Anawangin, 5 years ago

Pundaquit Shore, I have been visiting this place since the 90s, thanks to our cousin in law who hails from this beautiful place. Most of the time, I was just in the sand and playing because the waves were too high (which after several years becomes a surfing destination) and the oldies will always say that once you go far, the waves will throw you to the other island across, which happens to be Capones Island (which I got to visit only in 2013). However, I only got a chance to see Anawangin Cove in 2010 (I believe this is an Aeta Village). Thanks to my aunts and cousins who pushed for the island hopping tour.

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2010: Pundaquit Shore

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Anawangin 2010

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2010: with my aunt

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All to ourselves, Anawangin 2010

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Anawangin 2010

 

Take me back, 5 years ago.

2013

Not long ago, when I first visited the remote coves of Anawangin. It was in 2010, when I first stepped into this beautiful beach. This can be reached through boat (20 mins) or trekking (not sure how long though). We opted for the boat, because a cousin in law, happens to have an uncle with a boat. There were no phone signals nor electricity in the area, and only a single store to cater your basic needs. The whole stretch was ours, and it was crystal clear clean. After 3 years, I was back with my officemates. It was Holy Week, for sure there will be a lot of people to flock the place. Indeed, I was right. The camp site were full of tents, and full of people.

 

 

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Anawangin 2013

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Anawangin & Capones: 3 Days 2 Nights

For this trip, our good friend drove for us from Makati to Zambales. Our first stop was at Pundaquit Market in San Antonio, Zambales. We bought all our fresh food from here, which was good for 3 days. We shared 500/head for our food. It was more than enough for 5 people to share. After 20 mins., we were at Pundaquit shore to meet our boatman, who happened to be our tour guide too. We haggled and he gave us 5000 for 3 days 2 nights that includes boat transfer, island hopping tour, camping needs/tools, trekking and even offered his house to shower on the last day. 1000/head was a good deal! The whole trip cost us 2500/head, which was pretty good, since we didn’t share our trip with other tourists.

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Capones Island

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Spring at Anawangin

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Anawangin view from top

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Trekking

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The lone store

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Quite pricey for 50 bucks

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Fast-forward 2018

I’m not sure if the place remains to be the same, without any electricity or phone signal. I wonder if it is still the same that they set up tents and they do bonfire. Last thing I remember, goods from the store were pricey. A bottle of beer would cost you 50 bucks. Since it’s known to many now, I wonder if it is still peaceful like how it used to be.

 

 

 

 

When Disaster Aftermath Leads to Nature’s Beauty- Mt. Pinatubo

Almost 26 years ago, it was the most devastating natural disaster that occurred, not only in the Philippines, but in the world. The eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in Zambales has gotten so many lives, and buried them underground alive. Many people were forced to leave their houses without any idea when they can comeback. The ashes from the volcanic eruption went as far as Hong Kong, and the world temperature for 10 years was decreased by 1 degree Celsius. I remember in the late 90s, whenever we spend our summer in Pundaquit, Zambales, we always pass by the province of Pampanga, and the remnants of the lahar look so fresh, and the surroundings were very much like a zombie land.

The calamity of yesterday turned out to be a beautiful disaster. As we trekked for 2 hours going to the crater lake of Mt. Pinatubo, we passed by several smiling Aetas, the locals of the area. Afterwards, we’ve seen the most rewarding view of the lake.

Mt. Pinatubo in a glance of a few hours (02.20.17)

My very good friend invited me to join their group, who will trek the Capas, Tarlac trail of Mt. Pinatubo. Without any hesitations, I said yes. I don’t normally do hiking, due to my very demanding work that requires me to sleep during my days off. I tried several before like trekking in Mt. Buntot Palos, and Mt. Isarog, and I have loved the rewarding view of the falls in those mountains. I strongly felt that I can do Pinatubo, since I got to experience spelunking at Biak na Bato, but heck that was in my freshman year in high school, almost 12 years ago. For someone like me who considers walking as a form of exercise, I got to reach the peak of Mt. Pinatubo without giving up.

In the Monday morning of Feb. 20, the group met in Ortigas. The trip was organized by my friend’s friend who happens to be working for Nat Geo, and they create new trails for mountains. Such a cool job, you get to discover a lot of new adventures. We were a group of 10, 3 of them were my batch mates in high school, and the rest were from the same circle of flying.

Our van left Ortigas, at 3:30am, and before the sun rises, we were already at the jump-off point in Sta. Juliana, Capas, Tarlac. We were required to register at the tourism office and once our 4×4 rides were available, we started our adventure.

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The ride was around an hour and a half, and we were the first ones to make a trip, so we created the path that will be followed by the other trekkers later.

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Toblerone-shaped lahar mountain

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We had a short stop-over at the Toblerone-like mountain. The mountains were created out of lahar.

After our 4×4 ride, this is when we started to trek. It was probably 3-4 kms in distance. They say that it used to be a very long trek, almost 7kms if I remember it right. However, according to what I’ve heard, some areas have been bulldozed to give way for “VIPs” who will be visiting/inspecting the area. Such a shame, it’s nature who will adjust for those people, and that’s the ugly truth.

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Another area for registration

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After several mins., i found a bathroom with water. Yehey!! I’ve been wanting to pee for the longest time, but I have to hold it or else, I’ll do it somewhere in the bush.

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Where do you belong?

After several walks again, we found a banner stating that it’s 20 mins. more to the crater. I saw some locals doing their laundry by the stream, and didn’t mind the scorching heat. There were families of Aetas living in that part, so please if you happen to go here, bring some snacks or anything for the kids. I’m sure they will appreciate it.

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Difficult roads lead to beautiful destinations

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Finally!

At last, we reach the peak. It was 9am and the view was rewarding. My trekking was worth every penny.

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Happy, my hs batchmate & volleyball teammate during our varsity days

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Cat, beautiful friend since 2nd grade. 18 years of solid friendship.

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Kev, my good friend since 1st year high school

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Thank you to these beautiful people for the wonderful time

 

We stayed for an hour and camp by the lake. I suggest that you bring your own food and drinks and load up on carbs. There’s a lone store there, but the prices of his goods are way too high.

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High school never ends

Before we went back, we made sure that we didn’t leave any trash.

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Leave nothing but footprints

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The expenses for this trip was PHP 3100 per head for a group of 10. It includes transfer rides from Manila to jump-off point and vice-versa, registration fee, environmental fee and 4×4 ride. Pack light and wear something comfy that can cover you from heat.

After our trek, we took a shower in one of the houses near the jump-off point, and paid 50 bucks.

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Since it was still early to go home, we had a side trip in Angeles, Pampanga, and ate at Funnside Ningnangan.

For itinerary and budget, clickΒ Itinerary- Mt. Pinatubo 2017