It has been a couple of years since I got bitten by the travel bug so that the Wandering Feet & Mind in me went on and on to travel some of the most beautiful parts of the Philippines. Not only that I had enjoyed each of those travels but learned countless lessons that are truly valuable.
One day, I realized that my travels are monotonous. When I say monotonous it means I had always traveled with a group. But do not get me wrong, traveling with a group will always be funnier, safer, and cheaper. I just thought breaking the monotony will give me something new to discover.
Three months ago, I happened to read a post about traveling solo by one of my favorite Pinoy travel bloggers. It inspired me to do the same for a change. To realize that plan of uncovering something new. It was high time for the Wandering Feet & Mind to be given a break after veering away from traveling (i.e., hiking and swimming) since the semester started.
After just a week or immediately after the last day of the first semester, I realized that head trip. I picked the most famous cove in Luzon, Anawangin Cove, as a destination for it is a perfect spot for both hiking and swimming.
To be honest, I had been frequenting the province of Zambales since 2009 but always ignored the inkling of setting foot on said cove. The reason is I read a long time ago that the place is no longer as halcyon and attractive as before because of its exposure to tourists. It has been a crowded place since. I am not saying though I am against tourism; in fact, I am supporting it with all my might. The problem lies to rubbernecks who are not environmentally conscious. It is just unfortunate that there are more irresponsible ones than what is most needed in today’s collapsing ecosystem. There are more of those who regard tourist spots as private playgrounds for littering and frolicking like there is no tomorrow.
I thanked the mountains for teaching me to see things in a higher perspective. The green leaves of the trees and grasses over the mountains taught me to appreciate and respect what is left on the earth’s surface and to live by the mountaineer’s creed: To take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints, and kill nothing but time. There is still so much to be saved for future generations and the beautiful places I presented to the world via this blog are attestations to that. At any rate, I went to Anawagin Cove on a weekend last October.
I arrived at Pundaquit’s wharf early in the morning but I had to wait until seven o’clock to be entertained by boatmen for the bargaining. The rental fee ranges from P800-P1500. So when one boatman approached me for the dicker, I utilized my negotiation skills to evade the minimum charge. My goal was to at least bate a hundred pesos. Fortunately, I got double of what I initially wanted because the boatman gave in to my P600 offer. I seized the deal for a ferry back and forth plus a side trip to Camara Island. I never knew I could do that. Talking about learning something new.
A few minutes before “my” boat headed to Anawangin, I had the privilege of witnessing a fluvial parade. Though it is not something as lavish as the annual fluvial parades such as the Calumpit Libad Festival or Pagoda sa Wawa (which are both held in Bulacan province) where decorated pagodas are stars of the scene, I was amazed because it was the first time.
The small lump in the background of the photo above is Camara Islet where I will be spending a brief excursion off the main route of my itinerary.
I got only three favorites to show from Camara: the distant horizon, the pile of stones, and rock boulders.
Following in time of savoring the islet, I and the boatman zoomed off to the journey’s end. It took me an hour to reach the most illustrious cove.
What greeted me upon descending from the boat was the boscage of verdant pine trees that made me feel like I were in the western part of the globe. Kudos to the people behind the zone’s upkeep because they disproved the bad impression I have, instantly!
Just when I was about to ask how this beauty was formed, the boatman initiated that many of the pine trees were actually planted after the Mount Pinatubo eruption although they were already in the place prior. He added that before the eruption, the place was used to be flooded by rocks. The almost white sands and earth that were spewed by Mount Pinatubo covered those rocks and so the beautiful beach and camping site you see.
The cove’s beauty can definitely persuade a traveler to wander around in a jiffy so I did to feel what it is like to be in a crowd where no one knows me. This time, there is no camera at hand. Gallivanting around gave me that feeling of intense liberation that was overpowering. I could not help myself shouting for joy literally and figuratively. There’s a superb feeling of comfort amid the cattle who do not have my past to hold against me. I did what I wanted to do and I was amazed at the spontaneity that flowed within. I would eat, guffaw, rest, or lie down when I wish to. No pressure, no worries, just a plain spirit on the loose. The chain was temporarily broken when I decided to traipse across the piedmont mountains of Mount Pundaquit standing majestically in sight. After turning my old Kodak camera on, for scenery capture on my way to the hills, a warning telling that the battery is drained popped out of the screen. Instead of fretting, I decided to just reach the top of one of the hills to fulfill that part of my itinerary. At that moment, it was already scorching hot so I charged the batteries by exposing them directly to the blazing rays.
I stayed at the hilltop for hours till I got enamored by the blue waters of the beach. My sweating, tired body was magnetized; I hurried and surrendered to the blue element. I dived, floated, frolicked, and swam in the clear waters like I am the only person in the place. When I settled to the shoreline, the sun was just about to set. I have always admired the exquisite beauty of the sunset so I used the sun-charged batteries right away to capture it.
At night, I watched the diamonds in the sky while lying down on the sands with hands under my head. I could not deny the sense of inner peace I was feeling as I was looking at the bright stars just like whenever I look at the vast horizon of the sea, listen to the waves of the ocean, or watch the sun as it sets or rises. Doing any of these has always been my best way of recharging.
I frittered the night by letting my body kissed by the earth while covered in a blanket. I did not bring a tent to avoid a heavy pack.
The next day, I dipped myself again in the inviting waters of the beach and took another long saunter before I bid goodbye to the cove.
Traveling alone is something I had never done before and I must say I reveled in it so much! I promised to do it again and probably again…and again. This trip paved the way for me to redefine my connection to nature with just me. It let me off the hook of all expectations of me for I did not have to explain, listen, or argue to anyone. There was just but full indulgence of myself. I did not have to meet someone else’s needs. I had no particular schedule, no lesson plans, no phones, no worries, meetings or deadlines, papers, and exams.
Indeed, traveling alone made me step out of society’s role-playing games. But, above all, it helped me develop a sense of higher awareness. I saw the need to double my efforts in taking care of myself. From now on, I need to be extra aware of my surroundings. I ought to be extra cautious of my actions to avoid falling into the pit of whatever danger lurking in the wilderness because I have my wife and children waiting for me. I also realized that giving myself a little distance from my family strengthens the love I have for them.
The only thing I could consider downside of this endeavor is the dreading single supplement and stuff. However it may be, the invaluable lessons that I learned from the experience made it all worth it.
For more information (how to get to the place, where to stay, tips, other activities, etc.), visit this website: www.lakwatsero.com.
- Our Anawangin Trip 2013 (iamlinevill.wordpress.com)
- The Benefits of Going for a Solo Travel (wintertravelblog.wordpress.com)
- Lessons Learned While Travelling Solo (selfhealthwellness.com)
- Why Travel Solo? (theboywander.net)
- A weekend well spent in Bolinao (theweekendsightseer.wordpress.com)
- Finding my Life – Part 3 – Sometimes the Stars Align (ipicturetheworld.wordpress.com)
- Anawangin Cove: Paradise No More? (footontheloose.wordpress.com)
- Nagsasa Cove: Mystery Unraveled (footontheloose.wordpress.com)
- Unplugging in Anawangin: Where to book, what to expect, and other tips (marjcasal.wordpress.com)
- San Antonio, Zambales (en.wikipedia.org)
- Nagsasa and Anawangin Cove Travel Tips | Take the Travel (takethetravel.com)
- “Off the Beaten Track”…and then a bit further (idreamedofthis.com)
- WHY YOU SHOULD GO TO ANAWANGIN COVE (pinoywanderer.com)