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This blog is an amateur photographer's attempt to show how beautiful the world really is. He is drawn to the colors of nature like a moth to a candle light. What are showcased here are nature's grand display of colors at sunrise and sunset, beautiful beaches and off-the-beaten track locations in his beloved Philippines, waterfalls and some of nature's great sculptures, architectural gems, and other views from around SE Asia that he was fortunate to see at one point.

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May 6, 2009

nagsasa cove: zambales' hidden gem, for now

The loud chugging sound of the outrigger boat's engine reverberates in my head. I tried to tune it out by watching the bioluminescent phytoplankton lit up like Christmas lights as boat's hull cut through the dark sea. It's 4 in the morning and we are en route to Nagsasa, one of the coves along Zambales' rugged coast in western Luzon. I could barely make out the silhouettes of the huge cliffs as we traced the coast going south from Pundaquit.

The plan to visit Nagsasa was not until the end of May but circumstances beyond my control forced me to reschedule. My friends willingly joined me, "anywhere but here in rainy Manila" was everybody's sentiment.

Nagsasa Cove: Sunrise over the Mountains
sunrise at the back of the cove

We arrived there just in time for sunrise. From Pundaquit its just a 40 minute boat ride passing the coves of Anawangin and Talisayin. Anawangin is not what it used to be - its now too crowded.

There is a camp site on the northern end of the beach (and yes with a well maintained bathroom and CR). Our group was met by Mang Ador, the friendly caretaker of the place. There were only a couple of tents there that morning. I couldn't help but smile when I imagine the "tent city" in Anawangin.

Wildflowers, Rocks, Sea
Nagsasa beach

After setting up our tents and preparing breakfast, I began exploring the place as the rest of the group caught up with their sleep. I can see that its similar to Anawangin, but everything is bigger and wider, and more scenic.

The Wild Horse Creek at the back of the cove looked like its in the Alaskan wilderness.

Wild Horse Creek
wide open spaces

Pine trees lined the river and dot the mountain sides. The local Aetas said that the pine trees began appearing after the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in 1991.

untouched shores

I found myself a quiet spot under one of the pine trees and wondered how long this place can stay as it is.

Slanted Pine
picturesque Nagsasa river

By midday we began exploring the beach. The sand is greyish white with patches of black sand.

Long Bangka
Nagsasa bangka

According to the locals, the shoreline was near the mountains before Mt. Pinatubo erupted. After the eruption, tons and tons of volcanic sand were deposited here, making the flat beach that is there today.

Watch Men (Flickr colors)
long stretch of beach

The emerald green waters of the cove will most probably catch your attention once you explore the beach. I could not believe how perfect the weather was that day.

Nagsasa's Crystal Cove
perfect for a midday dip

I am still dazed by the sights I saw there in Nagsasa. I feel lucky to enjoy the place before the hordes of tourists come to this place. I feel sad too, knowing this place will someday go the way of Anawangin. Some folks in other forums already half jokingly remarked that I should share the blame once it happens.

The water pump is about 150 meters from the back of the camp site. But the caretakers make sure there is always water in the bath and CR areas. You may camp on the southern end of the beach in the Aeta community, but potable water is difficult. They are quite friendly, they showed us a trail going to a beautiful cascade (story later). You may buy fresh catch if you go to the village early.

View more recent Nagsasa posts here.
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atto aryo said...

wow! para nga syang scenery from somewhere foreign. ganda!

Rawr Prince said...


astig mga pics.


escape said...

another match of really nice place and a really good photographer. cant believe it's that beautiful. it looks like anawangin three years ago.

lagal[og] said...

lovely spot nga bai. i can imagine anawangin before the crowds came and spoiled the place. antayin ko yung next post mo.

Kate said...

hi sir, definitely beautiful (the place and the photos). and yes, you may very well share the blame once it gets crowded with tourists. already included in my must-go places hehe. i'm from zambales, btw, and this is the first time i've heard about it haha. kaya sa taga-zambales ko na lang muna ishe-share ito hehe. most of my friends back home don't even know where anawangin is until it got featured in TV.

:) kate

Anonymous said...

nice post sir.. i hope this place wont't be like anawangin that has become crowded. i've been to anawangin lst year and it wasn't that crowded yet but reading through some comment and from photos over multiply yeah it has become a tent city.. i think the government and the locals should do some sort of control over visiting places like anawangin to preserve its beauty.. i think it's not too late yet to do that.. :)this way we can avoid abusing natures beauty..

Kate said...

hi sir jessforget, I wonder what kind of control you could suggest? I've always wanted to do something, but I hate the local politics. Besides, I live a couple of towns away from San Antonio.


Lantaw said...

kate, jess, I had this discussion before with some friends when Anawangin was still not that popular. How can we preserve it? Very difficult issue. I believe the coves have private owners and there is little the local government can do if the owners will not cooperate.

What is happening now is that they are actively promoting the place as a tourist destination, what wanted MORE people to come.

There are places like the ones in Puerto Princesa where there are lot of visitors yet they are able to maintain site.

So I think its up to US "tourists" to do our part in making sure the place stays beautiful and pristine for the others to enjoy

Lantaw said...

kate, you are so lucky to be from Zambales. Your province is full of beautiful nooks :)

Lantaw said...

oggie, what is happening now is like plundering the cove then moving on to the next. There is another cove not as popular as Anawangin. Hmm maybe I should go there next?

Lantaw said...

r-yo, thanks! parang nasa Alaska ka :)

Rawr Prince, thanks! try mo mag visit din dun

Lantaw said...

dom, Oo bai, looks like Anawangin but bigger (and better?)

escape said...

definitely better as your photos shows. kaya lang papasok na mga bagyo. hirap na pumunta dyan.

dodong flores 도동 플로오리스 said...

OMG! Gorgeous photos!!!

Lantaw said...

Dom, Oo nga, sana the weather clears up soon. I want to go back there :)

Dodong, Thanks bai!

Anonymous said...

@thortz: hmmm.. suggestion? As lantaw said it’s a very difficult issue specially that these places are owned by private individuals. There is little that the government can do. Private owners have more power to do something to preserve the beauty of these coves. If private resort owners in Puerto princesa where able to preserve natures beauty in palawan then they can do the same thing, it’s just their willingness. Talk about responsibility, this is what us, tourist, can share to preserve these wonderful beauties of nature.

Ferdz said...

Zambales is really surprising lately. Daming magagandang coves. I've heard about this and the farther Silangin din but never had the chance to visit them.

Pero ang gaganda ng captures, I especially like the first one. I'm sure it will draw some people now with this enticing pics (now your fault. hehe :P) pero ok lang yun kasi one way or another people will find out.

Lantaw said...

Ferdz, its inevitable nga bai, we are just lucky to see the place in its pristine state. so much more to explore there, i want to go back there soon to explore the mountains at the back of the cove.

Photo Cache said...

huwaw ang ganda ganda naman jan. parang paraiso.

joann said...

beautiful place + great photographer = amazing scene

hi! i admire your photography skills, how long have u been doing this? wish i could be as good as you.

kaka-inspire yung pag-appreciate mo sa nature. keep on sharing your experiences & great photos.

bw said...

first time here. Great photoblog. Pics are vivid and pretty. Very clear gid kaayo :)

Lantaw said...

Photo Cache, paraiso pa for now bro :), soon it will be crowded as well

joann, thank you for those kind words. have been doing this for about 2 years now :)

bw, thanks for dropping by. come back for more soon :)

Sidney said...

Wow... beautiful... picture 3,4,5 look almost like Canada ! ;-)

But all your images are showing us stunning views... I wonder why I decided to live in Manila :-(

Kate said...

I still think that the local government can do something... Maybe an incentive, some sort of a policy, or focus, or capitalizing on tourism for local development... those stuff. But for such things, political will is needed.

And yes, I'm lucky to be from Zambales, but it's ironic that I learn about these beautiful places from visitors/tourists/people visiting from another place. ;)

I'll surely be waiting for more of your posts. :)

Lantaw said...

Sidney, me too Sidney! I wonder I am in Manila. Oh well one has to make a living hehehe.

Lantaw said...

thortz, yup political will I believe is needed. But in Nagsasa's case, its misplaced. Its the same political will that has driven some of the Aetas out of Nagsasa to make way for "progress" in the form of Taiwanese operated fish pens. Good thing some of the folks there stood their ground.

SandyCarlson said...

Your photos lead me to believe I can reach through the computer and touch this marvelous world.

Guy D said...

All these photos are absolutely incredible, wow.

Have a great week
Regina In Pictures

Unknown said...

Boy we live in different landscapes! Stunning scenery and pictures, a great place to camp out no doubt.

Marites said...

ganda talaga ng Pinas! I really hope this will remain untouched for the next generations.

Jenn said...

Yes, I guess you should share the blame, but thanks for sharing! It is indeed a great place, similar yet different from Anawangin. Will definitely find myself there sooner or later.

erin said...

amazing captures...and so many of your captures captivated me. love the sunrise...the shores and more.
as always enjoy your blog :)

Sylvia K said...

Incredible shots as always! What a gorgeous place! Hope it stays just like it is -- untouched! Thanks for sharing, have a great week!

Arija said...

A superb place with the riverand sea, trees and mountains. Nature is so wonderful to combine such beauty.

Lantaw said...

Thank you all for your comments!

tin said...

hi..im staying in zambales for a long tym..but i havent discovered nagsasa beach...my sister and I are fond of discovering some beautiful places..i want to visit the place...

if you dont mind how could i go there..using private car,...is there a place where we cud stay for over night?

hope to here form u soon...

elitesmile@hotmail.com..this is my ead,,..pls email me for the direction...pls?

Btte said...

Hi. How does one get to Nagsasa?

Stella S. - stellapsison@gmail.com

Btte said...

Hi. How does one get to Nagsasa?

benj said...

Hi Lantaw,

Aling Luding (one of the caretakers in Nagsasa) told me that they planted the trees themselves. Halata naman na man-made yung pine forest. Tuwid na tuwid eh! :P

Lantaw said...

Yes you are right benj, they planted the pine trees ... on the camp sites and those in their settlement. They got the seedlings from the the ones in the backwoods and on the mountain sides, those were the ones that appeared after the eruption. There were no pine trees on the cove before that

Anonymous said...

are you hearing yourself greedy when you said "I feel sad too, knowing this place will someday go the way of Anawangin"... those gift of nature are meant for everybody and not for outdoor people only... as long as tourist are disciplined enough to keep the place clean places like these will always be a treasure...

Lantaw said...

@anonymous, it is "greedy" to feel sad about how the place might turn up someday? did I say that the place is just for outdoor folks?

"as long as tourist are disciplined enough to keep the place clean", - the sad part is that there are many who don't care about keeping the place clean

Anonymous said...

As I was informed by Chieftain (head of the natives in Nagsasa) that the pine trees there was formed after the Mt. Pinatubo eruption. They did not plant it themselves, well that's what the Chieftain said. Anyway, regardless of how it was formed, the place is really nice. Been there last month and will definitely go there again this month. And it's really true, sad to say that a beautiful place like Nagsasa would soon be destroyed by fellow campers who DOESN'T know how to take care of nature. Anawangin used to be like Nagsasa, and I heard it was even better than Nagsasa, but look at Anawangin NOW, tsktsk. Very simple thing, CIGARETTE BUTT!!! PLEASE do dispose of it properly!!! That's why I HATE SMOKERS. Because most of them juz throw their cigarette butts ANYWHERE they want to. BE RESPONSIBLE naman. Second thing is I hope that campers there would juz bring their own trash bag and throw your trash properly. Chieftain already said that they would be the one to tkae care of the trash, juz throw them properly. Third, enjoy it while you can. Believe me, a year or two from now, this place will NEVER be the same again. I hate to say it but that's true. Not unless peeps who will go there will be responsible enough to take good care of the place. That's why we'll go there again this month, who knows, it might not be as beautiful and as quiet as it it again.

Anonymous said...

been to anawangin... we should have went to nagsasa instead. Anawangin is just too crowded and the toilets were poorly maintained. Let's be responsible guys.

Anonymous said...

oh and btw, yes the pine trees were not planted. It was formed after the Pinatubo eruption.

Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

napakaganda po ang tanawin na yan,papaano po ba ang paunta dyan

Unknown said...

very interesting! thanks for sharing. is there a way to drive to the cove, is there a road nearby? how? hope the place won't be degraded by careless people. We still would want this place to be enjoyed by future generations.

Lantaw said...

@raikon, two ways to get there: boat from pundakit in san antonio or trek from brgy cawag in subic. The trek option involves some mountain climbing

Anonymous said...

been to anawangin and nagsasa cove last month.. and yeah,, crowded na masyado ang anawangin.. i didn't enjoy my stay there.. that's why we opt to go at nagsasa. Di kme nagkamali.. Nagsasa Cove is the best place na napuntahan ko so far.. its like paradise.. astig.. nakapag hiking kme going to falls at the back of the cove and it takes 2 hrs for us to go there.. tiring! but it's all worth it:)

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting this.. I would like to go there.. Nice photos..

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