San Antonio, Zambales’ Hidden Beaches: Nagsasa & Anawangin Coves
As we were about to chase the magnificent Mount Pulag sunrise up North, bad weather, short window of time, and transportation shifted our sights to the West in search of a new destination where we can relax and escape from our daily lives that we can insert in our busy schedules. The boys of 113 are back on the road again as we journey to a beach kept away by gigantic mountains sealing the serenity from society. This is Nagsasa Cove.
Streets of Quezon City were quiet when we left and we have the road all for ourselves. From the Mindanao Avenue Link we entered the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) at cruising speed. Instead of taking the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX), we used the old way of getting to Subic through San Fernando Exit. Since it’s 3 A.M. in the morning, traffic is light. However, there were parts of the road which is under construction so you have to slow down for a while. On the bright side, taking San Fernando Exit saves you money from NLEX and SCTEX’s toll fees.
A roadside lake in a stopover in SBMA.
Subic was our first and last stop where we purchased our supplies (which we should have bought earlier). After 170 kilometers of driving, San Antonio was right around the corner, and we’re just in time as the sun pops out from the mountains on the east. Reynald “Kulot” Liwarin, a surf instructor, boatman, our contact, and a friend in Brgy. Pundaquit, was up early to meet us. He led us to a safe and protected parking lot where we’ll leave our vehicle as we head to Nagsasa Cove.
The morning was quite hazy and the cloud formations threatens our trip with rain showers as predicted by the forecast. We kept our fingers crossed and proceed to our itinerary. Kulot introduced us to his Dad, Tatay Jesus, who was assigned to take us to our destinations.
Reynald Liwarin, a.k.a. Kulot. He’s the guy to look for in Pundaquit.
Tatay Jesus, our boatman, guide, and Kulot’s dad.
Together, we carried the boat to shore and load our packs and supplies in it. Life vest for tourist in Pundaquit is a standard operating procedure to ensure the safety of the boat’s passengers. Boatmen are also not allowed to drink before and during the boat ride. It is strictly regulated by association of boatmen of the area. The safety and enjoyment of the passengers is top priority and they make sure you get both.
The trip to Nagsasa was a grueling 2-hour boat ride where all you hear is the sound of your boat’s engine, and the waves crashing to against the bow. Sailing along these coast seems endless until you take a left turn, entering a cove, headed for the beach. The mountains enclosing these cove serves as the the gates welcoming you to Nagsasa.
A boat docked at Nagsasa Cove’s beach.
Nagsasa Cove is more or less twice the distance from Pundaquit to Anawangin passing along the Zambales Coast lined by huge mountains and cliffs with probably a hundred feet drop on rocks. Similar to Anawangin, both beaches are situated inside a cove which serves as break water making the both beaches safe for swimmers both kids and adults. Both boast of having pine trees on the beach instead of the usual coconut trees. However, Nagsasa Cove is ideal for those who are looking for a beach with less people. The more commercialized Anawangin, on the other hand, has jam packed, full house camping capacity especially on weekends and holidays.
The Southern side of Nagsasa Cove. Crystal clear water.
Water is 100% transparent, as clear as crystal, and, as cool as a refreshing bath from a hard day’s work. Fine light gray sand stretch all over the beach with rocky shores on both tips. When the sun is up, walking in the sand is like needles piercing on your feet so wear slippers when walking around or walk by the shore.
A fee of P100.00 per head inclusive of use of cottages and a bathroom is charge to all visitors. A store is also available but like other tourist destinations, the price is usually 25% higher since supplies are transported via boat from Pundaquit. I think its quite reasonable. To avoid these, better purchase food and supplies before leaving town, you’re taking the boat anyway.
A small lake/river at the foot of the mountains, a few meters away from the beach
The narrow river connecting the lake and the sea.
River at the northern part of the cove.
After lunch, we spent the afternoon walking around the area taking photos, and came across this small lake which connects to sea through a narrow and shallow river. The mountains were perfect backdrops for pictures especially early in the morning and late in the afternoon where the sun lights one side of the mountain creating a three dimensional effect. Late in the afternoon, the setting sun produces a vibrant red glow, and watching it go down while listening the music created by the crashing small waves, and whispers of the wind was simply astonishing. As the sky turn from the vibrant red to pitch black, we prepared camp and started cooking dinner.
The parked boat on the beach rest from a day’s travel.
Before we call it a day, we sat down around the bonfire, share stories while having cold beers to celebrate our safe trip. Fire wood and burning materials are sold for P100.00 which will give you approximately an hour of fire. Since a Biyahe Buddy haven’t experienced the bonfire. A hundred bucks from our funds wouldn’t hurt a small but unforgettable experience.
Having cold beers around the warm bonfire.
CG in heat.
My morning started early. I woke up right before the sun did. After I opened my eyes, I lied down for a few minutes, and prepared my pack and walked around again to capture the morning routine and daily activities of the small community of Nagsasa Cove.
Locals approaching the beach coming from a short fishing trip.
Woke up early to take some photos.
Sweeping sands to remove small trashes.
Open huts where one can seek protection from the sun’s scorching heat.
Christian Guerta… Travel Photographer
After a few pictures, we prepared a nice heavy breakfast of tuyo, danggit, corned beef and rice just to keep our energies up for the second day activities. When breakfast was over, we cleaned up after our mess, and lavish ourselves in the cool waters of the beach, skimmed on shore, and continued our celebration. As the sun gets higher, it becomes hotter, and swimming was the perfect remedy. On some beaches, even the water gets hot during midday.
We started to put down our camp, prepared our packs, and we’re ready to say goodbye to Nagsasa Cove promising her that we’ll be back. Back on the sea, we’re on a side trip to one of the hottest summer destinations and continues to become more popular for backpackers, Anawangin Cove.
Like Nagsasa, Anawangin is enclosed in a cove making the beach ideal for kids. It has powdery white sands compared to the grey sands of Nagsasa. And if you’re staying overnight, you’ll be charged P100.00 per person. We had one bottle of beer, and spent an hour on the beach swimming skim boarding before we head back to Pundaquit.
River at the back side of Anawangin Cove
Fenced campsites in Anawangin Cove.
It was 3:00 in the afternoon when we got back in Pundaquit. The boat ride was faster because water was quite calm. Before we end our journey, we decided to wait for the sunset and had some few drinks with our new friends while waiting. Kulot introduced us to everybody and his family. I want to thank them for being warm and hospitable to travelers like us. The whole gang was enjoying their time in the afternoon sharing stories, and laughter. Thank you and we’ll be back.
Sunset in Pundaquit, San Antonio, Zambales.
Now, here are some fast facts that may help you on your trip:
1. We spent P1,500 for gas money, we were using a 2006 Honda City on a premium gasoline. (Gas during this time was 52.00 per liter)
2. If you’re commuting, fares cost P270.00 according to locals. Again, check with bus terminals.
3. Toll fees.
From Mindanao Avenue Link to San Fernando Exit: P141.00
From Mindanao Avenue Link to Dau: P195.00
From NLEX to Subic via SCTEX: To be confirmed
4. Contact Reynald Liwarin (09108162974) for boat rentals. It usually cost P2,500 which has a seating capacity of 3-4 persons.
5. Expect to get wet. Put your electronic gadgets, money, and other important items in a sealed bag. Clothes should also be waterproofed as well.
6. Enjoy the outdoors but at the same time pick up your trash and clean up your mess. Have fun and be safe in your trip.
7. Please LIKE BIYAHERONG BARAT on Facebook
8. Check out another cove in San Antonio Zambales called Silanguin.
9. More Zambales destinations in Biyaheng Zambales.
9. If you’re looking for the cheapest and complete travel packages to Zambales, see Biyahe Lokal.