It has been four years since I last got the chance to escape from the busy life of Manila and breathe a fresh and unpolluted air. Thus, when this year’s summer time approached, I felt that it was time for me to pack my bags and fulfil my wanderlust once again.
Originally planned as a summer trip to Ilocos, our getaway was diverted to the nearer Talisayen Cove in Zambales due to time constraints and earthquake reports in the mentioned area during our scheduled trip. But despite the change of plans, Talisayen did not fail to let us re-experience nature once again.
Nestled between the popular Anawangin and Nagsasa Coves, Talisayen is the quieter version of its neighboring counterparts. Based on research, less number of people visit the place during peak season and used to be privately-owned until it was opened to public. Similar with its siblings, the beach boasts of clear waters and fine sand with a backdrop of a nearby mountain.
Wanting to have a quiet summer break without dealing with the surge of people, I decided to choose the place as a replacement for our postponed Ilocos trip and made an itinerary. For this trip, I tapped my brother and a friend to join me in this escapade. Check out the list below for the itinerary I made for this getaway:
5:00AM – Depart for San Antonio, Zambales
10:00AM – Arrive in San Antonio; Travel to Pundaquit Beach
10:30AM – Arrive at Pundaquit Beach; Travel to Talisayen Cove
11:15AM – Arrive in Talisayen Cove
*I did not make any plans in between to enjoy our stay in the place.
5:00PM – Depart for Pundaquit
5:45PM – Arrive at Pundaquit; Eat Dinner at Paraiso ng Pundaquit
7:00PM – Travel to San Antonio town proper
7:30PM – Depart for Manila
12:30AM – Arrive in Manila
Same thing with what happens to life, we weren’t able to fully follow our plan and needed to adjust the times as demanded by the situation. In the bus station, we weren’t able to make it to the 5AM trip to Iba and needed to wait for the 7AM trip instead to board the next bus. Traffic in the cities we’ve passed by made the trip longer making us reach San Antonio by 12PM.
Upon arriving in the town, we decided to take a break and eat lunch in a small eatery near the national road called SaGoat Ko. The place serves typical Filipino dishes like dinuguan and binagoongan which we ordered and sabaw ng kambing (goat soup). The servers were really nice and hospitable but the food was bland and not that good. Nonetheless, the eatery is the only place that we managed to find which have a bathroom that is available for use.
By late 1PM, after buying rice in the town’s market and trying to revive my broken phone (HUHU), we were finally able to continue the trip and head to Pundaquit beach –the jump off point to Talisayen Cove. From the town proper, you can easily get to the beach by riding a tricycle near the bus stop and tell the driver that you’re heading to Pundaquit. The fare for the ride is ₱30 per head. Also expect to be stopped by some volunteers of the tourism office along the way as they will ask for an environmental fee which costs ₱20 per head.
Upon reaching Pundaquit, some boatmen will approach you and offer a boat ride going to your destination. One can opt for this service but since we already has arranged plans with a boatman before the trip, we declined.
Kuya Joven (Mobile Number: 0915-959-9595) was the person who arranged our boat ride going to Talisayen. Based on what I’ve observed, he seems to be the one in-charge in arranging and assigning tourists to their respective boatman. We availed his package that included the boat ride going to and from your destination, camping fee, tents, cooking utensils and five gallons of water for ₱2000. After placing these and our things in the boat, we found ourselves marveling at the beauty of the sea and rock formations in the next 30 minutes of our trip.
By 3PM, we finally reached Talisayen Cove. It was kind of awkward in the first place because our things were dropped off in front of this sari-sari store and were left without any idea on what we should do next. Eventually, we were accommodated by one of the locals and assisted us on setting up our tent.
Contrary to what I’ve expected, the camping site was a little bit crowded when we arrived making us to miss the chance of setting up the tent with the best view of the sea. Nonetheless, this number diminished during the latter part of the day after some of the campers left allowing us transfer to a better spot in the site.
The camping place is complete with bathrooms and a water pump that visitors can use for free. However, future visitors should take note that the water supply in these bathrooms are limited. During our stay, water was not available during the day. Cottages, tables and benches are also available for rent.
In terms of supplies, there is only one sari-sari store that we’ve seen that provides most camping necessities like food, charcoal and ice. Phone charging is also available in the store if there is power. Nonetheless, one should also take note that prices of the items here are costly as the owner needs to bring the supplies all the way from the town proper to the cove.
The locals were very nice and accommodating to the visitors’ needs. Ask them to help you set a fire and they’ll happily help you out. They always ensure that the place is always clean and I personally saw one of them cleaning the bathrooms during the night.
During our first and only night at the cove, we decided to skip the usual campfire and roasting of marshmallows and went stargazing instead. Stars can be clearly seen from the place and the darkness of the surroundings instantly makes one forget the world and reflect on life. The breeze coming from the sea as well as the soft fine sand is perfect for a sober talk with someone. We were also lucky enough to see the moon throughout our entire stay outside.
The following day, we managed to wake up at around 6AM and explore the entire stretch of the cove.
The rightmost part of the place is the rockiest and has a pond that resembles a look similar to ones found in Western countries’ forests. This part also has the best view of the nearby mountain.
The middle part of the cove has the finest sand and is a home to another camping site which is more commercialized compared to the one where we stayed. The place even has loud speakers that played pop songs during the previous night. Camping is also possible in this side of the area under the agoho trees. Also found in this part is a net that surrounds a small portion of the sea as well as a floating cottage.
The leftmost part of the cove has small white concrete raised houses which we are uncertain if available for rent. Also present on this side is a cold stream that, when crossed, will lead you to the trail going to the semi-manmade balcony that gives an entire view of the cove. The view from here is stunning and is definitely a must-see if you find yourself in the place one day. If you want to get a better view of the cove and the nearby islands, hiking to the top of the mountain is also possible. (We did not do the latter though.)
In the afternoon, we were supposed to be picked up by our boatman at 6PM but, much to our relief, were picked up by 3PM instead. He told us that the group he’s supposed to pick at 4PM is still sleeping and decided to take the opportunity to take us back earlier. (Good thing though as I have no idea what time we are going to reach home if we departed by 6PM because the trip home was longer.)
Generally, Talisayen Cove is a beautiful weekend getaway that can be enjoyed better during the morning and the sunset. I really like the fact that the locals are working hard to keep the place clean and well-maintained. However, I do hope that the place will not get commercialized as I personally think this will ruin the camping vibes of the cove. In addition, I also felt bad to see the cut agoho trees in the left part of the place most especially when I saw in earlier pictures that there are more trees present in the cove before.
- Before riding the boat, change in to flip flops and shorts and make sure to put you’re gadgets in ziplocks to prevent them from getting wet. The waves on the way will make you drenched. Sunglasses will also help to shield your eyes from the splashes of the waves.
- Put your phone in airplane mode upon arrival in the place to save battery life as there is no phone signal in the place.
- Bring powerbanks and flashlights.
- During our trip, high tide was in the morning while low tide was during the night.
- Bring padlocks for your tents. I’ve read a post that there are kids who take foods from campers’ tents. We weren’t able to experience this but better to be safe than sorry.
- Practice the “Leave no trace” rule for God’s sake.
Expenses (as of April 2017)
- Bus from Victory Liner Cubao Terminal to San Antonio, Zambales – ₱293
- Tricycle going to Pundaquit – ₱30
- Environmental Fee – ₱20
- Boat Rental with Camping Fee, Tents, Cooking Utensils and 5 Gallons of Water (Good for 4 Persons) – ₱2000 (Payment is made after the boatman took you back to Pundaquit)
- Table Rental – ₱100
- Tricycle going to San Antonio – ₱30
- Bus from San Antonio to Cubao – around ₱265 (I forgot the exact price hehe)