This is my second visit to the cove (this year) in a span of just a few weeks. The trip was almost canceled due to the tsunami warning on the Philippine's eastern side a few hours after the Japan earthquake.
We decided the trip as a "go" after the dreaded tsunami forecast schedule passed without any incident and the warning lifted. The cove is on Luzon's western side so we figured we are pretty much away from the danger.
The 1 hour boat ride was pleasantly uneventful. It was still dark when we went out to sea. My friends Ferdz of Ironwulf and Oggie of lagalog, visiting Nagsasa cove for the first time, enjoyed the neon glow of bio luminescent planktons as our boat cuts through the pitch black sea. I tried to get some sleep but was awakened by a spray of salty water. After about an hour of calm sea, we are now entering the cove and heading into the wind, with good sized waves coming towards us. This is how Nagsasa welcome early visitors: a morning shower.
We were just in time for sunrise. We went around after setting our stuff in Mang Ador's campsite in the north end of the beach. The south side, the sleepy part of the cove I described here before, is now a packed tent city during the weekends. Some of the locals have sold their rights to their land to some enterprising folks who in turn have started "developing" the place. Concrete structures are becoming common. A loud karaoke nearby blasted Europe's "The Final Countdown" while we were trying to shoot. Quite a fitting soundtrack considering whats happening to the place.
Something's never changed though. The beach was as beautiful as I can remember it. Mang Ador's campsite is kept clean and free of "developments". There you can make yourself comfortable in a hammock and listed to the rustling of the pine needles.
By sundown the beach front is alive with activities - locals tending their nets and campers going around for an sunset stroll.
Everything settled down as twilight falls. We had great conversations over a simple meal that evening. We tucked in early, anticipating the sunrise the next day. On the other side of the cove, the drinking sessions are just starting.
I woke up early the next morning. I slept soundly but the cold early morning wind (I slept on a hammock) jump-started my day. After a cup of coffee, its off to the back of the campsite for the sunrise.
After breakfast we had a chance to hike to the mountains at the back of the falls, looking for some waterfalls to shoot.
Along the way we passed through a burnt landscape - a product of hunters trying to flush out their game. They start a small fire which can sometimes get out of control. In this case it did and turned a whole mountain brown.
We reached the supposedly beautiful waterfalls after more than 1 hour of hiking under a searing sun. But it was dry was there was not even a trickle. The upside was the catch basin is still filled with crystal clear cold water. Not just cool, but cold. Freezing cold. It was weird taking a dip in cold water in the middle of a hot summer day.
A lot of changes is happening to the cove. The land is constantly "reconfiguring" itself. The fire that has burned the backwoods will trigger fresh growth and nature will heal itself. Fire has always been nature's cleanser.
The busy campsite at the south side is another matter. Soon there will be more generators, and with it more karaoke machines. Soon Nagsasa will be just another Anawangin.