In this age of information overload , where a normal connected person has to digest around 12 hours of information and media everyday its boon to be able to spend a day or two disconnected . Away from the internet , away from the friendly call , and distant from the Instagram feed of the hundred of people we follow religiously.
What if i tell you ,there are such places in the Philippines, very near to Manila, where you can vanish from the radar of the telecom companies. Where you and nature become one.Where you will spend quality time with your friends, you will talk, laugh and feel the warmth. Where emotions are not emoticons .
The place is the island of Awanangin cove one of secluded and isolated islands of Pundaquit, in San Antionio, Zambales.
Anawangin covered with a small forest Agoho trees and beach softened by the volcanic ash beach of the Pinatubo eruption in 90's, and guarded by the small hills at the back ,makes itself irresistible. A place seems so perfect kinda a masterstroke by nature to soothe the worried souls .
With no electricity,the Island itself has basic necessity -just a small sari sari shot , few small huts, open barbecue stands , and lots of woods to make bonfire and plenty of you time.
Ananwangin was my first camping trip, before that I had no idea of sleeping in tents and was equally alarmed with the news that there is no cell phone reception in that area, or that the boatmen will drop us for the day and come only the next day on a scheduled pickup time.My husband being a seasoned camper pacified me.The Philippines is one of the safest place to camp. There is a mutual trust between the locals and the campers which is proven by the peaks and beaches which are filled with campers daily.
So one fine Friday evening we packed up the essentials and we took the 12 am victory liner bus to Pundaquit , Zambalese. The bus ride was really comfortable and we slept all along till we were woken up at 6am when the bus reach the mini stop outside the Pundaquit market .We walked near the fishermen village and asked for the boatmen .The rates to Ananwangin is nearly fixed with 1500 pesos. The boatman brought us a jar of water and ice for our one night stay .As I hurriedly checked my social networking updates and called my parents to inform me being unreachable for a day, Deb had a quiet a laugh on me .
So here were we two of us in the boat with bare essentials, going to spend a day just with one another without distractions , scandalous in today's world .The travel time to Ananwangin by boat was of around 45 minutes with the Banka cruising across the sea .
Hailing from a landlocked state in India ,its amazing how staying while in the Philippines the banka made a essential part of all my travels -Islands hopping, diving , snorkeling, staying at your favorite resort in secluded island ,all involved a small banka ride .
After thirty minutes or so we could see the horizon of the Anawangin and its beauty amazed me. Beyond the creek there is the camping spot shaded by the trees.We picked a suitable spot after paying the 100 pesos entry fee to the fishermen managing the place ,while our boatmen helped us unloading our stuffs .The less the stuff you have during camping the more happy and relaxed you are .After setting up the tent and putting our stuff inside,we decided to take a stroll around the island and have a feel of the place.We were not alone in this escapade and saw few more camps around the place.There is a small stream crossing the island and merging into the warm west Philippines sea .
We came back to the camp had a quick swim and relaxed with a cup of coffee. This was my first time cooking outside and i felt i was in my school picnic trip.The camping butane stove cooks really fast and our lunch was ready in no time.The afternoon was little hot unlike the air-con rooms we are used to in manila.But soon the wind started to blow from the sea towards the island and we were literally swept away by the cold breeze.The walk along the beach was blissfull, while deb remained engaged in his habit of picking up sea shells of specific sizes for our place back in manila.
The evening was spent talking , sipping coffee , splashing our feet in the water and watching the small fishes reaching their destiny in the confluence of the river with the sea .
As it grew darker , we prepared lights in our campsite and applied the most prized possession the mosquito repellent .Soon we got acquainted with the fellow campers nearby and joined their bonfire.The night was beautiful with a clear sky with no interference of any lights as we laid down on the sand looking at the stars and listening to our favorite music .
The next day morning we took our snorkels and started searching for some nice marine life nearby and after a good cool swim came back to the camping area whilst the other campers decided to hike the nearby hills.We relaxed back having coffee and me finishing of my book.
Around 2pm our boatman came as per instruction and we left the beautiful beach with a promise return to unwind .
As we reached the shores of Pundauit , we discussed how difficult it is becoming to remain disconnected with all the things in life which matters so less. With no hurry to switch on our cell phones we had lunch in the nearby resort while waiting for the bus to Manila .It wasn't even 8 pm ,we were back to our home and the again the natural beauty of pristine Anawangin beach became a distant dream we had just a few hours ago .
How to get there
Public transport :
From Manila, take a Victory Liner bus bound to Iba, Zambales, and get off at San Antonio Public Market. You might also take may a bus to Olongapo City, and then board another bus to San Antonio.
Take a tricycle to Pundaquit .In Pundaquit, rent a boat to Anawangin.
Own Vehicle :
The road to Pundaquit is really smooth , and takes little more than 3 hours if you travel by personal vehicle. You can park the car in Pundaquit in one of the resorts. Follow ways or Google maps and if you will be find the place .
And if you don't want to cross the sea, just camp in the Pundaquit beach with all the facilities nearby .