Coming Back to Nagsasa Cove
You compelled me to come back, and I did after six long years. But it was not easy. Weather forecast that day pegged chances of rain at 60%, which is not too high to postpone this trip. The smooth sailing from Pundaquit suddenly turned rough when we reached the mouth of the cove. Humongous waves battered us, literally rampaging our banca as I thought it would capsize. I told June, my companion, to wear a life vest for safety. The boatman instructed me to sit on the wooden plank to protect the engine from getting wet. Should water permeate the engine, it would shut down and then hold us stranded in the middle of the cove. I asked Manong if we could go a bit to the side of the mountain to veer away from the strong waves, but he said it would be much difficult to do it that way. We had no choice but to keep on and face the furiously cold wind and violent sea.
I never panicked. In situation like this, one needs to always have a presence of mind. Should something happen unexpectedly, you can swiftly and sensibly act towards safety. But it was overwhelming to witness how Mother Nature can be so cruel, so powerful. And all you can do is sway with the tide and be brave.
Fortunately, we heeded and followed instructions of placing our things in plastic bags, big enough to wrap them whole. With the help of waterproof canvas placed on top of them, we kept our belongings dry. We reached the shore wet and shivering yet relieved.
I first set foot on the secluded, beautiful Nagsasa Cove in April of 2010, returning in December of the same year. Back then, there were only a few huts sparsely scattered along the kilometer-stretch shoreline. Pine trees were not as abundant as it is today. Trekking to the small waterfalls was still possible. Now, it has been filled with hose pipes to augment the needs for fresh water, and the thicket along the way makes it even more impassable.
The river that meets the sea which was wide enough to appear like a lake considerably shrunk and changed course towards Mang Ador’s place, a known campsite on the northernmost part of the beach back in the days. Nature claimed its rights, eroding a huge portion of this area. Not too far from where we used to swim, a sandbar has formed that’s visible at low tide. Although campers who prefer a little bit of privacy and quietude can still stay here, heavy silt has made this side of the beach less ideal for swimming. And very sadly so, Mang Ador passed away not quite long ago. His humble abode is no longer standing there. Only the most comfortable concrete shower and toilet available at his place is the only remnant of the beautiful past.
Much have changed in Nagsasa Cove. The middle portion of the beach is where the action is today. There are cluster of resorts where huts with tables are available for rent. There are sarisari stores. Gas-powered electricity is available though at a limited time. A cliff diving spot has been discovered and is one of the main attractions of Nagsasa. Surfing lessons are available too. Trekking is now possible further up into the mountain. Unfortunately, as anywhere else, litter is becoming a problem. Campers are advised to bring their trash with them when leaving.
If there would be things that remained the same, Nagsasa still has the traditional nipa hut (Php200) and tent accommodation. No concrete rooms. No cellphone signal. Transportation is still the same but more organized. Camping fee is still at Php100 per person. Banca rental is at Php1,500.
I can’t help but reminisce the past. I can still clearly remember things as they were before. In fact, one local actually recognized me when I told stories of the not-so-old days.
Despite the transformation that’s seeping through, Nagsasa Cove has not lost its charm, its tranquility and beauty. And as always, you don’t camp here to party but to relish the peace of detachment this place brings to your heart.