#ISSAGOesplaces: Liwliwa Beach, Zambales

In my previous blog post, I mentioned that I joined an outreach program hosted by MAD Travel. Thanks to Obie, we had a successful dental and medical mission as well.

It was such a fulfilling experience, and of course, we had to celebrate to that! This is part 2 of our trip: Beach time!
After we all arrived and cleaned up, I decided to go up to the common area to charge and update friends and family on how I'm doing. There wasn't much signal for mobile data, but I could text! The common area was awesome, as it had everything and everyone, so you're able to meet new people and rest (or drink) up! So long as you kept the noise level down after 10PM (There are people sleeping after all), then you can do what you want. 

They've got books, games, even a guitar and ukelele to jam with. Plus, they've got hammocks and beanbags for those who want to rest, as well as tables for placing your phones or when eating. Yes, they have charging ports here!

I stayed by the hammocks reading Harry Potter and then joined our group for some fun and games! After a lot of chestnuts and talking, I slept at around 11PM. We got bunk beds, so it was a comfortable night. Just take note that it does get very cold!

I woke up at around 6AM and stayed in the common area again, then had breakfast. They offer bread, peanut butter, and bananas as free breakfast, perfect for those needing the energy for surfing or island hopping! Another awesome thing is that Circle Hostel also has hammocks for you to sleep on if you don't want a bunk bed. Plus, you can also paint on the walls, just ask the front desk.

We got to the beach at around 8:30AM. It's just a 5-minute walk from the Circle Hostel. And it was beautiful! The waves are perfect for beginners, and it's just very... Picturesque. It won't have the whitest sands you'll see in the world, but it's clean, it's got an amazing view, and it's a perfect place to spend a lazy Sunday in.

I rented a surfboard and got an instructor for an hour. Before hitting the waves, he taught me how to properly stand when surfing. Basically, you stand with one foot first before the other and make sure your knees ate bent and you are balanced. After a few tries, we started to do it in real life!

The first wave was difficult since it was my first time. I fell! But after the next few tries, I started balancing and actually standing up til I hit the shore! First time I balanced myself, I practically jumped and screamed a bit! Surfing was a dream I've always wanted to try out, and I'm definitely doing it again.

The surf instructor, Julius, was awesome! I forgot to get his number, but I'm definitely gonna come back and learn how to paddle from him. He's Ilocano as well, and I got to learn a lot about his life and some new words.

I decided to lay on the sand for a few minutes before giving in to the heat and rays of the sun. If only I brought sunglasses, then I would have stayed and get a strong tan, LOL. 

We got back and I took a shower, checking out and sleeping in the common area! Once I woke up, it was 12! I slept for almost two hours straight and realized everyone also checked out and had lunch in Mommy Phoebe's. I now love this place because of Mommy Phoebe herself, who's so sweet and accommodating to all the diners. Plus, they make a great pasta with huge portion sizes, and the best bagnet (super crunchy). I also bought their choco-banana shake, which was delicious as well (As you can see, I eat a LOT). 

I then went around and after, stayed in one area looking at the souvenirs while everyone was watching the Pacquiao fight (congrats, Manny!). We then left at around 1:30PM and finally got home at 6:30PM, after a Starbucks stop, thanks to Mark!

All in all, I had the BEST time! I'm definitely coming back here to learn more about surfing until I actually get to surf on my own. ;) The Circle Hostel is definitely the place to be, where you'll be able to meet tons of new friends, experience that solo travel vibe, and basically, have a whole different perspective on life. Really! If you want to save up, you can even camp by the beach, where there are more resorts there. :p

Here is the budget breakdown:
- 1,500 PHP for the Tribes & Treks day tour (You have morning snack, lunch and dinner, as well as an amazing experience!)

- 800 PHP for the whole trip, back and forth. We took a van. (But you can take the Cubao bus to Iba, Zambales [325 PHP] and a tricy to Liwliwa [30 PHP], which will be 710 PHP back and forth)

- 450 PHP for a bunk bed in Circle Hostel (They also have hammocks for 350 PHP a night!). Free breakfast included. Take note that check in time is 1PM; check out is 12NN.

- 400 PHP to rent a surfboard and an instructor for an hour. Don't need an instructor? It can be 200 PHP/hour for the surfboard, or 400 PHP for half a day, which is 4 hours. It's best to surf in the morning at around 8 or 9AM, or you can choose to surf late afternoon, to avoid the intense heat of the sun!

- 250 PHP on food and misc things. Mommy Phoebe's bagnet is 100 PHP and her shakes range from 40-80 PHP. Mine was 80 PHP for a large choco-banana shake. I also got a sticker for 40 PHP.

Total: I spent 3,400 PHP!
If you want to save up: Commute, go for a hammock (seems super cool to try), surf and pack food! You'll most likely spend around 1,600 PHP, say the safe budget is 2,000 PHP for food and souvenirs.

You shall see me here again before the year ends. ;)

P.S. Thank you so much to the talented Obie & Ynah Mercado and Mary Gonzales for some of the photos! Love them.


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