Street but Sweet


Sunday, February 21, 2010

Camp rocked!

No, we still haven't had time to go on a proper honeymoon, but we finally did get to go camping! I had never gone camping before, so this was going to be an adventure!

After weighing our different beach options (Putipot, Anawangin--which, I hear, is overrun with campers now), we finally decided on MV's suggestion: Nagsasa Cove in Zambales. If you want to know how to get there (including expenses), just scroll down after the photos. For now, let's do a little photo narrative...

The jump-off point is Purok 1 in Pundaquit, where we met our boatman Mang Vic. I pretty much found him off the net--aside from being referred by Nagsasa veterans, he had his own blog! (Unfortunately, I can't find the link now!)

From the jump-off point, you can see Camara and Capones Islands. They were out of the way so we didn't make the trip.

You'll pass the more popular Anawangin Cove before finally--finally!--catching sight of Nagsasa Cove, about an hour's boat ride away from Purok 1. (Note: Try to get a boat with a roof! That sun could get pretty harsh.)

Once you get to the cove, you'll be helped out of the boat by Mang Ador and his men, who are some of the few people who live on this part of the island.

H and I with Mang Ador

They don't really charge anything, but it'd be nice to leave them a little somethin'-somethin'. Especially since Mang Ador recently found out that his wife has cancer.:( Do pray for her and for the family. It was a little heartbreaking when he asked me all these questions about cancer--if it could be cured, if there were herbal alternatives to chemo. Sigh. I really really wish I could help. My own little way of doing that is promoting Nagsasa, and just saying what a totally kick-ass "host" he is!

To entice you, a few photos of what the cove has to offer:

Crystal clear waters that are super calm, and a view of mountains; the sand has some lahar mixed in, courtesy of the Mt. Pinatubo eruption

Pine trees! Right by the shore! Some people say that the seeds came from the ashfall courtesy of Mt. Pinatubo. We set up our tent by one of the big picnic tables, away from the other campers. We were there for peace and quiet and relaxation.

Lots of trees from which you can hang a hammock and doze off (which is exactly what I did)

A freshwater stream that runs behind the campsite

A 15-minute hike that leads to...

...waterfalls and a cool freshwater swimming hole! There was just a trickle of water when we were there since it's dry season.

A sari-sari store that sells halo-halo

A gorgeous sunset

A chance to complete the camping experience with a bonfire. This one was built by the locals for some campers nearby. But since they weren't gathered around it yet, I snuck in and roasted some marshmallows, on a perfect twig that H found for me.

More breathtaking photos by other Nagsasa visitors can be found here and here.

It was such a wonderful experience, even if it meant sharing a no-flush toilet in a makeshift bathroom with more than 20 other campers. And our feet were freezing because we didn't expect it to be so windy and cold, even inside our tent! (Note: Bring a blanket!) It also felt like we were in a different country, with a nice beach, rolling hills, a lake, pine trees, and waterfalls all in one place!

Want to go on a camping trip to beautiful Nagsasa Cove? Details:
  • Take a Victory Liner bus from Caloocan, going to Iba or Sta. Cruz, Zambales. Caloocan's a better option than Cubao because buses to Iba leave every hour (or half hour) going to Iba. (Note: That blanket I mentioned earlier will certainly come in handy here. Victory Liner evening/early morning buses are FREEZING!)
  • Get off at San Antonio, Zambales--this isn't so far from Olongapo. Bus fare is PHP251, plus voluntary insurance for PHP5.
  • Take a trike to Purok 1 in Pundaquit, PHP30 per person.
  • Take a boat to Nagsasa Cove. You can try contacting Mang Vic, 0929-7170739. It was a little pricey since it was just the two of us (PHP1,700 round trip) but it should be cheaper if there are more of you. (Note: They don't offer life vests up front, but do ask for them.) Tell the boatman exactly what time you want to get picked up the next day if you're staying overnight. You can't just text or call because there is absolutely no signal in Nagsasa.
  • Get off at Nagsasa Cove and enjoy!
  • Going home: Once you get to Pundaquit, take a trike back to San Antonio and wait for a bus either bound for Manila (few and far between, we're told) or to Olongapo (which come every few minutes); from Olongapo, you could get on a bus back to Manila.
You could also opt to drive to Pundaquit and park at a resort--I hear some allow overnight parking. But you'll have to research about that.

Sigh. I'd love to go back, especially now that I'm sick from all the stress and that pesky bug going around lately. Camping in Nagsasa Cove is something I will always look back on with fondness. And I do hope to be back some day soon. Til then, Mang Ador and his family will be in my prayers, and I hope they'll be in yours too.

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  • At 6:02 AM , Blogger moonpool said...

    This is so cool. So puwede 'tong weekend lang? Hmm... :)

  • At 12:44 PM , Blogger Tisha said...

    Yup, a weekend is fine.:) It might be better to drive though. We opted for the bus coz I didn't want Hamil to be tired from driving, pero nakakapagod din mag-bus. It takes almost twice the amount of time because of all the stops and the waiting involved.


  • At 10:23 AM , Blogger lyn faigao said...

    hi there...i enjoyed reading your blog... we're actually planning to go there this march, kaso baka crowded yung place... just wanna ask if when would be the best day to go there? i mean yung hindi maalon and konti lang tao... thanks for any reply... :)

  • At 1:06 PM , Blogger Tisha said...

    Hi! Not really sure about the waves and the number of people and all... I'm guessing early part of the year (Jan or Feb, when we went) is a good time since the water's pretty calm. And while there were other campers when we were there, it wasn't crowded naman.

    Sorry this isn't really helpful. But have fun!

  • At 1:04 PM , Anonymous margaret jade said...

    chums! i love, love, love your blog :) we're planning to do the camping trip in july. i hope it won't be that rainy pa. hehe! we'll be bringing balikbayans kasi. thanks so much for all the details :)

  • At 5:26 PM , OpenID imnotafruit said...

    Wow, nice pictures ....and nice blog, actually :-) ...i would love to experience that as well!!!!

  • At 10:48 AM , Blogger Tisha said...

    Hi chums! Enjoy camping!:) If you can, bring those little stoves for camping so you can cook. Hamil and I were so envious of the other campers who were cooking seafood and all, while we were eating out of a can of tuna. Haha

    imnotafruit, thanks! Go go go, have an adventure!:)


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