Camping, swimming and hiking are some of the outdoor activities I really love doing. And the best place so far for me to do all of those at the same time is the Anawangin Cove in the province of Zambales in Central Luzon. You can reach the place either by private vehicle or bus from Manila. I’ve been in Anawangin twice with colleagues and friends by private vehicle. It took us 3 hours drive (from our province of Bulacan) to reach Barangay Pundaquit in the town of San Antonio where Anawangin Cove is located.
From Pundaquit, we need to leave our van in a pay-parking space and rent a boat that will bring us to the cove. There are many boats for rent in the shore of Pundaquit offering their services. We brought all our things: food, drinking water, cooking utensils, tent and other camping equipments to the boat (but there are tents for rent in Anawangin). After almost 30 minutes of boat travel, we arrived at the shore of Anawangin.
A short trivia: When Mt. Pinatubo erupted in 1991, it changed the landscape of almost the whole Central Luzon, and one changes was the emergence of coves of ash and sand mixture, one is the Anawangin Cove.
Anawangin is like a combination of Boracay and Baguio because of its beach and mini-forest of pine trees (which really are the local agoho trees, similar to pine trees). It has a crescent-shaped beach with grayish-white volcanic sand blended in the clear blue water. The beach and the mini-forest is connected by a shallow creek under the footbridge. You need to cross the footbridge to reach the mini-forest where most of travelers and campers are pitching their tents.
There are no private accommodation in the cove, so tent is really necessary if you want to stay overnight. But there are toilets and shower rooms in the cove and water supply (not for drinking) is not a problem. Anawangin has no electricity and no mobile signal, which makes it a real escape from the city.
The cold-clear water of the beach is really inviting and makes you plunge into it. There are low hills around the shore where you can climb easily. And once you reached the peak, you can see and enjoy the view of whole cove. If you want, you can also rent a boat for island hopping in nearby Capones Island and Nagsasa Cove to see the beauty lies in those islands.
Summer season, holidays and weekends are not for me the best time to visit Anawangin as surely you’ll enjoy less because it’s too crowded during that days, and finding a place to pitch your tent is really difficult. In my opinion, better to go there in their off-peak season, like November to February and during weekdays.
As the year passes by, Anawangin becomes the getaway of many travelers from the nearby provinces and Manila and become famous because it offers the best of both worlds. Whether you’re into hiking or enjoy the water, Anawangin Cove is the best destination for you.