Zambales Escapade Summer 2010
Last night I got home from our Zambales Escapade. I was too exhausted to upload pictures immediately but I still got the time to tweet and post a teaser photo in Tumblr.
All in all the trip was FUN! Amazing place, amazing people, good friends, survival food, nice beach, boat ride and all. The excitement and long wait paid off. Sure I got a tan and some bruises from the hiking but as I expected it was all worth it.
We planned this summer reunion like almost two months ago and was postponed three times. When the date finally arrived, everyone got excited and began cramming. We had our bus bloopers, late comers, tambay while waiting for the others to arrive, marketing and the “establishing” rapport with the people of Pundaquit. It was like community immersion back in college. I realized just now how important it is to deal, cooperate and communicate with different types of people. Its like applying our knowledge in transcultural nursing.
To help those who wants to go there here’s our itinerary. We took the 11PM trip of Victory Liner in Sampaloc bound for Iba,Zambales. The bus fare costs Php256. You can visit the Victor Liner website for more information but its better to call the station for their exact fares and schedule. We arrived in San Antonio, Zambales around 2AM and waited for the other group who boarded another bus at a different time. Our schedule is tricky so we decided to go first and just wait for the others. In the town of San Antonio where you’ll stay, there are tricycles going to Pundaquit for 30 pesos per head. At the back of their municipal hall, there a market where you can buy your food but it opens at around 4am. I suggest you can bring your food with you if you have a cooler. It will save you time. Travel time from San Antonio bayan to Pundaquit is around 15 minutes. The road is concrete so you don’t have to worry about dust but the air is really cool.
When you arrive in Pundaquit, the tricycle drivers have “contacts” with the boat men. Boat ride ranges from Php1500 to Php2000 depending on the islands you’ll visit. Nagsasa (which is the most virgin, I think) costs more like Php2000 for the boat good for 4 people. There are also bigger boats (the one my friend Mia suggested) which costs Php450-650 per head depending on how you bargain. We had ours for Php450 per head with overnight stay in Nagsasa and island hopping in Anawangin, Capones and Camara. The boat is good for 20 people I think, we were 16. I forgot the name of our boatman its W–something. Bigger boats are also safer compared to the smaller boats. The weather is unpredictable and the waves become really big in the afternoon especially in the Capones-Camara area.
Your boatman also has a contact with the resort. Luckily we stayed in a cottage of Nora’s resort while waiting for the others. We set up our tent there and slept, swam a little but the current is too strong, played volleyball, ate ice cream, listened to reggae music and just watched people come and go.
It was past 12 then when the other group we were waiting for arrived. We ate our lunch and started the trip to Nagsasa around 1:30PM. Travel time is almost an hour. You will pass by the Anawangin Cove, beautiful grassland, amazing rock formation (some say from the lava of the last Pinatubo eruption), pine trees, and the blue sea.
When you arrive in Nagsasa, you can pitch your tent. There are katutubo who will guide you. Overnight stay costs Php100 per head. Nagsasa cove is lined with pine trees and a river on the side that comes from the waterfalls (I don’t know if its true), a background of Mountains similar to the ones in the movie Brokeback Mountain and My Sassy Girl except that most are pine trees and some are bonsai which I find it really cute.:)
The view from the cove is spectacular, the sunset is really WHOA! and the blue water is calm. We are like some hundred feet away from the shore line and the water is still waist deep. Figure out the way to get there, its fun plus you’ll gain new friends. I also love the sunset. We stayed in Nagsasa for a night. There comfort rooms and bathrooms there. But the water is really scarce in the evening. Bring a lot of drinking water with you because I’m not sure if the water in Nagsasa is potable.
Plus don’t forget a lot of food to munch on, you’ll get really hungry after swimming. There’s a store there where you can buy, but it’ll cost more of course. We bought our two bottles of vodka there good for only 3 or 4 rounds. You can also opt for stargazing at night and bonfire for a Php100, all materials taken care of the guide.:)
Our next stop is Anawangin Cove. The sand is whiter in Nagsasa but the pine trees and camp sites for Anawangin are better. We didn’t stay there for too long because some “ale” who happens to be the “owner of the island” got to our nerves when she was asking us for an entrance fee of Php50 if we go past “her” river via “her” bridge.
We didn’t explore that part of Anawangin anymore and opted to the other side where the pine trees are.A part of the river/marsh was also there so “Sa iyo na ang river mo!” LOL. Funny thing is, we are tourists and they are supposed to be hospitable and talk to us in a really good way and its way to much overpriced for just crossing the damn bridge and take pictures.Arrgh. (Ayan sabi ko sa ‘yo eh, Iba-BLOG kita! Ang sungit mo kasi!)
After Anawangin we went “trekking” to Capones Island. I really loved the view from the cliff. And I enjoyed “trekking”, had really nice lacerations and bruises after. I slipped twice and fortunately still had my ankle in tact. Thanks to Lester for laughing and reminding me I did the “slipping” thing well.LOL Again, you need to bring a lot of water here. You’ll get tired and dehydrated. Luckily, we have manong with us and we bought almost all his panindang ice buko and pinipig.
The waters in Capones is not calm compared to Nagsasa or Anawangin so keep your things in a plastic bag or anything water proof. Plus, apply sun block every 30 minutes, you’ll need it trust me. I wore a jacket the whole time I was in Capones. I’m already morena and I don’t want to be more negra.:)) Also, bring a really sturdy pair of flipflops or trekking shoes for those who are not used to climbing. I didn’t get to on top of the lighthouse because I was too tired but the view from the cliff of the whole Capones Island compensated for the lack of lighthouse climb.:)
Our last stop was Camara Island. Its the smallest island. Nothing much to see but the sand which is part shells and all white is really beautiful plus NJ lent us his uber powerful goggles (which I call Google for some reason nabubulol ako when saying it) and had a good view of the fish and seaweeds underwater. We had our late lunch in Pundaquit in the same cottage of Nora’s Resort where we had our lunch the day before. We paid Php50 for the CR and free for the cottage. We cooked our lunch before leaving Nagsasa and bought only rice. The owner Aling Nora and her crew is really accommodating unlike the ale who owns Anawangin. After the lunch and shower, we went home via tricycle. One thing I really appreciate about the Pundaquit people is they help each other and they are not selfish/buwaya. I understand what they were saying because I’m an Ilocana. I love them na.:)
From bayan we took an ordinary bus to Olongapo where the station of Victory Liner is located. It costs Php35 for almost an hour of travel and another Php210 for a bus bound to Pasay. Our budget was Php1500 per head (food, bus, fees, boat) and may matitira pa. Trust me.
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Just Me.For Now.