Saturday, June 16, 2012

Kwentong Kaladkarin #36: Capones Camp Out ala-Survivor

Da Where: Capones Island, San Antonio, Zambales
Da When: May 20-21, 2012
Da Who: me, Deej, Jam, Zee, Adam, Leo, Mark, Iggy and Ron
Da Word for Da Day: 'Gullible's Travel!' :D

I was still wiping off the cobwebs of sleepiness in my mind at around 0900H when Jam woke me up. I needed to break camp and pack up my tent and stuff before the boat carts us off to Capones Island just off the coast of Pundaquit. Breaking camp is always my hatest part of trip and this was not an exception, especially since I'd be doing this twice in one weekend. :D

Nagsasa Cove

The early morning sun was already relentless, beating down like a crazed lunatic with its burning rays. This is not good when you're still nursing an alcohol buzz from the night before. ;D While waiting for the boat, Deej and I enjoyed a cool bottle of soda from one of the nearby stalls that sells food items. Like I told you, it's so weird to get all these convenience in Nagsasa now when I first knew it as a deserted cove with no other person in sight.

Around 1000H, Kuya JR's boat finally arrived to whisk us to nearby Capones Island. From afar, the island looks like a half-submerged crocodile. It was nearly an hour before the boat's tip finally touched the white coral sand. We intially planned to spend Sunday night at the more-popular-therefore-more-crowded Anawangin Cove but after a quick agreement, we decided to stay at Capones Island instead.

The crocodile-shaped Capones Island

There were several boats offloading passengers the same time we did but none of them had all the camping stuff we brought. You see, unlike Nagsasa and Anawangin, there are no amenities in this government-maintained island and we'd have to full rely on our tents and supplies to keep us for the next 24 hours. Survivor mode on! :)

Adam play-acting as if he was helping reel in the boat. Pang-FAMAS! Hahaha! :D

The sun was smack in the middle of the sky so to avoid burning, we looked for shade first in the small stretch of white beach and dragged our heavy stuff. We broke off some ice chips from the blocks brought in the cooler and enjoyed sips of cold water. Funny how you start appreciating the small things when you only have bare essentials. :) We then enjoyed our lunch of pork adobo cooked and packed in Nagsasa while waiting for the sun to mellow a bit. Apparently, Jam said we were supposed to have daing too but for some reason, the fried fish went missing. :D

Our ever-reliable stevedores - Jam and Ron. ;D

We also initially planned to hike over to the other side of the island to see the famous Capones Lighthouse but it was too hot so we decided to stay by the beach. At around 1400H, we finally braved up and slathered on sunblock to enjoy the enormous waves and frolic in the sand. Since (surprisingly) most of us don't know how to swim, we borrowed life vests from the boatmen and enjoyed floating in the waters without fear of drowning.

The beach had relatively smooth crushed-coral sand but when you wade into the waters, your feet start hitting pebbles and larger stones that actually hurt. Even Mark and Iggy had scratches on their shins. Masochists that we are, we still screamed with delight every time a big wave rolls in, echoed by shouts of pain right after. Lol! :D

Sun, sand and solitude.
Waaaaaaves! :D
Getting the vests out. ;D
I think Adam enjoyed the uhhmm... extra body parts. :D

Red-skinned, wounded, bruised and grinning an hour later, we finally decided to start on pitching our tents so we can change to dry clothes and take naps. The sun was well behind the tall boulders by then so we enjoyed the luxury of the shade, the sand and the sound of waves lulling us to sleep.

There were still several visitors around but they started to dwindle down as the afternoon wore on. The rest of the guys started looking for twigs and branches we can use for our bonfire later on while Master Chef Jam, Zee, Mark and I started preparing dinner.

Pitching camp for the night.
The Nap Squad
The Grill Goddess

Just as it started to grow dark around 1800H, we roused everyone from their slumber so we can start enjoying our dinner of grilled pork chops, chicken wings, eggplant and sweet Zambales mangoes. We were literally dining beneath the stars! :) The bonfire was also lit and we enjoyed our sumptous evening fare in the glow of the firelight. Roasted marshmallows followed as a sweet, gooey dessert.

Dinner time! :D
Our bonfire. It burned our fingers roasting the mallows but all worth it. :D

We were supposed to have another brandy and beer session but fatigue and lack of sleep probably caught on that we started to disappear one by one into our tents. The rest just spread ground mats and earth pads in the sand and slept under the pitch-black night sky. There was no one else in the island save for another group of young men several meters away from us. It completely felt desolate and peaceful at the same time. I decided not to put the flysheet up in my tent to let the warm sea breeze in and I was dozing off in no time.

The next thing I felt was big fat drops of rain on my face that literally made me jump out of my tent and went scrambling for my eyeglasses and the darn flysheet I chose not to cover my tent with. There was a ruckus of activity in the campsite as my friends started looking for cover and making sure nothing non-waterproof is in plain sight. It  was still dark but the far horizon was already tinged with gray rain clouds. And the weather played a joke on us and stopped raining after 5 minutes. We ended up laughing and we decided to stay up since it was already past 0400H.

Booze and music.
Silhouette of a man's face.
Hot beef noodles, FTW! Barbecue stick chopsticks, even better! :D

The rest of the guys took out the now ice-cold San Miguel Pale Pilsen and the guitar to while away the time. Shying away from alcohol this time, I decided to just cook the beef noodles we brought so the rest can start having breakfast. Since we didn't bring any proper utensils, we used the leftover barbeque sticks as chopsticks while we devoured the hot noodles. As Adam put it, "How come these things are not readily available in the UK? This is really good when you're piss drunk!"

When the sun started peeking through the Zambales skyline, Leo, Jam, Zee and I decided we want to clamber up the boulders to get atop the 'head of the crocodile'. We saw a couple of the teenage boys camped near us do this the day before and we wanted to see if it's an easy trail up. Well, it actually wasn't. There were some sections where we only had several inches of rock to step on to get to the other side. Good thing it was a short trail, only took us about 15-20 minutes to get to the top. The pounding hearts and scratches were worth it though. The view was perfect from up there. :)

Healthy flushes. :D
Sunrises always brings a promise.
Capones Beach from a bird's eye-view.
Jam: San ako aapak sunod?
Leo: Ayan oh, sa 3-inch wide na batong yan.Hahahaha! :D
Descending. Fairly steep trail.

With only several minutes left before 0700H, our scheduled pick-up time with the boat, we hurriedly clambered down back to beach and started packing up our stuff. We sadly bade Capones goodbye and took the perennial-favorite jump shot before we climbed aboard and set off back to Pundaquit. We still had to endure another 4-5 hours bus ride back to Manila before officially closing our weekend.

Di pwedeng wala toh! :D Syempre I'm not there 'coz I'm the photographer. Haha!
Adieu, Zambales!
Ordinary-fare bus! ;D

Tired and tanned, we dragged ourseleves to work that night with weariness in our faces and smiles in our hearts. Yes, as cliche as that sounded, I couldn't resist. Where to next for Season 2? :)

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