Into the Island of Isolation

Us millenials have become very dependent on technology. We have VR Box for our eyes, headset on our ears, smartphone on one hand, camera on the other, and portable wifi in our pockets. I bet most of us won’t live through a day without any of these.

It is challenging. And because the squad loves challenges, we dared ourselves to detach from such gadgets. As part of Mark’s birthday celebration, we decided to spend a day in an isolated island in Zambales.

We bought a travel package going to Anawangin from MJDC Travel and Services. For P888 per head, the deal included our boat transfer, free use of tent, free lunch and dinner. Based on online reviews, potable water is not available in the island so we just brought our own.

At SCTEX. How I wish EDSA is as fine as this.

We left home at around 4:00am. From Manila, we drove to Zambales through NLEX and SCTEX. I can say that Romeo had fun driving on the flawless expressways. The usual maximum speed limit of 100kph became 120kph for him. Thank God we’re still alive. We arrived at San Antonio Municipal Hall by around 8:30am and met with our contact from the agency there. We had to sign waivers indicating that they will have no responsibility with whatever that might happen to our gadgets.

At Subic. It’s always nice to pass through tunnels!

From the municipal hall, we drove a bit more to reach the shore where we’ll be riding the boat. We waited for about an hour because the first boat left us. We’re sorry because we’re late.

The travel time to Anawangin Cove is approximately 40 minutes. You won’t feel the length of the trip because the view will surely amaze you. The water is as blue as the sky and the mountains looked untouched. Everything looked as good as a postcard times three.

From left: Laurence, Mark, Romeo and me. Kevin and Abe Jeff were on the other side of the boat.
How I wish my officemates were as calm as these waters.

I took a deep breath upon landing on the island. It felt refreshing. There were no concrete houses, no electric posts, just tourists and the tall green trees. We started assembling our tents so we can leave our bags in there. And after we’re done, our lunch was already coming!

This souvenir shop will welcome you upon reaching the island.
Trees overload!
This is the hideout of the island guides.
The tents are all set! This feels like a boyscout jamboree!
Our lunch was sinigang na baboy and fried tilapia. Pwede na.

Obviously, I lost the dare of giving up on gadgets because I had to take pictures. But other than my camera, I think most of our gadgets were useless in the island. There was no network signal and no electricity. This place is perfect if you want to detach from the busy and problematic city.

After lunch, we ran to the shore and started swimming. The sand was fine and white. The water was clean and the waves were gentle. I saw a couple of fishes underwater, I believe they were dories! There were also rock formations and a mini-cave nearby, I just wasn’t able to take pictures, because I was busy swimming. We could have also climbed the mountain, but we were too tired and only Kevin had the energy to do it.

Swimming, sunbathing and hiking. Do these and whatever you can think of in these isolated island!

The darkness came. Our ability to live without electricity was tested. It was a good thing that our guide has provided us with a torch. The next challenge was cooking without an actual stove. We only had a bag of charcoal and a lighter. We scavenged for stones and metal, and made an improvised grill. After the struggle, we realized that it was hard to cook hotdogs on this kind of stove.

Survivor: Anawangin Edition
Abe Jeff teaching Romeo and Mark how to cook hotdogs with a makeshift charcoal stove.
Focus and determination is the key.
Uhmmm… These hotdogs still looked far from being edible.

The night was long and it was raining. We were trying to figure out how we’ll proceed with our drinking session if we were in separate tents. So we decided to link two of our tents. But we failed. The rain was dripping and we were sweating inside the tent. So we just decided to go out and enjoy the rain. Thank you Alfonso for accompanying us and listening to our stories. But never again please. We’re not compatible. I had to sleep in the tent because I was so wasted while the rest of the squad enjoyed the rest of the night on the shore.

Since we were closer to nature, we were also closer to its creatures.
We’re sorry wild Heracross. RIP.
Evil laugh. While holding a knife.

We woke up by around 7:00am. Our guide told us that we will be leaving by 10:00am. We had to make the most out of our remaining hours. We strolled around the island and saw other majestic views. It was so peaceful.

Little tamarind plant in an island of tall pine trees. Don’t worry. You’ll grow as mighty as they are.
A wild Spinarak appeared! Where’s my Pokeball?
Leave no trace. Like a smooth criminal.
Reddish skins! Must not forget to apply sunblock next time. 

I would say that a one-night stay in Anawangin is not enough. There may not be a lot of exciting things to do in the island but it is perfect for people who want to reflect upon themselves. It is great for those who want no distractions and have deeper conversations while under the rustling pine trees. Once you’re there, do not hesitate doing the things that you want, just like climbing that mountain. Challenge yourself and regret nothing. You won’t know when your next time in Anawangin will be. Always remember what Ariana Grande says in her song – almost is never enough.

Peace and serenity. How I wish Anawangin was just close to Manila.

8 thoughts on “Into the Island of Isolation

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