Showing posts with label Zambales. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Zambales. Show all posts

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Subic: Tree Top Adventure is Subic Bay's adventure attraction

If there's one thing good about Subic Bay being a former American military base, the rain forests are very much intact. Subic Tree Top Adventure is one way you can appreciate the forests of Subic Bay.

This attraction is a series of suspended trails, bridges and motorized cable rides built high up the rain forest of Subic.

We visited Tree Top Adventure in the evening. I was a bit skeptical since it would have been really dark unless they installed ample lighting. But it turns out, doing it in the evening can be fun too. And no need to worry about the heat of the sun.

We got to try their zip-line called the Superman Ride since you are suspended face down and feet up. That was fun!

There are a lot of activities there including the Tree Top Adventure (Canopy Walk and Canopy Ride) which I already mentioned (Php350), Ultimate Adventure or Superman Ride (Php200), Trekking Adventure (Php100) which is simply a walking trail around the rain forest, and the Tree-Drop Adventure (Php150) which is rappelling down the side of a 60-foot tree (try the daring Australian style which is face first). They have various packages. But if you want to try everything, take Package F (Php720).

Tree Top Adventure Subic
JEST Area, Upper Mau
Cubi Point, Subic Bay
(047) 2529425 / 27

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

North Philippines: Best pizza restaurants north of Metro Manila

Pizza is one of my personal favorites. Those who know me should know this fact very well. So I'm compiling a list of my favorite pizza places outside Metro Manila beginning with North Philippines.

Clark Freeport & Angeles City

C' Italian Dining (1210 Don Juico Avenue, Angeles City; +63 45 8924059) is known for the panizza. C' Italian Dining had already been serving these sumptuous pizzas rolled with arugula and alfalfa long before Yellow Cab came out with Dear Darla. And there's no way you can compare the taste! The C' panizza is the best!

The best sellers are Don Carmelo: spicy chorizo, anchovies, thyme and pecorino cheese; Kristina: bacon, ham, caramelized onion, sun dried tomatoes and mushrooms; and Saint Jacques: scallop flakes, shrimp, sun dried tomatoes and chili flakes.

Historic Camalig Restaurant (292 Sto. Rosario Street, Angeles City; +63 45 3225641 or 8881077) is the home of Armando's Pizza. My personal favorite is Doy's Kapampangan: longganisa, ebun buru (salted duck egg), onion & pickle relish. Their newest offering is Marco's 3-Way: sun-dried tomatoes & kesong puti plus a choice of either tuyo, tinapa or chicken adobo. Then there's Mexican Medley: shredded chicken breast (sauteed in hot pepper & pizza sauce), fresh tomato & spring onion. Another personal favorite is the classic Armando's Best: same toppings as All The Way, but with extra peperoni, double ground beef, double green pepper, double mushroom & extra Canadian bacon.

Didi's Pizza (MacArthur Highway, Balibago, Angeles City; + 63 45 8921184) serves a very Filipino-flavored pizza if you know what I mean. My personal favorite is the Combination: mushroom, salami, pepperoni, green pepper and onions.

Salvatore's Ristorante (300 Fields Avenue, Balibago, Angeles City; +63 45 8920484) serves good Italian pizza as well. Their best seller is Italian De Luxe: salami, pepperoni, Italian sausage, mushroom, green bell pepper, onion, black olives. While the toppings of Italian De Luxe are mixed together, another flavor called Combination has Vegetarian on one side, and Meat Lovers on the other half.

Sub-Delicious (298 Fields Avenue, Balibago, Angeles City; +63 45 8921999 or 8926667) serves pizzas as large as 28-inches. Flavors include Super Meaty: pepperoni, sausage and hamburger; and Pizza Italiano: pepperoni, ham, and salami.

Subic Bay Freeport & Olongapo City

Xtremely Expresso (1 Dewey Avenue cor. Sta. Rita Street, Subic Bay Freeport; +63 047 2523681) serves the 22-inch Big Ben: pepperoni, sausage, bacon, beef, garlic, onion, peppers, mushrooms, black olives and two kinds of cheese. Other pizzas include Spanish Sardines, Chicken Pesto, Chicken & Peanut, Corned Beef, and Spicy Salmon.

Sam's Pizza (44 Magsaysay Avenue, Olongapo City; +63 47 2223686) is an Olongapo institution. Their best-seller is Sam's Special: pepperoni, Philippine sausage, mushrooms, green pepper, onion, bacon, Italian sausage and cheese. I remember having Chicken Teriyaki before but they no longer have it.

La Union

Olives Restaurant (Thunderbird Resort, Poro Point, La Union; +63 72 8887777) serves delicious wood-fired pizzas. Their best seller is Four Cheese: goat, parmesan, feta and mozzarella cheese. My personal favorite is Quattro Stagioni: kalamata olives, artichoke hearts, parma ham, fresh mushrooms. Also try the Spicy Sausage, Roasted Peppers, Mozarrella & Oregano Pizza or the Smoked Salmon & Mushroom Pizza: smoked salmon, fresh mushrooms, tomato sprinkled with oregano and cheese.

Ilocos Norte

Herencia Cafe (MacArthur Street, Bgy. 14, Sangladan, Paoay; +63 77 6140214) serves the famous Pinakbet Pizza: sitaw (string beans), ampalaya (bitter gourd), okra, talong (egg plant), patani (lima beans), kamatis (tomaotes), sili (chili), and labanos (radish). They also serve Bagnet Pizza: bagnet, onions, and basil; and Dinuguan Pizza: dinuguan, crispy pork, and chili.

Saramsam Restaurant (N. Corpuz Building, Rizal cor. Hizon Streets, Barangay 7-A, Laoag City; +63 77 7715825) also serves Ilocano-inspired pizzas. Their specialty is Poque-Poque Pizza which is topped with poque-poque, an Ilocano eggplant dish: eggplant, tomatoes, onions ang egg. They also have the Dinardaraan Pizza: dinuguan topped with green chili peppers; Longaniza Pizza topped with the local Laoag longaniza; and the Carbonara Pizza topped with Currimao oysters.


Casa Napoli (Abad Street, Brgy. Kaychanarianan, Basco; +63 927 7583370) serves pizzas with mozzarella cheese all the way in Batanes. Nothing really fancy about the pizzas but being in Basco, it's a novelty.

I'm sure there are more such as those in Baguio City, so please list them down by commenting below. I'll try to visit them when I can and add to this list.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Zambales & La Union: North Philippines road trip again

For the longest time, I haven't been able to update the blog because I've perennially been on the road. In fact, the last three days have been extremely exhausting because I had been driving up north, down to Manila, and back up north on a daily basis. Anyway, if it's any consolation, despite all the work involved in the trips, the opportunity to explore still keeps me going.

The last two days, we did our rounds of the Subic Freeport. While at Zoobic Safari, I didn't miss the opportunity to have my photo taken with a real tiger.

Of course, shoe therapy is a good reliever of stress thanks to the many discounted options available at the duty free shops (as the saying goes, 'There's a little Imelda in all of us'). I saw myself driving back to Manila to attend meetings and a guesting on ANC's Shop Talk (thanks to all those who watched Shop Talk the other day) and back to the north to get some sleep.

At least I finally got to breathe now. I'm savoring the only consolation after that unbelievably exhausting three-day road trip: a wonderful suite room with a great view at the Thunderbird Resort in Poro Point, San Fernando, La Union. Hopefully, things will normalize by the long weekend.

So in the meantime, I invite you to consider a tour with Ultimate Philippines. We've already released our tour calendar for the rest of the year and for the first half of 2010. This is especially for the benefit of balikbayans who have been urging us to release our schedule early so that they could plan their trips for next year. Our tours get booked really quick so I suggest you make those reservations now.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Ultimate Beach Bus to Zambales & Pangasinan! Book now!

It's summer time! Let's frolic under the sizzling sun as we hop around three of the best beaches along the western coast of North Luzon! We'll boat around the iconic Hundred Islands and enjoy the white sands of Quezon Island. In Alaminos, we'll eat our way through their yummy longganisas then we troop towards the town of Bolinao, visiting its famous lighthouse while enjoying the sunset at Patar Beach. To cap it off, we'll drive down to Zambales to discover her best kept beach secrets: Anawangin Cove and Capones Island. Take a ride on the ultimate North Luzon beach bus experience!

And we're pulling all the stops! We're bringing a cook to Quezon Island for example to prepare a sumptuous lunch for you. You'll never go hungry during the whole tour. Ask those who've joined our Pampanga tours. And we'll also drop by some historic sites such as the Masinloc Church and the house of President Ramon Magsaysay in Zambales. What's more, we'll get to watch a classical concert at Casa San Miguel in Pundaquit. But the clincher here is that we'll be staying at the best hotels in town. And did we say we always have a lot of pleasant surprises?

The tour fee is PHP15,000 per person (we took out one night but it's still the same power-packed tour) inclusive of transportation, overnight accommodation at, Puerto del Sol (Bolinao) and Punta de Uian (San Antonio), boat rides to the Hundred Islands, Anawangin Cove and Capones Island, and meals. Limited slots available. For bookings and inquiries, e-mail us at

Friday, February 13, 2009

Zambales: Subic bats at Cubi Point

I've been driving around North Philippines like crazy the past week. While at the Subic Freeport, I made sure to check out the bats at Cubi Point. Years ago, they used to hang out at the top of Cubi near the hotels. But for some weird reason, they transferred along the main road in front of FedEx. So if you want to check them out too, just go to the FedEx building.

I have not seen them fly out before so I waited for them to wake up right after sunset. What a sight! Below is a video I took using my Sony Ericsson C905. When it gets darker, that's when it gets really exciting!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Top day-trip destinations near Metro Manila

Here is a list of my favorite day-trip destinations near Metro Manila. With summer just around the corner, it's time to plan your trips!

Manila day trip - Anawangin Nagsasa Capones Zambales1. Beach hop in San Antonio, Zambales
Call them San Antonio's Big Five - Anawangin Cove, Camara Island, Capones Island, Nagsasa Cove, and Pundaquit! And you can reach all these great beaches from the jump-off point in Pundaquit. I most definitely enjoyed the surreal landscape of Anawangin. So remote it is that you need to hike several hours or take a pump boat to get to it. Nagsasa Cove is just as pristine!

Manila day trip - Taal Volcano2. Taal Volcano trek
You've always seen the Taal Volcano from Tagaytay City. Have you ever tried visiting the island itself and hike or ride a horse to the crater lake? This is a one day-trip option you can do together with a culinary tour of Tagaytay.

Manila day trip - Mount Pinatubo3. Mt. Pinatubo trek
All it takes is a drive to Sta. Juliana, Capas, Tarlac to begin that breathtaking journey to Mount Pinatubo's crater lake. A one hour 4x4 ride, plus a one hour trek across some of the most unusual and unbelievable landscapes makes the journey there even more exciting. The crater lake of Mount Pinatubo is perfect for a swim especially when it is baby blue! It's easy to organize a visit through the Pinatubo Spa Town. And don't forget to get a massage after the trek!

Manila day trip - Corregidor4. Corregidor Island day-trip
As I mentioned, this is one of those day-trips taken for granted. Reliving the story of Corregidor is a very enriching experience. The Sun Cruises tour includes round-trip ferry transfers, buffet lunch and a guided tour around the island. You get to visit the various war memorials and the surviving gun batteries which formed part of the Harbor Defenses of Manila and Subic Bays. You can also opt to stay for the night and explore the Malinta Tunnel in the evening and do a morning trek among the less-visited batteries the next day.

5. Road trip around Mount Banahaw
You've all heard about the Viaje del Sol route and the wonderful establishments along the way. But go the extra mile by completing the loop around Mt. Banahaw. Along the way, you can visit the seven lakes of San Pablo, Laguna. You'll pass by the grand Art Deco mansions of Sariaya and the magnificent churches of Tayabas and Majayjay, both National Cultural Treasures. Don't miss the Underground Cemetery in Nagcarlan. Plus you can munch on Lucban's famous longaniza and pancit habhab. Slipper addicts will have a blast in Liliw, Laguna! You can stretch this trip another day by staying a night in Pagsanjan and doing the next suggested day-trip.

Manila day trip - Pagsanjan Falls6. Shooting the rapids in Pagsanjan
This one you should try at least once in your life. It was exciting and exhilarating. I personally enjoyed the raft ride that takes you right under the falls. So make sure you have extra clothes. The only catch is that the boatmen will pressure you to give hefty tips.

Manila day trip - Pampanga food7. Pampanga culinary adventure
You haven't been to Pampanga if you haven't savored its food, both local and international cuisine. San Fernando is home to Everybody's Cafe where everyday Kapampangan food is as exotic as it can get. Angeles City is the birthplace of sisig and make sure you taste the original at Aling Lucing's. At the Camalig, Kapampangan pizza is topped with longaniza, salted duck eggs, and pickle relish. And Fields Avenue near Clark brings you around the world with its international restaurants, my favorites being C' Italian Dining, Zapata's (Mexican), Subdelicious (American), Cottage Kitchen (Cajun/Creole), Red Sea (Lebanese), Hana-mi (Japanese)... the list is endless! Now obviously, you can't eat at all these places in one day since that would be gluttony! So why not stay another day?

8. Road trip around Laguna de Bay
We all know about the visita iglesia route which will take you to Pakil and Paete in Laguna, and Morong, Baras and Tanay in Rizal. But there's more! Make sure you also visit the heritage town of Pila, Laguna and stop over at Lumban to check out their wonderful pina cloth emroidery. Have you ever considered stopping over at Daranak and Batlag Falls in Tanay, Rizal? Well, you should! End the day with a sunset dinner high up on the ridge in Antipolo.

9. Intro dive in Batangas
Even if you don't have a license, you can still experience diving with the help of a dive master through an intro dive. And that's exactly what we did in Bauan, Batangas! It's a different world down there and all I could say is, "Wow!"

Manila day trip - Ipo Watershed10. Plant trees at the Ipo Watershed
Now this is travel with a cause. Just contact the UP Mountaineers to find out if you can join one of their reforestation trips to the Ipo Watershed. Any advocacy to preserve our cultural and natural heritage is close to my heart. Which is why we made a visit to the Ipo Watershed to support the advocacy of the UP Mountaineers to protect it!

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.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Top Philippine destinations for 2008

The year 2008 was a great travel year for me. As of today, I've stepped foot on 62 out of 81 provinces of the Philippines. Here are some of the highlights for this year. Since 2008 was also heavy on international travel, I'll come up with another entry on that!

1. Mt. Pulag, the rooftop of Luzon
I could not imagine myself 2,922 meters above sea level at the summit of Mount Pulag. But I was there! It took a lot of effort on my part but the view from the top was surreal and most definitely worth it. Is Mt. Apo next?

2. Adopting a sea turtle at the Pawikan Conservation Center
We visited the Pawikan Conservation Center early this year to adopt sea turtles. You can include it as part of any Subic itinerary. And this is a great help to efforts to protect the pawikan.

3. Journey across the Ifugao heartland
I was very lucky to join a rice harvest tour to Mayoyao, Ifugao this year which took me through the very core of Ifugao. It was a very enriching experience and it opened my eyes to the culture of our Ifugao brothers. I look forward to joing their planting rice tour this January. I made five entries about this great trip!

4. Trekking and 4x4 to Mt. Pinatubo
The crater lake of Mount Pinatubo is perfect for a swim especially when it is baby blue! It's easy to organize a visit through the Pinatubo Spa Town and when you get back, a sumptuous lunch and massage awaits.

5. Batanes, undiscovered paradise up north
Batanes is pristine and refreshing. It's a must in any traveler's list of places to visit in the Philippines. I'll be blogging about my trip soon.

6. Intro dive at Dive and Trek in Bauan, Batangas
Even if you don't have a license, you can still experience diving with the help of a dive master through an intro dive. And that's exactly what we did in Bauan, Batangas!

7. Ipo Watershed, Angat Dam and the La Mesa Ecopark
Any advocacy to preserve our cultural and natural heritage is close to my heart. Which is why we made a visit to the Ipo Watershed to support the advocacy of the UP Mountaineers to protect it.

8. Romblon, Romblon is a heritage town
Talk about the road less-traveled! Romblon was indeed a surprise. It was fun exploring the old town of Romblon since its heritage is unbelievably intact. I hope to visit again soon.

9. Anawangin Cove in San Antonio, Zambales
Another unbelievable beach destination so close to Manila, I most definitely enjoyed the surreal landscape of this Zambales beach. So remote it is that you need to hike several hours or take a pump boat to get to it.

10. Tawi-Tawi, overnight in Bongao
In one month, I was able to visit the northernmost and southernmost provinces of the Philippines. Despite my short stay, the fact that I was able to set foot in Tawi-Tawi is worth mentioning. And I'm definitely making another trip to explore more!

Read also Top Philippine destinations for 2009.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

SCTEx Clark-Tarlac stretch opens on Friday, July 25

The Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway will be fully operational beginning Friday when the Clark-Tarlac portion of the 94-kilometer opens to the public. I got a sneak preview of the closed portion of the SCTEx today since we were given special permission to drive from Subic to the Luisita Exit in Tarlac.

With the SCTEx complete, travel time from Balintawak to Subic is now just about an hour and forty minutes. While travel from Balintawak to Luisita will be just one hour and twenty minutes. When it opens on Friday, motorists can drive from Subic to La Paz, Tarlac in just a little over an hour. Now that's progress!

Notes: I'll post more photos of my SCTEx Tarlac preview as soon as I get back to Manila. I was quite happy to see that they corrected the "MacArthur Highway" signs which I complained about in a previous post. I found out in San Francisco how the observation made its way to BCDA top brass and got the signs corrected.

Anyway, so much has been happening the past few months, I could barely update everyone about my travels. I'll try to get back in the groove within the next few days so expect a lot of updates from my recent trip to the US and the Mayoyao, Ifugao harvest experience last weekend.

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
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