The Anawangin Adventure: The Blasted Motor

We agreed to meet at 10 in the evening, but since this is us we are talking about, we left Antipolo at past midnight. How Pinoy of us. Traffic jams have died down so it only took us an hour to arrive at Victory Liner Cubao. You can, of course, choose other Victory Liner bus terminals. We just chose Cubao because it’s closer to where we all live.

Victory Liner Cubao

Victory Liner Cubao’s buses going to Iba and Sta. Cruz, Zambales start their trip at 6:30AM. We took a bus going to Olongapo instead, which has its first trip at 3:30AM. We wanted to arrive there early. We’ll just board another bus when we arrive at their Olongapo Terminal.

Victory Liner Cubao to Olongapo

The ride lasted for 2 ½ hours. Upon arriving, we ate breakfast first and then we went to a local grocery to buy food we’ll be eating for lunch. It was another 45-minute travel from Olongapo to San Antonio’s Municipal Hall. From the San Antonio Municipal Hall, we hailed a tricycle to take us to Pundaquit. The tricycle costs PHP60 for two passengers and an additional PHP30 for each extra body.

We arrived at our accommodation, Pundaquit Luxury Resort, before nine in the morning and we checked in right away. While the resort is still in the process of adding and improving their facilities as they just began operations 3 years ago, the location is perfect because it’s smacked right in front of the beach and it has a wonderful view of Capones and Camara Islands.

Pundaquit Luxury Resort

The resort offers packaged day tour to the different islands near Pundaquit. We took their Anawangin-Capones-Camara packages which costs PHP1,500. The small boats are spacious enough to accommodate 4 to 5 people, but that really depends on how you and your friends took your weight loss regimens seriously.

Capones Island and Its Trash

Camara was supposed to be our first stop because it was the closest to Pundaquit beach. However, we had to skip it because the water current around the island was too strong. So our first stop instead became Capones Island. We didn’t have enough time to visit the Faro de Punta Capones (Capones Island Lighthouse), because the waves around Capones were starting to get bigger; we had to head out to Anawangin immediately, lest we become South China Sea’s lunch for the day. Capones Lighthouse will have to be reserved for another trip. Oh well, that’s traveling for you. You win some and you lose some.

Capones Island

Althoug we only spent a short time in Capones, I found the island really gorgeous. Well, except for the trash. Garbage was scattered everywhere. My best friend even discovered a used sanitary napkin floating close to the shore. If that’s not disgusting, I don’t know what is. We also saw a lot of ugly graffiti on the rock formations along the beach.

Capones Island Graffiti

Here’s the deal: If you plan on visiting any destination in the Philippines and the world, throw your garbage properly. Also, keep your creativity and artistry confined to your sketchpads or behind your camera lenses. Beautiful places like Capones should be preserved, not destroyed.

Arriving at Anawangin Cove

It was a bumpy boat ride going to Anawangin but as soon as I saw it from the distance, the torture my glutes had to endure was well worth it. Seeing Anawangin’s photos on the internet is one thing, being there is another. It’s definitely waaay better to be there.

Anawangin From The Sea

The good thing about going to Anawangin before the summer season starts is that it is not congested with campers and tourists. All the peace, sunshine, fresh air, good view and space are yours to enjoy. There’s an entrance fee by the way: PHP50 per head during the day and PHP100 per head for an overnight stay. We ate lunch, frolicked by the beach and the boys went to the hammocks to catch some z’s. After an hour or so we called our guide, Randy, and left Anawangin’s shoreline to climb the nearby mountain.

Anawangin Cove

A word of warning though: don’t forget your presence of mind when climbing the mountain. One wrong move and you’ll be having an earlier than expected date with San Pedro. Reaching the top of the mountain is not easy, but you will be rewarded with an amazing view of the cove. The exhaustion and your momentary commune with the Goddess of Death will be worth it, trust me.

Another Communion with The Goddess of Death

Randy told us that the tide gets extremely strong during the afternoons. So when we got back to the beach, we all decided to call it a day and return to the resort. He was not joking. The tide was really strong and the waves were big. It was a wet, bumpy, and nerve-wracking boat ride. Of course the scariest thing had to happen when we were only a few kilometers away from the resort―the motor stopped!

Imagine this: you’re in the middle of the sea, the waves are big and the current is very strong, the motor of the boat suddenly stops, and you only have one paddle you can use, what the hell are you going to do? What did we do? We laughed. No, seriously, we laughed.

And then we panicked.

Stranded in The Sea

Randy tried fixing the motor but it was beyond repair. He also tried paddling but his efforts were obviously unsuccessful. What frustrated us is that we passed by many boats when our motor was still working and when it broke, there was none to be seen. It was our lucky day indeed. I even had to call the resort’s owner and ask for a rescue, but thankfully, a bigger boat came our way and it towed us back to the resort. It was a scary experience. One that… I highly recommend you include on your itinerary when you go to Anawangin!

After our second communion with the Goddess of Death, we thought it best to rest and relax in our room until dinner time. Pundaquit Luxury Resort’s food was good and reasonably priced. I ordered a Chicken Barbeque Meal for PHP150. We also ordered Sinigang na Baboy which is good for 4 to 5 persons and comes with 4 extra cups of rice for PHP360. The chicken barbeque was so-so, but their Sinigang na Baboy is a must-try. After satisfying our appetites, we decided to close the day by hanging out at the beach.

Anawangin Beach

With the sea in front of you, the sands below you, the stars and the moon hovering above you and great friends beside you, you realize that the best things in life are truly priceless.