December 13, 2015


Project 25 wouldn't have been a success without a birthday getaway. And for that very special weekend, where I celebrate the onset of my late-20s, camping in Nagsasa Cove (for itinerary and budget, click here) was the plan. 

Having a rather spontaneous, half-baked first time camping experience and an even more unprepared consciousness for the stories of paranormal activity in its sister cove, Anawangin, I returned to the mountainous coast of Zambales with my closest kin, just a bit more primed and mentally equipped. 

With only a few days' notice and no experienced camper in the group, we had to make do with stock knowledge and available set of skills. It's quite interesting, actually. After all of our trips together this year, where we had experienced first class service and luxurious amenities, this setting was a 180 degree turn and a definite eye opener. It taught me that to optimize the camping experience, your group could consist of the following personalities:

the chef
Thank god we had a chef with us. It doesn't take a genius to feed yourself and others but not everyone is exactly knowledgeable around the marketplace. It is an important task for someone to pick out fresh produce, especially when you get to your destination later in the day. Cooking for a group of 3 isn't like cooking for a group of 10. It's helpful to have someone in the group who knows his measurements and proportions to minimize waste. Food is an important part of the whole camping experience. 

Survivor tip: Before heading to Nagsasa Cove from the Pundakit jump off, stop by the San Antonio Market to get your stash for the entire weekend. Prices triple in the camp site. 

the handyman
Do you know how to properly start a fire? Or fix a broken tent? Name it and he's gotta be able to fix it. It's not about being overly prepared that you've your whole life in your backpack. Camping is synonymous to basic, compact, and lightweight. It's about having the genius and the mad skills to deliver when a situation calls for it. 

Survivor tip: Invest in a Swiss knife. This handy dandy tool has knicks and knacks that can save even the most underprepared explorers (like us).

the navigator
Before even leaving your current location, the navigator checks the best route towards your destination. Nowadays, people rely heavily on Waze and GPS but it's convenient to have someone in the group who is geographically and spatially inclined. His navigation skills help make your journey more organized and flawless. He keeps track of the path when you're exploring the unknown and can naturally retrace your steps back home. He knows how long it takes to get to certain places and dictates the time you have to start climbing the trail to get a perfect view of the sunset. He helps you create the perfect Instagram post when he takes you to hidden spots. 

Survivor tip: Check out as many blogs and websites as you can about the place. More resources lead to more accurate conclusions. Find out which is best suited to your budget and needs. Look for hidden spots, approximate travel time, schedule of activities, etc. 

the entertainer
It is often typical to crave company in the absence of the digital and urbanized forms of entertainment we've so gotten used to. The entertainer starts the icebreaker with his corny jokes and punny statements. He makes people drink 'til they forget their names. His extroverted and interpersonal skills can land you the best deals and exclusive local sites and deals. The outgoing one of the bunch makes sure that your trip is always one for the books. 

Survivor tip: Although you won't be able to use your phones to communicate with the outside world, keeping it fully charged is a must for music, games, and photography. There's no power source in Nagsasa (well, at least none free of charge) so make sure to pack your power banks. 

the archivist
Always fidgeting with his camera and keeping receipts of transactions, the archivist takes care of paperwork and documentation for the whole trip.  Something that is easily overlooked because of all the fun you're probably having. He takes note of the expenditures and does the math when it's time to split the bills and expenses at the end of the trip.

Survivor tip: List down all your expenses no matter how insignificant. This will serve as a baseline for the budget of your next trip. It allows you to estimate future costs and helps you determine the things that can be eliminated or you can do without. In our case, these were household condiments, candles that were worth a fortune in the island, etc.

the environmentalist
Camping allows you to have a solid one-on-one with nature. And though we're all familiar with the golden rule in all its forms (clean as you go, leave nothing but footprints & take nothing but photos, etc.), we may still need a reminder from time to time. To enjoy the beauty of nature for generations to come, we have to do our best to preserve it. The environmentalist makes sure that your trip leaves the least impact and reminds everyone about this important duty. But not everyone in the group is always willing to clean up after someone. Who knows where that piece of wet tissue has gone through? So having an eco-conscious friend who's wiling to get down and dirty is definitely an asset and a convenience.

Survivor tip: Try to refrain from using disposable items (no matter how convenient) to eliminate your waste and reduce your environmental impact.