Overnight Camping at Nagsasa Cove: Trip Guide and Itinerary

In a nutshell, a cove is a usually circular or oval-shaped body of water partly enclosed by land with a narrow opening where its waters meet the ocean, lake or river. NatGeo defines cove as a "sheltered bay" as its characteristic deviates slightly from a bay which has a larger mouth. I just learned what a cove is and felt this urge to share that.

The town of San Antonio, Zambales prides itself with several coves extending from the West Philippine Sea. Anawangin Cove is perhaps the most famous among these known coves such that its fame gave way to the popularity of other coves — the equally idyllic yet larger and less touristy Nagasasa Cove for instance.

Nagsasa Cove

How to Get to Nagsasa Cove

By public transport
  • Hop on a Victory Liner bus bound for Iba or Sta. Cruz, Zambales and ask the driver to get you off at San Antonio. Fare: around PHP 280-320 from Cubao terminal, depending on the route the bus will take which is either via San Fernando, Pampanga or via SCTEX; Travel time: 4-5 hours depending on the time of the day
  • Tricycles that will take you to the coastal community of Barangay Pundaquit are readily available at the terminal in San Antonio town proper. Fare: PHP 30 per person; Travel time: 15 minutes

By private car
  • Take the San Fernando exit of North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) and drive past the towns of Guagua and Lubao in Pampanga; Dinalupihan and Hermosa in Bataan; Olongapo, Subic, Castillejo, and San Marcelino in Zambales. Once you reach San Antonio town hall, drive straight ahead then turn left as soon as you see a small signboard pointing to Pundaquit beach.
  • Or perhaps the fastest route is continuing on from NLEX to Subic-Clak-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX) all the way to Subic Base Metropolitan Authority (SBMA). At SBMA, exit back to the national highway and drive past Subic, Castillejos, and San Marcelino.
  • There's an array of pay parking spaces and boat operators in Pundaquit to choose from. Once you get a boat operator, they can direct you to a trusted parking lot. Parking fees, overnight: PHP 200 (light vehicle); PHP 400 (bus).

Pundaquit Beach and Capones Island (on far end)
Pundaquit Beach and Capones Island (on far end)

Pundaquit is the jump-off point to the coves and nearby islands of San Antonio. Nagsasa Cove is an hour boat ride passing by Capones Island, Anawangin and Talisayin coves, and the stunning golden brown mountain landscapes and unique rock formations of Zambales. Boat ride fee: PHP 400 per head roundtrip, inclusive of side trip to Capones Island and a cottage in Pundaquit beach; Boat capacity: 20 persons; Contact: Renee - (+63)9086428236 / (+63)9166611252

What To Do in Nagsasa

  • Take a plunge at the beach
  • Sweat out with beach volleyball
  • Trek for more than an hour to a chase a waterfall
  • Take a 20-minute trek up a hill and catch the sunset at the summit
  • Cliff dive to your heart's content
  • Behold the dazzling backdrop of Nagsasa Cove; the boat ride itself is already an opportunity for sight-seeing
  • Set up a bonfire, gather around and chug down with your friends
  • Relive your Boy Scout/Girl Scout days by spending the night in a tent
  • Take a side trip to the nearby islands and coves

Bonfire night in Nagsasa

Trip Notes

  • Purchase all your camping needs at San Antonio market, e.g., food stocks and potable water for the entire stay. There are sari-sari stores at the cove that offer goods being sold at an atrocious price; it's more than double the SRP.
  • Try to haggle on the rate imposed by the boat operator. They are kind enough to give you a discount especially if you're on a big group.
  • Arrive early in the morning if you want a smooth sailing boat ride as the sea is calm at this time of the day. But if you're into braving the rough percussion of the waves, hop on the boat between 1PM to 2PM. Just wear your life vest for safety. Bon voyage!
  • Expect a huge number of travelers on weekends of summer, but worry not as it doesn't get too crowded.
  • Mobile signals are existent up to Pundaquit but non-existent once you reach the cove.
  • Nearest ATMs are located in San Antonio town proper.
  • Trek up a hill around 5:30 PM and delight yourself with the beautiful sunset and a scenic view of the entire cove backdropped with its Toblerone-ic mountains.
  • Have the store owners or some residents cook meals for you, just give them all the ingredients they need and enjoy the activities the cove has to offer.
  • Cliff diving spot can be reached by boat. Ask the owners of the boats docked at the shore if you desire to take that leap of faith.
  • Since the cove is fast becoming touristy, time may come that pesky flies will be camping with cove visitors. Do your share by picking up your own trash, not just burying them beneath the sands. Large garbage bins are all over the place after all.
  • Bring home at least a single bamboo-made souvenir item hand-crafted and sold by our Aeta brothers. They do not reside in Nagsasa, some of them take a mere 5-hour walk from their settlement areas to reach the cove and sell their crafts. A crumb from your travel budget will be of great help to them whose means of living depend on the number of items sold per day. Prices of souvenirs range from PHP 30-700.
  • Buses bound for Manila seldomly ply the roads of San Antonio town proper. Victory Liner bus terminal is located in Olongapo.
  • Expect a not-so-fancy comfort rooms and other rustic facilities that camping entails.

Aetas selling their crafts in Nagsasa Cove


  • Fare: PHP 700
  • Boat ride: PHP 400 per head
  • Entrance fee, Nagsasa: PHP 100 per head
  • Cooking fee: PHP 50 per kilo of any type (rice, meat, etc.)
  • Trekking fee for maintenance of the trail: PHP 10 per head
  • Bonfire: PHP 200 per bundle of wood
  • Kubo (cottage): PHP 200
  • Boat ride to cliff diving spot: PHP 50 per person
  • Souvenirs: PHP 100-200

w Itinerary: Overnight Camping at Nagsasa Cove

Day 1
7:00 AM : ETD Quezon City bound for San Antonio, Zambales
11:30 AM : ETA San Antonio, buy stocks at the marketplace
12:00 PM : ETD San Antonio market, bound for Pundaquit beach
12:15 PM : ETA Pundaquit, look for boat operator; take lunch
1:30 PM : ETD Pundaquit, seaward bound for Nagsasa Cove
2:30 PM : Touch down Nagsasa! Settle down and pitch your tents, look for locals to cook for you, marinate your barbeques for the bonfire night
3:30 PM : Enjoy the beach, cliff dive, play beach volleyball, pagurin ang sarili!
5:30 PM : Trek up the hill and catch the sunset
6:00 PM : Trek down, prepare the booze and your pulutan
7:30 PM : Flame up the bonfire, sit down, share hilarious stories and go crazy just because! Sleep whenever you want.

Catching the sunset at Nagsasa Cove

Day 2
7:00 AM : Take your breakfast
8:00 AM : Pack-up, leave no trace
9:00 AM : So long, Nagsasa; Visit Capones Island
10:15 AM : ETA Capones Island, take photos, climb up the towering rock formations
10:45 AM : ETD Capones, head back to Pundaquit
11:00 AM : ETA Pundaquit, enjoy the beach, take lunch, wash and kick away the itch
1:00 PM : Head back to Manila

Book ZAMBALES Hotels & Resorts with Discounts!

Pinoy Travelogue Experience: Charms of Nagsasa Cove


DJ Rivera is an I.T. professional, entrepreneur, travel blogger, writer and the online publisher of PinoyTravelogue.com based in Rizal province, Philippines. Click here to know more.

Let's connect:     

Powered by Blogger.