“What if we go to the bus terminal and pick a random bus?”
That was an old conversation between me and my husband few months ago. Then one night when we got home from work past 10pm, he suggested we go to Baguio. It’s a few hours before Independence day so I agreed since we didnt have work the next morning.
We packed our sweaters, beanies, blanket, and all the food we could bring (not much food left since it’s already Thursday and our stock was almost depleted). Then I remembered the holiday might make it difficult for us to get a bus going to Baguio, so why not pack swimwear just in case and maybe go somewhere else if Baguio is too crowded. I even suggested to bring the stove for camping which my husband declined (afterall he would be the one to carry it).
We reached the victory liner terminal at Pasay past mignight. Few people were lining up to Baguio so our hopes went up. But soon we learned why-the next trip would be 3pm the next day.
It’s like waiting a day at the terminal. So we switched lines, the line to Zambales. Oooh we could use our swimwear here afterall. Then another blow. The next trip would be 4 am. It would be a waste if we turned our back and returned to our condo to the comfort of our bed. So we took a chance and got on the bus to Olongapo. We figured, from there we could find our way to Zambales somehow. So we bought our tickets- P218 per head, airconditioned bus.
It took three hours to reach the terminal. From there we took another bus to Iba Zambales; this time not airconditioned. The fare was 44 php going to San Antonio. The ride was good, and the ordinary bus gave us the glimpse of the place more- seeing the sunrise and feeling the breeze of the morning wind. The air is not polluted so go ahead and breath. Although there were some places where you could smell piggery along the way :p
We were dropped off at San Antonio. There was a bakery there where we bought lots of bread (very afforfable). If you dont have supplies with you, you better buy at San Antonio because you can’t see much stores in Pundakit (or if you see one, it would be twice the price). But it would be better to bring your own supplies because even at San Antonio market, there were few choices to choose from. We bought our water and some food then we took a tricycle to Pundakit. Fare is 35 php per head.
Since we were walk-in, we had a hard time finding a room at Pundakit. We tried six resorts before we were able to get one, the Ohayo San resort. If you are not camping or you just need a place you could use to park your car before heading to adventure, consider Ohayo (read review here)
After changing to our swimwear we stepped out to find someone to take us to the island. Our initial plan was to go to Nagsasa cove. It’s the farthest among the islands and I find it interesting based on pictures. But they offered (by offer, I mean haggle) to take us to four islands for 2,000 php. The banca was all ours. You could read on several sites that you could go as low as 400 php per head but I guess not for all the islands. And the price to Nagsasa would be probably higher since it’s far.
I usually get scared on the water because I can’t swim but it was not scary to ride on the small banca. I was the one in front and the beauty around me just took away my fears. The wind and sometimes water that would splash on my face was so refreshing. You could stare at the water and you could see the reflection of the banca. But if you are sitting at the back of the banca, you might want to wear an earlplug or any noise cancelling headphones because the sound of the boat might be too loud for your ears.
Another tip: Make sure to choose a banca with roof!
Less than 20 minutes after, we landed on the first island- the Camara.
We were surprised because there were few tourists given that it was a Philippine holiday. There were only three groups at that time. The water was pristine clear and you could play with the sand on your feet. It’s not white sands but still so smooth on our feet so we walked barefoot around the island. Compared to other islands, I think my feet sunk more on the sands there. Rough rocks were also scattered around so we didn’t feel like it was safe enough to swim in, in case the waves hit us. We took several pictures and off we went to the next island.
The next stop- Capones island. Like the first one, the water was very clear. Here you can find some big rocks where you could stand and pose (like what I asked my husband to do).
The water was so inviting that we could no longer resist taking a dip. It’s not cold nor hot- just perfect. It could get deep at some point but my husband enjoyed swimming a lot there.
We just noticed some trash on the beach (but not much). No one was living there so probably the municipality asked someone to go there every now and then to clean it. It’s a reminder to us to be a responsible tourist- don’t leave garbage behind.
It was also comforting to see a rescue operation helicopter going around the island. They flew really low just to check if someone needed help. After a while, we took off then went to the farthest island- Nagsasa.
It took us several minutes before reaching it. We passed by several amazing rock formation and some small islets that were not open for tourists.
Our banca was pretty fast compared to others as we only had three passengers. We reached the island in no time. It was 10 am so the sun was not that hot so we decided to take a dip again.
The island was surrounded by mountains (cove that’s why :p). Water was pristine blue. You could go very far from the shore because the water was not that deep. Since the water was salty, you could float easily. There was an entrance of 50 php per head. You could also see some campers on this island. There were also sari-sari store but expect higher price. Afterall, there was no electricity (not even signal) to the island and they have to buy their merchandise from the city.
We settled on one of the tables and ate our lunch- pork and beans and bread. I took a nap on the bamboo bench before we got off and decided we could rest more by lying on the sand. We found a talisay tree near the shore and put out our towel so we could lie down. Husband slept almost an hour before we decided to get up to freshen up.
We bought softdrinks at Myra’s sari-sari store then headed to the beach again to swim. Several minutes later we were on the boat again to go to the last island-Anawangin.
The waves were getting bigger and the sky was darker. Anawangin is probably the most famous among the islands. You can camp out and rent a tent for overnight. We also saw some people trekking. The island has several interesting rock formation.
Like in Nagsasa, the water was shallow and you could go farther from the shore. But we noticed several dead insects on the water. We decided to walk farther and we found that the water on some parts were cleaner than the one in the middle so if ever you visit, go ahead and explore the island to find a perfect spot for you. We took some pics before we took another dip. The water was warmer compared to Nagsasa. It was drizzling a little too. Several minutes later the bangkero said we should go as waves were getting bigger and unlike other people there, we were not sleeping overnight on the island.
It just took few minutes to reach Pundakit again. True enough, the waves were bigger going back. But it didnt stop us on concluding that this was one of the best island hopping experience we had so far.