To tell you the truth, I am not a sporty guy. I do not know how to play basketball, I am bad with badminton, I run short distances and get easily exhausted. The only sport that I really do is swim (yet I can’t do laps consecutively) and soccer (still not good with it but I enjoy it). To cut it short I am not some one that you could call fit at all.
Last January 21, 2012 together with a group of seven travel bloggers I ventured into my first ever trekking experience. There were first timers with us and I had no hesitation at all that I could finish the trail without any problems at all.
As we got off the bus just right in front of San Antonio’s municipal hall, Our lead traveler Ivan, who arranged everything for the trip looked for the tricycle that would take us to Pundaquit.
We arranged things with the owner of the outrigger that we rented, you don’t actually need to trek to get to Anawangin Cove. We just decided to to more adventure to our trip. You can ride an outrigger for 30 minutes and voila! you are at Anawangin already but for us adventrous (nakiki adventurous oh! lol) this a more fun way of travelling.
Before you proceed with your mountain adventure be sure to drop by the barangay hall to register, this is a security measure just in case something unforeseen happens.
So there you go you are now ready to face the Pundaquit – Anawangin Traverse! And as for me the next five hours would be one of the most unforgettable in my life.
As we started our journey we initially walked through fields flooded with Lahar from Mount Pinatubo’s eruption during the 1990′s. Insurmountable amount of lahar flowed from the volcano and overflowed to the nearby valleys and rivers until they reach the sea. As they kiss the water, they slowed down beautiful and unique landscapes were formed and then the beaches of Anawangin and Nagsasa were born.
The landscape having molded by natures forces offers varying sights to behold. From flat-lands of lahar deposits to rocky terrains you would not be dissappointed if you are really looking for adventure.
I can’t help but admire the contrasting colors of the flora found around the trail from golden fields of grasses to green trees the view is simply breath taking. I can’t even stop taking photographs as subjects are endless.
After almost an hour of walking the terrain started getting tougher. We walked through dried up riverbed with big rocks that would test your balance. Soon after we passed by the dried up river the trail got even more difficult with more uphill climbs on river rocks.
On our way up we saw a spring with an oh so refreshing water. I lost my water bottle along the way, I don’t actually know what part of the trail we have left behind us I lost it because I was busy taking pictures so I was really thirsty.
Some of my companions were hesitant to drink from the spring but I went ahead and enjoy it. They were afraid that the water could be dirty and may suffer diarrhea. Brave enough to try the water from the spring despite the fact that I suffer from amoeba attacks every time I take dirty food and drinks. But guess what I never had an attack, knowing how sensitive my gastrointestinal track is I declare the water clean! lolz
It’s The Climb (insert Miley Cyrus singing)
Photos on this segment is courtesy of Ivan of IvanLakwatsero.com
They say that you can talk to God on top of mountains, I can certainly say that is true.
Midway of the trek I was already panting and grasping for air as if there is not enough oxygen that I could take even how fast and deep I breath. My body could still take the beating of the steep terrain that was ahead us and my mind was more than willing to take the challenge. But no matter how I push my self to the limit it was my heart that isn’t coping with the beating.
I could literally hear my heart pounding from within trying to pump up more blood into my body to compensate the oxygen that my body is using up quickly, but after every several steps each time I take a break I just kept on grasping for air.
At this point I can’t remember any more how many times I have called upon His name to help me finish the challenge.
I kept on listening to my IPod for my favorite church music to remind me that God is always with me.
We were at the point of no return. I couldn’t turn back and give up, we are hours from the jump off point. But I have God with me and I am thankful because he gave me understanding companions that would wait for me every time I need to rest.
Experiencing God on top of the mountains is awesome. I remember praying to God for some shade as I lie down the grassy field because the Sun was to harsh and there were no trees around me and immediately the clouds came. Isn’t He awesome!?
Reaching the Summit
We reached the summit at 1300H. I felt a different kind of sense of achievement to be honest I was damn proud of my self! This is the first mountain that I have ever trekked in my life and it is a 3/9 grade mountain. Being obese (doctors say that I am) has proven to be a hurdle, if I want to do more trips like these as I have always dreamed of being a mountaineer I need to loose “them”, hence my decision to loose the excess weight that I have on.
The view from the top is mesmerizing you can just stare at the horizon for hours. I was still recovering from the trek, I didn’t join the group in taking photographs from the top, I just opted to rest. I rested in between two rocks trying to fit my self on the shade of a near by tree. But our guide who was so kind went an extra mile and took the makeshift roof lying near and put it on top of the two rocks giving us real shelter from the Sun.
After about 30minutes at the summit we started to our descent. Compared to the trail on our way up the summit, the trail going down is much steeper.
It was easier for me going down since I didn’t need to carry my weight, though we had to be extra careful compared to the ascent because the soil at mountain was kind of slippery.
A lot of us slipped, slid and twisted ankles including me as the terrain requires a lot of balancing skills.
Our pace was a lot faster this time but still the Sun was high and mighty shinning above us and our water supply was trickling to its last drops.
After traveling for about an hour no one had any water anymore and every one was thirsty, this time every one is willing to drink from a spring so we asked our guide if there’s any where we could get water from. Initially, our guide said that the nearest spring is 30 minutes away from the where we were so we walked with high spirits.
We kept on asking our guide if the spring is near already but he just kept on saying its 30 minutes away, so we asked him if we are truthfully near the water source. He said that the first springs were all dried up and we are nearing the last spring there is along the trail, luckily the last spring there is was not dry, he took our bottles and filled them all up .
We continued our journey and soon we reached the foot of the mountain.
As we enter the forest we were greeted again by such a unique landscape, a river bed with layers of lahar. We could almost hear the sea from where we are.
Minutes after we reached the pine trees area of the cove where it is famous for,of course we can not let this moment pass by without taking a photo.
After taking our groups window shot, we proceeded to the beach where we will get on the outrigger. The boat wasn’t there yet so we just hanged around first while waiting at a store. We were surprised with the prices imagine ice is for 20 pesos a piece! so it’s better to bring your own ice from the town in a cooler if you have one.
After a few minutes the outrigger arrived and we all boarded going to our final destination, Nagsasa Cove.
This is truly a memorable blind date with Mt. Pundaquit experience for me. I didn’t knew what to expect yet I learned a lot about my self and got a lot closer to God. I would recommend trekking to Anawangin to anyone so that you can challenge your self and feel how good it is to reach the top. But of course be sure that you are under no serious medical condition before you go ahead and trek.
ANAWANGIN COVE VIA MT. PUNDAQUIT
San Antonio, Zambales
Major jump-off: Brgy. Pundaquit, San Antonio
LLA (summit): 14 53’59″ 129 94’24″, 464 MASL
LLA (cove): 14 52 41 120 04’04″, 0 MASL
Days required / Hours to cove: 1 day / 4-5 hours
Specs: Minor Climb, Difficulty 3/9, Trail Class 2