About 4 hours away from Manila is a beach with unprecedented beauty. Anawangin Cove that is located in Zambales, was formed when Mt. Pinatubo erupted in 1991. That’s why the beach here is consist of volcanic ash and sand. There are two ways to reach this location. One is to hike Mt. Pundaquit, which will take about 5-6 hours. One of the locals told us that experienced hikers can do it in about 2-3 hours. Second is to rent a boat, which will take about 20 minutes. The cost is around Php 1500.00 (approx 34 USD). There are no hotels/resort in this area, so bringing camping gear and other necessities is a must when staying overnight. When we went here this year, several cottages (or nipa huts) are already being built. Those who do not want to camp can stay in Pundaquit, which is also the jump-off point. What we did is to rent several tents with our boatman for a fee. I stayed in my hammock though, so I have full view of the stars at night. Water and toilets are now available, but don’t expect them to be at par with those in the resorts. Electricity is available through generator, but it is only limited to lights in cottages. There are also no mobile signals in Anawangin Cove, which makes it a good stress reliever. The sea can be rough at times. We were not able to go to the nearby islands because of the rough waves in the afternoon (and because of the fact that the boatmen seemed to forget to pick us up in the afternoon). How to go to Pundaquit:
By bus : Several bus lines, like Victory Liner, has daily trips to Iba, Zambales. Tell the driver or the conductor to drop you in the Public Market of San Antonio. You can buy the food and other things you need in this market before riding the tricycle that will bring you to Pundaquit.
By car : The easiest way is to take the Dau exit in North Luzon Expressway, then take the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway. From Subic, just follow the road going to Iba, Zambales.
Other places of interest:
- Nagsasa Cove
- Capones Island
- Camara Island
Someone in our group volunteered to arrange everything as we were 14 at that time. We just paid Php 1500 (approx 34 USD) each for the van rental, boat rental (with no side trip), tents and food.
- Bring a flashlight, candles and other source of light as the electricity generated is not enough to light the area.
- Buy food and water in San Antonio Public Market as the cost can be quite high when buying in the (one and only) store in Anawangin Cove.
- If staying overnight, you should bring camping gear. If you will sleep in a hammock, bring a blanket as it can be cold at night.
- Better to travel early in the morning as the sea can be rough.
- Inform your boatman about your itinerary prior to the travel date as they have different rates for Nagsasa Cove, Anawangin Cove and island hopping.
- Don’t forget to bring medicine kit and plastic bag for the garbage.