Crystal clear waters, unusual grey sand shores, and a bustling forest filled with Agoho trees—it's no wonder that Anawangin Cove has become a favorite destination among travelers. But besides its Instagram-worthy attributes, there's another reason why travelers can't seem to get enough of Anawangin: its affordability.
If you've already used up your leaves and travel budget allocation for the summer and you don't have the time to go to exotic local beach destinations like Boracay and Palawan, Anawangin Cove seems like the next best thing. Not only will you spend way less than you would have for these two popular destinations, but you will also free yourself from the hassles of a long trip.
How to Get There
Anawangin Cove is located in San Antonio, Zambales, about a three to four-hour trip by land. You have two options on how to get there: by car or bus.
For a one-way plane ticket to Palawan or Boracay, you would need to shell out P3,000 per person at the very least. Meanwhile, for you to drive to San Antonio, Zambales and back, you would only need P2,000 for gas and about P600 for toll fees for a small group.
From Manila, you will need to drive along North Luzon Expressway (NLEX). Take the Dau exit and enter Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX). Exit at Subic and turn left when you reach the Olongapo Public Cemetery. You will pass the municipalities of Subic, Castillejos, and San Marcelino.
While it's very efficient to get there on your own transportation, you can save a lot more if you just choose to commute.
A bus ride to San Antonio, Zambales only costs P270. Victory Liner serves passengers going to Zambales. You can find terminals of this bus line in Cubao, Pasay, and Caloocan. Hop on a bus bound for Iba, Zambales, and get off at San Antonio Public Market.
While you're still at San Antonio Public Market, make sure to buy supplies because food selections at Anawangin Cove are limited. You can opt to buy cooked meals but since you're going camping, you might as well buy fresh ingredients that you can cook yourself for the total experience.
The Journey to Anawangin
From San Antonio, you need to get to Barangay Pundaquit, the jumping-off point to Anawangin Cove. A tricycle ride to Pundaquit costs about P30 per head. There, you will find boats that can take you to and from Anawangin Cove as well as other coves and beaches in San Antonio like Camara Island and Capones Island.
Boat rentals typically cost P1,000 for a small boat that can fit up to four passengers. This is inclusive of roundtrip transfers. Meanwhile, for a packaged Anawangin trip with side trips to Camara Island and Capones Island, the going rate is usually P1,500.
While most travelers recommend hiring a boat to get to Anawangin Cove, there is a cheaper way to reach the cove from Pundaquit, albeit a longer and more strenuous one. Anawangin Cove is just over Mt. Pundaquit so you can opt to trek towards the cove. The journey takes about four to five hours, though, so if you're really an outdoorsy tourist or you want to save more money for your trip, this is a nice option. From the top of Mt. Pundaquit, a mesmerizing view of Anawangin Cove will greet hikers.
Camping in Anawangin
There are no hotels or resorts in Anawangin so your only option for an overnight accommodation is to rent an open cottage or pitch a tent. Between the two, the latter is highly recommended by backpackers. Not only is it cheaper, but it also lets you have the ultimate outdoor experience.
No worries if you didn't bring your own tent; you can just rent one that's good for two people onsite for only P500. Anawangin Cove's campsite is lined with agoho trees that offer shade and protection. Camping also allows you to socialize with other travelers. You can trade your travel stories as you share the warmth of the campfire.
Before going to Anawangin Cove, make sure that you've packed enough food for your trip. You can buy fresh ingredients and cooking supplies at San Antonio Public Market.
There's no electricity and signal in Anawangin If you’re bringing in your gadgets, charge them first. Bringing a power bank is also highly recommended.
Practice the "Leave No Trace" principle. Remember to properly dispose of all your trash before leaving.
Exploring Anawangin Cove
Beach bumming in Anawangin Cove is a given, but there are other activities one can enjoy while visiting this amazing cove. You can go snorkeling; however, much of Anawangin Cove's corals are still recovering from dynamite fishing.
If you want to see the entirety of Anawangin Cove, then you should try trekking to the grassy hills. The hike only lasts 10 to 15 minutes, and when you reach the top, a stunning view of the cove will greet you. The best time to go trekking is before dusk so that when you reach the top, you'll be able to witness the magnificent sunset of Zambales.
Come sundown, Anawangin Cove's sky transforms into a multimillion-star spectacle. Stargazing from the comforts of your own cozy tent is undeniable one of the place’s main draws.
Alternatively, if you do not have the time and the energy to do a DIY trip, there are plenty of agencies that offer packaged tours to Anawangin Cove inclusive of transportation from Manila, boat rentals, meals, tents, and all fees. If you're interested, you can inquire about TravelBook.ph's tours by calling 662-1111.
This story originally appeared on Travelbook.ph.
*Minor edits have been made by FemaleNetwork.com editors.