In my desperate attempt for a weekend escape from all the hustle and bustle of Metro Manila, I turned to newly-found and not-yet-met CouchSurfing friends and folks to go surfing at Zambales!
But of course, backtrack a little bit: most of us got bottomless on tequilas and hit the dance floor first (Payback Friday mode at Agave and 7th High) before hitting the beach! Special thanks to Jen for organizing, Craig for keeping our bags at his pad, and Abby for the magic password for Guest List at 7th high!
Yep, today is a personal post. I mean, of course, everything I share with you on this travel blog is from my personal experience but this one is different. It’s my birthday blog post! Today, I turn 26 and to commemorate the completion of my quarter life (assuming of course that I live to 100 years), I would like to share with you my 25th year in travel.
Earlier this year, I made a checklist of the places I wanted to visit and Anawangin Cove in Zambales was included in it—until it got bumped by Nagsasa Cove.
Nagsasa Cove is about 30 minutes farther by boat than Anawangin Cove if you are taking the Pundaquit or San Miguel jump off points in the town of San Antonio, Zambales. We availed the tour package offered by Ate Alice and our jump-off point was Brgy. San Miguel. It’s just 10 minutes from the San Antonio Municipal Hall where most passengers and tourists get dropped by the buses from Manila and picked up by their boatmen or tour operators.
From the jump-off point, it took us about an hour to get to Nagsasa Cove. The boat passed through surprisingly very calm waters, so calm that at some points it’s like a glass mirror reflecting the outriggers of the banca without any disturbance! Plus, since it was just a little past 6am when we started our boat journey, we had awesome views of the sunrise, the mountain, and the horizon! On the way to Nagsasa Cove, I was so happy feeling the subtle warmth of the sun’s rays breaking through the mountain peaks and touching my face. I greeted everyone a very good morning indeed!
And then, once we arrived at Nagsasa, we can’t help but admire the beauty that was around us. My travel companions, being foreigners who have lived here for a while now and have already traveled to other places, exclaimed that Nagsasa was indeed so beautiful and they can’t believe that they’re still in the Philippines and not somewhere else!
Groggy girls that we were, we found our spot at Mang Ador’s campsite and Kuya Ruben, our boatman, set up our tents. We then brought out our supplies and prepared breakfast. You can start your own fire but we opted to go to Mang Ador’s cottage-slash-sari-sari store coz they have better firewood cooking set-up. And after breakfast of fried eggs and bread, with cheeze spread and peanut butter, plus a good serving of Gatorade, we went for a swim and welcomed the clear and soothing waters!
Apart from being the best sand my friends have ever been on, they also appreciated the clearness of the waters at Nagsasa Cove. It’s so clear that you don’t really need goggles or snorkel masks to see through the water. There are also some jellyfish species floating around as well as small fish. The campers here also seem friendly and are conscious of keeping the place clean.
After a good swimming and soaking, we decided to take a nap. It was kind of humid at first but the wind picks up every now and then at Nagsasa Cove. I still don’t know why that is so but it’s amazing how you would “hear” the humming of the wind first before you “feel” it!
It felt like we napped for a long time and then we realized that it was just noon!!! For some reason, we found time to be very slow once we’re at Nagsasa. It’s either the cove is doing it’s job of not making us think of time and how it passes OR our brain’s still exhausted and has not recovered from the lack of proper sleep! In any case, we didn’t really complain coz that meant we have more time to enjoy the coves!
Once we’re done with lunch and another swim to play with the jellyfish and find other fishies, we decided to move to the other side of the cove—the one I want to call “mainstream campsites”. If facing the beach, from Mang Ador’s campsite, you would need to walk towards the left and reach some kind of a sandbar due to the drying river that flows through to the ocean.
The scenery is quite nice but upon reaching the shoreline of the mainstream campsite, I can’t help but feel disappointed and sad. There were a lot of plastic garbage! Me and Elaine did some cleaning-up but it was just too many!!! The sand is also coarse and more painful on the feet than the campsite at Mang Ador’s.
So, after taking pictures from the top of rocky cliff-like formation and taking a quick dip, Elaine and I decided to return to our campsite, just in time for the sunset. Nagsasa sunset wasn’t the “setting-in-front-of-you” type of sunset coz it was covered by the mountain but it was spectacular nonetheless. A good mix of red, orange and purple. Ganda!!!
And of course, after sunset comes another round of eating! And then, bonfire! I was really excited for the bonfire coz it will be the first time I was to have smores—a very good bite of marshmallow, chocolate and graham crackers goodness! I can’t remember how many I had but I still remember how the mallows and Hershey’s melted and the way it felt in my mouth!!! We four girls had some wine (or a lot of it) and just enjoyed feeding the fire with logs…and mallows!
I woke up really early in the morning (like before 6) and had a good swim (for hangover?) and watched the sun rise again—this time trying to break through the pinewood trees! And once all the girls were awake, we prepared breakfast and decided to stay at Nagsasa a while longer and skip Camara island on the way back.
We spent some time just chilling, swimming, chatting and exploring a bit more of the rocky side of the edge of Mang Ador’s campsite. I think some people from the mainstream campsites also walk over this side to take photos.
And to cap it off, Elaine “insisted” that I go for the water splash shot! To which I “not so willingly” (as in pakipot kuno) obliged. Hahaha I think it’s a good memory of Nagsasa, di ba?!
I was just looking at old photo albums in Facebook when I came across some photos of animals and plants, not to mention eagles, at the Philippine Eagle Center during the trip I made to Davao City with my brods and sisses from UPLB DevComSoc.
Suffice it to say that it brought me down memory lane. So before I succumb to the nostalgia, I “hurriedly” selected some photos which I would like to share with you. They’re not all eagles, but of other flora and fauna as well. The Philippine Eagle Center, apart from being popularly known as home to Pag-asa (hope), the first Philippine eagle bred in captivity, is also the home for several other avian species (birds) and animals. And yes, insects and flowers too!
So, if you can’t go to Davao to watch these birds and insects and walk along the green pathways of the Philippine Eagle Center, I hope that some of these photos can somehow transport you and let you enjoy a visual wildlife (though no longer as wild) encounter!
If you enjoyed this visual tour of the Philippine Eagle Center, wait till you actually see the eagles and animals and walk through it’s pathways! These photos were taken almost two years ago and for sure, there’s more to see at the Philippine Eagle Center now, especially after Pag-asa and Kalinawan gave birth to another eagle!
Life is short so take a leap of faith. Let’s wander, explore and discover. Come and journey with me.