Philippines is well-known for its pristine beaches. International travel magazines, TV shows and websites feature Boracay and El Nido, Palawan as one of the top beach destinations in the world.
There are still more Philippine places to discover particularly for foreign tourists. In the northern part, Anawangin Cove located in Zambales, Philippines offers a beautiful panoramic landscape of pine trees along the beach. Travelers bring in their camping tents, sleeping bags and food supplies for a weekend getaway in this beautiful island cove.
Ever since 2009, Anawangin has been included in my travel bucket list. The idea of beach, camping and trekking appealed to my wanderlust. Filipino travel bloggers cited the place as the favourite camping site in the north. Used to be labeled as the “mountaineers’ secret getaway”, this secluded cove is becoming a popular destination for nature lovers who wanted to be detached from the city life. Given that there’s no electricity and no mobile phone signal in the island, the remoteness of the place simulates the life during the ancient times; a possible time warp perhaps. Anawangin is mystical. The wind breeze and the sound of waves can be heard during midnight.
As part of the itinerary, it is advisable to depart from Manila before 6am since travel time to Barangay 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 it is advisable to prepare sunscreen lotion, cap and sarong to save your skin from the scorching heat. As an alternative option, Anawangin can also be reached through 5-6 hours of trekking with the aid of a local tour guide. Fortunately, I have friends who are travel organizers and everything went smoothly. We only have to bring ourselves and our bags and the rest were being taken care of.
The entire front view of the island is full of pine trees with gray-sand beach and with surrounding green mountains. The gray color of the sand was the result of eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the early 1990s. On the shoreline, tourists were basking under the sun. Some were busy preparing their tents and grilling their food while others enjoyed their lazy time at their built-in hammock tied on the pine trees. On the inner-part of the cove, a 20-minute walk from the campsite leads to an enchanted forestry with rocks and wood debris. A picturesque view of green shallow river will welcome the tourists.
Another main attraction in the Anawangin is its famous cliff. A signage marked it as an easy climb but with a complete assessment of 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.
In 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.
Going back to Pundaquit dock, howling waves may accompany the travelers during the boat ride, particularly in BER months (October to December) since the sailing area is fronting the South China Sea. During this season, some surfers are even flocking towards the Pundaquit coast. We experienced this situation and our cruise back to the mainland was a one heck of an adventure. Thus, we proudly called ourselves, the Anawangers.