Three years ago I and three other friends first visited a place so picturesque it felt like looking at a life-sized postcard. The water was so clear, as though percolating through hundreds and hundreds of rocks and pebbles had given rise to such purity.
We marveled at how everything seemed so serene and perfect. Nothing could seem to go wrong in a place like this.
People called this place Nagsasa Cove. A cove, by definition, is a sheltered inlet or bay. It is true, this place is sheltered – nestled between the volcanic mountain ranges of San Antonio, Zambales and the wide open South China Sea.
You would wish no one knew of this piece of paradise the first time you lay your eyes on it. Unfortunately Nagsasa Cove is famous for its natural beauty. It’s only protection is the treacherous sea and the looming mountains. From the nearest fishing town in San Antonio, you need around one and a half hours to get to Nagsasa Cove by motorized boat. Because of the distance, tourists not patient enough to go beyond Anawangin Cove, another beautiful attraction in the same town, will never experience the wonders it has to offer.
The first time I went there happened by impulse and because of a great desire to fully enjoy the numbered days of semestral break. We were penniless young adults – me, Julius,
I had known some friends who were locals of the nearest town and they were generous enough to be our guide/protectors/navigators. I still remember, my conversations with them. That day we met at Zambales was the very first time I saw them in person. I only knew Binoy through facebook after he read one of the articles I wrote. I asked them about getting to Nagsasa Cove and he not only answered my questions but he also took us there himself, together with his brother-in-law, kuya Rommel.
I was so captivated by Nagsasa Cove, unfortunately we couldn’t stay for more than a day. We slept there on the sand by the beach and the next day we had to leave before noon. There was no electricity in the place and we had to prepare food by fire.
But we promised to return again one day…
The next time I went back, I was with three strong women and one gentleman. This time we were on our own to camp out at Nagsasa for Binoy and Kiya Rommel had other obligations. After the bus ride that took us to Zambales, we stopped by the town’s church to attend Misa de Gallo or Simbang Gabi. Our boat ride to Nagsasa cove was met with waves, wind, and scorching sun.
But all the traveling was worth it when we saw what awaits us at the end.
Unlike my first visit, there was something unique about my second visit. We were able to meet the original settlers of the province, mostly through the friendliness of Erin. You may call them the natives of the land. I believe this place is their birthright.
One of the adults among the IPs (indigenous people) living there took us to see the waterfall. He said it only was a 30-minute trek, but it took our untrained feet one hour to reach the waterfall.
The place was quaint and felt ethereal. The waterfall was plainly crystal clear water trickling softly on large angular metamorphic rocks and ending into a narrow but deep basin of cold transparent greenish blue waters. There even were tiny fishes swimming around, though it felt like a mystery how they got there.
That basin of water then flowed into a stream, which became a river. The river eventually joined the sea, creating a delta of brackish water.
We had such a wonderful time at Nagsasa Cove picking dried shrubs and wood for our bonfire, sleeping under the stars, night swimming in a bioluminescent sea, and trying to take in all the amazing experiences. It was indeed a picture perfect paradise called Nagsasa Cove.
All the photos used in this blog post were taken by Julius Pronto & Erin Fernandez.