*Lusting at Nagsasa
No electricity. Few people. Isolated location. It’s a place perfect for zombie apocalypse training.
So during the first two days of the Papal Visit to the Philippines, I was able to take an overnight nature trip with some officemates to Nagsasa, a cove in the province of Zambales. Zambales is roughly four to six hours away via land from Manila (depends if there’s major traffic in the express ways and if you get lost). The first order of business is to get to Barangay Pundaquit where the boat ride (Php450 roundtrip and inclusive of baggage handling) to Nagsasa will begin.
It’s an hour boat ride to Nagsasa (which in my nautical dictionary means very, very far away). You’ll pass another isolated cove, Anawangin, on the way to Nagsasa. Take note that waves can get pretty wild as you’re already on the edges of the South China Sea (or at least the open sea)!
Entering the cove is a surreal feeling as on either side would be ranges of hillocks steadily rising to merge with a mountain range that forms the backdrop of Nagsasa. Much like the island in Lost or a secret Elven town in Lord of the Rings.
It’s a breathtaking view once you land on the beach: a vista of black and white sand, beach pines, and verdant mountains. Under normal circumstances very few people are around, but since it was a long weekend, there were around three of four other groups of people. Camping is the only way to go in Nagsasa. So prepare your meals beforehand, bring your own flashlight, and mind your own trash.
The night sky is a dream, dotted with so many stars it’s disconcerting to know that the same sky looms over Manila. You can have a bonfire started for Php150. I think the locals manage this so as to avoid brushfires. Mosquitoes aren’t a problem, as the strong sea breeze will just blow them away. But apply insect repellant just the same to be on the safe side.
Nagsasa, although it started out as a camper’s dream, has quickly commercialized to provide creature comforts. There’s running water from a deep well, plus some cemented public restrooms. And by restrooms I mean a concrete structure with a toilet bowl. There are locals who live there and provide assistance for camping (Php100/pax/night) and even two sari-sari stores (plus a karaoke place!) so it’s not THAT isolated. But overall it is still quite pristine.
The next day we went to an island roughly 45 minutes away from Nagsasa and 15 minutes away from Pundaquit: Capones. The small island is famous for its lighthouse, unfortunately it’s no longer open to tourists as it is deemed as an unsafe structure already. We did mange to enjoy the beach of Capones though. It has a rocky beach and really strong waves (going back to the boat was an adventure in itself), but it’s a great experience nonetheless.
I would go back to Nagsasa again in a heartbeat. It’s a great place to just get away from it all (no mobile signal!), a chance to just enjoy nature and get some peace and quiet.
I just hope that its almost pristine state wouldn’t change too much. Because we’re quickly running out of beautiful places to stay at once a zombie apocalypse hits.