The tree-laden beach of Anawangin Cove

IF YOU are a beach lover and you think you have seen it all, think again. Somewhere in Zambales is a piece of paradise that have attracted tourists and backpackers into its coast.

Like most adventure seekers who needed a weekend getaway from the urban vibe, my friends and I once hit the highway from Manila to Pundaquit in San Antonio, Zambales, the jump off point towards our final destination: Anawangin Cove.

Taking a pump boat from Pundaquit, our group rounded the bay to get to the other cove. As we neared the shore, white sand beach came into view where agoho trees were swaying and the green mountains at the background adding a perfect touch to the whole scenery.

Most of all, there were only a few cottages in sight. It was when we docked at the beach that I noticed the tents that were pitched behind the trees. A serene body of water, which seemed to be a stream, beckoned behind the beach.

It’s a great way to get off the grid for some time, fast from all the technological connections, and just have a quiet time by yourself or with your friends. Definitely, Anawangin is the place to be. All you have there are the mountains, the breeze, the beach and the tranquility.

Those who are sporty and active enough can trek to the mountains, where a breathtaking view of the beach can be enjoyed from a good vantage point.

Some hikers take the route through the mountains from Pundaquit to Anawangin. It’s cheaper because you don’t have to hire a boat getting to the cove, but it will take a lot longer to get there. However, it is advisable to avail the services of a guide. Otherwise, you might get lost at the top and might not find your way to the cove.

Plus, it’s a precautionary thing to do. But for those who prefer to lounge by the sand, then the beach is enough to spend a day swimming at sea, sunbathing, or reading a book underneath the trees.

Drinking and smoking is prohibited at the beach. And like the usual oath of travelers and nature-lovers, visitors must not throw garbage in Anawangin Cove. Another thing, there are no accommodations in Anawangin, unless you want to bring a tent and rough it out. Most of the resorts are located in Pundaquit, where you can spend the night there. Those who plan to drive from Manila to San Antonio can also park their vehicles in Pundaquit.

Now, if you are staying in Pundaquit, there’s a small waterfall there. A stream is also located near the beach, a good option for kids during high tide. You can spend an afternoon exploring the area and interacting with the locals.

If there’s still plenty of time, you can also go island hopping to nearby Capones and Camara Islands. You can also swing a trip to Nagsasa Cove, also in Zambales. The best part about taking a trip to Anawangin is that you can do it even on a shoestring budget.

To get there, you can take a bus from Cubao to Iba, Zambales. If there are no trips available to Iba when you get to the bus station, another option is to take a bus to Olongapo, where there are more buses plying to Iba. Get off at the San Antonio town proper, take a tricycle to Pundaquit.

But first, buy some goods and other necessities at the public market. Expect whatever is sold in Anawangin as costlier than the usual retail price of goods. In Pundaquit, there are many boatmen at the beach that can take you to Anawangin.

Anawangin was once a little secret place. Now, more people are finding their way towards this wonderful part of Zambales. Better head there before it gets too crowded.

All photos are by this author. Claire Marie Algarme blogs at http://firsttimetravels.com. Follow her as @firsttimetravel on Twitter and Instagram and like her Facebook page First-time Travels blog.
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