Miles, the author, has agreed to write this about his weekend in one of the many beautiful spots in the Philippines: Anawanging Cove in Zambales.
Click on the link for a short introduction of Miles.
Read his story and see his pictures:
Anawangin Cove, San Antonio, Zambales
It had been a stressful time for me from the beginning of this year 2010 and I thought it might be a good idea for a short break to join them. If only they would arrange the trip schedule on the month of March so I could have enough time to rearrange my work itinerary. As if they had been reading my thoughts, after several days I got a text message asking me if I could join them on the 6th of March in which I gladly confirmed. By the evening of March 5 we had assembled at the house of my friend with all the tents, sleeping bags, food supplies, beers, and other things the ladies had brought with them. There were 11 of us who decided to join this trip.
We left Baguio at 12 midnight, March 6, 2010 on a van, by 5 am we were in Subic. Going up north of Zambales area from Subic we arrived in the small sleepy town of San Antonio. The ladies suggested for us to have breakfast but it seemed everything was closed during this early hour of the morning. After several inquiries from the locals on where we could have breakfast we found this small building where they serve meals, behind the municipal building. Practically it was the only eating place open at that time. After breakfast we headed off to Pondaquit, a small barangay of San Antonio. One of our friends had made contact to a boatman in the area prior to the trip and we’re going to meet him since he will be in charge of taking us to Anawangin Cove on the same day. He didn’t have a hard time spotting us upon arriving in Pondaquit. Soon as we got to his place, I noticed, a vacant space for the van was already prepared so it didn’t took us long unloading our things and taking them to the pump boat waiting on the shore. By 8:30 am we were already on our way to Anawangin Cove.
The cool sea breeze and magnificent sight had relaxed my rather tired and sleepy feeling from the trip. With a friendly and hospitable looking guy, the boatman shared to us how Anawangin Cove came to be. According to him Anawangin Cove used to have a rocky shore and is a fish sanctuary being guarded by the Philippine Marine. After the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in the early 90’s, lahar deposit had covered the shore of the cove resulting to a white sand beach. The coconut trees that used to grow on the shoreline of the cove were replaced by Agoho trees Casuarina equisesetifolia or common ironwood in english; probably the seedlings somehow came with the lahar from Mt. Pinatubo. The place can be accessed only by boat from Pundaquit or by a 6 hours trek in hot open trails through the Pundaquit mountain range. Aside from a few huts, deep wells, and bathroom / toilet facilities, there are no hotels or resorts in the area. The relative isolation of the place kept it free from commercial development thus preserving its natural beauty.
In about 45 minutes of boat ride in calm and clear sea water, we finally arrived at the cove. After registering to the keeper of the place, we proceeded in finding a nice spot where to put up our tents and unload our packs and things under the tall Agoho trees. Since it’s the beginning of summer, one cannot ignore the hot temperature even under the shade of the trees. Finally after setting up all the tents for the group, we headed for a swim on the clear blue water of Anawangin.
While the ladies started to prepare food for lunch, we decided to go out and collect dry wood inside the forest a few meters behind the camping site. Another remarkable thing that caught our attention was the river that empty itself to the southern part of the cove, more Agoho trees stands on both sides of the river. As there are abundant supply of dry wood around, we were able to collect enough in a short time and it was soon set to start a fire for the ladies to cook. After another 2 hours or so our lunch of rice and tuna sinigang was ready. After lunch everyone find a nice spot for a nap while waiting for the heat to go down, by 3pm everybody was back for a nice dip into the water.
One of the best memories I got from visiting this place was the magnificent sunset. I am glad to say that I didn’t forget to bring a digital camera and took enough pictures to remind me of this beautiful place.
At 7pm everything was practically dark, supper was good and soon the bonfires from every group on the camping site were started and we gathered around for a good story to share. Laying on my sleeping bag near the bonfire, while my friends enjoyed the evening conversation, I slowly slip into slumber with the stars dotting the space between the tall Agoho trees of Anawangin I was tired but happy and feeling lucky enough to have joined my friends in spending the weekend in this wonderful paradise.