Thursday, May 31, 2007


that's the usual reaction whenever i mention that i want to go to Anawangin or we're going to anawangin or we've been to anawangin. and you may ask, where on earth is anawangin? :)

anawangin is the name of a place in san antonio, zambales. it is a cove behind the mountain and can be reached either on a three hour hike along the mountain (you need a guide for this) or thru a 30 minute bumpy (very bumpy) boat ride from brgy. pundaquit. the place is not known to regular tourists, but to the mountaineering community, it's quite popular as it has mountain/s to climb, a hiking/trekking trail and a very ideal campsite under the gently swinging pine trees along the beach.

here's a rundown of our anawangin weekend:

- email, email, email, confirmations, hesitations (it's raining!!), hesitations (where are the tents?), hesitations, email, and more email.
- text, text, text
- after office, it's a go!!!! yes!
- got two tents from jenny (first time to see and meet her, she's the sister of an officemate of a friend, she's a mountaineer btw)
- off to glorietta, have dinner with lyn (she wasn't able to join, they'll have a despedida party for a dear friend who's leaving for dubai sunday).
- went home, naipit sa traffic
- traffic pa rin
- finally reached my house at 11 pm
- cook adobo and last minute checking of things to bring


- woke up at 3 am

- by 3:30 am, i am already outside the subdivision waiting for a tricycle

- by 3:35 am, still there's no tricycle or any sign of a tricycle

- by 3:40 am, finally there's one and dig this: backride ako with a huge backpack, two tents in one hand while the other's holding for my life. (labas pa lang ng subdivision, adventure na!)

- didn't wait long for a bus and in 20 minutes, i am already in Baclaran (at daytime, 20 minutes in cavite can only mean four kilometers of slow paced bus travel)

- 10 minutes after, i am already in Victory Liner terminal in Pasay.

- Patrick is already there, and also Liza and Allen, then after 10 more minutes (and two oreos), there came Mau and hubby Mark, Julie, Neris and Yuyu

- got our tickets (P224.00 Pasay to San Antonio), and by 5:38 am, our Iba, Zambales-bound bus is now running (and picking up passengers along EDSA).

- Spiderman 3 is being shown (this is going to be the third time i'll see this film kaya tinulugan ko na lang)

- stopover at double happiness (they have an ultrasoft puto and a very tasty lugaw and dinuguan), but we just ate there our two dozens of krispy kreme doughnut hehe (there are a lot of military men in the area, i don't know why)

- sleep, spiderman 3, sleep, pass by subic, sleep, and by 11 am, the bus conductor asked us to get down as it's san antonio already. wow.

first stop is the public market. get our provisions for lunch, dinner, breakfast, lunch, meryenda and more meryenda. got our drinking water and other things. we let mark, julie and neris do the job while the rest of us are making friends with the tricycle drivers who'll bring us to Brgy. Pundaquit, the jump off point for anawangin (and also capones island and camara island). after 20 minutes of laughing and talking, our 20 minute tricycle ride to pundaquit begins.

in no time, we're already haggling for a cheaper boatride but no succes here hehehe, seems they have a standard price of P200 per head (two-way), or P800 per boat (max of 4 pax), we're also offered a bigger boat that can accomodate 15 persons, but the P2400 tag price is just too much. they do the haggling, while i do this these things:

that's capones and camara islands (we'll go there in the future)
the boat ride was approximately 30 minutes, and the ride's not for the faint hearted. there are big waves and there are bigger waves!! the view is very nice, similar to batangas' ruggedness and after a few turns and passing some rocky islets, anawangin is now waving to us.

we cannot dock on (wow barko? hehe) or even come near the cove as the waves are so strong (that morning, me MGA tumaob daw na bangka) so we let our boatmen decide for us because they're the expert on these things. after circling the area, they drop us on the other cove, literally one mountain of rocks from anawangin. and to get to anawangin, we have to climb that mountain and doing that is partly what we came here for. hehehe.

but since it's starting to rain, we have to secure our belongings and pitching our tent is the only option available. and so pitch it! we also cooked our lunch there and doing that in the middle of the rain is a challenge in itself but the boy scout/girl scout in us prevailed! our adventure that afternoon is a combination of Survivor and Lost (and a bit of the blair witch project hehe).

the rain and the wind made the waves bigger (pero ako itong pasaway, nagswimming pa rin hehe, ano nga muntik nang mawala yung goggles). we had fun eating our lunch under a make shift roof and when the rain had stopped, it's time to explore the place (including the initial climb towards anawangin). and guess who'll do the exploration, ME! of course, i won't do it alone, julie, liza and allen agreed to go with me, in fact, iniwanan nila ako. hahaha.

i run-walk to catch up with them but they're way ahead and already on the other side of the mountain, i climbed all by myself and midway to my climb, here's the view of where i came from:

and this is on top (left side)

still on top (front)

and this is where we are going (right side), see those waves? some says that after a storm, this area is very much ideal for surfing!

i am not sure if i sprinted or maybe they're just waiting for me, but i was able to catch them just before they can jump on that sandbar. we snooped around the area and found out there are a lot of campers here and there's a water pump and a cr specially made for overnight campers like us. this is definitely better than the other cove. we didn't waste time and climb again the mountain and tell the others that we need to transfer there.
NEXT: the transfer and the sunset:

Monday, May 28, 2007

weekend in anawangin

despite last minute changes and the rain, we went ahead.

another weekend, another adventure. i'll blog the details later, for the meantime, a glimpse of anawangin, in san antonio, zambales.

on a high (not the summit but the view's spectacular)
the sea and the swamp (with sand and pine trees in between)
be still

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

THE CAVE (Sagada to the max)

when you think of a cave, you'll think of darkness, stones, bats, cold dripping water and batman.

the sagada caves have those except for, well, batman.

before the cave adventure, we went to another burial cave and get a glimpse of coffins (this time not hanging) stacked like logs. unlike the hanging coffins, the feel of this cave is different, we talked in hushes and there's something eerie on the calmness and/or quietness of this place. and for the first time, i didn't dare going farther or nearer the main entrance (but some korean adventurers did because according to our guide, they will do the big cave connection, apparently, this cave and the sumaguing cave are connected and it will take them about four hours to navigate, i think it's cool but you need to be an experienced one to do this, so wala akong lugar dyan hehe).

as there's really nothing to do there except staring at the coffins, we excitedly rode on top of the jeep for the most exciting part of the tour: Sumaguing cave. on our way to the cave, while on top of the running jeep, i got these pics with one hand holding the rails for my dear life and the other shooting (i am crazy i know).

while sitting at the entrance of the cave, we felt how cold it is inside and our hearts are starting to pound harder with excitement as our guides briefed us on what to expect inside. according to them, what we are sitting on were man-made (obvious naman, semento kaya eto hehe) but inside, everything is natural, walang daya, so prepared to be awed, just don't open your mouth too wide as not everything's dripping inside is water, dyumi-jingle din po ang mga paniki hehehe.

since all the lamps are already lighted, here we go!

who's afraid of the dark?

it's big, it's deep, it's slippery!

it's approximately 1 km deep, tired already?

how wonderful and amazing caves can be?

to get around, you need to jump to and from some wet and slippery edges.
hold the stone walls, dip in the icy cold water

sit-walk on your butt (and feel that cold stone with running water)

and watch your steps (and that edges, too. falling into whoknows how deep is discuraged inside)

you also need to step on the guide to get down this wet curtain like rock formation

and have this picture taken :)

and be mesmerized by this

or this (another angle)
fruit salad (see the banana?) with water terraces

whew! got a flashback of how suspenseful, action-packed, cold, dark, slippery, tiring, exciting, dirty and how happy the group was after that. some conquered their fears, some overdid their own expectations, at ako, i want to do it again!!! the last few parts are also the most important and the most exciting, if the guide asked you if you still want to go on, say yes and and you'll be awarded with this wonderful feeling of having done something difficult and yet, you made it. it was the part when you need to pass a small and very low hole and then be greeted by an amazing rock formations and natural pools, and then "walk" on the wall by holding a rope, embrace a huge rock before submerging yourself in a chest-deep freakingly cold water, walk thru it and then more water hahaha. ang saya! when we reached the point where we're almost done, having pulled ourselves up, applauding ourselves for a job well done is like the most fulfilling thing we ever did to ourselves hahaha.

we also tried to convince other people (not in our group) to go on and told them at the same time how difficult it was (but more nang-aasar at nagyayabang hehe).

75% of the work was done, now we need to go back to the entrance and once again crawl, sit-walk on our butts, look for our sandals/slippers (don't wear havaianas here), more crawling and hey, it's dirtier going back and more difficult too (me nakita akong nadulas, aww).

and then, there was light. hay salamat.


thanks to manny for some cave shots (bro, nagpaalam ako sa yo ha hehe). manny's a film reviewer too, aside from being a programmer (by profession) and an awesome photographer. whatchawaiting for, visit his blog.

next stop: Anawangin, San Antonio, Zambales (sana matuloy, sana matuloy)

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Kiltepan and Rock Valley (Sagada the sixth)

after the bokong falls, it's time to get high again. and up we went to the Kiltepan View point.
this view point has a panoramic view of the kiltepan rice terraces, with its little community in one side plus the lush greenery on the other and the towering mountains all over! a very nice view is an understatement. and as usual, i had a grand time shooting (it would have been better if mine is a DSLR)!

while the others are just satisfied by just looking at the view, i won't settle for just that. i looked around and saw this rocky area on the lower side of the mountain that is just a perfect compliment for the awesome view of the terraces. of course, di naman ako todo-todong pasaway, i asked permission kung pwede akong bumaba ng konti, pwede naman daw and since they hinted na hindi rin ako papapigil, ingat na lang daw sa pagbaba (as if naman anlayo nung bababaan).
as i made my way, there's the usual "hoy, bakit ka pa bababa dyan?" and i just smiled at them. and when i sit on the edge of a rock, there are more of "ano ka ba zherwin?!" hehehe. of course, nag-iingat din ako, ayaw ko yatang pulutin ako sa ibaba. hehehe.

as usual, as i know from the start, the rest of the gang are just waiting for my initiative, and before i can say pasaway, heto at nakapila na rin sila for their own pictorial (and i volunteered to be their photographer). eh di ang gaganda ng view ng pictures nyo ngayon hehehe.

we didn't stay long, and after the last pose (there's a thing such as a last pose? hehe) we rode the jeep again to go to Rock Valley Inn. our guides suggested that if we are the adventurer type, why not use and sit on the topload of the jeep while we navigate downward? nice idea, why he didn't tell us earlier? some of us did that and it was fun and a bit uneasy "down there" as the you-know-what needs to be protected from being hit, or else... :)

rock valley inn is an inn (hehe), this is considered to be a "high-end" in sagada (but for P450.00 per night, high-end???) and it's a beautiful inn with its all-wood cafeteria, a very nice toilet, a very relaxing mini-clubhouse with a bonfire in the middle and a local that speaks english fluently complete with an american twang (mahihiya ang mga call center agents sa kanya).

we were told we can pick up oranges (it's also an orange farm) and have them squeezed at the cafeteria (of course for a fee). we toured the area, and we saw huge rock formations. wow.

and the most exciting part is next:



2. WET


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