Sunday, April 1, 2012

The Anawangers (Anawangin Cove, Zambales)

Eversince 2009, Anawangin has been included in my travel bucket list. Almost all Filipino travel bloggers, including Angel Juarez of, cited Anawangin as the favourite camping site in the north. Used to be labeled as the “mountaineers’ secret getaway”, this secluded cove is already open to all and is becoming a popular destination for travellers who wanted to be detached from the usual metro life.

The idea of camping, trekking, and photography of scenic views appealed to my senses. Yes, much is heard about Anawangin Cove. Given that there’s no electricity and no cellphone signal in the island, the remoteness of the place simulates the life during the old times; a possible time warp perhaps. Anawangin is mystical. You can really feel it for yourselves, especially during the middle of the night.

March 2012 is the start of the breakaway journey as it opens opportunities to wander, to relax and to be close with nature. Thus, the Anawangin escapade was a plan in the making. Fortunately, we have friends who are travel organizers of ( and everything went smoothly. We only have to bring ourselves and our bags and the rest will be taken care of.

As part of the itinerary, it is advisable to depart from Metro Manila before 6am since travel time from Quezon City to Brgy Pundaquit, Zambales usually takes around 4 hours. From the Pundaquit dock, a hired private boat with a 20-seater capacity will take you to Anawangin Cove in just 30 minutes. The weather is really humid so prepare your sunscreen lotion, cap and sarong; this will really save your skin from the scorching heat. For those who prefer mountain climbing, Anawangin can also be reached through 5-6 hours of trekking with the aid of a local tour guide.

Estimated time of arrival is 11am. The entire front view of the island is full of pine trees, similar to Baguio but with gray-sand beach and with surrounding green mountains. The gray color of the sand was the result of eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in 1991. On the shoreline, tourists were already basking under the sun. Some were busy preparing their tents and their food while others enjoyed their lazy time at nipa huts, at their tents or at the hammock tied on the pine trees. On the innerpart of the cove, a 20-minute walk from the campsite will lead you to a forest-like area with rocks and wood debris. A picturesque view of green shallow river will welcome you. 

Another main attraction of Anawangin cove is the famous cliff. A signage marked it as an easy climb but with a complete assessment of the rocks, the steepness and the narrow pathway towards the summit, one will conclude that it is a “difficult climb” for inexperienced and amateur climbers. Risk is involved; either you proceed or you return back to the campsite. 

At the onset of the evening, most tourists are busy taking a bath; others are setting up their bonfires. Since there is no electricity, evening is the time for chit chat and merrymaking. There is a sari-sari store available in case you run out of alcoholic drinks during the night.

The next morning of the trip may be alloted for Capones Island visit. However, during our stay, waves are around 12ft high which is not convenient for sailing. Rain showers are also on and off and whirlwind can be heard echoing on the mountainside. 

Going back to Pundaquit, howling waves may accompany you during your boat ride, most especially during BER months since the sailing area is fronting the South China Sea. Our cruise back to Pundaquit is nerve-wracking since waves are high and huge. You can really feel the angst of roaring waves. Surfers are even flocking towards the Pundaquit coast. It was considered a one heck of adventure. Thus, we proudly called ourselves, the Anawangers.

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