ANAWANGIN COVE, ZAMBALES, PHILIPPINES – Dreaming of spending a weekend secluded in an island, surrounded with lush green trees, majestic mountain range, scenic river, and a pristine beach? Tada! Anawangin is the place to be!
As most of you don’t know, we are IT professionals based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. I’m sure all Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) would agree that the best Christmas gift ever is to be able to go home and spend time with loved ones. Luckily, we were able to get 2 weeks of vacation and since it’s a family season, we decided to spent most of it with our family, relatives and some friends just around around Manila especially Rap, as it’s his cousins wedding, most of his relatives overseas were also home. So, initially we don’t have plans together for the holidays, besides having Christmas dinner/lunch with Jollibee.
Lo and behold, sudden change of plans happened. Friday midnight I got a call from Rapy saying they’re planning to go out of town and leave for Anawangin on the same day at 6am, asked me if I want to join and of course, I said ‘Yes!’. (talk about last minute planning, lol. )
Who would have thought that this place is born out of disaster? Yes, Anawangin rise as a phoenix from the ashes of Mount Pinatubo’s eruption back in 1991. From these ashes comes the white sands, and Agoho cones which grew as pine-like trees along the beach shore resulting into a breathtaking backdrop for campers and mountaineers. Sigh What a way to kick off the new year surrounded by this beauty!
How to get there?
Since we’re a big group, we rented private service ( the Jeepney!) that will take us from Manila to Pundaquit via NLEX – SCTEx. But, he’s late thus we left around 7am and arrived at around 12pm, not bad for first timers as the usual travel time for private transportation is 4 – 5 hours. Thanks to google map! See below directions:
If you’ll be taking public transportation:
- From Manila, take the Victory Liner bus bound to Iba, Zambales.
- Get off at Public Market of San Antonio, then take tricycle going to Pundaquit, 30php/pax
- In Pundaquit, rent a boat going to Anawangin. It will take approximately 30 mins to Anawangin Cove.
Where to stay?
If you’re not planning to camp out on Anawangin, there are hotels and inns in Pundaquit where you can stay after/before your island hopping.
Here are some:
Wild Rose Inn
contact #: 0910 661 5613
Nora’s Beach Resort
contact #: 0918 2788188
Pundaquit Luxury Resort
contact #: 0917 5122307
We stayed at Wild Rose Inn, good location for a cheap price. It’s just 100 meters walk away from the beach. There’s a swimming pool, karaoke area (though, you have to pay 5pesos per song) and a kitchen area if you want to cook your own meals. The rooms are simple enough for just sleeping. The owner was very accommodating and personally arranged our boat transfer to Anawangin the next day. But, on the cons side, the bathrooms are too small that only normal size people can used. Overall, it’s OK for just a one night stay.
If you’re arranging it on your own, boat rental rates are as follows:
- Anawangin Cove: P1000
- Anawangin Cove + Capones Island + Camara Island: P1500
- Nagsasa Cove only: P1500
- Nagsasa Cove + Capones + Camara Island: P2000
- Silanguin Cove + Capones + Camara Island: P2500
What to do?
Here are some suggested activities aside from beach bumming, swimming and taking pictures:
- Island hopping: Besides Anawangin Cove, you can also visit nearby Capones and Camara Islands, Silanguin and Nagsasa Coves.
- Trekking: Trek Mt. Pundaquit, trek your way up to Capones Lighthouse
- Camping / Bonfire: No electricity. No cellphone signals. No problem. You can watch the stars and enjoy bonfire stories with your group. So nice but it comes with a price. Camping fee in Anawangin cost 100php per person. To save money, bring your own food and bring your own tent.
Unfortunately, we only did the beach bumming, swimming and taking pictures. (See pictures below! More pictures here and here.) But, nothing to be sad, because we have enough reasons to go back, try all those activities and experience again the sheer beauty of this place.