The world can be a taxing place – especially in Manila Philippines, where horrible traffic, unforgiving weather, and many more challenges can tempt even the most positive of optimists to book a flight and get away.
While we don’t recommend you to quit your job and just live in a remote island for the rest of your life, it might be a good idea to take a few days off work – or school, if you still have no idea how challenging an 8AM-5PM shift can be – to unwind, relax, and appreciate the beauty the Philippines can offer.
The Island of Anawangin, located in Zambales, can give you just that. A few weeks back, I visited the beautiful location with some friends and it turned out to be one of the best trips I’ve ever had. It gave us an opportunity to withdraw from the rest of the noisy world and better learn to appreciate nature. Our expenses were minimal considering everything we did and ate. The vacation was filled with loads of laughter thanks to little to no distractions.
How to get there:
Drive to Pundaquit, Zambales (Waze can be a huge help!) and go to the Pundaquit Luxury Resort.
Here’s the address: Brgy. Pundaquit, San Antonio, Zambales, San Antonio, 2206 Zambales, Philippines.
The resort is where you will leave your vehicle for the evening (or evenings, assuming you stay in Anawangin for more than a night). It’s also in that same place where you will find a boatman to bring you to the island. We were charged PHP1,700 for both ways – going to the island on the first day, and returning to the resort on the second. If you can contact someone before making the trip and can negotiate a discount, even better.
The island isn’t huge, but the space is more than enough for you to enjoy a vacation. Rarely is Anawangin crowded, giving you enough luxury to explore the entire location without hearing people chit-chat every step you take.
Essentials to get/bring before heading to the island:
Clothes for your stay, pillows and a mat for when you sleep, toiletries, alcohol (if you guys plan to drink), meat and a grill (for your dinner), snacks, and a tent (you can rent one at the island for P 200-300, depending on the size).
There are also sari-sari stores located in Anawangin where you can purchase pancit canton, cup noodles, green mango on a stick, soda in can or bottle, and chips. You can also get uling to cook the food you bring for P100 and wood for a bonfire priced at P150. The bathrooms, however, aren’t great, so I recommend you to do all your business before and after the trip.
For some, the best part of going of Anawangin is that you will have no cellular reception whatsoever. That means good-bye to text messages from work, non-stop calls, Twitter, Facebook, and other distractions that take away too much of your time anyway. This way, the island’s visitors get to really appreciate the sights – such as the beautiful sunset, sunrise, and stars – while also really getting to bond with their friends.
The beach is terrific and perfect for either late-night swim or early-morning dip to cool off from the heat. Trekking is also an option at the hill (P50 entry) next to the island, where a vendor selling terrific buko pandan-flavored ice cream, among other flavors, will give you a nice treat for just P20 a popsicle.
Overall, our trip cost us (five guys) just P2,000 each.
This includes the gas going to and coming home from the resort, the toll charges, the pitstop at Jollibee for lunch going to Pundaquit, the boat ride to and from Anawangin Island, 20 cans of beers, candy packs, six large packs of chips, hotdogs, pork barbecue and liempo from Monterey for dinner, two 1.5 liter Cokes from the island (P80 each), the uling, two rounds of bonfires, the tent rent charge, ice cream popsicles, the charge to hike the hill, and a stop at Meatplus in Subic on the way home.
PS, if you do pass by Meat Plus, make sure to get the cheesecake. It’s delightful.
I recommend staying in Anawangin Island for just one night, as it will be enough time to explore and appreciate everything the location has to offer. Travelling has become a popular experience as of late, but not everyone who does it really appreciate the beauty of the practice. Anawangin lets you experience what travelling is all about: getting to see new places and trying out new things.
You won’t be going to Anawangin just to take a picture and tell everyone on social media about how spectacular your weekend is. Instead, you’ll get the time out to see how great some places you might not have known existed actually area. And the other exercises, like putting up a tent, grilling the food you eat, and sleeping under the stars while your blanket keeps you warm from the cold gushes of the wind, will turn out to be more fulfilling than you expect.