Nagsasa Cove in San Antonio, Zambales Philippines
Nagsasa Cove in San Antonio, Zambales, used to be rocky until the eruption
of Mt. Pinatubo, which dumped tons of volcanic ash in many parts of the
region. Nagsasa Cove is endowed with the same features as Anawangin: a
beach of ash that absorbs heat faster than the usual sand; a blanket of agoho
trees, a type of casuarina tree, often mistaken for pine trees; the azure sea
teeming with life and color; and gently sloping hills framing the view.
Tourists often come to Nagsasa Cove when there are too many of their kind in Anawangin. Well, if the word “overcrowded” bothers you, as is often the case
with the latter, then Nagsasa Cove is the right place for you.
Nagsasa Cove in Zambales is one of the many unexploited treasures in the
island of Luzon. Zambales is a province located in the Central Luzon region. It
is bounded by Pangasinan to the north, Bataan to the south, Tarlac and
Pampanga to the east and the South China Sea to the west. Nagsasa Cove, a
mountain slope is the farthest cove bypassing Anawangin (another mountain
slope) taking about 45 minutes travel time from Mt. Pundaquit via boat.
Mt. Pundaquit is located in San Antonio, a second-class municipality in the
province and is the meeting point of all travelers going to Nagsasa Cove,
Anawangin Cove or Capones Island, all in Zambales. All three destinations are
accessible via a boat ride from Pundaquit.
History: Beauty From Destruction
In the 1980s, the mountain slopes around Nagsasa Cove were covered with
tropical rainforest and inhabited by Aeta people, as they were for hundreds of
years. The shoreline was mostly rocky, with short patches of beach here and
there. Some distance beyond the shore (as indicated in old maps of the cove)
was a rich coral reef, prolific with all kinds of fish and marine life. There was
logging, but not on a large scale.
On June 12, 1991, Mount Pinatubo started to erupt explosively, leading to
massive ashfalls that covered a big number of towns in the Zambales-Tarlac-
Pampanga-Bataan boundaries, including Nagsasa and the neighboring coves
of Anawangin, Talisayin, and Silanguin.
In the past twenty years since the Pinatubo eruption, the new beach at the
cusp of the Nagsasa cove gradually became alive again. You can see this in
pieces of sea grass, a scattering of small shells, strands of coral growing slowly
on the seabed, tiny crustaceans that burrow holes and zip across the sand,
occasional catches of fish and shellfish, and other signs of recovering marine
Tourist guides, mostly Aetas who travel around, are willingly to accompany
visitors to to trek the hills and forests behind the cove or nearby mountains.
Nature At Its Finest
There is really nothing much to do here except to take in Nagsasa’s beauty by
walking along the shore, leisurely trekking around or up its hills, taking a dip
in its clear, calm waters, or simply just savoring the view; there is no mobile
signal here too. And these are what makes Nagsasa all the more appealing.
The picturesque image of Nagsasa Cove is breathtakingly beautiful – from the
crystal clear clear waters teeming with whirling fishes to the quiet and
relaxing sunset view, giving you a close-to-nature feeling. The fact that
Nagsasa cove has maintained its pristine condition is proof that the place
although discovered by some, has not come to the point of being exploited.
There are no fancy accommodations, which mean that an overnight stay will
see you camping out in a tent, under the bright stars and the moonlight. Devoid
of the amenities usually found in other tourist destinations, Nagsasa Cove
maintains its natural condition – bare, without electricity, without the urban
frills. Must bring items to Nagsasa Cove are camping supplies, food, water,
flashlights and lots of batteries. Mobile phones are practically useless as there
is no network signal in the area.
Calm and Undisturbed Beach
The unfamous Nagsasa Cove will make your jaw drop in awe, with its clean
beach and fascinating surroundings. It lets you get closer to nature like no
other place can offer.
The calmness of the beach makes you feel more like an in an isolated place.
In addition to the lack of electricity and amenities offered in Nagsasa. Nature
lovers would appreciate the virginity of the Island, in terms of tourists and
The simplicity of of Nagsasa will make anyone think that the cove a private
resort but with lesser amenities. Its pristine silence of nature away from
town beautifies it more.
Golden Brown Mountains
Located in the southern part of the province, Nagsasa Cove is surrounded by
beautiful mountains that one can trek from. The uphills are strangely golden
brown, but gracefully compliments the Casuarina trees on the ground of the
cove. Most tourists climb the mountain early morning to witness the sunrise.
The breathtaking view warms your heart that makes it really fascinating.
At night, lie down and look up at the night sky, far clearer and starrier, as
Nagsasa’s darkness and lack of electricity make the stars shine brighter. If it
is not cold outside, you can even sleep under the stars.
Wild Horse Creek
“A river runs through it,” most visitors and travelogues would say. It’s more of
a creek ending in shallow tidewater pools than a river, although further
upstream are rapids and falls. In old maps, it’s called Wild Horse Creek.
Follow its headwaters, and soon you’ll discover that there’s an alternative
route by land between Nagsasa and the outside world: through a six-hour trek
across the mountains via Cinco Picos, with the famed Subic Bay at the other
There are no accommodations nearby Nagsasa but one can bring a tent or
other camping materials. Bring also some food if you are going to have an
overnight stay. You can also have a day trip in Nagsasa and have an overnight
stay in Pundaquit or San Miguel where there are numerous hotels and
restaurants. Take note that there is a camping fee for campers that costs
around 150 pesos.
Visitors will enjoy Nagsasa Cove the best when the waves are calm and
undisturbed, from January to March. Summer months of April and May will
see the cove swarmed with local and foreign guests looking for a refreshing
way to escape the heat of summer.
Manila to San Anronio, Zambales
From Manila take a bus ride (Victory Liner, Pasay or Cubao Terminal) that will
bound you to Iba Zambales. Get down
to the Municipal Hall Of San Antonio. It will take 3.5-4 hours due to some bus
Whereas, land travel via private vehicle will only take 3 hours.