SAN ANTONIO, ZAMBALES: Opening Salvo for 2016

Anawangin!!! Anawangin!!! Anawangin!!!

Among others, this has been what I’ve been seeing on social media these days. Friends heading up north to Zambales to see and frolic in the ashen sands of Anawangin and enjoy the unique coastal feel of this once-a-sleepy beach spot in the town of San Antonio. Those photos online enticed me and my friends to fly from Davao to Manila and head up north to experience it for ourselves. And when we get there, we realized there is more to this town than Anawangin – there’s Capones, there’s Nagsasa.

San Antonio Zambales 10Honestly, Anawangin is more popular to me than its mother town, San Antonio. But what I didn’t know is that San Antonio has already gained its good reputation as holiday destination in Zambales because its beautiful beaches, majestic mountains, rolling hills and scenic coves. Campers and beach lovers living nearby even in Metro Manila considered this as one of top choices.

San Antonio Zambales 2 San Antonio Zambales 3 San Antonio Zambales 18 San Antonio Zambales 20Beach hopping or simply just beach lounging is mainly among the reasons why people flock to San Antonio. Home to secluded yet picturesque coves, this town is undeniably a paradise for beach fanatics. Of course, there is the famous Anawangin, the most popular among the coves in San Antonio. But what impressed me more is the Nagsasa Cove that has become a popular alternative as Anawangin becomes crowded especially during weekends. Nagsasa on the other hand is wider and longer and offers much scenic landscape although about an hour boat ride from Pundaquit, the jump off site to all secluded coves of San Antonio.

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Both Anawangin and Nagsasa Coves are crescent shaped coves with pristine ashen sand beach. What makes these beach spots so unique is the unusual presence of tall pine-like trees that grow round there vicinity. These are not actually pine trees; they are Agoho trees said to be endemic to the Philippines and to some Southeast Asian countries.

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Just like all the photos we’ve seen online, we didn’t miss climbing the hills that embrace these coves and marvel at the stunning view of these beach havens. From the top, the view of the beach and the landscape of agoho trees is remarkable. Maybe, it is one of the reasons why people come back here. The view is incredibly remarkable.

San Antonio Zambales 9 San Antonio Zambales 24 San Antonio Zambales 8Aside from the isolated coves, Capones Island which can be easily accessed the Pundaquit is among the must-visit spots when in San Antonio. The island is to home to the century-old Capones Island Lighthouse which was built 1890 by the Spaniards to guide ships entering Subic Bay and Corregidor. Visitors may enter the building and climb to the top of the tower. Adjacent to Capones Island is the rocky Camara Island. Both are popular island-hopping sidetrip destinations when in this part of Zambales.

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Visiting this popular destinations in San Antonio made me understand why people flock to this part of Zambales especially during weekends. Secluded and semi-private, San Antonio’s pristine coves are worth the long trip. I would say one of the scenic beaches I’ve visited in Luzon. And yes, though from from Davao. I would still come back.

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