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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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March 6, 2014

nagsasa cove: perfect summer camping destination

Fresh Octopus, anyone?

Summer approaches and soon most of us will be heading to our favorite beaches and camp sites. Everyone has their own favorite spots, for me its got to be Nagsasa cove in Zambales. Want to know whats in store for you in Nagsasa? Then read on...

Nagsasa is as pristine as a location can get. Its practically off the grid - no electricity and cellphone signal and reachable only via a 45-minute boat ride or a 6 hour hike over a beautiful mountain range, yet not impossibly difficult to reach.

mang ador's campsite

Nagsasa Mang Ador's campsite
Mang Ador's campsite

Over the years campsites have mushroomed along the shores of Nagsasa, but at the moment its still relative uncrowded compared to Anawangin, one of its "sister-coves". The southern end of the cove used to be a sleepy Aeta settlement, now its one of the more established campsites - complete with sari-sari stores, concrete washrooms, and generator sets [to the delight of folks looking for a night time beach party].

Nagsasa Children
uncrowded northern end

I have been going to Nagsasa for years, and sometimes more than once a year, and my trip usually starts with catching the sunrise. There is a bus trip that leaves Manila at midnight [Victory Liner bus in Caloocan station - leaves between 11pm-12midnight] and you can be in San Antonio by 4am. From San Antonio there is no shortage of tricycles bound for Pundakit [your jumpoff point for the bangka ride] even in the wee hours of the morning. Folks there have gotten used to the arrival of weekend campers who usually leaves Manila on a Friday evening after work. You just have to make sure your boat man is aware of your ETA [ you can never go wrong with Vic Perges +63-929-717-0739, by the time I get to Pundakit, Vic usually have most of stuff you need: drinking water, cooler full of ice, cooking pots, etc]

catching the first rays

The 45-minute boat ride is usually uneventful. But on moonless nights, you'll be treated to a surreal light show as thousands of phytoplanktons lit up when the boat cuts through the water. If you time your departure just right, you'll be in the cove sipping your first cup of java while watching the first rays of the day.

Nagsasa Twilight Reflections
first day sunrise from a recent trip

If you can manage to wake up early again the next day, you may get lucky with another light show.

Nagsasa Twilight Curves
sunrise on our second day

ok we're here...

Boatmen will usually suggest where to camp for various reasons including how much tip the campsite owner gives them for every camper they bring in. I usually just stick to the one at the northern end with 'inferior' facilities, while most head to the tent cities at the other end. So we usually end up the only group staying at Mang Ador's.

Nagsasa BW morning

what's there to see and do in nagsasa?

We'll the rest of the day would be perfect time to do nothing. Find some sturdy pine trees, hang your hammock, and snooze away.

Nagsasa Morning Walk

Nagsasa Cove Morning
morning stroll

Nagsasa Cove Backwoods

If you got so much energy in you, you can check out the waterfalls at the southern end [there is another one about 2 hours hike away but not worth it as its usually dry], explore the backwoods, climb the nearby hills, or work on your tan, and yes, take a dip in the crystal clear waters of Nagsasa  [check out my previous posts]

Nagsasa Twilight Boat

The cove has a good view of the west, so if the weather is great you'll enjoy a nice sunset as well.

Nagsasa Bonfire

In the evening, light up a nice bonfire, open a wine bottle or two, and share spooky campfire stories. If the sky is clear you'll be dazzled with a million stars, thanks to virtually no light and atmospheric pollution.

the morning after

camping options

If you prefer the "party" side of the cove, there plenty of campsites to choose from on the other side.

Nagsasa Campsites

Nagsasa Campsites

Nagsasa Jose and Yolly campsite
Yolly's campsite

One particular campsite - Aling Yolly's, have come a long way since I first saw visited the cove. She now has a generator and was able to put up a row of wash rooms at the back of her area. [Though I visit her every time I'm in Nagsasa, she probably know me well enough not to insist I stay at her place. I always prefer somewhere with lesser crowds]

support the nagsasa locals

A weekend is probably not enough to enjoy every nook of Nagsasa. Heck I've been going there for years yet every summer I always find some excuse to go back there. And that's a good thing - you get to recharge over the weekend and help the local tourism in the process. And yes, you can now buy key chains and ref magnets in Nagsasa - hidden gem no more.

Nagsasa Souvenirs
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Pere Ferrer said...

En primer lugar suerte en los Bloscars de Viajes de Skyscanner
Soy un gran amante de los camping y veo que este sitio esta por descubrir

Lantaw said...


alik said...

very helpful blog

Daniel said...

oh my god. Extraordinary post. thank's for tips & sharing. Its always great to find good honest practical content. Your picture is so beautiful. Thank you so much.

Lantaw said...

Thanks Daniel

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