DIY: Anawangin & Capones Islands

During Labor Day, people flocks to the beautiful island of Boracay to celebrate what they called Laboracay. That celebration is ideal for people who loves to party hard. Unfortunately, we’re not that type so we’ve decided to go somewhere else a place that’s total opposite of the party vibes in Boracay which is the Anawangin Cove.

Since most of our DIY travels requires us to check-in to hotels or lodges, we wanted a back-to-basic experience that involves tents, trees, and trekking. Those simple things were considered to convince us to go to Anawangin in Zambales, Philippines.

Commuting to Anawangin Cove

If you are leaving for Zambales during holidays (especially on long weekends), it’s better if you have your tickets reserved by purchasing ahead of time. This is because there’s a great possibility that you will become a chance passenger.

  • Manila to Iba, Zambales via Victory Liner (Caloocan)
    Php265 per head for a reserved seat
San Antonio Public Market
San Antonio, Zambales at 3:30 AM

You alight at San Antonio, in front of the Municipal Hall where you can also find the San Antonio Public Market. This is where we bought our food supplies for our trip. It’s quite a hassle for us if we’ll bring a lot from Manila going to Zambales.

After shopping for foods, we then hail a tricycle to take us to Pundakit.

  • San Antonio to Pundakit (via Tricycle)
    Php30 per head – maximum of 3pax per tricycle

If you are worrying if the tricycles there could carry all your stuff, fret not as all units has a space for baggage. Also, the pricing is the same going back to San Antonio.

#TeamYOLO
My travel buddies (from L-R: Ate Shiela, Kuya King, Kuya Dan, Ate Tina, Me, and Jandae) #TeamYOLO

Upon arriving to Pundakit, there will be a short walk required to reach the seaside where you can hire a boat going to Anawangin Cove.

  • Pundakit to Anawangin Cove (vise versa)
    Php1,500 for a small boat
Boat ride to Anawangin Cove
The 6 of us fits in a small boat

Since we are just 6 in our group, we don’t actually need a big boat to accommodate us. The 6 of us and all or stuff can fit in the small boat that we rented. There are different sizes of boats available there for different group sizes.

Morning at Anawangin
Beautiful Anawangin under the morning sun

I think I forgot to tell you that the fee for the boat ride is already good for a roundtrip. The Php1,500 that we paid our boatman covers our Pundakit-Anawangin-Pundakit route. We’ve just added Php100 per head since we wanted to visit the Capones Island the next day.

Tip: Better if you already have a boatman contacted before your trip so that everything’s ready when you get there. You can also borrow cooking tools from them if you don’t like bringing these all the way from Manila. Just inform them ahead of time. By the way, it’s free!

We really had a hassle-free trip going to Anawangin that’s why I’m recommending you our very accommodating boatman. Kuya Embot and his wife answers calls even if the sun is not yet rising:

  • Embot Villanueva/Rachelle Anne
    +63 919 899 6233 (SMART) or +63 915 267 7586 (Globe)
Where to Stay
Tent Building 101
The struggle of building a tent

There are no hotels or lodging at Anawangin Cove. It’s either you bring your own tent or rent a tent or end up sleeping on the ground with just a sheet of a fabric (my guy friends did this and they said it was fine coz there’s no mosquitoes but temperature gets colder by 3AM until sunrise). I recommend that it’s better if you bring your own tent so you can save up. A tent for two will cost you around Php300 if you’re going to rent.

Tent
We’ve successfully built the tent!

If you’re worrying about where to shower (or even to pee or poo), no need to fret because there are comfort rooms available in the middle of the cove. There are also sinks available where you can wash your utensils and wet clothes. Just don’t forget to bring ropes where you can hang your clothes/towels to let it dry.

Food & Drinks

Since we wanted this weekend getaway to be a real camping experience, we opted to buy raw foods from San Antonio Public Market and we’re the one who do all the cooking (gusto namin mahirapan eh! bakit ba? haha). San Antonio Public Market opens at 4AM so in our case, we still waited for almost an hour because we arrived there around 3AM due to that oh-so-smooth-rare-to-stop bus form Victory Liner.

Cooking through the fire between the stones
This is how we cooked our foods

Water! There’s no water station that opens as early as 4AM at the vicinity of San Antonio. We ordered a gallon of water from our boatman together with the cooking wares that we asked for. A gallon of water will cost you Php 50, yes, that’s double the price of our water here in Manila.

What to Do in Anawangin

There are no gazillion of activities to do at Anawangin Cove but, if you’re up for a bit of nature trippin’ or just to unwind from the stressful days at work in a back-to-basic manner, then this is one of the perfect place for you.

Swimming time
Swimming time with friends (and strangers)

Swimming. Of course, if there’s a sea, then you can swim under the sun (except if you don’t know how to swim. haha!) But if you don’t know how to swim, you can just soak in the sea water syempre and just feel it (yes, just feel it).

Underwater view from the surface
Crystal clear water

Snorkeling. I recommend you bring your own gears because you know, it’s unhygienic if you rent.

Beach Volleyball. There’s a volleyball net that already set up there but I think you still have to pay to use it. I wasn’t able to ask if there’s a fee for that because we don’t have any plans of playing volleyball there.

Trekking. This is actually what we wanteeed!!! And so we did it. The cove is surrounded by the Mt. Pundakit. There’s already a trail climbing up but don’t be afraid to create your own path as long as you know it’s safe.

Morning trek
Trekking under the scorching morning heat

We climb up around 9AM and that means the sun is already up and painful for the skin so don’t forget to put sunscreen. Make sure to put sunblock before climbing. Bring water with you to avoid dehydration and it’s better if you have bags with you to put everything in there because there will be times that you really need to hold onto the rocks for support.

It’s quite challenging for us because it’s really hot by that time we decided to have a climb. My recommended time of climbing there is from 6AM to 7AM as the sun is not that really up and you’ll still feel the coldness of the surroundings.

Capones Lighthouse
Ice drops at the Capones Lighthouse

Island Hopping. You can go either to Nagsasa or Capones or both. We chose to go to Capones since we’re after the light house. There are two side of the island where tourists can alight. Our boatman recommended that we alight at the back part of the island because it’s nearer to the lighthouse and the cliff. Glad we took his recommendation and we had a shorter time for walking to reach the lighthouse.

Morning at Capones Lighthouse
The beautiful Capones Lighthouse under the morning sun

Quality Time. For me, this is one of the best activity to do (aside from trekking) in this place. Knowing the fact that the area has no network coverage, that means you’re away from your cyber life. No facebook, no twitter, no instagram, no any access to the virtual world.

It’s a time to do a real face-to-face communication. You know the scene in the books or movies where you light up the bonfire with cool music in the background while chatting with your friends (or your love one)? This is (one of) the perfect place, I swear! Anawangin Cove is surrounded by Agoho Trees so it really add ups the vibes.

Sunrise at Anawangin
My favorite scene during our trip

It was a fun experience for us and I am looking forward to more travel adventures that won’t require us to check-in in a hotel, just one with nature. Have you been to this place as well? How’s your experience?

Photos courtesy of my travel buddies. Mostly from @thejandae

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