Nagsasa Cove Love

While everyone else was attentively watching the Pope make his rounds in the Philippines, I took the opportunity to finally visit one of the places I’ve been wanting to go to since I could remember: Nagsasa Cove. The Nagsasa Cove is one of Iba, Zambales’ no-longer secluded coves, the other one being Anawangin, that is becoming more and more popular every year because of its proximity to Manila and its beauty.

Special thanks to Ate Rose who patiently imparted us wisdom regarding this last-minute trip.

My vacation at Nagsasa Cove started with Victory Liner’s first bus trip to Iba, Zambales. It was a five-hour trip that deposited us to San Antonio, Zambales. We immediately took a tricycle to see the Barangay Captain of Pundaquit: Kap. Erwell Sadernas. He welcomed us to Pundaquit and asked one of his constituents to fetch a boatman for us. He explained to us about the standardized boat rates going to Nagsasa Cove – P1,800 round trip. Then he said that the rate for going island hopping would now depend on how much we’d negotiate with the boatman. Our boatman, Arsing, agreed to the rate of P2000 to go to the Capones Island, Camara Island and then to the Nagsasa Cove.

Small Boat, Pundaquit, Iba, Zambales

Moche helping the boatmen push the boat

Our first stop was Capones Island, which is famous for its light house. Unfortunately, tourists were advised against going there for safety reasons, because of the recent earthquake that rocked Zambales. So, we just contented ourselves with taking photos of the beach and the surrounding rock formations.

Capones Island

Capones Island

The Beach, Capones Island, Iba, Zambales

The Capones Island Beach

Irresponsible Tourists, Capones Island, Iba, Zambales

Why men has the urge to destroy what is beautiful. This question has always plagued me.

Capones Island, Iba, Zambales

Saying good-bye to Capones

After Capones, I was surprised that we headed immediately to the Nagsasa Cove. Later on, Arsing would explain that it was too choppy around Camara Island and it would not be safe to go there. Oh, well.

The 50-minute boat ride to Nagsasa Cove was spent on a small roofless boat, under the hot noonday sun. As such, we got baked to perfection. Good thing we took the time to put on some sunblock while Arsing was preparing the boat. Otherwise, it would’ve been another episode of panda in the city come Tuesday.

Hello Nagsasa Cove, Iba, Zambales

Hello, Nagsasa!

When we got to Nagsasa, our contact person was Ate Nita of Dare to Dream, a neglected resort. We spent the day on one of the cottages but would later sleep on the more comfortable stone house.

Cottage, Dare to Dream, Nagsasa Cove

Our humble cottage.

Anyway, it was already time to eat but we didn’t have any rice with us. So, we asked Ate Nita to cook for us – P150 for 1kg of rice. We were only three (me, Moche and Juvy) so the rice lasted us until dinner. Then, we had the adobo, brought by Moche from home and canned Vienna sausages from Juvy. After eating, we rested a bit and finally had our fun at the beach.

The beach of Nagsasa Cove was great! The sand was fine, the water sparkling but very cool during our stay there. It was also very shallow, still around our waistline even if we already ventured almost half-way to the sea.

Almost Sunset, Nagsasa Cove, Iba, Zambales

Almost Sunset

After a bit of a swim, we asked the local sari-sari store to cook us some Lucky Me pancit canton, each pack + paluto cost us P25. Everything was expensive on that island.

Nagsasa Cove, Iba, Zambales

Our suking sari-sari store

After that snack, we walked along the beach and discovered the “Toblerone Mountains” (as baptized by Juvy).

Toblerone Mountains, Nagsasa Cove, Iba, Zambales

Our Toblerone Mountains

And the sun finally set.

Sunset, Nagsasa Cove, Iba, Zambales

With the setting of the sun came the true camping part of our trip. It was time for the tricky showering part. We were a bit underprepared on lighting so we had to buy a couple of candles from the store to light ourselves while we washed off the beach. You see, electricity in Nagsasa is only from 2pm to 6pm. But in fairness to the shower stalls, each had a proper door with lock, a basic but functioning toilet and good water. Save for the dim candle-lit affair, it wasn’t that difficult (compared with my time at Calaguas).

After washing up, we had dinner where we ate the Spanish sardines I brought. After that, we spent the next 3 hours before bedtime, talking about the childhood games we used to play, back before technology overpowered our lives.

Stone House, Dare to Dream, Nagsasa Cove, Iba, Zambales

The stone house that kept us from freezing in the cold.

The next day, we got up a bit past 6am and got ready for our trek up one of the surrounding mountains. We initially couldn’t find the start of the trail so we spent a good time taking photos of the scenery around us.

Toblerone Mountains, Nagsasa Cove, Iba, Zambales, Philippines

When we did finally find the trail, we spent about an hour hiking up the mountain to get some top view of the beautiful Nagsasa Cove.

Moche, Nagsasa Cove, Iba, Zambales

Moche, leading the way of our morning hike.

Accenture Boys, Nagsasa Cove, Iba, Zambales

These guys let me take their photo when we reached the end of our hike.


Panorama, Nagsasa Cove, Iba, Zambales

Trying my panorama at the top of the mountain.

By the time we got down, I was already super hungry. We had another round of pancit canton cooked for us then we polished off some of the bread leftover from the previous day, some canned tuna and crackers. After breakfast, more sightseeing and beach bumming.

Mountains and Delta, Nagsasa Cove, Iba, Zambales

Yes, that’s my favorite subject.

The end of our trip was drawing near but first we had to have some lunch. We asked Ate Nita to cook us half a kilo of rice (P100), which we ate with some of the leftover adobo. After lunch, it was time for us to go back. Arsing fetched us around 2pm and we headed back to Pundaquit on a very wet boat ride.

After that, we took a tricycle back to San Antonio where we had another snack at the 711. Then, so as not to wait too long for a bus to Manila, we boarded an ordinary Victory bus going to the terminal in Olongapo. It was a really good move for us since we got there before the 6pm Pasay bus was full. We had seats on the bus and slept our way back to Manila.

Check out:  Nagsasa Cove Itinerary, Budget and Travel Tips

My trip to Nagsasa Cove was a really good one. Talking with the locals, we found out about plans to make roads on the mountains going to the Iba coves. It would definitely make Nagsasa and its beauty accessible to more people. But at the same time, it would make it even more prone to abuse. I’m afraid that the beauty of the Toblerone mountains would be destroyed with the roads and that the locals would start neglecting the environment for the sake of business. I can only hope that this would not be the case and that I could return to Nagsasa and still be mesmerized by its unspoilt beauty.

Nagsasa Cove, Iba, Zambales, Philippines, Asia

The Nagsasa Cove of Iba, Zambales



***All photos were taken using iPhone 5

January 16-17, 2015

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Jayce Cairo

Jayce is a linguaphile who speaks four languages and currently works as a translator to finance her various interests. Scoring very high on “Openness to Experience” on the Big Five Personality Test, she is an avid globetrotter who aspires to retire at 35 and travel for the rest of her life.


  1. Such a beautiful place. The photos makes me miss my hometown, Donsol.

  2. wow! the view up there is breathtaking! i love the idea how you all packed baon, very practical lang.

    and that Toblerone Mountain, maybe you can suggest the local government to make that official. haha!

    • Haha! It actually escaped my mind to ask the locals how that mountain was called. I’m sure it already has a name. But yeah, they could maybe market is as such… 😀

  3. Too bad some people don’t keep Mother Nature clean and green. They should have followed the principles of take nothing but pictures and kill nothing but time.

  4. Love the photos! Such a pretty sunset!

  5. What a lovely authentic trip! Nothing like immersion in a local culture with incredible scenery. I have a cousin who currently lives in the Philippines, but I have never been. Would love to go someday . . . . Great post!

  6. Your photos are amazing – I dont know if I would ever want to leave! I would totally just live in my swimmers and stay all year round!

  7. I can vaguely remember actually if I’ve been here or not — though I think I have! Probably a long time ago since now, I can barely recall haha! Anyhow, nice shots! 🙂 You make me miss the Philippines more and more!

  8. I can vaguely remember actually if I’ve been here or not — though I think I have! Probably a long time ago since now, I can barely recall haha! Anyhow, nice shots! 🙂 You make me miss the Philippines more and more! I especially miss the beaches of course

  9. Oh wow, that looks amazing. So much to see and do.

  10. Sounds like a great weekend getaway! Very relaxing! I'd love to spend a few weekends there.

  11. Unfortunate about the trash situation but that kind of thing can sadly be found almost anywhere 🙁 It really looks like a great getaway destination to explore and relax!

  12. What a beautiful place to spend some time in, thanks for sharing.

  13. Great photos Jayce!!!! Looks like you had an amazing time at the beach! 😀

  14. hi! can I get the contact no. of ate nita? tenks in advance..nice blog keep it up!

    • Hi Grace, I think it would be better to get in touch with Kap Erwell. There’s no signal at the Nagsasa Cove so you might not be able to reach Ate Nita. His number is: +63 939 902 5379. Enjoy your vacay and thanks for visiting my blog!

  15. Hi! Was wondering if you still have the contact details for Ate Nita? Me and my SO are planning a trip to Nagsasa next week 🙂

    • Hi Dong,

      There are no phone lines or signal at the Nagsasa Cove (and electricity) so it would be hard to contact Ate Nita directly. Better coordinate with Ms. Precilla who’s the owner of Dare to Dream. Good luck and have fun on your trip! =)

  16. Hi Jayce! Nice blog.. very informative.
    May I ask how much did you pay for the nipa hut (your humble cottage. hehe). Is it included in 150pesos overnight stay in stone house? Thanks =)

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