Happy Campers

The first thing I realized, when we arrive at Anawangin in Pundaquit, Zambales, was that there was no mobile phone signal.

And in the age of Facebook, Blackberry, Twitter and social networking what-have-yous, that was a welcome surprise. We went to this rustic island cove for some R’n’R and adventure, and we were not about to be interrupted by incessant phone calls and text messages from – in my friend Meg’s case – clients (eeks!).

Let me just say that Anawangin is beautiful.

For Php 100 per person per night, you get to camp in between these refreshing pine trees, side by side with free range chickens clucking, nesting and running to their heart’s content.

There were very basic but clean restrooms, but you had to collect your own water from a rustic poso.

But I’m getting ahead of myself – en route to Anawangin, we hopped to two other islands – Camara and Capones. Camara was a small island with a lovely shoreline.  It was romantic, to say the least.

Think Wilson in Cast Away. Sorry, wrong visual peg – think Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr cavorting in the sand in From Here to Eternity.

Capones’s main draw on the other hand, was the picturesque lighthouse on top of a cliff – which unfortunately, we were not able to get to due to crashing waves. Another reason to go back.

So we had to make do with this.

Back at Anawangin, I decided to explore the area that afternoon. Behind the main campsite was a river, framed by lush, lush greens.

Oh, and there’s a charming bridge too.  And some nice details. I’m running out of adjectives here.

Middle Earth? Pwede.

Then we decided to hike up a mountain to get a bird’s eye view of the place.

Second realization of the day: I am not ready for Mount Pulag. My gasping-for-air and sweaty self can attest to this.

Returning to the campsite, we freshened up with a late afternoon swim.

That night, we lay on the sand, caught up with each other’s lives, and counted shooting stars in the star-lit sky.

Getting there:

  • From the Pasay Terminal of Victory Liner, get tickets to Iba, Zambales (Php 270 per person, one way). Tell the driver that you go down at the town of San Antonio.
  • At San Antonio, get a tricycle (Php 100) to Pundaquit.
  • Or you could just drive all the way there – just don’t ask me for directions. Bwahaha.
  • From Pundaquit, hire a boat to take you to Anawangin.  The boat trip may cost you Php 1,300 – Php 1,500. Boat rates for island hopping tours are more or less the same.
  • Mabuti nang sobra, huwag lang kulang. Bring enough cash – there are no ATM’s in the area. And bring enough food and water too. You can subsist on bread and canned goods, or bring your own cook set if you want to whip up something fancier. The boatman can arrange for your drinking water in the campsite.
  • DO REMEMBER TO LEAVE ANAWANGIN LOOKING THE WAY IT WAS AS WHEN YOU ARRIVED. Clean as you go, pick up the rubbish you see –and better yet, bring washable plates and utensils do there’s less waste. Sorry to sound like an Earth Mother, but the place is so nice – it would be a shame if it deteriorates within the next few years.

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