Words by Carlo S. Suerte Felipe
Located in Zambales, Anawangin Cove is definitely not the place for people who can’t live without the Internet, especially their smart phones. Not only is there no electricity in Anawangin but also no WiFi, let alone cellphone signal.
Anawangin, safe to say, is for those who are looking forward to a vacation where they can be completely one with nature.
It’s not as scary as it sounds. Being almost isolated from the modern world is simply part of the Anawangin Cove’s charm (the local government prefers it that way to preserve its natural beauty).
Yes, you need to bring all your food and water supply with you coming here, making sure they will last for the whole duration of your stay. But for the record, Anawangin is not totally devoid of any form of creature comforts. There’s a toilet and shower area about 200 meters from the shoreline.
This is important: Leave no trash behind so please bring plastic bags with you. Be a good camper and “take nothing but pictures; leave nothing but footprints.”
But before you schedule your trip to Anawangin, be sure to check the weather first. The availability of the boats, that will take you to the cove, is greatly dependent on the condition of the sea. Peak season here is from late March to May.
Let the adventure begin
My friends and I drove about three hours from Manila via SCTEX to get to Zambales. We left at around 5AM to avoid Manila’s notorious traffic jam, reaching Barangay Pundaquit (check out hotels in Pundaquit here) at around 8AM. During our trip here, we had two options going to the cove: 1) Take a hike that can last for a few hours depending on your pace; 2) Rent a boat which will take us to the cove in 15 minutes depending on the calmness of the sea.
For option 1, we were warned of a wild carabao roaming along the hiking trail. Thus, it was not advisable. We chose option 2 not because we were scared of the carabao, but because we were carrying three days worth of food, two tents, and about four gallons of water (we were only staying overnight but we wanted to be prepared for any emergency). It was also our way of supporting the locals.
Having been to Anawangin before, one of my friends got in touch with a boatman whom he hired previously to ferry us to the cove. We had to rent two boats (P1,500/boat at the time of our trip) since only five persons can be accommodated per boat and there were six of us. The cost of the boat normally covers the return trip.
Our boat ride took 20 minutes because of the small waves we encountered along the way. We spotted Agoho trees (not to be mistaken for pine trees) as well as cottages, which you can rent for the night, just before reaching the shoreline.
Since our tents couldn’t house all six of us, we rented a cottage that set us back P200. We pitched our tents near the cottage: one tent was reserved for the girls while the other was used as a storage room of sorts.
Once we got ourselves settled, we decided to explore the area. We walked past the towering Agoho trees, away from the shore and into the Anawangin River. What’s interesting about this river is that water from the mountain flows downstream almost parallel to the cove. Instead of flowing straight into the sea, it creates this scenic liquid path of sorts tucked in the woods.
There’s a ridge in the vicinity that visitors can try to climb and explore. We decided however not to stress ourselves too much, returning to the camp to enjoy nature’s soothing music with food and drinks.