Of all the wonderful spots in San Antonio (Zambales), Nagsasa Cove is the closest to my heart. It has this rugged charm that captivated my nature-loving heart.

Those pine trees that surround the calm lagoon against a mountain backdrop is a wallpaper-worthy landscape that will surely ease any weary soul. The sound of the blowing wind coming from the mountain adds to the serenity of the place. It is very relaxing just to sit by the lagoon and relish all its glory.

Outside the lagoon, Nagsasa offers waves that are good for skim boarding. I found an enthusiast relaxing along the shore after trying out the seawater.

Nagsasa is more serene than its neighbor Anawangin, thanks to the higher rate of visitors on the latter. I only stayed for a few hours here, but the time spent was all worth it. I had so much fun and relaxed time I intend to come back and camp for a night or two.

That tricycle driver volunteered to bring us to the nearby street market so Erwin, my younger brother, can buy a pair of slippers. He did not just drive for free – he stopped from one stall to another until we found a pair.

This story happened in Pundaquit, Zambales. Genuine, Filipino kindness in action.

Gulayat, the 4-year old goat of Lolo Badong, helps in earning a living by taking children and kids at heart to a leisurely stroll around Plaza Luisita Complex in Tarlac. Their tandem is a refreshing sight around the complex because of the colorful mini kalesa that can hold three passengers including Lolo Badong. For only Php 20.00, plus tips if you are kind-er, you may experience a goat-drawn kalesa ride around the complex.

I found a video of Lolo Badong and a smaller goat while net surfing. The video was uploaded March 2008 by tsikotdprox on YouTube.

Catch the eco-friendly duo on your next northern adventure.

It was a perfect sunny day for beach bumming but I found myself running wild like an Amazing Race contestant in the island of Corregidor. You see, Corregidor does not only offer a historical tour of the island but also a fun and exciting Adventure Challenge.

Sun Cruises, Inc. transported me to this island off the coast of Manila Bay. Excitement filled me as the Sun Cruiser II sailed away from Manila because I have never tried an adventure challenge before. Add the fact that I was with some of the nicest people in the travel blog industry.

A waiting shed joined the sun in welcoming us as we docked into ‘The Rock’. Not far is a quiet sentinel.

A tranvia led the group to the starting point of the Adventure Challenge. As we slowly drove to reach the place, a cheerful tour guide clearly refreshed us about the history of Corregidor. It was a slice of the Guided Day Tour offered by the island.

I was fascinated. He has memorized Corregidor’s history by heart, I thought. He continued to deliver information as we strolled deep into the island until we reached the Adventure Challenge’s starting point – the Battery Way. We were told that this is the last artillery to cease fire before Corregidor surrendered.

The group was divided into two teams: the Red Horse Team (Ada, CA, Lloyd, Marcos, Roman and myself) and the Orange Jumpshot Team (Ivan, Ian, Chinchan, Nicely, Mica and Aleah).

Each team member were given a bag of goodies/survival kit (flashlight, sunblock lotion, trail food, bottle of water). At the signal of the tour master, we excitedly started our Adventure Challenge. We ran, searched for clues, solved puzzles, walked through tunnels, climbed ladders, laughed a lot and took pictures.

 

After two hours, the Orange Jumpshot Team finished first. Cheers to everyone who organized and joined this trip! Special thanks to Mr. Ivan Henares and Mr. Bobby Aquino.

Visit Corregidor Island with your friends through Sun Cruises, Inc. Check their site for details on tour schedules.

Sunday morning. The waves are calm and ready to take us to a wonderful journey on the islands and coves of Zambales – Camara, Capones, Nagsasa, Anawangin.

Camara Islands is the nearest from Pundaquit. It took us around 30 minutes to reach these small, twin islands.

We did not dock at Capones Island because it will take an hour of hiking to reach the lighthouse. I just took a picture and promised myself to return.

The sea was calm when we started sailing towards Nagsasa Cove, the farthest spot from Pundaquit. The ride got bumpy when we were twenty minutes away from the paradise because the wind coming from the mountains are against our direction. It was worth it; the view of the lagoon and the sculpted mountain is just breathtaking.

On our way back past noon, we briefly stopped at Anawangin Cove. First to become popular among the other coves, it was filled with campers when we arrived. One nice jump shot for a fun family trip.

Departure from Pundaquit: 0630

Arrival at Pundaquit: 1300

For boat trips, contact Mike Bactad at 0928 340 5136 / 0927 780 1312

Victory Liner Caloocan passes through San Antonio, Zambales daily.

I researched for Pundaquit accommodation two weeks before our family’s trip to the islands and coves of Zambales. Of all the resorts listed in the site, I found Wild Rose Beach Inn good enough to accommodate our family. My parents always have a requirement when our family goes out of town: rooms should have its own bathrooms and if possible, should be air conditioned. A swimming pool is a plus because we love night swimming.

We arrived in Pundaquit at 4 in the afternoon and immediately checked-in at Wild Rose Beach Inn. We were welcomed by the owner, Mama Tess, who talks endlessly. She assigned two rooms for us, exactly what I have reserved in our telephone and email conversations. The rooms were air conditioned, had linens and attached bathrooms. Towels and toiletries were not provided. It may be small but we did not really care as we were more excited to jump into the pool and enjoy the weekend.

I arranged for three meals when I made the reservation. They prepared packed lunch for Sunday because I wanted us to have lunch in Nagsasa, the farthest cove from Pundaquit beach. Meals were on time except for the Sunday breakfast. We had Fried Tilapia and Pakbet for Saturday evening, Tosilog for Sunday morning, and Adobong Sitaw and Fried Tanigue for Sunday lunch. Just regular meals.

All went well with Mama Tess, the owner, except for the boat arrangement. I did not include the boat rental when I confirmed our reservation. Sunday morning came and she insisted that we go with the boatman she talked with when we arrived; she wanted to go with us to Nagsasa. When she learned that we directly negotiated with Kuya Mike Bactad Saturday afternoon, she immediately told us stories of boatmen leaving their passengers on the coves, alcoholic boatmen sailing on open sea leading to accidents, and that still missing person who got lost in Anawangin. When she sensed that we have not been discouraged, she admitted that resorts, or maybe her resort, get commission from boat rentals. She claims that what she get from the boatmen goes directly to her staff as tips. We let her finish her stories, then left and headed straight to Kuya Mike’s place along the beach.

We had peace and quiet during our half day tour and found no problems with Kuya Mike’s friendly crew. Mama Tess was surprisingly silent when we came back at around 1 in the afternoon.

There was never really a problem during our stay at Wild Rose Beach Inn. We had fun on Saturday night! Although next time, I will surely head straight to one of the coves and camp there overnight.

 

Mike Bactad (boatman) – 0928 340 5136 / 0927 780 1312

Pundaquit is a fishing village in San Antonio, Zambales. It is the gateway to the province’s different coves (Anawangin, Silanguin, Talisayin, Nagsasa) and islands (Camara, Capones).

There are cottages and resorts in the area if an overnight camping at the coves is not possible. You may check this out for a list of resorts. I stayed at Wild Rose Beach Inn with my family when we went there last March because they have a nice swimming pool.

For boat trips to the islands and coves, I suggest that you head to the beach and talk directly to the boatmen. Resorts give flat rates and get commission from them. This is also to ensure that the boat you are going to use is big enough to accommodate your group. Three men from Kuya Mike Bactad’s crew sailed with us. We were ten in a big boat.

Victory Liner Caloocan passes through San Antonio, Zambales daily.

Mike Bactad (boatman) – 0928 340 5136 / 0927 780 1312

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