April 06, 2008
My Unofficial Entry to Havaianas "Flipping For the Beach" Contest :)
Can you keep a beach secret? I finally discovered the mystical beach called Anawangin in Zambales. Its name, Anawangin, literally means full of carabaos (nuang is carabao in Ilokano). This beach is very popular in the mountaineering community. It is a very special beach and most people who have been there wants to keep it as a secret. With the imminent opening of the Subic – Clark – Tarlac expressway, the 5-hour long road trip to Barangay Pundaquit, San Antonio, Zambales (which protected Anawangin from Manila beach goers) will now be cut down to less than 3 hours.
Imagine this place...Pine trees grow and thrive along the beach to provide shade and protection from the sunny heat. The explosion of Mt. Pinatubo covered the boulders and the entire beach cove with fine ash fall sands. At noon, the grey sand turns pristine white giving an illusion of Boracay-like beach sand. A portion of the beach is protected and maintained by Aeta descendants. There are no resorts available so you have to camp for the night if you want to stay overnight. Your food/ water: clothes ratio should be 2:1.
The beach sands and waters are undoubtedly clean, which makes it deserving to be called a paradise.
Just swim close to the shore at waist deep high. Bless the soul of the person who drowned in Anawangin last Good Friday an hour after the commemoration of Christ death. The most probable cause is the strong under current in Anawangin.
There are two ways to go to Anawangin: You have to hike for 5 hours climbing Mt. Anawangin with a height of 464 meters above sea level. The other way is to take a boat from Pundaquit beach.
We took the road less taken and decided to do a very early morning trek (4am). Our Anawangin expedition team were Ivan of Ivan About Town travel blog, Gideon Lasco of Pinoy Mountaineer blog, and Sienna of the UP Medical Outdoor Society.
The hike up was very steep with mostly wild grass covering the mountains and occasional trees.
Ivan would agree that it was fortunate that we were with two UP Med students to give him the acupuncture relief.
From the summit of Mt. Anawangin, you can already see the white beach cove ahead.
All of us agreed that the most difficult part of the climb was the descent. I fell down a number of times on my back and had cut and bruises. I regretted not wearing the proper hiking attire for the climb. We encountered a wild carabao (abundant in the area) looking and waiting to attack us. Our guide was quick enough to throw stones at him to keep him far away from our trail. We even got lost on our descent because we were entertained by the witty riddles of our guide.
After getting back on track via a “short cut” (a metaphor for make-your-own trail), we saw a small pyramid-like mountain, which gives me the creeps. Pyramids are usually associated with sacred tombs, that's why!
We had to cross a photogenic marshland lined with pine trees before arriving at Anawangin’s beach paradise.
An easier way is to stay overnight at any of the resort of Pundaquit Beach and rent a boat the next day to go to Anawangin. You can choose from a budget friendly resort like Nora’s Beach Resort or the high end, Punta de Uian in Pundaquit Beach. The boatmen are very friendly and you can arrange a round trip boat ride for less than P1,000. The boats are small with a maximum capacity of 5 people. Just a tip, bring waterproof bags or don’t forget to cover your things in plastic bag.
While in Pundaquit, don’t forget to drop by and climb up the authentic Spanish lighthouse in Capones Island. Also, if you are lucky, you can catch the violinist Coke Bolipata’s performances at Casa San Miguel in San Antonio, Zambales. I missed both during our Anawangin visit and I vowed to come back with my son, Aidan.
Related Post: Anawangin Cove and the Capones Island Lighthouse by Ironwulf.
Text and Photos by Anton Diaz. Copyright 2008.