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TALE OF THREE SISTERS: ANAWANGIN, NAGSASA, AND CAPONES

Few kilometers away, a mountain top in Zambales is spewing lava. The wind blowing the ashes quickly – forming an eruption cloud, making the skies look like they’re burning. Three young siblings, Anawangin, Nagsasa, and Capones, witness their Mother Pinatubo release her cataclysmic wrath. Anger dissipates, and after hours of darkness, ashes start falling to the ground, and with the sea, they meld. Then came the mudflow that knocked the sturdiest of sturdy Agoho trees. Anawangin, the eldest, took a harder beating than her two sisters Nagsasa and the distant Capones. 

Days, weeks, months pass. The three sisters managed to heal from the apoplectic episode of Mother Pinatubo. Some, if not all, of Anawangin and Nagsasa’s Agoho trees were left bent and mangled. With their fine, white sands filled with ashes and rocks, they start changing. Luckily, their younger sister Capones, far from their reach, was the least maimed – only hurled with a few rocks and debris of Mother Pinatubo. Thanks to her distance from her older sisters, she managed to keep her pristine beaches and white sands nearly untouched.

And that, my friends, is the story of the three great beaches of Zambales you would never hear anywhere but here – it’s fiction. But what’s not is the sheer tranquility and enchantment of these three beaches. 

Zambales and its not-so hidden gems

Three to four hours from Manila, you will drop at Pundaquit beach in San Antonio, Zambales, the gateway to the trifecta beaches and other coves nearby. From the shores, you would already sense the kind of adventure you are about to embark on. It’s like those baby waves are calling you to enter their enchanted realm. 

Local boatmen work double as fishermen and travel guides to the islands. They also have essential items like cooking ware, stove, and tents for rent since one would have to do everything on the island. Sun worshippers craving some me-time or some vitamin sea would recommend these accessible and affordable spots – Baguio-like trees and beach in one? Who wouldn’t want that?

So, if you can afford a day or two with no electricity and connection to the internet, then read through!

Anawangin Cove

Photo snippest from OnYourPath Travel YouTube page

A decade or so ago, when these hidden coves were unreached by any infrastructures, much less electricity, one would have to pull a rugged-type camp, pitch a tent (or not, but good luck when the bed bugs bite!), set up a campfire for some light, to simply listen to the sound of peace through the waves hitting the shore. This is how Anawangin Cove, the closest to reach among the three, started making rounds in the circles of hikers, mountaineers, and adventure junkies. It’s a paradise for anyone seeking to detach from anything that resembles urbiculture. You can reach Anawangin Cove in less than an hour boat ride. Or if you can take the heat, literally, by hiking for another three to four hours. 

Nagsasa Cove

Photo snippet from Coshan Uncharted
Photo from Ronronpalma

One would argue that Nagsasa Cove is the true haven for those looking for some privacy than in Anawangin, which people easily reach. If you don’t mind traveling for an extra 20 minutes, you will reach the finer and whiter sands of Nagsasa Cove. These two would look almost the same if it weren’t for the recently built resort in Anawangin Cove. 

While Nagsasa Cove has All Blue Nature Resort, it managed to keep its laid-back vibe, which is likely why it was awarded the Best New Camping & Recreation Beach Resort in 2018. 

Capones Island

Photo snippet from OnYourPath Travel YouTube page

Capones Island would likely be the first island you’d go to if you opt to get the usual island hopping tour from Pundaquit. This small island boasts fine white sands and incredible rock formations. The inviting cool aqua blue waters around the island prove just how wonderful and breathtaking this place is. There is also a century-old lighthouse on the other side of the island!

Tourism in San Antonio, Zambales flourished mainly because of these three tourist destinations. With Anawangin now developed with better facilities, Nagsasa slowly welcoming advancements to cater to more visitors, and Capones retaining its natural form, you would not run out of options. Whether it be for a trip with your friends or family, or even when you just want some time for yourself, away from the jolts of the city.

Photo from Escape Manila

These three spots possess the innate beauty of Luzon with so much more to offer. Despite the harsh challenges they faced, they remain a true example that challenges and struggles bring out the best.

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