Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Zambales Camping and Island Hopping Adventure

Nagsasa Cove, Zambales
What happens when three girls go away for a weekend?



Pundaquit, Zambales
Bid civilization goodbye for a day when my friends and I went on an epic camping adventure last April. There were actually four of us, three unexperienced campers with a four-year old, but we managed. We left Manila at 5am and stopped over for breakfast along NLEx, arriving at Pundaquit, Zambales, around 9am.
Capones Island
We met with Mang Florante, whom we have been communicating with for the past week. He charged us P4,000 total, inclusive of food, water, boat, island hopping, entrance fees, and a tent. We thought it was a good deal (keyword: thought, because we didn't really have anything to compare it to), plus it meant less problems for us (cooking, setting up tent, etc.) Though I guess what we did wouldn’t be considered “roughing it,” since we weren’t exactly out in the wild and we had hired people to do the difficult stuff for us. But we did sleep in tents, so that’s still something! Haha!
Nagsasa Cove, Zambales
The only catch is that you have to transfer half of the total via LBC at least a day before your scheduled trip, so he can finalize everything and purchase the food. We were iffy at first, but it all turned out well. Mang Florante seems to be one of those recommended guys when it comes to arranging trips in the area. If you're interested in going island hopping/camping, here's his number: (0917) 739-1949.
Zambales Adventure
For the island hopping part, we had four destinations - Camara, Capones, Anawangin, and Nagsasa – the last being our camping site. I have actually been to Nagsasa in 2010 and it looks a lot different now from what it did before. For one, I don't recall the island having numerous stalls that offered snacks and drinks. There weren't “resorts” that rented out huts and tents, too. Another huge change would be that restrooms are now available - I mean, actual restrooms with doors and running water! It used to be just an island where you can go and swim at. It’s definitely more developed now, but still maintaining the beauty of the island.
Nagsasa Cove, Zambales
Nagsasa Cove, Zambales
Nagsasa Cove, Zambales
Nagsasa Cove, Zambales
Nagsasa Cove, Zambales
Anawangin and Nagsasa have no cellular reception, though in case of an emergency, there’s this stall in Nagsasa with a satellite phone that you can use to text for P50. It might seem a bit scary for some, to not have access to the real world while being stuck on an island; we were worried, too. But the campers there mainly kept to their own, no one bothered us in any way during our stay. Plus, when we got there, we didn't really care for lack of signal anymore. It just meant we can focus on being in the moment, the entire experience, and the people we were with. Ultimate bonding experience at its finest!
Zambales AdventureNagsasa Cove, ZambalesAnawangin, Zambales
Nagsasa Cove, Zambales
The kuyas warned us about how there were lots of rocks around Camara, so we ended up not going to avoid any accidents. I don’t know if it’s a trick that they say to lessen the islands you have to go to and save gas, but we didn’t mind missing a stop after our disappointment in Capones Island. There was trash everywhere. It was really disappointing to see people eating and having picnics, and just leaving their trash on the beach. People are so irresponsible. I've read articles about the trash situation in Baler and Boracay as well. People need to realize that we are the ones who need to keep our beaches (and other public areas) clean in order to keep its natural beauty and the country's tourism to boom. It's actually our responsibility.

I'm glad that Nagsasa is still able to maintain that cleanliness and that the "resort" we stayed in provided garbage bags for our trash.
Zambales Adventure
Nagsasa Cove, Zambales
Nagsasa Cove, Zambales
Everything was smooth sailing.. until dinner, that is. While we were eating and minding our own business, a white beetle suddenly appeared (out of nowhere!!) on our table!! We screamed and panicked, but no one came to our rescue. Haha! We had to fend for ourselves, but of course, that’s part of nature, and therefore, part of the experience as well. We kept laughing at how ridiculous we were all being, so when the beetle disappeared, we tried to go back to our meals. But since we were already praning and every movement or sound outside of our own would have us jumping to our feet, we eventually moved our dinner in the tent! Hahaha!
Nagsasa Cove, Zambales
Sleeping in the tent is a completely different story. It was humid at first, especially with the entryway closed. Luckily, the weather turned for the better around 11pm. The next day, we woke up at 5:30am to catch the sunrise, pack our bags, have breakfast, and leave for Anawangin by 8am.
Anawangin, Zambales
When we got there, the first thing I noticed was that there was considerably more people in Anawangin Cove compared to Nagsasa. That's probably because Anawangin is closer to Pundaquit, hence, lesser travel time. The camping site there is situated further from the beach, separated by a stream, with lots of trees around the site itself. But if you were to ask me, I'd still prefer Nagsasa over it.
Nagsasa Cove, Zambales
Quick list of things to bring:
Overnight parking fee in Pundaquit (P200)
Sunblock and insect repellant
Water, soda, and/or beer
Food (lots of it!)
A great book to read
Flashlight / portable lamp
Fan (battery operated / hand operated e.g. pamaypay haha)
Beach shoes (the sand can get really hot in the afternoon)
Extra money (so you can buy from the stalls, rent kayaks, etc)
Speakers plus an awesome beach playlist
Pepper spray / taser (just in case)
Nagsasa Cove, Zambales
Nagsasa Cove
 -
Until next time, Zambales! :)

29 comments:

Hey, I'd love to hear from you! Leave a comment below and I'll get back to you soonest!

  1. I love your photos! <3 what camera did you used? :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Joyce! Thank you so much! I took these with my Samsung S3 :)

      Delete
  2. Lovely photos you took there! I have been to Pundaquit once, during a required mountaineering event for my PE subject in the university. I was only a freshman, and didn't know what to expect. :D But it turned out to be one of my most memorable college experiences. We didn't just stay in the beach, we also climbed mount Pundaquit, saw the coasts from above, and experienced the rain straight from the top! It was an awesome and exhilarating experience! Would definitely go back if I have the chance. Thanks for sharing the contact info also. You seemed to all have enjoyed the trip. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Maerose! Wow, your school is fun! I wish mine offered trips like this. Would you believe we had a PE subject in the classroom? Crazy, right?? But yeah, I'm glad you had fun. You actually got to do more things than I did! Climbing wasn't in my girl friends' vocabularies, unfortunately! And yes, I did. It was really hot that day, but we still had fun! :)

      Delete
  3. I am thinking, except for the sand which I prefer to be at least comparable with Boracay (fat chance), you actually ended up having more fun that being at Boracay. It's not crowded. Also, there are other scenic views and nature that seems to be gone from Boracay.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, definitely. There are just too many establishments in Boracay now that it has lost its appeal to me. And I agree, it's always so crowded (especially this coming weekend!) I've been there twice, I had the most fun island hopping and parasailing, but really, more people really go there just to party nowadays :P

      Delete
  4. Wow!! All your photos are beautiful! I think you really enjoyed your stay. Will add these to my bucket list xo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aww, thanks Dorothy!:) We did! It was just an overnight trip but it felt longer since there's no wifi or signal there! Hope you get the chance to visit it soon :)

      Delete
  5. Now, this is my idea of a perfect getaway -- camping on the beach. There's no better way to escape than to be in a secluded place with no electricity or luxurious accommodation. Very nice experience. Amazing photos, considering you took these with a smartphone. It's really not about the camera, but the story you capture.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aww thanks so much, Ivan! :) I love photography, so I really appreciate your comment!

      Delete
  6. Zambales is totally underrated--but that is the beauty of it! It is unspoilt and majestic. I came here last year and remember their sand is dark brown and fine, and really strong waves--I don't recall what part of Zambales though.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree!! I hope they don't ruin its beauty by developing it like they did Boracay. I love it as it is! It's the real one-with-nature type of getaway!

      Delete
  7. I think these islands or tourist guides need to implement stricter rules for tourists. To always clean up the place before they leave. Some people do need to learn some discipline.

    Btw, I don't know if I'd survive camping under the stars in a tent. I'm pretty sure it would be darn uncomfortable. Kudos to you guys!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I completely agree! Capones Island didn't have any trash bins so people just left them everywhere. Or maybe they shouldn't let people sell ice cream there (I saw a lot of ice cream wrappers on the sand) :(

      Delete
  8. What a fun girl's trip! Though I am more inclined to not be in a tent when it is just girls! :) It looked beautiful there and must have been great to unplug from the rest of the world even if it wasn't totally your first choice. I think we miss out on a lot of good moments because we are on our phones and not connecting with each other.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is true. We are always on our phones now no matter where we are. It was a good way to appreciate nature and really be in that moment (though I did use my phone to take photos, but that's a different case :P)

      Delete
  9. Your pictures are really lovely! I have never been to Zambales before, but since you survived with a 4-year-old, I have high hopes in bringing my son to these trips in a few years.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How old is your son? Just make sure to bring a battery operated or rechargeable fan so he won't have a hard time sleeping :)

      Delete
  10. I also travel with my girlfriends even when my daughter was just 7 months old! But we haven't tried adventures like this because I can't let my daughter sleep in a tent. I don't know, maybe it is just me. lol. But when I saw that you brought along a 4 year old, this made me think. Maybe, we can do this too! This is a nice place in Zambales and one of my friends had been proposing this for a next trip.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Totally! It would be a good experience for the child too:) Try to bring some sort of rechargeable fan, or else your daughter could have a hard time sleeping at night. We were a bit far from the shore so it was humid at first, but as the night went by, we felt cooler :)

      Delete
  11. And you girls are brave, you even tag along a kid with you to live in a tent. Anyway, all went well and you seemed to have enjoyed the experience. One drawback is the lack of signal. P50 just to send a text message is not a joke.

    BTW, I never thought an S3 can take stunning photos.. very lively and looks so naturally real, specially the mountains.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aww thanks Sonnie! :)

      And yeah, the lack of signal can be both a good thing or a bad thing. I was really worried that if something happens, we couldn't contact any of our families or friends. But good thing everything went a-okay.

      Delete
  12. Zambales is really perfect for retreat, teambuilding and friends getaway. My last visit in Zambales was seven years ago and it's exciting to see how it has been developed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wooah seven years ago is a long while! Balik ka! :)

      Delete
  13. Nice photos. I would really vouch for Zambales for people who want a taste of vitamin sea. sobrang ganda ng mga beach. :)

    Aika | aikaloraine.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Aika! I completely agree! And it's not that far from the city pa!

      Delete
  14. I love the nature and the photo's are fabulous. That smile is amazing! To take your child into a tent is pretty awesome. Not every parent would dare that. Thumbs up!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Sabine! It was a crazy two-days, definitely full of adventure!

      Delete
  15. My yaya, the one who raised me is now living in Zambales with her daughter. She has been telling me eversince she moved there that I should go visit the beaches in Zambales and she always emphasizes how pretty the beaches were. I am never fully convinced until I saw this post. Now, I am planning a beach trip in Zambales so I can visit my yaya too! :)

    ReplyDelete