On the west coast of Central Luzon lies the province of Zambales, home to many natural wonders. Known among them are the beach coves, consisting of (by order of popularity): Anawangin, Nagsasa, Talisayen, and Silanguin. Each one guaranteed to make you fall in love with. This particular post focuses on Talisayen Cove, but it shouldn’t be much different from the others except perhaps by volume of visitors.
So why are the coves in Zambales the perfect getaway?
1) It’s only about 4 hours from Metro Manila.
Road trips are not uncommon things to do for most Manileños wanting to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city, especially during long weekends. The roads to Zambales are scenic and well-developed, just watch out for the stoplights and follow basic road rules — they tend to be much stricter there and the street police keep watch like a hawk.
2) It’s a place to truly disconnect.
There is zero cell reception once you make the jump off of Pundaquit in the banka ride to any of the coves. So save your phone’s battery and turn it off (or put it in Airplane Mode if you just use it to take photos like me), stretch out on a hammock and give your eyes a rest from digital screens, take a leisurely dip in the waters, capture photos without fussing about instantly uploading them to your social media accounts, and just soak in the scenery and transience of the moment. Your mind, soul, and body will thank you for it.
3) You get both sea and summit.
Are you a lover of blue-green oceans? Of majestic Mountains? You have both at your disposal here. Wade through a lagoon and hike up to the viewpoint or even to the peak. Take a banka to a snorkelling spot and play a game of spot the starfishes. Trek to a nearby waterfall (depending on the season). Walk along the black coastline of glittering white sand mixed with ash remnants of the 1991 Mt. Pinatubo eruption. I mean, you’re literally walking on a piece of history.
4) It’s not your average tropical beach.
My favorite feature of this beach is that instead of the usual Coconut trees lining the shore, it has Pine-looking Agoho/Casuarina trees! That’s enough to make me feel like I am somehow worlds away. The particular place we stayed at also had basic huts, shared bathrooms and showers, cooking areas, and ample space to pitch up your tents. There are even goats and dogs around for you to make friends with!
5) You get to sleep under the stars.
Since there are no lights to muddle the night sky, you can marvel at the dark backlit canopy with holes punched in it (yep, I just referenced an Incubus song…) Count the numerous comets that you normally wouldn’t see back in the city. Light a bonfire and roast some marshmallows. Enjoy the cool evening breeze and drift off to a peaceful sleep, following your natural circadian rhythm. Wake up just as the sun rises.
Above all else, if you do decide to go — remember the #LeaveNoTrace principle: take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints. Please and thank you.
All photos shot with iPhone 5s + post-processed with VSCO. Special thanks to my good friend Mansh for arranging this trip, in celebration of her birthday. Hurrah!