I could still remember the first time I’d stepped foot on the beach cove of Anawangin, Zambales — the blackish-sand shore greeting a small forest of pines, countless tents pitched by overnight campers, and the cool water perfect for a summer swim. Today, tourists can expect to find its charm largely unchanged and with new resorts that offer more convenient and comfortable amenities to enjoy.
Here is our stay at Destinare Beach Resort and Campsite — one of the newest beach resorts in Anawangin, Zambales.
Destinare Beach Resort and Campsite is located at the far-left of the cove. It offers not just tents but also cottages and airconditioned rooms. It also has its own swimming pool, garden, and casual restaurant with various food options.
Our stay at Destinare Beach Resort and Campsite
I was invited here on February 2022, along with my boyfriend and other bloggers by the owners of Destinare Beach Resort. We drove from Manila and stayed here for a full weekend.
One of the things that the resort staff told us during the initial briefing is that the resort is not perfect, but the staff is doing everything they can so the guests can have an enjoyable stay. I understood the logistics of maintaining a resort where everything has to be bought from the mainland by water transport and I appreciated this honesty.
The resort is divided into four sections: two areas comprise the camping grounds, one for the cottages, and one for the villas. We were booked in an airconditioned villa at the back of the resort, with three beds and one bathroom.
Let me be honest here: even though our room is tagged as a villa, it’s not luxurious or high-end. I would say that it’s simply a large airconditioned room good for a group — there are almost no furnishings, but it’s still better than the usual accommodations on the island (i.e., tents or hammocks).
After setting down our bags, our group explored the grounds, including the indoor cottages, teepee huts, and tents.
And of course, the beach! It’s been so long since I’d been in Anawangin Beach Cove and I was amazed to see that the water is still as clear as before. Noticeably, there were also fewer tourists here than before even though it was a weekend.
The rest of the group trekked to the viewdeck for the sunset, while Hali and I stayed at one of the beachside tables to eat and people-watch. We’d spotted a handful of tourists strolling or playing on the sand with dogs.
At night, we were served dinner by the beachside — seafood special, grilled milkfish, grilled chicken, and other dishes. I was already starving, so I wasn’t able to take pictures of the whole menu — but take my word for it, it was delicious!
We then stayed at the beach area for an event. Every Saturday night, Destinare Beach Resort holds a night event featuring fire dance and other performances. That night, the schedule includes an impressive display of fire dance and then a bikini open contest for men and women. It was wild. I haven’t had that much fun in a while.
The morning after, we climbed to Destinare Beach Resort’s own viewing deck. The climb involves 260+ steps. It takes about 15 minutes to reach the top — a bit tiring, but still easy. We learned a fun fact about how the stairs were constructed. Apparently, the resort owners consulted architects on how to create the stairs, but the latter informed them that the hill was too steep. They then talked to an Ifugao tribe in Baguio, whom they brought over to the island and successfully created the natural stairs.
The view deck offers a wonderful view of the mountains and the beach cove. There were a handful of spots where you can take photos for the gram. It’s also where you can find the huge DESTINARE signage visible from below and a love lock. Couples need to bring their own lock and three keys — one to be kept by each and the last one to be thrown in the mountain. Locals believe that there is something magical in the mountains in Anawangin, and so this serves as a symbolic gesture for a long relationship.
After the climb, we stashed away our cameras and then finally took a swim in the beach! Aaahh. It was so nice. It was low tide in the morning, so Hali and I had to go a bit far to reach the deep.
Afterwards, we had samgyupsal by the beach! Samgyup + beach is the perfect combo IMO. The pork and beef strips were good, and the side dishes are comparable to that of samgyupsal restaurants. I particularly liked the sweetened marble potatoes.
With our bellies full and our bodies refreshed from the sea and the sun, we packed our things and went our way back to Manila.
We had a really good time at Destinare Beach Resort and Campsite in Anawangin, Zambales. During our stay, there were minor issues (e.g., the bathroom in one of the big cottages has no door lock or lighting), but the staff was approachable and they did everything they could to address the issues. The key to enjoying island beach coves such as Anawangin is to level your expectation — accept that not everything is going to be perfect and you may have to adjust, but if you focus on the present and have fun, then you’ll have a good experience.
Destinare Beach Resort is a great place for friends and families. It’s a relaxing retreat especially during summer — you can choose to do no thing or partake in one of the resort’s activities. It’s also budget-friendly, but still offers options when it comes to things to do and eat.
How to get to Destinare Beach Resort
The resort is about 5-6 hours travel time from Manila. Here are the commute directions:
- From Manila, take a bus to Iba or Sta. Cruz, Zambales, and get off at San Antonio Public Market. Travel time is 4-5 hours.
- From there, ride a tricycle to Pundaquit. Travel time is 20 minutes.
- Once in Pundaquit, ride a boat to Anawangin. Travel time is 20 minutes.
If you are bringing a car, you can park at Tanaw de Hardin, which is Destinare Beach Resort’s partner resort.
There are different accommodations you can choose from, including camping tents, teepee huts, cottages, and airconditioned villas. You can also bring your own tent (with pitching fee) and hammock.
Other amenities include a garden, a swimming pool, and a casual restaurant.
Dining options include rice meals, paluto including seafood special, and unli samgyupsal (pork only or pork & beef, with side dishes). During day time, you can also find stalls selling street food and halo-halo.
You can also bring your own food to the resort – you can buy fresh seafood at a public market or walking vendors.
Things to do at Destinare Beach Resort
You won’t run out of things to do at Destinare Beach Resort. These include:
- Island hopping (Nagsasa Island, Capones Island)
- Watersport activities (banana boat, kayaking, jetski, etc.)
- Other activities (ATV ride, firing range, paintball, etc.)
- Trek to the Anawangin Hill Viewdeck and Destinare Beach Resort’s own viewdeck
- Performances every Saturday night
Destinare Beach Resort Rates
Here are the current rates (Updated as of 2022):
|Boat transfer between mainland and Anawangin (round-trip)||1-5 pax: P1500 / 6-10 pax: P2000|
|Fees||Entrance fee: P70 day tour / P130 overnight|
– Pool access: P100
– Botanical and butterfly garden: P50
– View deck: P30
|Activities||Island hopping: P100 per person (minimum 6 people)|
|Accommodation||– Tent rental depends on package|
– Nipa hut (with fan): Starts at P1500 for 2 pax up to P6000 for 12-15 pax
– Airconditioned room or villa: Starts at P5000 for 4 pax up to P10,000 for 8-10 pax
Destinare Beach Resort also offers various group packages. One of these is the Executive Pass, which includes entrance fee, tent accommodation, and access to resort amenities. Rate is P600 per person, minimum of 6 people.
Reminders and Tips
- As of our visit (February 2022), there is no mobile signal for Smart or Globe.
- Bring your own hammock. It can be humid in the island especially during summer, so it’s nice to be able to stay outside comfortably to enjoy the breeze.
- Electricity is only from 6PM to 6AM. It’s best to bring a charger with multiple sockets and/or powerbank. Even in the cottages and villas, there are are limited power sockets, which may be an issue if you’re in a large group and need to charge your phones and cameras.
- Level your expectations! A lot of improvements have been made in Anawangin Cove, but there are daily logistic challenges in keeping the place in good shape. If you have encountered an issue, simply call a resort staff so they can address it right away.
Book your stay here
You can contact Destinare Beach Resort in Facebook.
For team buildings, shoot me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and I can help you book fast with them.
Disclaimer: Thanks to Destinare Beach Resort for the complimentary stay! As always, thoughts and opinions are my own.
Has this post about Destinare Beach Resort and Campsite in Anawangin, Zambales, been helpful to you? If you have questions or comments, let us know in the comment section below!
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Katherine Cortes is a 30-something freelance writer/editor. She likes beaches, snorkeling trips, and relaxing staycations (preferably with bath tubs!).