You Have Something To Say

Credits: JSprague TW dialog template; LivE SSun Fun paper pack (grass, maraschino and paisley skies); JWilson’s Rejuvinate and Reaffirm flower element.

We could hear assertive arguments in the background.  When the other party left, we asked what that was all about.  You said that they were from the other island pressuring to discuss developments of the island.  Explicit in your battle to protect your land and resources, you struggle to preserve your indigenous culture and tradition.  An admirable task and we are with you in your struggle for existence in this world dominated by us, the “unats” – straight haired.

Mang Augusto and many like him have been struggling for existence after the Pinatubo eruption.  They are descendants of indigenous people who lived around Mt. Pinatubo of Luzon for thousands of year.  The Aytas or Aetas were forced into evacuation centers and many have been relocated throughout the country when tens of thousands of them were displaced by the dramatic eruption of Mt. Pinatubo.  Ash and lahar covered their homes and destroyed the forests, rivers and fields that had ever since supported their livelihood and this historical disaster radically changed their world in June of 1991.

Enjoying life in Nagsasa Cove

Although they were among the first to inhabit the Philippines, they have been facing the same problems as other indigenous people in the Philippines – how to secure a land to make a living, enhance their human, civil and ancestral rights given that they can no longer live separate from the outside world nor maintain their basic source of livelihood.

Nagsasa could be the next hot spot and may soon be at risk from commercialization,

which could probably strip the caretakers of the cove from their domain, this time by us, the “unats”.

The Secret Is Out!

Tent… check, sleeping bag… check, therma rest… check, swimwear… check, sunblock… check, pasta, pasta sauce and chorizo… check… cook set… check and the list goes on.  These however, are the essentials needed for an overnight trip to Nagsasa Cove.

Credits: J. Sprague You are Awesome Paper kit (Blue Leaf & Brown Red), Framers; LivE’s Worn Kraft tag, Sing 4 Spring elements (Button Accent 02 & Fight of the Bbee)

My friend S had been itching to make a trip there ever since she learned of Nagsasa.  And so the weekend after our Northern Samar trip, we were up early, traveling north to what we thought was a secret paradise.  Punta de Uian Resort in San Antonio, Zambales to be exact.

The boat we hired from Punta de Uian

A resort kind enough to take us to Nagsasa (for a fee, of course) even if it was not part of the trips they offer.

Off to Nagsasa…

Wondering why hire a boat through a resort?  I want my car parked safely in a parking lot while we camp out on a cove 8 kms away.   Better safe than sorry right?

The view on our way

Nagsasa is supposedly less popular than Anawangin perhaps because it takes twice as long (about 45 mins) to get to Nagsasa from Pundaquit Beach.

The approach

Arrival (looks empty)

So imagine how stunned we were at first to see scores of campers spread out on the crescent shaped stretch of beach, maybe having the same thoughts as ours, which is… “why are they all here?”

Water so still

Perhaps it was the long weekend and everyone who knows about Nagsasa had the same idea, or perhaps it is the magnificent paradise that makes it difficult to remain a secret for long.

Whatever it is, we were happy to be among those who were enjoying this wondrous cove with breathtaking Mt. Nagsasa serving as backdrop to a pristine stretch of ash colored sand.

Once we got off the boat, we looked for our little corner, Mang Augusto and his family lives beside our campsite, making him the caretaker.

Siblings – Mang Augusto’s kids

We had a picnic table for our meals and our chit chats.

We also had a bathroom just at the back, which I truly appreciate, never mind that it didn’t have a light, what are headlamps for anyway?

Our starters:  Greek and Chinese — an obvious lack of coordination… yummy just the same.

After we settled, we pitched our tent and then prepared our meal… we burned our rice (it was not easy using the aluminum cook set, really!).  Mang Augusto’s wife cooked 2 kilos of rice for us for only P100 ($2).  Way too much for 5 so we had it for breakfast, lunch and dinner and there were still left overs.  So here’s the tip: don’t even bother to cook rice when you can have it cooked for you (for practically a song).   😉

Nagsasa (and Anawangin and perhaps others as well) emerged after the violent eruption of Mt Pinatubo in 1991.

The eruption actually changed the landscape of Zambales producing these coves of ash sand beach lined with Agoho trees stretching inland, rendering a beach so impressive.

So how did such a tree find its way to this part?  It is said that these trees were non-existent prior to the eruption and that the seeds of the trees came from the ash expelled by Pinatubo.

Streams and waterfalls dry out during the summer

How amazing is our God to reward us with unexpected loveliness after nature spewed out its fury?  Perhaps it is His way of reminding us that like a rainbow after a storm, something beautiful invariably comes after a tragedy.  Ain’t that a comfort?

Here are more snaps at different times of the day.

A bangkero (boatman) having breakfast

Sunset

More huts for rent

At sunrise (I didn’t wake up early enough   😉 but pretty impressive just the same)

Mt. Nagsasa

Nagsasa Cove from the boat

And I leave you with this last shot (simply magic)   🙂