables but that's just about it. You might want to opt to share a meal with the Ayta community and request them to fish dinner for you.

It's the same jump-off point as Anawangin in Pundaquit, San Antonio, Zambales. Just tell the boatman to bring you to Nagsasa Cove.

Thanks to Ryan Guzman for the photos. He's organizing a group camping tour to Nagsasa from February 21 to 22. You can text him at (0928) 9067151 for details.

Here's information on Anawangin Cove and Capones Island. The jump-off point for all these wonderful places is in Pundaquit Beach.
Part 1: Hiking up Mt. Anawangin and down to the beach
Part 2: Anawangin Cove in San Antonio, Zambales
Part 3: Capones Island and its lighthouse

San Pablo's Seven Lakes tour
Here's another tour on February 21, an adventure day tour of the Seven Lakes of San Pablo, Laguna. Maximum of 14 participants. The PHP1,600 tour fee covers transportation and toll expenses, entrance fees, a lakeside lunch beside Sampaloc Lake, and some local delicacies as pasalubong. E-mail to book.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Zambales: Capones Island and its lighthouse

Capones Island has always been famous for its white sand beaches and the Spanish colonial lighthouse perched on top of a hill. It was the last stop for our San Antonio, Zambales trip. From Anawangin, we had prearranged with our boatman to pick us up and bring us to Capones Island. We made it there just in time for lunch.

The island was so picturesque as we slowly closed in on it. When we finally made landfall, I was raring to find a shady place to take a nap having had no sleep for the last 30 hours. And I did and found myself cozy on the sand drifting away to lala land.

Since we didn't have much time left, we had to forgo the hike up to the lighthouse. Add to the fact it was hot and I had already consumed my supply of water. So we were content with making one round by boat on the way back to Pundaquit.

What's sad about Capones Island is that its riddled with tourist garbage and vandalism. The fantastic rock formations have been converted into modern petroglyphs etched with names of stupid tourists who do not know any better. And the sand was full of garbage! Here are the list of things that have to be done:

1. The Municipal Government of San Antonio, Zambales should lead efforts to clean up the island. They can charge fees to pay locals to ensure that the place is kept clean all the time and to reprimand tourists who vandalize the rocks or leave their garbage on the island.

2. Boatmen should be trained to brief tourists who hire their boats. They have to remind tourists that everything they bring to the island, especially garbage, they should bring back home with them. In fact, the community should take the initiative to make sure the island is clean since it is their source of income.

3. Finally, tourists should share the responsibility of caring for the environment. As the saying goes: "Take nothing but pictures. Leave nothing but footprints. Kill nothing but time." So don't leave your garbage anywhere.

Anyway, the boats to Capones and Anawangin are quite small. It can fit about four people. Don't even try to be stingy since the waters around Capones are known to be quite rough especially in the afternoon. And these are open seas. So it's best not to overload especially since there are no life jackets. We learned about the rough waters first hand as we went around to check out the lighthouse. There were just four of us and the waves were pounding and water was getting in our small boat. But we did get our photos but not with ease.

The boat ride back to Pundaquit was about 30 minutes and it was relieving when we finally made it. You usually take a shower at the house of the boatman. But since we wanted to leave as early as possible, we just washed out the sand and freshened up.

On the way back to Subic, we stopped by the house of President Ramon Magsasay in Castillejos, Zambales. We made one last stop in Subic for a hefty meal at one of the Korean restaurants before motoring back to Manila.

Part 1: Hiking up Mt. Anawangin and down to the beach
Part 2: Anawangin Cove in San Antonio, Zambales

Related entry
Nagsasa Cove in San Antonio, Zambales

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Zambales: Anawangin Cove in San Antonio, Zambales

The famed beauty of Anawangin Cove has spread far and wide as being one of the best beaches in the country. And we were finally there, well almost. It was an exhausting trek to Anawangin Cove. But the hike to the beach was not yet over. At sea level, we still had to navigate a kilometer along a dry river bed.

But the bizarre landscape felt mysterious in a way. It didn't look like I was in the Philippines with all the pine trees right beside the beach. Walking the dry river bed with that pyramid-like mountain in the background added an eerie feeling to an already uncanny trek. Anawangin got its name from nuang the Ilocano word for carabao since there is an abundance of it there. Remember the wild carabao?

After several meters under the hot summer sun trekking on the rocks, we finally made it to the shady cluster of pine trees. I wonder how they got there. Our guide said many were planted after the Mount Pinatubo eruption but he added the trees were there even before. To add to the mystique were crystal clear streams that reflected the tall pine trees on the surface like you were in some enchanted forest. And to think this whole area was devastated in 1991. It just shows how fast nature heals itself.

And then the beach finally appeared. It was a long strip of near-white volcanic sand dumped by Mount Pinatubo. The locals said that before the eruption, this area was mostly rock. The sand from Mount Pinatubo had created a wonderful playground for beach lovers. And it's even more wonderful that the locals take good care of it. So whatever they charge you, they most probably deserve it.

After taking photos, I went for a dip in the beach. The cool water washed away all the exhaustion from the climb, all the stress from school. It was a great way to welcome the summer!

How to get there
You can take any bus from Manila to Iba or Sta. Cruz, Zambales. Buses to Zambales leave the Victory Liner stations in Caloocan (about 23 trips from 5 a.m. to 12 midnight) and Pasay (four trips from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m.) Fare to San Antonio is about PHP235.

Get off at the town proper of San Antonio and charter a tricycle to take you to the jump-off point in Pundaquit. That's about PHP50 per person or PHP200 per tricycle. Boat rentals to Anawangin and the nearby islands range from PHP800 to PHP1200 depending on your itinerary.

Where to stay
While many visitors to Anawangin camp there for the night, there are a lot of accommodations available in Pundaquit:

Punta de Uian
+63 918 888UIAN (8426)
+63 918 800UIAN (8426)

Nora Resort
+63 919 6374917

Part 1: Hiking up Mt. Anawangin and down to the beach
Part 3: Capones Island and its lighthouse

Related entries
Anawangin's mystical beach
Nagsasa Cove in San Antonio, Zambales

Friday, April 04, 2008

Zambales: Hiking up Mt. Anawangin and down to the beach

Anawangin in San Antonio, Zambales is fast becoming a popular destination for those seeking a beach to getaway from it all. There aren't too many amenities on this secluded beach. In fact, there are none. It's a favorite of those who want to camp out with nothing but bare essentials. And that's because there are only two ways to get there, by pump boat or via a 5-hour hike up Mt. Anawangin.

We decided to do the latter, a night hike at that! We left Manila at 1 a.m. and after a leisurely drive, arrived in the town proper of San Antonio, Zambales. Our destination was Pundaquit, a barangay several more kilometers down the road by the beach. If you get lost, you could easily ask the tricycle drivers how to get there. We finally made it to the jump-off at 4:30 a.m. just in time to start our night trek.

The silhouettes of the mountains showed us why Anawangin is such a popular destination. As the sun slowly rose, a beautifully landscaped environment greeted us. Nature is indeed the best landscaper. We marveled at how the bamboo, the trees and the rocks were artistically arranged creating this surreal scene.

By the time we neared the peak, the sun was up. And the heat added to my exhaustion (it was another sleepless night and being the designated driver, I could not catnap). But to make the long story short, we reached the pass leading to the beach. The view of Anawangin Cove was nothing but fantastic! But instead of going down to the beach, the group decided to go up a few more meters to reach the summit.

With that settled, we all thought going down was going to be a breeze. But it wasn't! The rocks were just too much. And the sad part was that the grass was tall enough to cover the rocks so you couldn't see if your next step was on soil or on rocks. And that could spell disaster if you lost your balance. It's good thing I got myself a pair of Colombia Titanium Kailua sandals the night before and it did me wonders.

We finally made it down. But not before we almost got attacked by a wild carabao. There are a lot of wild carabaos in the area according to our guide so be careful. It was a good thing our guide saw it in time and scared it away.

Part 2: Anawangin Cove in San Antonio, Zambales
Part 3: Capones Island and its lighthouse

Related entry
Nagsasa Cove in San Antonio, Zambales

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Top surfing areas in the Philippines

Unknown to many in the country, the Philippines has a long list of great surfing areas. Here are some of the more popular surfers' haunts where you could ride the waves or simply get lessons if you are a beginner. The Philippine Surfing Federation gave me the first eight and I added two more.

1. Siargao Island, Surigao del Norte (Cloud 9)
On top of the list is none other than the "Surfing Capital of the Philippines." The Cloud 9 wave can be found in the town of General Luna and has put the Philippines in the world surfing map. Other popular breaks in and around Siargao Island include Jacking Horse, Tuason Left, Rock Island, Stimpies and Pacifico. Check out the Sagana Resort website for detailed information. Thanks to Sagana Resort for the Siargao photos.

According to Sagana, the best months for surf in this area is from August up to the start of November when the area gets the most typhoon swells and the best winds. From May to July, the surf is generally smaller. From December to April the winds are often strong and cross shore. But they say that the swell is always pretty big and some surfers prefer this time of year.

2. Puraran Beach, Baras, Catanduanes (Majestics)
Puraran Bay in Baras, Catanduanes is home to the famous mighty Majestics reef break that produces awesome long-barrel waves. The waves are at their finest in August and September. The place itself is a picturesque backdrop of coconut trees and small hills. Although course, the white sand is clean and the water is crystal clear. But as they say, if you are a surfer, "Puraran equals Majestics period!"

3. Cemento Beach, Baler, Aurora
Most have heard about Sabang, a beach break 5 to 10 minutes away from the town proper where most of the tourism establishments are found. Cemento on the other hand is a reef break which is 30 minutes away from the town proper. But you can easily get lessons in Sabang Beach. Check out my Baler surf adventure: More summer fun in Aurora.

4. Calicoan Island, Guiuan, Eastern Samar
Calicoan Island is home to The Surf Camp. And the great news for surfers is that ABCD Beach has both left-hand and right-hand waves. The season runs from April to November, with the summer months perfect for beginners (with gentle 2 to 3 foot waves). Latter months offer bigger and more challenging waves.

5. Maira-Ira Beach, Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte
Few people know that way beyond the resorts of Pagudpud is a secret hideaway called Blue Lagoon, the best beach in that part of the country. Saud Beach may be great, but Maira-Ira is astounding! And what's great is that on a windy day, the beach is perfect for surfing!

6. San Juan, La Union
Home to the Billabong San Juan Surf School of Luke Landrigan, San Juan is a perfect place for longboarders. And it's very accessible too since you can take any bus to Ilocos and get off just a few meters from the San Fernando-San Juan boundary. This is another surfing haunt I got to try for myself.

7. Lanuza Bay, Surigao del Sur (Doot Poktoy)
According to the Surf Lanuza website, "Doot Poktoy is endowed with some of the best waves in the world. And when the waves are good, they can measure up to the world renowned waves of Siargao and Hawaii. Located on the southern edge of the Northwestern Pacific typhoon belt, the waves driven by the winds of the typhoons are unpredictable. If a strong typhoon passes close enough, surf can reach almost 15 feet, with 9, 11 or 14 waves per set and up to twice as many waves per hour as a long groundswell like affecting Indonesia and Hawaii.

The Surf Report Magazine describes Lanuza as "a place with a flawless river mouth. Its waves spin long perfect rights on a big swell at low tide. There is a hollow tube section at take-off and there are long section walls up to 200 meters."

8. Cabugao, Ilocos Sur (Kido's Point)
Kido's Point has been a popular site for surfing competitions in Ilocos Sur, attracting participants from surfing areas all over the country. The place got its name from Cabugao's local surfing hero Kido Cabasug.

9. San Narciso & San Antonio, Zambales
The Canoe Beach Resort in Pundaquit, San Antonio is where professional surfer Joseph "Joe" Villatora from Kauai, Hawai conducts his surfing lessons.

10. Bagasbas Beach, Daet, Camarines Norte
This is another great surfing area located on the Pacific coast of Luzon. When you're hungry, check out Alvino's Pizza, a popular surfers hangout.
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