Just like my previous successful outdoor adventures, I’ve spent some time planning and researching for it. Nagsasa was been in my wish lists of the places I want to see with my own two eyes. And a place to paddle too….
As a nature lover, photo-collector (dyahe sabihing photographer), camper and a kayaker, Nagsasa Cove perfectly fits all in. Let me share my stories…
No matter how hard and carefully you plan, there are really circumstances beyond your control. And for the cases like that, just leave it to God and He will do it for you. Me and my family went to Victory Liner terminal in Caloocan before midnight. Intendedly midnight to ride the last trip to San Antonio, Zambales. But to my surprise, there were a lot of passengers and all trips for that day was fully booked. It was school calendar ending and a lot of students going home. The queue was long even for the chance passengers. Since we were not able to get tickets, we decided to wait at the waiting area, for the first trip at dawn. Buses come and go, but still a lot of passengers at the departure area.
After maybe an hour there killing time, the dispatcher approached us. Asking where will be our destination. I told him, to Zambales but we were not able to get tickets. “Okay, I will help you get a bus.” Wow! We were so blessed. Thanks God, I never expected that.
We arrived at San Antonio past three am. Thanks to that kind-hearted dispatcher. If not for him, we were still there at the waiting area. The town was already alive at that early morning. A lot of local tourists, campers, mostly students and young professionals maybe.
After buying our necessary supplies from the nearby market (only a couple of stalls has opened), we took a trike going to Pundaquit beach. The jump off beach for different destinations. It’s still dark, so we rested inside the cottage, probably owned by the boat owner whom we have contracted. When the day breaks, we’re off to the water. The boat was small. Maybe just enough for the four of us. But risky for the big waves. Since it is small, it took us more or less two hours traversing along the coasts. We reached Nagsasa at past 7:00 am. As part of the plan, I have already in mind an ideal place to camp. Every time I go to a tourist destination, I always wanted to be off the crowd. (read my blog about Caramoan adventure). Another criteria, I want near the body of water. But the owner (or care taker), was charging us higher than I expected. Part of my planning was reading blogs, written by those who have been to that particular place so I know the average charging.
We moved to other area. Inside the compound of the care taker. His name was Mang Eddie and Ate Celia. They have an enclosed t&b and supply of fresh water coming from the mountain. We set up our tent, and inflated my kayak and rest. The sun was high and scorching. After our lunch, each of us found our own space for siesta. Me and my two kids slept on sand, while my wife slept on her hammock which she haggled from a vendor at San Antonio.
When the tide was high, I left my family still sleeping soundly. The sun was still high, but I thought to myself, I can’t explore the place when the tide goes low.
The feeling was overwhelming as I paddled along the creek. Before, I was only dreaming for this place. Envied the photos in the net. But now, I’m seeing it myself. Taking pictures myself. The color of the mountains was brownish. But it turns out green during rainy seasons. I think, this creek is being called by bloggers “the marlboro creek“. Because it is similar to the commercial of the said cigar. There are also agoho trees in the area, Which was started to grow only after the Mt. Pinatubo eruption in 1991.
When my wife woke up, we paddled there again and show her the place. When we got back to our camp, we were thirsty so we went to the sari-sari store by the beach. And bought the most expensive soft drink in my whole entire life hahaha. Seventy pesos lang naman ang 1.5 liter.
We stayed there by the beach for three days and 2 nights. Another dream come true. Another memorable adventure.
Biri Rock Formations was been dreamed/planned for almost a year after my Caramoan adventures in summer 2012. Just like Caramoan, it was a long and tiring trip even my point of origin was only from Sorsogon. But tiredness has gone, when I saw the place.
A minimum of one hour bus ride from my hometown-Sorsogon City to Matnog, Sorsogon. Then another more than 1 hour trip in a ferry boat accros San Bernardino Strait (Matnog to Allen). Another 30-45 mins trike ride from Allen port to Lavesares; Another 1 hour boat trip from Lavesares to Biri Island; and lastly 15 min habal-habal ride from Poblacion Biri to Rock Formations. Just check some other blog entries if you are coming from other places like manila or southern samar.
Along the way when you ride habal-habal, you’ll stop in a tourism post for registration and pay entrance fee of 50 pesos. You will be given a flyer about the rock formations and the tourism rules and regulations. Camping was not allowed, but thanks God they allowed us by convincing them that we are responsible campers. Kayaking was not prohibited but (not mentioned in their flyer). The habal-habal drivers later told me that I was the first to bring kayak there. I’m not sure if they (tourism) were aware that inside our big duffle bag was a kayak.
It was low tide when we arrived. A little bit disappointed ‘coz we need to wade the water to reach the rock formations. After setting up my kayak, we started to wade our way to the rock formations. Our belongings were wrapped in a transparent plastic bags and tied in the kayak. But when we were at the middle between the formations and the shore, the water is only below knee level, so I decided to leave kayak behind. I just tied it between two rocks. We continue to wade our way. There are portions that the water is chest level. Watching my buddy clicking pictures as she find wer way in between rocks, I was worried my camera could submerge anytime if she lost her balance.
We spent our morning exploring/shooting the area. We climbed the first rock formations named “Magasang”. It was easier to climb just like climbing the stairs of a stadium. It was a breath-taking view up there. I didn’t reach the peak, but it’s good enough to see other rock formations behind each other. you could also see from above the natural pools with crystal clear waters. The people swimming in the pool looks so tiny against the size of the pool. You could see the gigantic waves crushing agains the giant rocks. Watching open sea, wondering what kind of fish it could offer if I try to fish. Fishing was part of the plan before. But later realized that it’s not a good combination with photography and kayaking.
At noon time, we cooked our lunch under the canopy rock of Magsapad. First time to used my camping stove and It satisfied me. While cooking the rice, I decided to leave to take the kayak from where I left it. It was totally grounded by the low tide. I took first our belongings and returned back to take the kayak. More than 25 kilos plus a gusting wind that blows me sideways, took time to reach the rock. And need to carry it for extra meters ’cause my partner changed our camping area for lunch. She found an elevated area at eastern part of Magsapad. Luckily there was a group of teens that helped me carry the kayak. Thanks to them. After lunch, wasted no time, applied some sunblock and explored again the area. We climbed a big rock that the texture is similar to a lean concrete textured by the pouring rain. Yes it’s rough like that. I saw her capturing the big waves crushing from behind the rocks. Holding her month-old Samsung Note1 capturing the waves. I shouted at her, it might get wet. I joined her with my gopro. She sat at the edge waiting for the waves to crush behind her. With my gopro on, I videoed her having fun with the waves. But I was worried, one big wave could swallow her and take her to the open sea. We walked from Magsapad to Macadlaw. Along the way capturing, videoing anything that interests us. Macadlaw is a rock island with two coconut trees and vegetations on her top. I also noticed a fossil-like giant set of teeth. Thinking, what might archaeologist might explain about it. There is a perfect spot up there for camwhores. A rock near the cliff, almost cantilevered from the main rock island. If you’re on top, you could see the other nearby rock formations. Our kayak and our camp was not visible anymore from Macalaw. But Magsapad itself on west side is visible. On eastern side, it could be “Bel-at”, “Caranas” or whatever. Macadlaw is also ideal as camp site, but we were thinking of moving back to Magasang so that it’s near where were dropped by the habal-habal drivers. My Gopro’s battery ran out. Sad to say that I lost my chance of shooting underwater. I’ve had enough memories, but not enough energy.
Before sunset, we decided to transfer our camp at Magasang to spend our night there. We carried all our belongings (again) from Magsapad to Magasang. If it’s only high tide, I don’t need to carry them all including the kayak. I could have just paddled to trasnfer. It’s good that there is a plain surface at Magasang. Very ideal for setting up our tent. Maybe only two meters above the water level. Even the kayak, we ‘parked’ near our tent anticipating the hightide at night. We finished off the day with a light dinner.
Inside the tent was, was hot. Oh no, it’s not what you are thinking. It’s literally hot. Though it’s windy outside, it bounce off the rock wall behind our tent. I was thinking of getting out the tent and sleep outside. Woke up early morning to catch the sunset. And had photographed our basecamp. After breakfast, we swam and snorkeled at natural pool. there were fishes under. I was thinking to fish last night but my foot aches and got blisters. My aqua shoes was comfortable at first, but got blisters and wounded later. When the tide was high enough for paddling, we packed up our things and paddled in between mangrooves. If it was only high tide yesterday when we arrived, we could have seen the other rock formations. We paddled back, planned to dock at the foot of the stairs of the viewing deck opposite to Magasang. But when we were there, I found it difficult to hold still. The current was strong. So decided to land on shore instead. We saw two habal-habal arrived. We thought that they are our drivers yesterday. And we were right. They said, they thought they might not received our text when we will be picked up because the signal of globe in the island is poor. (but we’re using smart). I paddled a few more before I docked from were we started yesterday. We deflated our kayak and packed inside the bag and go.
There is a public bathroom at poblacion where you could wash away the sea water in your body. there is no fixed rate, only donation. There was no scheduled trip to Lavesares. The boat also bound to Matnog left early morning around 7 am. So we decided to proceed to Bgy. Sto. Nino, as suggested by our habal-habal drivers. Luckily, there was a boat there to Lavesares. But we waited for a few more passengers. After waiting for more than hour, we’re off to go. Goodbye Biri, hoping to come back someday to see other rock formations.
Feeling excited for the coming summer 2013. My annual vacation, Having so many dreams and plans to do for this year’ but since my budget is limited, some might not turn into reality this year. Just watch out, for whatever activities I might pursue. Some in my wish lists are: Exploring the rock formations of Biri, Samar; camping at Malawmawan Island, Castilla, Sorsogon, etc.
I was always being fascinated by the bodies of water. Beaches, rivers, lakes and ponds. Even a simple puddle catches my interest.
But here in Saudi, it’s very rare. Not unless you are in coastal provinces like Jeddah, Jubail, Khobar, Rastanura and Qatif. Riyadh, where I work is in the middle of the desert. I was surprised when I discovered on Google Earth that Riyadh has a river. Just a few kilometers from the city center, there is a stream called “Wadi Hanifah”. I need to see this, I told myself.
One weekend (Friday is the weekend here), I decided to pursue my curiosity. I took a taxi and asked if he knows Wadi Hanifa. You will not be surprised if all the taxi drivers here always said “Yes” but don’t assume that they really know the place. I made a sketch to guide him the route.
When I was there, I couldn’t believe that Riyadh really has a river (with water of course) because there’s a lot that looks like a river but are dried. But this one, the current was strong and the water is clear. You could even see tilapias in the water. Yes, I’m sure those are tilapia. But the overwhelming joy inside me was mixed with worries. That place is a park and a lot of people having their weekend picnic. Photography at public places here in Saudi is still risky. There are also mobile car of the park keeper trailing along the river from time to time. I walked at the far end of the park hoping to have a spot without arabs. I’ve had already sat up my tripod and beginning to compose when I’ve heard a fat saudi yelling at me. He is with his wife (covered with black cloth). Since they are some meters away from me, I just made a sign language telling him I am only shooting the river. And then I saw his angry face, and the motion of his hands telling me to move away. Haiissst…
I walked back into the middle of the park. I decided to better have a quick snap rather than try for a long exposure. In the end, it was another memorable experience here in KSA.
So far I don’t have a story yet. Maybe this summer I could fill this page with stories and photos…..