Tag Archives: Mt. Pinatubo

#332 Anawangin Cove

A famous destination for fervent campers in Zambales province is the Anawangin Cove near the coastal village of Pundaquit in the town of San Antonio. Anawangin Cove has a rough, ash-colored beach (it is not white sand as a lot of people claim it to be) lined with Agoho Trees (Casuarina equisetifolia l.) – a large, evergreen, straight and tall tree resembling a pine tree.

These trees, which makes the place unique, stretch inland and the seeds of the trees were said to be brought by ash expelled by Mt. Pinatubo. There are no roads leading to Anawangin. It is only accessible by a 30 minute boat ride from Pundaquit, or by a six-hour trek through hot, open trails through the Pundaquit range.

The cove’s relative isolation has kept it free from development – as of this writing, there are no resorts on this sparkling piece of natural beauty, save for a few huts and deep wells. Just behind the beach is the pine forest and a marsh, where one can find natural springs feeding to the sea. The area is home to a number of bird species.

Mabuhay ang Anawangin Cove!

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#141 Olongapo

Unlike the rest of the Philippines which gained independence from the United States after World War II in 1946, Olongapo in Zambales province was the only area governed as a part of the United States naval reservation. It was only in December 1959 that Olongapo was returned to the Philippine government and converted into a municipality.

But even after relinquishing Olongapo, the presence of one of the world’s biggest US naval bases in Olongapo has turned the city into a symbol of US military might, making Olongapo synonymous to US colonial domination. With the presence of  the US military bases a thriving entertainment industry grew in Olongapo in the 1960s and 70s (and even up to the late 1980s), which in turned spawned social ills such as smuggling, chronic conflicts with erring US GIs and rampant prostitution that there was a time when “Olongapo girls” even connote “prostitutes” in Filipino slang.

The eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in 1991 badly damaged the naval complex and scuttled plans of the US military to aggressively push for the extension of the US-Philippine military treaty. The US naval facilities in Olongapo was finally converted  into a freeport after the Philippine Senate rejected an extension of a treaty with the US government in 1992. Today, the city has led in innovative urban management solutions and is often seen as a model to neighbouring municipalities.

Mabuhay ang Olongapo!

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