I can’t count how many beach trips my friends and I have been on. Of all the trips though, Annawangin has etched its special spot on our hearts. I could say this has been the most memorable spot we have been to in all those years. I’m sure almost everyone by now has been there and done that, but, heck, I’m still gonna blog about it.
Ate Love introduced us to this spot. While dirty tripping on a mini bus (those small, cramped, old, non-air conditioned buses that have wooden planks as seats) to Annawangin some years back, I remember thinking: this place must be awesome because of how cumbersome the trip to that place is. I have theorized from then on that the more inconvenient the journey is, the more praise-worthy the destination is gonna be. Besides, the hassles begin to matter less when you’ve got good friends traveling with you. Plus, the scenic routes make up for the non-scenic bus interiors. All in all, you could charge the drawbacks to experience.
I do not know whose brilliant idea it was to trek it all the way to the beach cove but we did it the first time we went there. I mean, I’m into day hikes and stuff but not at 12 noon with the sun blaring at us! Also, most of the kids would cry for 15 minute breaks every 100 steps which made our 2 hour trek stretch on to a whole 5 hour fanfare. Very tiresome but once you get to the top, the view of the cove and the sea gives you an energy boost. Like you just want to roll your way down the mountain and get in the water.
But if you’re really not up for it, you could take a 45 minute boat ride from Pundaquit to the cove. Note though that these boats could ride 3-4 people at a time only and you’ll be sailing on semi-rough waters…which is actually fun (or I’d like to think it is). The waters could get rough at times but the boatmen would know better than to head out when the waters aren’t safe. Aside from the great view, make sure to check the water every once in a while as well. Some turtles, big fishes and baby sharks (someone told me this, no confirmation yet 🙂 ) sometimes leap out of the water as you pass by. We saw a turtle once!
The beach – it is not as white-sand-pretty as the other places I’ve been to but this is one captivating beach. The sand is gray but it sparkles (because of some volcano-related shiz that a local was telling us about) and the water is very calm and clear and you could go swimming with some small fishies. The shore is so wide and long that you don’t get a crowded feel.
Another thing that’s cool about this place are the two vistas you get. There’s a beach flanked by gorgeous mountains in front and a forest with a quiet river at the back! It’s a whole new scenery once you explore the forest side; the trees, fallen trunks to chill out on, a hushed river, and stories of a ghost hermit to stir the imagination. One night, a local told us the story of an old man/hermit who likes to lure campers into the forest. I remember us girls huddling near the bonfire and shrieking whenever our guy friends would remind us of it.
Most of the times we were there, it would just be us and 2-3 other groups of campers. This would give us the consent to go party hardy, like owning the cove! I remember we would squeal loudly while locals scared us to death with horror stories, run around, and make up senseless pageants that would send us laughing like crazies. On some bonfire nights, little crabies would walk past us and we would toss them into the fire and, voila, instant grilled crablets! They taste so good!
Of the many things I love about Annawangin, the most special would be its early morning calm. The sun rises from behind so you can’t really watch it but it makes for a great spectacle once you look out at the sea. It is just so beautiful. I recall it was finals week during our first trip there. I knew I had exams, papers, deadlines and stuff but my mind just wouldn’t let me think about it. There was a great repose all over the place and that was when I think I felt real peace of mind for the first time.
Annawangin has become quite popular the past two years and sadly (or probably not for folks who prefer quiet beaches), I think its acclaim has began to fade as beach goers have found other spots to visit. Last time we went there (2 or 3 years ago I think) the place was packed. At night, the place would be filled with the chatter and echo of about 20 groups of campers in one area. It was like a big camp out party. That’s great for tourism and economy of the place but not quite for those who prefer a deserted-looking version of Annawangin.
I hope us kids would be able to go back next year, it’s been a while and I miss Annawangin mornings when we would just stare out at the sea while having coffee and just sit there without really having to talk.
Almost everyone knows this already but to get there, take a San Antonio, Zambales bound bus at the Victory Bus Lines-Caloocan terminal, get off at San Antonio, ride a tricycle to Pundaquit and trek it from there or rent a boat that will take you to the cove. I recommend looking for Kuya Romy, he’s the best and has been a dear friend to us. You could put your life in his hands if you have to – extreme, I know, but we’ve come to this point so many times already. Haha!