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.

San Antonio Zambales 1 San Antonio Zambales 13 San Antonio Zambales 15 San Antonio Zambales 16 San Antonio Zambales 17 San Antonio Zambales 21 San Antonio Zambales 22 San Antonio Zambales 23 San Antonio Zambales 26 San Antonio Zambales 27 San Antonio Zambales 28

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.

5 BEACHES THAT MAKE THE PHILIPPINES A TROPICAL PARADISE

Like Thailand and Bali, the Philippines is becoming a popular island destination. With thousands of islands to choose from, there is no shortage of beaches. Pristine white sand and clear blue waters characterize most of these spots, but each has its own particular charm.

PHILIPPINE BEACHES 5Cebu

This island features many of the most well-known -and more importantly- the most accessible beaches of the country. You can fly in directly from places like Hong Kong and Singapore, and visit a number of beach resorts that are top-quality and family-friendly. However, you may want to take a boat to Malapascua Island, which is 4 to 5 hours from the city center. This is a dream spot for scuba divers, as it is home to thresher sharks and giant schools of sardines.

PHILIPPINE BEACHES 4Southern Negros

This is the ultimate beach-hopping destination for bathers. Here you will find several pristine white beaches in one trip. Accessible from the city of Dumaguete, you only have to travel for an hour to get to Apo Island. This island is worth being on your itinerary because of its backpacker-friendly accommodation and long, untouched beach. There are also pristine white beaches on Tambobo Bay and Siquijor Island, not to mention excellent accommodation choices.

PHILIPPINE BEACHES 2Boracay

Recently, this long beach strip has only been given proper recognition as one of the world’s top beaches. With all of the publicity it has been gaining, this place has also become a big party spot. It is still quiet compared to other places like Kuta Beach, and if you love flying kites then that is an added bonus. You can get a romantic boat ride anytime and there is lots of night time entertainment like fire dancers. The entertainment lasts all night. The property market is booming there, so if you would like to grab a piece of tropical paradise, you can use Zipmatch, a Philippine real estate marketplace, to find your dream home in Boracay.

PHILIPPINE BEACHES 3Siargao

This beach is best known as a surfer’s paradise, but it is not without its white beaches as well. If the crowds are a bit too much, you can visit some islets that are nearby. If you are up for a drive, head to the northeastern tip where you will be among coconut palms and soft sand washed by perfect waves that go off in different directions. It is definitely a beautiful sight.

PHILIPPINE BEACHES 1Camiguin (White Island)

This beach is only accessible by boat. The color of the sand alternates from cream to pure white. Anyone can walk from one end of the beach to the other in ten minutes or less. There used to be stalls selling food, but they were removed to help maintain the beaches’ pristine look. You can still find men fishing from small boats, and this sight replaces the stalls to give a really nice village vibe to the place. If you prefer tranquility, then come after sunset when you will have the place all to yourself.