Hiking up Mt. Daguldol taught me that a mountain and a beach make a smashing outdoors combo. I may not get the most out of beaches because I can’t swim, but nothing loosens me up like chilling at the beach at night and staring at the stars and the sea and the horizon after a tiring climb. So when I found out that Trail Adventours had such a mountain+beach adventure — Anawangin Cove via Mt. Pundaquit — in its 2011 calendar of events, I signed up.
It was my first time to book a trip with a company geared toward outdoors adventures since all the hiking trips I’d joined before were part of classes/org activities in UP Diliman. I’m glad that companies like Trail Adventours exist to leave, as their company slogan says, “footprints that make a difference.” Initiatives such as theirs do a lot to spread environmental and cultural awareness, appreciation for the sheer awesomeness of nature, and love for the outdoors, while also contributing to local tourism and related industries and forging ties between like-minded people.
And meet like-minded people I did. Now, I’m not very a sociable person, but somehow, sharing the experience of nature with other people immediately makes you feel closer to them even if you start out as strangers. Maybe it’s the shared intensity of effort and sentiment (communal cursing/oooh-ing, anyone?) in scaling a mountain, or the need to trust and help one another should the environment turn batshit, or the SOP of socials and its attendant drinks and shenanigans that turns
We left Manila (Ortigas, actually) at about 1:30 a.m. on March 26, got to the jump-off point in Brgy. Pundaquit, San Antonio, Zambales at about 6:30 a.m., started hiking at 7 a.m. Terrain was dry — sand, grassland, rocky riverbed — and HOT. Good thing a cool wind blew — although it blew so hard I lost my aviator shades near the summit, boo. But the climb was pretty easy (by this I mean I didn’t feel like hyperventilating, falling in a dead faint, and rolling down a cliff). In fact, though we allotted 7 hours for the hike up and down Mt. Pundaquit, we finished it in a little under 4 hours.
After the hike, we set up camp at the beach. There were a LOT of people — Anawangin Cove has long ceased to be the little unknown piece of pristine paradise that it used to be — its beauty was too great for anonymity.XD Long strip of white sand, emerald and deep blue sea, pine trees, grey crags.
Since we got to the camp at around noon, we had a whole day to chill. After cooking and eating lunch, we hung out and chatted (I dozed off soon afterward haha). Topics included literature, existentialism, global politics, the RH bill, women’s rights, and of course, nature and ~love~ OHA! We also went swimming and played frisbee in the afternoon. Then came dinner and socials that involved shots, charades, and other shenanigans. Later we lay by the shore and gazed at the stars (always my favorite part of any beach escapade, haha).<3 We retired at some time past midnight, but I couldn’t sleep so I ended up walking around the lightless camp (creeping people out XD) and hanging out by the shore until sunrise, contemplating the universe and writing lines like “they are asleep and i am dreaming/ of dark and darker shapes and the waves breaking/ the fisherman’s wife pining on the shore/ the sea laying claim to a falling star, ” that seemed pretty then, and seem pretty dumb now, haha! Kasi dapat talaga may ~writerly~ kuno moment sa beach!
I spent the early morning of March 27 walking along the strand from one end of the cove to the other, and exploring the craggy parts, taking pictures. When it got too hot, I sat down on some rock, when a group of hikers came my way. They were going to traverse the crags to get to the beach on the other side. I wanted to explore that beach too, so I tagged along! I should get a shirt that says FOREVER KALADKARIN.
Our group was supposed to visit Capones Island that day, but we weren’t able to go ashore because the waves were too high. So we just went back to Brgy. Pundaquit to chill out and wash up. I was looking forward to visiting the lighthouse on Capones, so that was a bit of a down. Never mind, I’m sure I’ll get another chance to visit it. But the time I spent with the friends I made that Anawangin weekend, that is irreplaceable. In fact, you can blame the reactivation of my Facebook account on them.XD
THREE MONTHS THREE MOUNTAINS: