Apr 30, 2011

Romantic Zambales Getaway Day 2 : ANAWANGIN / CAPONES Island

God blessed us with a beautiful morning when we woke up, a spectral of colors appeared from the sky. It was a lovely day like no other day.

This was our last day at Nagsasa and in a while we'll be leaving for Anawangin and Capones Island. I will definitely miss this place.

Nagsasa boys
halo halo
By 10am, everyone got ready to leave. Our things were already packed and just waiting for Kuya Henry and company to fetch us and while waiting tried the halo halo being offered by ate. Not bad!  Snap one shot before heading out!  I hope visitors will not take Nagsasa for granted like what they're doing with Anawangin and treasure the place like a gift from above. Here leaving you an Irish blessing until we meet again.

A sunbeam to warm you,
A moonbeam to charm you,
A sheltering angel, so nothing can harm you.
-- Irish Blessing


Our options were open to stay here for our 2nd night, but upon seeing how crowded the place during that Saturday morning, we scraped the plan right away.  The crowd is too much to bear, I can see litters on every corner. The place is truly a sight to behold but seeing how crowded the place had become can be very stressful. It was really a far cry from the earlier photos I've seen of this place. The serenity, peace and quiet I was hoping for is nowhere in sight. I hope before its really too late, the people in charge of this place implement stricter measures to prevent vacationers from totally ruining the place.

a lake inside

I don't know what they were thinking when they put up this fence at the front shore. It certainly is an eye sore. We  didn't explore the place that much, just spent a few minutes checking out the place and taking some snap shots.


We headed to Capones Island afterwards. The waves can get scary going there but thank God they were manageable, although there's that fear inside coz we're not wearing a life vest going there, our boatman forgot to take it from his other boat when they fetch us. But still we're lucky enough, not everyone can get here on their first visit.

The shore is rocky but the crystal blue water is so inviting.  We spent sometime swimming before going up to the lighthouse. We decided to go up when it started to drizzle. The other couple stayed behind and continue  swimming while we hike for a few minutes to get a nice view from up there.

Some rocky portion and then a trail to where the lighthouse can be found.

We didn't enter the lighthouse anymore and after some photo ops decided to go down and just waited for the other two who decided to go up to the top of the lighthouse.

now we're going down ........

.... and going back to Pundaquit to stay for another night there before heading home. Most resorts were fully booked but we managed to still get a room for 6 at Jimz Beach Resort.

We were all famished by that time, so upon checking in, had a heavy lunch at Nora's Beach Resort ordering crispy pata, chicken, lumpiang shanghai, etc, etc ..... "gutom na gutom" =)

Everyone showered then took a nap and woke up at dinner time. "Sarap ng buhay!"

Jimz Beach Resort - Room G (good for 6 pax)

We just ordered our food and drinks from Jimz Beach Resort and have it delivered to our cottage. Our room has a small kitchen and a grilling station where we can do our own cooking in case we brought our own food but since we didn't, the menu at Jimz is pretty fine.

Everyone had a good sleep that night. No one snored like cow, hahaha, right Cooky?! =) Seems like everyone is happy !!! =)

Contact Infos :

Kuya Henry (our boatman) - 09266726070
Jimz Beach Resort - Toots - 09277770220

Apr 26, 2011

Romantic Zambales Getaway Day 1 : NAGSASA Cove

3 couples bound to a remote and secluded rendezvous with no cell signal and electricity is definitely something to look forward to. Little did I realize that this getaway would turn out to be one of the most meaningful, almost magical and the least expensive trip I had in a long while. I've never done camping in my years of existence, so this is my first legit experience and I survived it with so much fun!

We started the road trip to Zambales by taking the 11:30 pm last trip of Victory Liner at  Pasay last April 7. Our first night was spent on a cramped bus full of standing passengers. Lucky for us we had early reservations so we were comfortably seated near the front.We arrived San Antonio by 3:30 am, April 8 and hailed a tricycle to bring us to Pundaquit, where my contact boatman, Kuya Henry resides. He let us stay at his small cottage while we wait for the market to open by 6am and buy our food supplies for our 1 night stay at Nagsasa cove. While waiting, we pulled out our "baon" on the table and had our first real breakfast on this province.  Kuya Henry provided us a thermos of hot water while my friend Cooky came so well prepared sharing with us his tasty bread, ginisang corned beef, hotdog, and egg sandwich spread. Many thanks guys, very well appreciated :-)

I just love this shot clearly depicting the normal provincial setting .... papag, kulambo, liwanag ng bombilya, tabing, lumang thermos, kawayang mesa atbp ... so laidback!

We head straight to Nagsasa Cove and arrived there after a little more than an hour. The boat ride ran smooth without fail and reaching Nagsasa afterwards made me heave a sigh of relief . I think I will never get used to riding boats, the scare factor is always there, reminded me of the time, decades back when I almost drowned when the boat I was riding turned around, life vest is always a must  when I jumped on a boat. But seeing Nagsasa is so much worth the effort, I'm truly awe inspired!

 hills and pine trees, white sand and clean blue water, remote island .... just magical!

It's Friday morning when we got there and you can actually count the number of people around, which is a good thing. We found a nice cottage at the front beach, pitch our tents around and started preparing for our lunch in the island. A camping setup always requires extra effort but there lies the beauty of team effort to make it fun and enjoyable and we managed to do just that. Tin is in charge of cooking, I assist her in preparation (sometimes, hehe)  The other couple took turns in washing the dishes.

my guy and his best bud in charge of grilling

I read before that there's no CR here, no electricity at night, well times have changed. There are numerous cottages around. There's a CR at the back of our location. A hose of flowing freshwater from some upstream outside, you just get yourself a pail of water before entering the CR to do your thing. Also spotted another CR on some part and another on construction at the moment. There's also a generator that provides electricity at night, well I'm happy for these little comforts that matter. I think they charge us a 100 pesos for the electricity and also 100 pesos for the cottage. Also worthy of mention is our boatman Kuya Henry for lending and providing for us all our cooking needs. Thanks a lot Kuya, sa uulitin! =)

our first lunch at Nagsasa

Our lunch menu, sinigang na shrimp, inihaw na pusit at inihaw na tilapia .... that's seafoods galore, a product of our team effort.... yummy!!!

After having  that hearty lunch at 10:30am, the guys already started their tequila drinking session while enjoying the beautiful scenery around.

The sun was at its highest when everyone decided to visit the small falls which the Ate in charge (forgot her name) was offering us. The tour guide fee is ridiculous, 100 pesos per head but Tin was able to lower it down to 70, but still I think it was too much. Still we pushed through and they only reminded us to bring water and something to eat. Little did we know it will be a long 1 hour walk to an open field of burned bushes and heated sand, where walking is so difficult that almost felt like your feet is on fire plus that rocky terrain where I almost gave up.

Our only consolation is the picturesque view along the way that this place offers. Well its snapping while complaining, hehe!

me and alvin - photo taken by czar

We kept asking the guide "kung malapit na?" The scorching heat is really difficult to bear. I had to douse my feet with my drinking water just to be able to continue.

This is the first time that a guide irritated me so much.  He's just merely walking ahead of us and wont give you an accurate answer when you ask him something. We also reached a part where we had to cross some parts with ongoing fire, it scared me as we might get trapped if we pushed thru. You can see in his eyes, the uncertainty. We stopped for a bit, he rested on this tree seemed unsure if its better to retreat or move on. Finally he saw some light when some peeps where coming towards us who just came from the falls. The girl actually said its not worth it, but since were actually more than halfway, we proceeded. At the back of my mind this guide should be the one paying us for the troubles we had to go through. I learned later that this is just his 2nd or 3rd time to guide a group of people, he's not a local, and that explains it. So me thinks, there's probably a shorter and easier way to get to the falls if we hired a seasoned local.

My agony got harder when we reached the rocky terrain. I almost gave up when I saw a difficult portion to climb, my bf is ahead of me so he had to go back coz I have no plans of continuing any further, no energy to pull myself up. We rested for a few minutes, with some convincing and some energy regained, my bf led me all the way to the falls while the guide was just merely staring at us from afar.

And much to our dismay, when we reached the place, there was no flowing water to speak of, it dried up. I thought the guide was kidding when he said this is it.

Somehow, swimming in this cold water helped us relieved the heat and the stress of that long hike. We spent an hour or so here before getting back, just merely bracing ourselves for another hour of difficult walking. And by the way going back seemed  a little easier, but still it gave me some bruises and a little cut on my feet.

711 sa Nagsasa
We were all thirsty and hungry when we got back by 3:30pm. We scampered for leftovers from our lunch, bought a liter of Coke in the nearby store which is by the way prized twice the normal and then satisfied our hunger. Afterwards everybody went swimming, snapping pictures and eagerly waiting for the sunset.

Dinner time then drinking time followed. The howling winds made it a little chilly outside, but inside our cramped tent, the temperature is just enough to sleep comfortably.  It was a beautiful starry night, so lovely and romantic indeed!!!

To be continued ..........  :-)))

Apr 23, 2011


Arrived Laoag around 10am, hailed a tricycle to catch a bus to Pagudpud. There are mini buses that are non aircon but we prefer the one with aircon, so our trike driver brought us to GM Bus Terminal and lucky enough was able to catch one that is about to leave bound for Cagayan, it will pass by Saud part of Pagudpud.

Our tour guide, Kuya Lenzer already texted me to confirm my arrival. We were supposed to start the tour by 10am but of course we arrived late so we need to adjust our itinerary.  We were picked up by Ate Cathy from our drop off point in Pagudpud and as soon as we're settled, asked Kuya Lenzer to pick us up and readjust our itinerary having to start past 12pm.

That's Kuya Lenzer and his trike service

The tour cost is 1K covering the north and south area. For bigger number of people, he's got a van to bring you places. I highly recommend Kuya Lenzer for your tour needs, he's a very nice guy and a very reliable tour guide.

It'll be a long and challenging day on board this trike cruising along the main high way where buses ply. I uttered a prayer before we start, that's the magic word to keep us safe.


Patapat Viaduct is a 1.2 km long winding road connecting Ilocos Norte and the province of Cagayan. This viaduct was constructed to prevent the danger of landslides and at the same time offer a spectacular view of Pasaleng Bay.

Patapat Viaduct


Going there can be a bit challenging, especially if the waves are strong. You'll be stepping on slippery rocks, some caution must be observed. I had trouble walking  coz I put on some lotion on my feet that morning and my plastic shoes can't seem to hold it in place, sliding down from time to time. I had to remove it and walk barefoot on those sharp stones and it hurts. Thanks to Kuya Lenzer, he had to sacrifice for me and lent me his slippers.

Bantay Abot Cave

Bantay Abot Cave
Its not actually a cave but more of a hole in a mountain. I don't think it's fit for swimming but you will definitely enjoy the panoramic view of the sea and the mountains.


I've been intrigued long ago by how people call this place Boracay of the North. Well, upon seeing it up close, that term is 100% accurate, well minus the crowd and the party atmosphere of Boracay. Here, its nature tripping at its best. The fine white sand and the very clean turquoise blue water is truly awesome.

Blue Lagoon, Pagudpud

Blue Lagoon, Pagudpud


We're now heading south going to Bangui to see the famous Bangui windmills, a project that Bongbong Marcos spearheaded that truly deserves a high two thumbs up!!! This is what our country needs to finally put an end to the high and mighty oil and gas producers .... a sustainable source of energy!

Getting here almost got us into accident, thank God he kept us safe. Some irresponsible motorcycle driver without even looking at our direction cut our way while we were cruising the main road on a high speed. It was just fortunate that there's no oncoming vehicle when Kuya Lenzer had to skillfully control the tricycle to get to the other side to avoid hitting him. It was so sudden that I thought the trike would turn turtle or hit something really hard. But one thing is for sure, God protected us, He heard my prayer!

Bangui Windmills

Bangui Windmills

These awesome 20 giant white turbines are supplying 40% of Ilocos Norte's power requirement. Truly outstanding!

There are miniature windmills being sold here, its so cute! You should get one when you visit this place.


From Bangui heading south to Burgos town to reach Kapurpurawan, your trike have to go pass some rough dusty roads to get here and hike a few minutes to reach this beautiful white rock formation.
Kapurpurawan Rock Formation

Kapurpurawan Rock Formation

The strong winds and the powerful waves created this natural beauty. The place is very photogenic and I hope people both tourist and locals would try to protect and preserve this natural monument.

Kapurpurawan Rock Formation

Kapurpurawan Rock Formation

Cape Bojeador also known as Burgos Lighthouse still functions even after 100 years.  Built during the Spanish colonial period, it has become a cultural heritage structure in  Burgos, Ilocos Norte.

Burgos Lighthouse

It was unfortunate that we were not able to get inside the lighthouse during our visit, renovations are going on at that time.


We decided to get accommodation at SAUD Beach  during our stay because of its accessibility. It may not be as pretty as Blue Lagoon but it didn't disappoint. The sand color varies from white to beige. Our beach front is rocky, so we need to walk a few minutes to the get to the area fit for swimming.

Saud Beach, Pagudpud
Beach front of Ate Cathy's Homestay

Because of good feedback from my fellow girltalkers, we opt to stay at Ate Cathy's Homestay. Its like a home away from home where Ate Cathy will treat you like a long lost relative. From here, you'll get a good view of the awesome Bangui windmills .
Saud Beach, PagudpudWalking a few mins, 5 tops, will get you here, white sand, clear blue water, not crowded, not noisy, not polluted, affordable accommodations .... just perfect for me.

Saud Beach, Pagudpud

We finished the tour by 6pm. Kuya Lenzer brought us to the palengke to buy something for dinner. He left us for some time and we were able to try finally the empanada that I missed in Vigan, but now Pagudpud version, also bought some barbecue and some chichirya. He picked us up later with now his van and brought us to Ate Cathy. Kuya Lenzer's day is not yet finished, he will be picking some guests along the way to fetch someone at the Laoag airport. Just a proof how hard working Ilocanos are. 

The empanada by the way is so filling and yummy. That already is enough for our dinner.

It was a long but fulfilling day, so tired from the traveling back and forth but found comfort at Ate Cathy's place. It's relaxing to stay at the veranda, sipping some tea and having some sweets while engaging in some talks with Ate Cathy and later with another guest. After a cold shower, I dozed off in no time, dreaming to be back in this tropical paradise.

We woke up early preparing for our departure. The very nice Kuya Lenzer offered us a free ride to Laoag airport, he have a scheduled guest arriving by 10 am and we happily took the offer. Along the way, his driver gladly brought us to some pasalubong shops to do our last minute pasalubong shopping. Although we still have time to roam around Laoag, just decided to wait around for our flight back home. 

The least I could do is to take shots while the van was cruising around the streets of Laoag city.

Sinking Bell Tower of Laoag City
sinking bell tower of Laoag
Ilocos Norte Capitol
Ilocos Norte Capitol

Laoag Airport
Laoag Airport

Contact Infos you might need :

Kuya Lenzer (our tour guide/driver) - 09068185735
Ate Cathy's Homestay - 09195716680


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