My brother approached me and asked for help to arrange a trip for their group. The truth is I’ve stopped arranging trips for other people because it takes a lot of work and I do not want to encounter problematic people again. But I’ve been in Palawan and written about Palawan for far too long that I am looking for a new adventure outside of that paradise.
I asked him for his specifications, he answered.
- April 26-27, 2014 (2 nights)
- Visit to Pundaquit in San Antonio, Zambales
- We would be riding private transportation
- Yes, I’m going to help him arrange.
- Target Budget is 2,500 Pesos/person including fuel, toll fees, food, entrance fees and boat rental.
With that said, he did his part by inviting his friends and I did mine by calling my favorite bangkero in Pundaquit, Mang Florante.
I said to Mang Florante that I would like to hire his services for the boat rental for the visit to the following islands.
- Camara Island
- Capones Island
- Anawangin Cove
- Nagsasa Cove (overnight stay)
He said for the Island Hopping boat rental the rate is 500 Pesos/person for 15 persons.
Then he said that for 800 Pesos/person he could provide tent, entrance fees and boat transfers. He got my attention in this one as I didn’t want to plan for the things that we should bring.
Then he said that for 1,000 Pesos/person he could provide tent, entrance fees, food and boat transfers! Now I want this one! I also do not have to worry about the food! And he said that someone will be with us to cook our food. 🙂
I asked if he needed downpayment and he said that he needs a 50% downpayment for reservation. I said I’ll call him again to verify how many are we really.
I got word from my brother and he told me that we were only 7 persons in the group. So I called again Mang Florante and told him of the reduction in our numbers. He said that he can offer us 1,200 Pesos/person for boat transfers from the different islands and cove and tent, entrance fees, food and our personal cook. I recomputed mentally everything and it’s still inside our 2,500 Pesos/person budget so I said yes for fun and less hassles.
So I completed the reservation procedures and we were now all set for our weekend trip.
Here’s what happened on our trip.
April 26, 2014
2:40 AM Departure from McDonalds near Tiendesitas to Pundaquit via Private Transportation.
Stop-over at one of the gas station in North Luzon Expressway (NLEX).
45 Pesos/vehicle NLEX Toll entry
173 Pesos/vehicle NLEX Toll exit
168 Pesos/vehicle SCTEX Toll Tipo Exit – Subic-Clark-Tarlac Express Way (SCTEX)
22 Pesos/vehicle Subic Tipo Express Way exit.
Breakfast at McDonalds Subic
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Texted Mang Florante that we were on our way and he instructed us to go inside Kristel’s Paradiso in front of the small church of Guadalupe when we’re inside Pundaquit and look for him there. There’s a parking area there that we could park the vehicle.
7:11 AM Arrival at the Poblacion of San Antonio, Zambales
7:33 AM Arrival inside Kristel’s Paradiso at Pundaquit.
I told Mang Florante that we were arriving at 6:00 AM. Failed estimated time of arrival.
Talked for a short while with Mang Florante. He told us that everything was all set. The food for our lunch is cooked, the boat and the boatman was waiting for us. With our go signal we should be able to start our adventure.
So the group got their stuff ready and change clothes for the island hopping trip.
8:15 AM Start of Island & Cove Hopping.
First stop would be at Capones Island.
The plan was to stop first at the middle of Capones Island and leave our bags there while our cook will guard our bags. We’ll be riding the bangka near the lighthouse of Capones Island and we’ll be visiting the lighthouse and trekking back to the where we left our stuff and the bangka will be there too.
8:54 AM Before we got out of the boat we reminded everyone to bring water as the walk to the lighthouse and where we left our bags does not have much cover and the sun was really hot!
I’ll stop writing now and show pictures of our trek around Capones Island.
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9:57 AM Start of our trek back to where we left our stuff.
And we left one of my favorite islands for trekking around.
10:42 AM Rode our bangka again going to Camara Island.
11:05 AM Arrived at Camara Island.
We just took a short dip on the waters of Camara Island because it was rocky. Then we moved to Anawangin Cove.
11:30 AM Rode boat to Anawangin Cove.
12:16 PM Arrival at Anawangin Cove
After lunch, we again took a dip at the waters of Anawangin Cove.
2:30 PM (Approximation) Rode the boat again to Nagsasa Cove
3:10 PM (Approximation) Arrived at Nagsasa Cove.
When we arrived, our first priority was to setup the tent so that we could have continuous rest. The boatman asked if we could setup the tent, I told them that we could so they asked if they could leave us and I said yes. There are 3 reasons why I refused the help of the boatman to setup the tent.
- I know how to build the tent.
- I enjoy building stuff.
- I wanted to share the enjoyment with the people that I am with.
Part of the joy of camping is building the tent that will be your temporary shelter. And even if the others do not help me, at least I get to have all the fun.
As it turns out that the tents that were given to us could not accommodate all 7 of us. Luckily, we brought an extra tent from the house just to be sure. And unfortunately, the tents that were given to us had defects.
For the poles, I’ve asked Ate Minda, our cook, if she has a plastic straw with her. She said that she will look for some and came back with enough for us to use. So we wrapped the fraying poles to add support and on one of the poles we’ve added a peg for added support.
Also since the tents didn’t have a flysheet it would have been bad if it rained. Luckily, we brought something to cover the tents in case it rained, but it didn’t rain so we used it as cover for the soil and layed down on it.
After fixing the tents, we decided to just relax, sleep (because we all were lacking in sleep), enjoy the place and just forget about the defectiveness of the tents. Personally, I didn’t want the thought of it to destroy the remaining part of our trip.
So after a quick nap, we all were back in the water.
In my pursuit for a good and private place to empty my bladder due to the fact that the Comfort Room (CR) had a long line of people waiting to get something out of them, I went walking to the trails going to the back of the camping area. As I feared, the bad effects of tourism was still there. They were collecting PET Bottles, empty canned goods and empty butane canisters to sell at the local junk shop, which is actually really good. Unfortunately, the other trash, they were burning it including plastics and papers.
As a rule of thumb, whenever I travel, especially during camp outs, we would collect our trash and bring it back to our home or to at least a city or municipality where we know they would have regular garbage collections. Even the things that we bought there, we still brought it back home.
I know it’s a hassle to bring it back home. But would you rather have the place be destoyed by your timidity?
Yup! We paid for the entrance fee. But that doesn’t mean that we should not help them with the trash.
But now that I think about it, what happens to the trash when the garbage trucks collects them? Do they properly throw them? What is the proper procedure for throwing our garbage? Is what we think proper waste disposal really proper?
In my opinion, the answer is we should lessen the creation of our trash. The less trash we create the better it is for the environment and everyone today and the future everyone.
Pancit Canton and Halo-Halo
After a quick dip at beach waters of Nagsasa Cove, I’ve decided to go up early and avoid the long lines of people waiting to take the shower. And after that I had nothing to do thus making the idea of us buying Pancit Canton from the store in Nagsasa Cove. A pack of Pancit Canton costs 20 Pesos!!! Yes, it’s 3 times as high as its SRP but then it’s hard to get there.
So I bought 5 pieces of Pancit Canton and cooked them. I bought along a portable stove and cookset with me. So we had the joy of helping out each other prepare the Pancit Canton and ate it.
But the fact that it was summer and it was really hot was still a fact. We looked to the other fence and saw that they were selling halo-halo. So we went to the other side of the fence and bought one for each of us for 35 Pesos/glass. At least this one, we can compare the price with Razon’s Halo-Halo which is 95 Pesos/glass. It was a good thing that the halo-halo was really good as it had lots of ube! But then again we might just be hungry and dehydrated.
6:00 PM (Approximation) Still filled with the pancit canton and halo-halo, Ate Minda approached us with pots of rice, pinakbet and adobong manok. Since we were still not hungry we decided to eat it later around 7PM.
There wasn’t really any bonfire. Though the boatmen told us that they could provide it we refused again the offer for the following reasons.
- We didn’t really need heat to raise our body temperature.
- We didn’t need heat to cook for food.
- Burning wood on a summer that dries leaves on an area with lots of trees is not really a good idea. Good formula for forest fire.
- Bonfire while stargazing is not a good idea.
So we all went stargazing with some of us creating our own constellation saying “If previous astronomers could create their own constellation, why can’t we (to practice our creativity)?”
I saw many bonfires along the shore but people were not gathered around them. Most likely because the air was already hot.
The Next Morning
5:30 AM Woke up and just sat down on the beach.
6:00 AM Everyone was awake and we all walked and gathered to the beach where there were no people or tents for reflection.
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7:00 AM Ate Minda brought us breakfast of hotdog, eggs, sinangag and daing. My kind of breakfast!
Then we explored more of Nagsasa Cove.
Unfortunately, we weren’t able to see Nagsasa Cove from a higher vantage. At least a good reason to go back.
9:30 AM We started to break camp.
10:14 AM We boarded our boat going back to the Town Proper of Pundaquit.
11:27 AM Arrived at Town Proper of Pundaquit.
Settled our payment with Mang Florante and gave him feedback on what we experienced. He thanked us for giving him feedback and he said that he will use it to improve their services.
12:11 PM Left Pundaquit to Subic.
1:30 PM Late lunch at Chowking Subic. (Motive is their halo-halo).
Did some shopping for pasalubong at PureGold Duty Free.
5:44 PM Arrived back at Tiendesitas.
Rode a taxi going home.
Arrived at home.
Threw our trash from the trip.
Mang Florante Contact Number: 0917-739-1949
Note: I’ll be updating this post slowly to fill out many details.