Before I start sharing about our awesome Nagsasa Cove camping trip… please allow me first to clarify that when we went there a couple of days ago — July 6 – 7 — the weather condition in the area was already good — no more storm signals whatsoever, typhoon Gorio has left the Philippine area of responsibility, and the water in the beaches of Pundaquit and its nearby islands was very calm.
I would like to put this ‘warning’ in the first part of this post because I want to make sure that you guys will see this ‘please-check-the-weather-first’ message before you read the rest of this article.
According to Elaine, my contact person from The Beach Place at Nagsasa Cove campsite, the summer months, of course, and the Christmas season are the best times to go there… whether for a day trip or an overnight stay; those are also the days when the water is calmest so it’s not ‘scary’ and you can enjoy the boat ride, which is 20 minutes from Camara Island to Capones, and an hour from Capones to Nagsasa Cove. If you’re really adventurous, though, and decide to go during the ‘rainy days’ here in the country, it would be a good idea to check the weather forecast everyday during the whole week prior to your planned trip so you will know what times during the day it rains.. and whether it’s safe to go there already or not.
Okay now… for the good stuff… another camping trip… yay!! It was in Zamabales again and it was on an island cleaner and more beautiful than Potipot.
Just like our Potipot getaway, we also took the last trip (1130PM) of the bus bound for Iba, Zambales, and because we’ve… or actually… I’VE learned my lesson… for this outing, we were already at the terminal by 10PM. We were able to buy our tickets early… well, early enough to get us decent seats… so all of us were able to sleep during the night 🙂
We arrived in San Antonio, Zambales at about 3AM. My brother had to buy food for our breakfast the next day but since it was veeerrry early, the wet market was still closed. Thank God for 711! We stayed outside that convenience store and… already started our ‘photo shoot sessions’ … hehe 😛
The travel time from San Antonio to Pundaquit is about 20 – 30 minutes via tricycle. The fare is 30PHP per head and you might say it’s quite expensive. It is but I guess it’s fine coz aside from the long distance between these two towns, there’s also a part where you’ll feel like you’re being tossed inside the tricyle… hehe… I think that is what people call ‘walking on the moon’ and it’s not coz you’re floating, but coz you’re travelling on rough road, which I believe isn’t good for the trike’s wheels too. When we finally arrived at our destination, we were like: “Kaya naman pala 30PHP isang tao!” (No wonder the fare is 30PHP per head!)
In Pundaquit, Mang Johnny, Elaine’s head boatman, and his two assistants were already there waiting for us.
Island hopping to Capones and Camara was part of our package. First stop… Camara Island… here we come!
After our visit to Capones Island, we sailed to Nagsasa Cove… our final destination. Please forgive me if I’m posting soooo many photos of this trip. We just took so many pictures and I didn’t even post all of them yet! 😛 Note that no filters or effects were used in these photos, except where it is indicated (just a few of them).
We camped at The Beach Place at Nagsasa Cove and Elaine, one of the owners was very nice and accommodating. Thanks, Elaine! She was also very patient in answering all my queries. Our tour package included a two-way boat ride, island hopping (Capones and Camara), use of hut, use of pots & pans and utensils, use of hammocks, wood for cooking and bonfire, and a 5-gallon jug of purified water — all for only 700PHP / head.
The camp site is clean… well-kept. That place is even cleaner than Potipot Island, as there aren’t leaves scattered anywhere, there are people who actually live there and they definitely clean their area, and the campers who stay there are ‘more disciplined’ and bring their own trash bags. The sand is fine and smooth and I loved walking barefoot… just like in Potipot… but in Nagsasa, my feet sank a little bit when I walked so I enjoyed that more 😛
There are other camp sites in the cove but The Beach Place has the cleanest bathrooms. I saw the bathrooms of the camp sites beside The Beach Place (on both sides)… and they turned me off… sorry to say this, but in places like these… I mean, this far and with no resorts nearby (for any emergencies… you know 😛 )… I appreciate a clean bathroom 🙂 🙂 Aside from that, their bathrooms are also very spacious — like 3 – 4 people can take a bath at the same time and they have strong flowing water… ‘saraaaap maligo!!’
Like what I did in our Potipot outing, I cooked and brought chicken/pork adobo flakes for our lunch coz that dish doesn’t get spoiled… well, at least not easily. My sister Ginger also brought chicken adobo, cooked in a different way; we had those, fried eggplant with bagoong, and manggang hilaw, which actually looked ripe coz of its color.
Warning!! Do not attempt to feed any of the dogs there. They will think that there’s always food for them and when you don’t have anything left… oh dear! They’ll sneak up on your food and raid them! Boom!! That’s what happened to us. My husband kept feeding two of the dogs lurking around and when we were all asleep… they attacked our left-over adobo, which we were saving for our breakfast 🙁 I especially cooked extra so we’ll have adobo, fried rice, hotdogs, and red eggs with tomatoes the next morning. Good thing my brother heard their scratches and all. It was about 3AM when he saw a group of nasty dogs on the table in our hut munching on our cooked and even uncooked food that was inside our ice box. ‘Kainis talaga!’ Ggggrrr!!! (really angry face here). According to Kiem, when he and his friends went there before, they didn’t mind the dogs and never gave them anything, so their food was safe… untouched. Please take good note of this advice… otherwise… you’ll be sorry.
Rice is easier and faster to cook and the reason I already bring cooked viand whenever we go camping is so we can eat a few minutes after we arrive at our camp site. The Beach Place has a cooking and grilling area, and although my husband had to cook rice over charcoal… we were still able to have brunch at about 1030AM. It only took 45 minutes to cook the rice 🙂
Here are some of the pictures I took. Please forgive me if this is another ‘photo album’ like my Camara and Capones posts. We started swimming at 3PM and it was super low tide. A couple of hours before sunset, we explored the part of the cove that meets the opening of a river, but since it was low tide… it was like walking on mud 😛 You will notice that Edgy and Rikki were carrying a stick… that is for keeping their balance just in case they fall into a hole or step on anything extra soft.
When night set in, we headed back to the camp site and divided the tasks. Kiem and Penzer made dinner… ‘inihaw na baboy’ (grilled pork belly), which has been marinated since Saturday morning… yum! Ice, Nikki, Rikki, and Ginger prepared the stuff for our bonfire, which they started setting up at about 730PM. We were provided with many big pieces of wood and a sack of dried leaves and twigs that kept our fire for almost 5 hours… just the right time for us to sleep afterwards. And oh… Edgy was tired since he cooked lunch so he took a nap and me… well, I dozed off too… anyway, I was the one who cooked the chicken/pork adobo for our lunch (back at home) and made sure we had everything we’d need… hehe 😛
We wanted to make the most out of that camp and we did what we didn’t get to do during our Potipot trip… sing around the bonfire… haha 😛 ‘Sayang den kase pagbitbit ni Ice ng guitar nya if we didn’t use it.’ 😛 We’re not singers… not at all… but we owned the cove that night and there weren’t any other campers around so… we took advantage of the ‘moment’… haha… moment talaga :P… to express ourselves in a song 🙂 🙂 Ice on guitar, Nikki and Kiem on vocals… bravo guys!
The next day, we had breakfast at… hmmm… that was very early so… maybe 6AM, or even before 6. That’s early for me coz back home, that’s about the time I go to sleep 😛 After breakfast, we went hiking! Climbing mountains — high or low — isn’t really my thing… it never was, but since I was with my lovees… I gave it a go. Plus… ‘bawal ang kj so… cge na nga’. Before actually going up, we… of course… had our ‘photo shoot’ — (again) — coz the view and background were different. As we were going up… we took more photos! Haha! Adik lang 😛 We had to document everything, so once again… forgive me for the many pictures I’m sharing here.
If you want a vacation where you can go island hopping, swimming, and hiking all in one package… The Beach Place at Nagsasa Cove is the place to go.
Aaaand… it’s time to go home. We left Nagsasa at 1155AM. The travel time to Pundaquit takes about an hour. From there, we rode the trike going back to San Antonio, ordinary bus to the Victory Liner bus station in Olongapo, had lunch at Chowking, and then rode the VL bus again to Cubao.
Since my kids travel with me (and my husband), I make sure that I plan things well. When I saw one of The Beach Place‘s photo on Google images or I think their name came up in one of my searches, I contacted them right away… sent them a message on their Facebook page. Elaine, one of the owners and the manager of the camp site, responded to my question… and questions thereafter. Like I mentioned earlier in this post… she was very friendly… answered my gazillion questions 😛 Below are some of her replies… I’m sure you’ll be able to figure out what my questions were based on her responses and I hope they will be useful to you guys… should you plan to go to Nagsasa too 🙂
Hi. Nasa inyo po kung gusto nyo munang mag-island hopping. But usually, 2nd day po ang island hopping. 8am ang alis sa Nagsasa, pwede pong 1 hr each island then balik na sa Pundakit. Thanks
Hi. Yung islands po nasa Pundakit area so kung mag-island hopping kayo, either do it first before you go to Nagsasa or do it before you go back to Pundakit. Kung gusto nyo po na bumalik for island hopping, mag-add po kayo ng P300 each kasi ibabalik ulit kayo sa Nagsasa.
May mga cr po sa Pundakit na pwedeng puntahan para maligo at magpalit. I-aasist po kayo ng bangkero.
Option 1 – arrive at Pundakit early, around 7am, then go island hopping to Capones & Camara, stay / swim for around 2 hrs then go to Nagsasa, stay overnight, leave at 11am for Pundakit.
Option 2 – arrive at Pundakit at time of your choice, go straight to Nagsasa, stay overnight. Leave at 8am for island hopping, stay / swim in islands for 2 hrs then back to Pundakit. You can use the resort bathroom of Crossriver or other resorts to take a bath / wash up for a small fee. Crossriver, P10 each. Ka Leni’s bathroom, free for use. Bangkeros know where these places are so they can assist you upon your return to Pundakit.
Return to Manila via bus – from Pundakit, take the trike back to San Antonio, tell driver to drop you off at the bus stop. Wait for Manila-bound buses.
Another option – from San Antonio, take the ordinary bus to Olongapo City, get off at Victory Liner Bus terminal. Manila-bound buses leave after every 30 mins.
Fare of trike from San Antonio to Pundakit is P30 each.
These email responses from Nhida of Victory Liner Customer Support might also come in handy:
Dear Ms. Gadia,
We only have 5 daily trips leaving for San Antonio from Pasay terminal which are as follows: 5:00AM, 10:30AM, 12:00NN, 1:00PM and 11:30PM as last trip while from Caloocan starts at 4:00AM every hour til 7:00AM then every 30 minutes interval of dispatch til 6:00PM, followed by 8:00PM, 9:30PM, 11:00PM and 11:30PM as midnight trip. Fare is P260.00 per head (one way only) from Caloocan and P275 per head from Pasay terminal.
All the best,
Victory Liner, Inc.
We start at 1:10AM po from Olongapo going to Cubao-Pasay with every 40 minutes interval of dispatch until 11:45PM. Fare is P218.00 per head (one way only) and it takes approximately 3 hours.
Olongapo terminal is the nearest station from San Antonio po. Just take any of VLI bus passing along San Antonio. These buses originate from Iba and Sta. Cruz, Zambales. Fare is P58.00 (ordinary bus) per head po and it will take less than an hour of travel time.
Here are a few more good-to-know information:
- The Beach Place at Nagsasa Cove has different packages that you can take advantage of. We got their 700PHP / head package, which included (for us… I’m saying ‘for us’ coz since we already have tents, we replaced the tent rental for island hopping) two-way boat ride, island hopping to Camara and Capones, use of hut, use of pots & pans, use of plates & utensils (if you forget to bring paper plates and plastic spoons & forks), use of 2 hammocks, wood for cooking and bonfire, and a 5-gallon jug of water. You can send a message to Elaine through their FB page.
- If you prefer to hire a van instead of ride the Victory Liner bus, you can contact Gone Wild Campers (GWC). We were supposed to hire them because we wanted to take our puppy, Snow, with us… but… change of plans so… we ended up at the Victory Liner bus terminal 😛 You can also send a message to GWC through their Facebook page. They have a reasonable rate and they are a looot cheaper than the ones in Sulit.com. What’s more… rest assured that they have courteous members 🙂
- There is a store in the cove where you can buy soft drinks, cooking oil, bottled water, etc. but they are expeeensiiive! Like a 1.5 liter of Coke is 120PHP instead of 60-65PHP so… I’m not sure you’ll want to buy from there 😛
- Like I mentioned above, there are other camp sites in Nagsasa but I didn’t bother to ask what packages they have, or if they even have. I just know that the overnight camp fee is a hundred pesos. Also, I highly recommend The Beach Place coz they have, I’ll say this again… really nice bathrooms and I think their package is worth its price.
- There are also daily trips to San Antonio from the VL station in Cubao. Their schedule is 630AM, 9AM, 330PM, and 630PM. According to Nhida, their night trip is only up to Olongapo, which comes before San Antonio.