Sunday, September 4, 2011

Nagsasa Cove and Typhoon Mina

river crossing in mt nagsasa

Everyone knows about Nagsasa as the cove next to Anawangin, the more popular tourist infested cove accessed through Brgy. Pundakit in San Antonio , Zambales. Lately, my hike group had agreed to prioritize on mountains that have available water for wash such as falls, rivers, or beach. After Mt. Tarak, we have set for trekking Mt. Nagsasa.

team mt nagsasa cum typhoon mina

second major river in mt nagsasa had to be crossed with a rope

The date has been set, Aug 27-28. And 2 days before the scheduled climb, the weather bureau reports an imminent typhoon. By this time, everyone was saying “rain or shine, we’ll push it through.” However, the night before the climb, there has been serious hesitation as the storm signal rose to 4 on some areas, which no storm has gone such strong until so long ago. Back that up by the blogged casualties of hikers in Anawangin who did it at the middle of a typhoon.  Nevertheless, there has been no final decision about any alternative so everyone was still set.
The meeting time was at 7am in Petron Subic. It was a rainy morning, and though the seniors were a little late, good thing they still showed up.

trekking mt nagsasa

then heavier rains poured in mt nagsasa

As soon as they got off their vehicle and shook hands, the greeting was “are we pushing through, or we rather go All Hands Beach in Subic?” For one, I’d want it to push through; Second, All Hands beach does not strike an appeal at all.

darker rainclouds as we elevate in mt nagsasa
delirious in mt nagsasa
While we were waiting for them, we, the younger, more daring ones, were already talking about how to get them to agree. Since we have our contact person “Chief” already waiting in Jollibee along the Subic Highway, they agreed to talk it over with this person so we can have a first person point of view of the risks (though we consider the fact that there might be some misleading points in the talk since this person would want to make money).
We went to Jollibee and we let them talk with Chief along with our climb master. Meantime, I did not really bother about whatever decision there is. I saw a “tiangge” nearby and checked whether I could scout a raincoat. By the time I get back, it has been agreed that we’d get to the jump off point, make assessment, and then perhaps, push it through but in the event that we see any potential danger, we’ll back off.

major major

bad weather worst than mayweather
And so there we are...the sun’s just shone brighter. When we got to the jump off point, we fixed our stuff quite quickly so we could attract more optimism from the seniors. They had to raise some more hesitation, but again, our spirits and energy were high enough. We kicked it off with a prayer from Chief (who happens to teach Christianity among the aetas) and took the first step; It was almost 12noon then.

trekking Mt Nagsasa

my pants signed off and so i had to change to short format; trekking Mt Nagsasa

Everywhere is wet, and just a rough 200m away from the jump off point is a river. We crossed the river quite easily though some were soaking wet as the water was high up to their waste. It was still somehow bright, the view of the mountains and the falls were amazing, everybody forgot there’s actually a typhoon. It would rain every so often just as often as I’ll have to take and put in my raincoat. The trail was simple and easy I’d have to say; Towards the summit, we had to walk on the ridge, where the trail was perhaps only 12 inches in width. At one point, there was a wide rock which some had a difficulty hopping over. By the time we got up, the wind was blowing so strong; Luckily, the clouds were still clear and we got a nice view of the nagsasa beach. We had to take pictures clearly as we see the rainclouds approaching. A good 15 minutes break at the summit, we went ahead. We crossed another river and this time, we had to get assistance from the porters to assist in the crossing. From the summit forward, it was another 4 hours walk to the beach. There was a chromite mining we spotted along. Then, just half an hour before reaching the beach, there is another 40feet wide river that has to be crossed. This time, we held hands to cross through. Everyone would have already peed in their pants and washed it through the river.

major river 2 in mt nagsasa
another river to cross in mt nagsasa
By the time we got to the beach, we rushed to setup our tent as the winds blew strong. The ground was sand and the pegs can’t hold a good grip for the tent. Some had to get bamboo sticks to use as pegs. In our case, we pitched under the shaded cottages and dropped the tables so we could shield the wind pressure.  Two of the group’s tent got wet and so we had to fit in to each other’s tent. We also pulled the tables and laid them under the shaded cottages so others have somewhere to sleep. I had to sleep on a hammock I tied in the cottage.

where (rivers) ends meet! funnel that ultimately leads to the sea

this was sweet; final river crossing towards the beach in mt nagsasa
We had our regular dinner and had to finish off from fellowship very early; Everyone was just so sleepy because of the weather. The night was quite cold and unfortunately, I wasn’t so prepared with a blanket. All I had was a sweater and I had to fit my legs onto the sleeves just to get warm. By half past five, the rain dropped fast and strong. And even if we were already on a shaded cottage, we still got wet. We didn’t have a choice but to stand up and perhaps prepare for breakfast.

While we planned on staying for a while for beach activities, the waves were just so strong you’d think you’re in la union or aurora; Roughly 2 meters high.

final pic before descend

and this basin was almost empty the day before
By 9 am, we packed up. I cooked whatever could be cooked so we have some trail food; Thank God I did because it took us past dinner time already when we finished the trail.

you can't help swim it in the river

trekking Mt Nagsasa

the second to the last river had to be rappelled

It was a whole day of strong winds and rain. The rain was so strong you can’t even look back to see how far off others are. The pressure of the water drops would feel like being hit by a kid’s pellet gun. The wind was so strong you have to drop to your feet so it doesn’t blow you away, especially on the ridge part. The whole trail has just turned into a river stream. The rocks had been so loose that you have to check whether they’d roll or not before putting your whole body weight on it. Put all than in, plus the fact that I was on the ridge and on the summit, I got scared I must admit. You don’t see anything but white. In a matter of minutes, everything would be covered by nimbus clouds; would clear up for a good 2-3 minutes, and back to white again. And for those times that the cloud would clear up, I’d look at how far I am from the jump off point – hours to count. The only relief for me is the fact that it is a great experience to get through these challenges.

In crossing rivers, we had to tie a rope and rappel through, one at a time. Thank God one of the seniors brought one. Had we not have that rappel, there was no way we’d get through safe. We might have spent the day and night there. It was past 7pm when we crossed the final river. I didn’t even have a head lamp and thank God I had a Nokia basic phone with a flashlight that I turned off before the climb.
We were so relieved to finish it safe and sound. The danger wasn’t even potential; It was there. We just had to survive it. And since everyone was hungry, we agreed to drop by Aristocrat SBMA for a full dinner. Everyone’s leg were soar. One of the waiters had to ask why all of us in the very long table were walking strangely.


  1. wow..astig sir pala sir mga napuntahan niyo...saludo ako sa group niyo at mga ligaw trips..pero all in all..yan po talaga ang part ng ating mga adventure...
    gusto niyo palitan tau links and be friends...hehehe...^_^

  2. Sure po...nakafollow ako sa blog nyo. Di ko lang alam pano ifisplay yung blogroll.. Newbie lang ako sa blogging eh... :-)

  3. Hi! Thanks for Dropping by my blog! Great adventure you have here! Btw, you need a prior arrangement with National Power Corporation for your visit to BNPP. They cater to group tours kasi.

  4. Hi ding... Thanks for the advise. Glad u gave us a hint. Parang coto mines pla..

  5. hi sir, nice write-up.... btw, just want to ask if you still have your contacts sa guides and other logistics for the climb? if ever maybe we could talk po. thanks in advance and more power.

  6. Hi coldapoy, cencya na ngayn lang nakareply. Klangan mo pa ba? I'll see f i can get the details for u... Di ko sure kung anjan ba yung details kay climb master eh


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