Wednesday, November 3, 2010


Location: San Antonio, Zambales, Philippines

Aerial view of Nagsasa Cove beach line

Indeed! This place has its unique charm. It is not only a beach destination but one can also enjoy hiking, team building, prenuptial photography, victory parties, picnic, social functions and many other outdoor activities. I have known this place when the boatman we chartered to Anawangin Cove in the name of Totoy Parilla told us that Nagsasa Cove is the best alternative as the former is getting crowded already. He gave me his mobile number and after a month, our group went back to San Antonio, Zambales to try this new exciting destination.

Preparing to leave Pundaquit Beach for Nagsasa Cove

Prior to this trip, Totoy and I had phone call conversation of what’s the best time to go there most particularly of catching calm sea for boat travel. The advise was to take a last trip Victory Liner Bus from Monumento terminal at 11:55 P.M. and we dropped in San Antonio of the province of Zambales at 3:00 A.M. We were so relaxed in the bus and were even able to have a short sleep within the 3-hour travel duration. There was no traffic then and we just traveled smoothly.

Capones and Camara Islands as taken from Pundaquit Island

We had prior arrangement of the tricycle service from San Antonio through Totoy where it picked us from that point going to Pundaquit for 25 minutes only for P20 per head. Totoy was kind enough to provide us a beach cottage for free where we continued our sleep till 5:30 in the morning.

Just arrived the inviting beach coast of Nagsasa

As we woke up, our breakfast was ready where Totoy’s wife cooked it for us for a minimal fee of P100. Grilled and “tinola” fresh fish catch from fishermen around the beach was our viand for breakfast along with sunny side-up eggs, tortang dilis, Jasmin rice and ripe mangoes. We bought distilled drinking water good for two days in one of the stores of Pundaquit and some other food supplies as arranged by Totoy just before we boarded our boat for Nagsasa.

As we pitched our tents after our arrival

At exactly 6:30 A.M., we left Pundaquit beach. It was a sunny morning as if the day greets us with a big smile. The sea was so calm and still. The deep sea bed can be seen clearly from the surface of the water as our boat cuts through aquamarine blue waters. We passed near Anawangin Cove. Few passenger motor boats can be seen maneuvering to take a turn towards Anawangin while only our boat headed straight. We also passed by Talisayin coves.

Resting in the refreshing cottage while waiting for our meal to be cooked

On our way to our destination, amazing rock formations, picturesque cliffs and mountain slopes were visible to our eyes. The trip offered us a 55-minute breathtaking scenery of mountain slopes and seascape which cost P500 per head for a round trip arrangement.

Taking a relaxing walk in Mang Ador's Campsite

Trekking along mountain ranges is another alternative to reach Nagsasa other than boarding a motor boat though the blogger did not tried this yet.

The inviting beach front

According to the local residents, the name Nagsasa was named after “Sasa”, a member of palm tree family who used to be abundant in the cove but became extinct because it was excessively used by the residents as their houses’ roof and wall which are made as “pawid” in Tagalog language. The place is also known habitat to wild deer until they became extinct because of over hunting, abusive and misinformed used of its natural habitat.

The scenic mountain slopes at the back of Mang Ador's Campsite taken near Kamp Bira Bira

Approaching Nagsasa Cove was completely an exciting moment. Shoreline was dotted with rich green Agoho trees (looks like Pine trees at a distance). Only around two small groups of beach enthusiasts were there. The place was completely serene and tranquil. Almost all parts of the place were picture-perfect for photographers. I can’t help but to grind my camera to capture the splendid view right to my feasting eyes.

While at Kamp Bira Bira

As we wander through the wonders of Nagsasa, Totoy (the boatman) along with his son, prepared our food for lunch. The beach was inviting then and we can’t resist the temptation of taking a swim on its crystal clear and clean waters. Totoy after cooking our food left us but will be picking us up the following day.

Walking to the other end of the beach front

According to the blogger’s research, Nagsasa is also known for its famous water fall but again the blogger has not tried to visit this yet.

Looking back how the beach front looks

By then, there was no electricity and drinking water. There is also no mobile phone signal but when you scale high the mountain slopes, there is already signal. It has a common concrete comfort room equipped with a water pump for bathing and cooking.

The river which empties into the beach front

There was no idle time for us. We noticed that there were few Aeta families who reside in the island and in fact there were two of them who operate a sari-sari store where basic necessities including liquor can be bought. Though we were equipped with tents, we still opted to rent two open cottages for P200 each so that there is enough space for us for our socials and food preparation. Hammock was installed in a tree close to our tent for a more relaxing afternoon nap.

Our group as we climbed the mountain slope at the foot adjacent to Mang Ador's Campsite

As early as 1:00 in the afternoon, racing jetskis arrived in the cove. It was a competition sponsored by the City Government of Olongapo. It lasted till 3:00 P.M.

The rocky mountain slopes

Late in the afternoon, I led the group to scale the side of the mountain slope next to our campsite though there was no established trail as according to our local guide, seldom would guests climb there. The point provided us with a 360 degrees panoramic view. It was absolutely amazing to see the entire place in an aerial view with the white (though closer it really looks white-grayish color) beach line, the stretch of Agoho trees , the river, other low-lying slopes and the nearby forest.

The aerial view of the Nagsasa Cove

Our group was so vigilant of time since we are curious of what the sunset would be in Nagsasa. Surprisingly, it was different from the spectacular Manila Bay sunset where you can see the sun sets. In Nagsasa, the sun is covered by the mountain and on the sides of the mountain where the sun sets is a blend of orange, purple and orange colors. It is uniquely amazing!

The aerial view of the river which cuts through Nagsasa lowlands to the cove

The evening was more exciting as we had our socials around a charged lamp since bonfire should not be practiced by mountaineers like us. We had an extended beach enjoyment as we have gone into a night swimming. Tight and soundly sleep followed as we were all safe inside our tents.

The rugged coastline along the southernside of the cove

We woke up as early as 5:00 in the morning for a swim and at the same time prepared our breakfast and pack lunch. Totoy was just timely to pick us up at 6:30 A.M. heading for the Capones Island. The sea becomes rough and big waves occur in the afternoon till night time. According the boatman, boats could hardly dock even in Capones Beach Front because strong big waves will push them ashore.

A racing jetski aquatic motor bike against the majestic mountain slopes backdrop

It took us 50 minutes to reach the Beach front of Capones and had a delightful swim on its clear water. We had a trek then of one hour to Capones Lighthouse. The lighthouse is located on the other tip of the island where one has to resort to rock scrambling a rocky shoreline.

A number of jetski watercrafts in the cove

We stayed more than an hour in Capones lighthouse and trek back for an hour. Then, our boat headed for Camara Island for seven minutes. We stayed there for just 30 minutes. The place is good for picnic but not advisable for an overnight stay. Camara island is consist of two islets connected by a sandbar but this sandbar can be seen during lowtide according to Totoy.

Trekking along the beach coast from Capones Island beach front to Capones Lighthouse

Our motor boat headed again for 5 minutes towards Pundaquit beach. Hungry for such an endless swim and trekking, our group requested Totoy to prepare a sumptuous lunch for us.

The Capones Lighthouse

Totoy is really an honest boatman. I highly recommend his services for Anawangin-Nagsasa-Capones-Camara trips. Though we got disconnected because he lost and changed his mobile number, he is known in Purok 2, Barangay Cabasan in Pundakit. Another young boatman where you can trust is Marvin Agasan with mobile number 09277594714.

An abandoned radar station within the The Capones Lighthouse compound

In traveling back to Manila, we took a bus heading for Olongapo City. From there, we took another bus going to Monumento. This time, the bus trip was longer as it was already rush hours in Manila.

Camara Island

So what are you waiting for. Plan now for a Nagsasa Trip. I hope that I have provided you all the information you need to make your Nagsasa trip a successful one. Remember that your boat trip would be calm and smooth-sailing if you have it early in the morning. Thus, it is advisable that you take a last trip from Manila in going to San Antonio and finally to Pundaquit Beach.

Or better yet, contact Gone Wild Campers for a tour booking.


  1. Kaka-miss ang Zambales... I have been to Anawangin but never been to Nagsasa Cove.
    Still looking forward to go back there and visit Nagsasa... :)

  2. I can also recommend kuya jayr as a boatman in nagsasa. Very accommodating and you can also lend some cookwares and cooler from them. You can contact them at 09173809104.

    1. Thanks, Leslie for the contact you shared.