It actually took me longer to blog about my trips. Probably because I find it hard to describe such feelings with words. Travelling is something I never thought I’ve find really amusing. I’ve always been a “taong-bahay”. When I was in school, I’ve stayed home longer since all I wanted to do is write and read. But when I was already working, though I still love to read and write, I figured, I needed to get out of the box and explore to find myself.
Yes. But just because it’s true. Sometimes, in able to find yourself, you have to get going. You just have to get gone. Because the farther you go, the closer you are to yourself.
So what happens in Zambales?
That was a year ago. I can’t believe it was that long already because I’m still felling nostalgic. That was my first backpacking trip. Yeah, yeah, I know. It took me that long before I realized that there’s a big world out there waiting to be explored.
It was almost a far-fetched vacation. I was actually thinking maybe we shouldn’t go. But another part of me tells me we should. That I should. There was a sudden comfort in knowing I’ll be gone away for a while.
I packed my bags. I prepared myself. We became the three poor backpackers. Why should we care? You don’t really need to be rich to go to beautiful places. It’s just a matter of reaserching and budgeting. *insert winking face here*
That morning of Labor day 2015, we left my friend’s house in Palauig, Zambales. That’s where we went straight when we leave Manila midnight of May 1. We traveled via ordinary bus to San Antonio, Zambales.
It was quite a long ride. Maybe more or less an hour. The wind from the open bus window blows our face with sudden edge. We saw the ashes from the eruption of Mount Pinatubo along the way.
When we reached the 7/11 store in San Antonio, we called Mang Johnny (the boatman) as per his instructions and he told us to ride a tricycle to his house. We learned that Mang Johnny is quite famous there since tricycle drivers know him. They took us first to his house but then Mang Johnny’s wife told us to go straight to the beach because he’s already waiting there.
So off we went to the beach.
There were quite a number of boats on the beach. Mang Johnny owns them and there were a few other island hoppers waiting for a boat.
Mang Johnny lets us eat lunch in a beach front nipa hut (mind you, we only packed rice, hotdog and tocino for lunch).
Then at 1 o’clock, we started our first island hopping experience. *insert excited emoji* Mang Johnny’s brother was our official boatman. We had a really small boat that perfectly fits the three of us. I was kind of scared. I’ve road boats before. I seriously doubt the sturdiness of the boat in my head, not letting my companions actually know how scared I was. But as they said, if it’s scary and exciting, you should really pursue it. So I did. I wore the life vest and sat on the third seat (the one that’s a little elevated).
And it was one hell of a boat ride. I’ve never felt as amazing away from land as that
moment. It was like a roller coaster ride whenever we passed through waves. We were screaming and shouting and laughing and making most of that moment. The boatman seems to like us though he did’t actually say it. But he smiles when he looks at us like seeing kids playing and having a good time for the first time. He stands at the end of the boat as he drives (or whatever they call operating a boat is) and when we took pictures, he’s even smiles.
There were many boats going from island to island, beach to beach there. Boat passengers would wave at us and we would wave back. It’s like saying “we’re having a good time, we hope you are too!”.
The first stop we went was Nagsasa Cove. Nearing that place, seeing the beach and the people there and the mountains that surround the place. It’s quite majestic, if you ask me. Once there, I looked around, slowly adjusting my eyes to this beautiful place. then I breathe the fresh beach air and instantly, I know I’m gonna enjoy this.
We explored the place, walking a few meters away from the beach area, we found the part of the cove with the cool rock formations. We took lots of photos (obviously). We dipped in the clear waters and we had a great time. We even had one trick in taking pictures: since it was just the three of us, and we only had a monopod for selfie. We buried the end of the stick in the sand and put the timer on so we could have more photos that doesn’t appear as selfies.
After a few more minutes of exploring, swimming, and taking pictures, we left Nagsasa Cove and headed to the most famous Cove in Zambales: Anawangin Cove.
As expected, Anawangin is full of campers that time. The tall pine trees make a good camping spot. We didn’t trek the mountains because we have only limited time since we are ther only for a day tour and we still have two other places to go.
Anawangin is the most crowded place we went since, as I’ve mentioned, it was the most popular and well, it was a long weekend. The vibe outside the camping area seems like the vibe in Baguio. Misty air, pine trees, the crowd.
Our third stop was the Capones Island. I was really looking forward for that one because I wanted to see the famous Spanish lighthouse. We stopped at the back side of the island. The area with white rocks where I unfortunately slipped through while hopping down the boat.
I’ve got a deep cut in my toes because I idiotly removed my slippers when I hopped down. So the whole while we were trekking up to the lighthouse, I was trying not to cry over that damn painful wound.Because you know, in life, you gotta go one even though it’s painful, even though you’re hurting so much. That’s how you survive. That’s what make things even more worth it in the end.
When we reached the bottom of the lighthouse, we got confused as to where exactly is the entrance. We looked around the seriously creepy, wrecked building. We’re the only ones there and that makes it even creepier. But then we found nothing so we decided to go back. But then when we got back to the edge, we found another group headed to the lighthouse. And much to my argument, my friends decided to go back up there. I was already out of breath, I was so thirsty but we left our water in the boat, my feet is in agony due to my wound, and I’m still a little frightened of that creepy building.
But I did find myself walking my way again up to that creepy Spanish era building. And we found the spiral (and rusty, mind you) staircase leasing to the top of the lighthouse. The inside was so deprived of air that my sweat glands were being really “emotional” that time.
But when I got to the top, when I finally saw how beautiful it was up there, I realized everything was worth it. I realized it was actually true that you have to go through hell before you get to heaven. There was a good view of the clear blue Zambales coast. It was absolutely beautiful. You’ll realize that the world was so big and you haven’t even seen half of it.
And that’s when I thought I wanted more. I wanted to see more like that. I wanted to feel that same feeling I felt when I was out there. I want that euphoric feeling to consume me again. I want to feel beautiful again as I close my eyes, feeling the breeze of the wind, touching my face. I want to know how wrong I was when I thought that the world is so small. I want to prove to myself that the world is a wonderful place and what a privilege it was to live here.
Okay, enough of the dramatics. (I’ll get back to that later though)
After a while, we decided to go to our last stop that day: Camara Island. It was almost sunset when we reached the island. The thing I loved about that small island is the pebbles in the sand. And the sunset. Definitely the sunset.
Watching the clear blue waters turning to golden orange. It will make you realize that things really change (yes, we’re back with the dramatics – told you). You’ll realize that no matter how clear everything is right at that moment, it will get dark. That everything will fade, but it will be okay in the morning. The waters will be back to blue and the sun will shine again. It was just a matter of waiting of that time. Because it will come. It always come.
It was almost dark when we returned to the coast of San Antonio. Mang Johnny is waiting for us with his tricycle. He told us he’ll take us to his house to clean and tidy up because the make shift bathrooms do not have water that time. He and his wife welcomed us to their house and let us use their showers. But the electricity in the place goes off at 7pm so while I was in the shower, it suddenly went dark. Mang Johnny’s wife gave me an emergency light source. When I was done in the shower, my two friends were at the back of the house using Mang Johnny’s poso to get water while they bath. We went back to Palaiug that night after we ate dinner at a carinderya at the town proper.
It was a well earned and well spent Day 1 of our adventure. And to think that we were even on a tight budget made it more worth while. I even forget I was going through something back then. Maybe that was why I like going somewhere. Because I forget. Because when I’m out there, everything seems simple. Everything seems reachable. Like dreams were just one foot away.
That’s why I wanted to do it all over again.