Friday, January 7, 2011

A well-spent anniversary on the gray sands of Zambales, Philippines

[TRIP FROM December 2008..] 


Rubel and I decided to go on a beach getaway for our first anniversary. The budget was one to consider, so we tried to look for potential places in Luzon that can be easily accessed by bus. And then we thought of Zambales. Zambales has always been a great destination. And since we haven't visited the place in a very long time, I started looking for resorts and cheap accommodations online; and was eventually lead to La Paz Crystal Beach Resort (the surfing paradise!). Anyway, Rubel was up in trying surfing (although we've never tried this before), so he gave me the go signal to book the trip.

Before our trip that late December month, we already set aside a 50% down-payment for our lodging; and then saved up an extra PHP4000 each for our future expenses.

DAY 1

We started our morning by taking a cab to Victory Liner Espana, as we planned on catching the earliest trip to Zambales. Since we bought tickets bound for San Narciso (where the resort was located), we paid PHP400 for a one-way trip. The trip from Manila to San Narciso took us about 4 hours (including 1 stop).

 

When we finally reached San Narciso, we hailed a tricycle that would take us straight to the resort. We paid about PHP30 for the 5-minute ride. Checking-in at the resort was no hassle, so we were able to get our room right away.

CRYSTAL BEACH RESORT 

The room that I booked was offered at PHP1500/night. The room was small but it had a really good AC unit. The bathroom was ok except for the few times when we would run out of water during the day. The wooden fixtures and accents of the room also gave out a homey ambiance. Plus, the lodging that we got also included a veranda of our own. 


After settling in our room, we changed into our beach outfits and went out to check their small eatery (since we haven’t eaten lunch yet). There weren’t many food options after checking the menu, and they only served what was available at the time. So if you're a picky eater, then you should consider dining elsewhere. San Narciso was not a commercialized town, so you'll still experience the feel of the province here. And if you really want to eat somewhere different, then you'll have to consider taking a tricyle out to the main road, and eat by Dude's Pizza. But since we were too lazy to leave, we ate what was available then. 

Food wasn't that great though. They only offered what was mostly fried or grilled, and the price ranged around PHP100-150 per meal. Good thing I brought my coffee tumbler, along with a few coffee packs. So this definitely saved me from buying coffee from them. Hot water was free by the way.

TIME TO HIT THE BEACH!!!

We basked under the sun right after lunch. We took silly photos and swam a bit before the sun finally disappeared. The beach was also nice. It had a long stretch of golden sand that eventually turns gray when it gets soaked with ocean water. 


When we were finally high and dry, we went back to our room to take a quick bath; and went straight to the restaurant to order some dinner afterwards. Dinner choices were limited (as expected), so we ordered what was available. 

After dinner, Rubel and I decided to go on with the remainder of the night by buying some cold beers (I can’t recall if the resort was selling beer; but I do remember buying a few bottles just across the street), coke and a few bags of salty chips. Soon after, we went straight to a vacant beach hut to unwind a bit. 


Talk was endless especially in the company of someone you have common interests with. But as soon as we got tired and felt cold (the breeze in Zambales was refreshing), we went straight to bed to finally catch on some much needed R & R.

DAY 2

We decided to do a photo-op in one of the spots of the long beach-stretch. We eventually found a very beautiful spot after having walked a good 15-20 minutes. We had trees from afar as our background, and in some angles, the sky and the ocean. 


We planned on going to Pundaquit to check Capones Island. But much to our expectations, we weren’t able to experience either Capones or Anawangin (lacked research on this part!). We already wasted so much time walking to nowhere. So we decided to just go back to San Narciso, and eat merienda at Dude’s Pizza (the best and only fastfood option in the area). After an ordinary taste out of San Narciso's pizza, we hailed a tricycle back to the resort. 



Rubel and I just spent the rest of the afternoon by the beach. The clouds started to look all gloomy after a few hours, so we packed up our stuff and headed back to our lodging. But since it didn't rain, we did the usual dinner and drinks by the beach until we got ready for bed again. Of course, Rubel had to try this mini surf board (or whatever it's called) before calling it a night.


DAY 3

We woke up real early again to catch some waves. But Rubel didn’t get to surf anymore. Lessons were being offered at the time for a fee. My boyfriend didn't want to pay anymore (since we were saving what was left of our money for a side trip down Subic) so we skipped any paid activities that day. We just watched the ones who surfed that morning. 

Oh! I wasn’t able to mention how strong the waves were for the past few days. You can literally be swept by it! I was actually scared most of the time for Rubel since he was a little too playful in the water --- considering that the man doesn't know how to swim!


SIDE-TRIP TO SUBIC, OLONGAPO

Anyway, we checked out before lunch and took a tricycle ride back to the main road. We then hopped on board a bus that was bound for Olongapo for a quick trip to Subic. I think it was about less than 2 hours when we got around the area. And when we finally reached Olongapo, we got down the bus and looked for the yellow jeep that would take us inside the Subic Freeport Zone. 

Word Of Advice: It’ll be hard to go around the Subic area without your own transportation, and walking won’t get you far either! Buses are accessible but they only pick up passengers in specific areas.

Upon entering the Subic Freeport Zone, we rode this mini shuttle. We also asked to be dropped off at the area where the American outlet stores were. We probably spent a good two hours of shopping until we decided to head back to Manila.


All in all, these three days that were spent with Rubel, while exploring the different parts of Zambales was well worth the trip! It was a great anniversary getaway despite the mishaps; and it was definitely something that I could take on again in the future --- but will make sure to research on further next time.

And as always, here’s the TRAVEL EXPENSE SHEET that I prepared for our Zambales getaway. Hope it helps in one of your future vacations in the area! Until then…

Explore & be free!
Mai

45 comments:

  1. a lot of adventure there!!! sure is those photos looks so fun!! how i wish i could go around philippines as well! xx

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  2. Hmnn...beautiful Place. I visited the Grande Island in Subic...maganda din dun :)

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  3. Ah really? MaCheck ko nga for a future trip back to Subic! Mura po ba? =)

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  4. Why not go around the Philippines? =)

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  5. haha! i have 4 year old daughter as of now a lot of schedules for now can explore somewhere near in out place in laguna but for other places thats far is a bit hard for now haha i live in singapore so other countries were much more nearer than going in philippines as of now. but surely will visit my homeland for sure!! xx god bless thanks for the reply dear! xx

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  6. oh, you live in SIN! I was just there last November. And of course, it pays to know more about the humble readers who visit my site. Do visit the Philippines soon. =)

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  7. aww!! thanks dear!! ur too sweet!! xx

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  8. byahe dito...
    byahe doon...
    sarap makarating kung saan-saan...
    panibagong karanasan, panibagong kaligayahan !!!

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  9. wow I like that place looks romantic, hope you to have fun

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  10. We did naman po. =)

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  11. Yehey! Ang galing ng poem mo, Marri! Thanks for sharing it here. =)

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  12. I saw your expense sheet and my eyes literally widened! Haha!! I am actually looking for a place to celebrate our 2nd wedding anniversary. Thanks for sharing. I will include this in my list of options. 

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  13. Hello Ness! Widened in a good way or bad? Hehehe.. Let me know if I can help you with anything. =)

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  14. shempre in a good way. amazed that it only cost you that much. Yakang-yaka! haha! But I'm sure, nag taas na ng mga rates yan.. thanks! will browse through your posts pa for travel ideas. :-) I'm am now a follower. 

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  15. Yey! Thanks Ness! Ano ba trip niyo ng husband mo? Baka may maisip akong destination na malapit lang. =)

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  16. hindi masyado sa beach. mga swimming pools ganun lang. tapos pasyal and kain. haha

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  17. ahh you went to zambales, kainggit!!!

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  18. matagal na yan sis. =)

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  19. Ness, would love to give you more tips if you'd like.. you can email me at mai.wanderluster@gmail.com =) 

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  20. Thanks for sharing your travel expense sheet. This is really helpful since my family and I are planning to travel :)

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  21. Glad to help, Pinay Mama! =)

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  22. sayang naman hindi kayo nakasurf parang fun eh

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  23. There are many good beaches in Zambales.  I hope you manage to book another trip for Capones and Anawangin, must see places.

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  24. travelonashoestringMarch 16, 2012 at 12:46 AM

     This is so cool! I would love to try surfing though if ever I visit Zambales.

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  25. oh, I miss swimming. I'm not much of a beach person. swimming pools are enough for me. Good thing there's a public pool here in Germany and in a few month's time, summer is coming up. thanks for sharing this!

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  26. First time I tried surfing was in Liw-liwa, Zambales..
    It was fun, but boy! it was also physically demanding!
    Zambales has always been my location of choice for a quick weekend getaway

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  27. gusto ko yung mga naka-sepia na mga images..very emotional ang dating..

    never been to Zambales yet...waaaaaaah! this is again another travel na nakakainggit.

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  28.  Astig yung mga nka sepia :D Nice captures Mai :D

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  29. ok lang sakin Stacy, takot ako sa surfing dahil sa mga malalaking alon. =D

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  30. Hi Thess! Definitely! =) Di lang makatiempo ng balik.. since malapit lang naman, inuuna ko na muna yung mga malalayo pag may chance kasi. =)

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  31. I have friends who've been surfing, pero sa Baler.. baka you might want to try Baler instead of Zambales. =)

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  32. Wow! Germany!! That's one on my list of places to visit. =)

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  33. hey Francis! Sabi ng friends ko mag Baler na lang for surfing.. have you tried there? =)

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  34. Thanks Gagay! Actually walang color enhancement feature yung point-and-shoot ko. So when those photos were taken, we had the setting sun to be grateful for the dramatic look. =)

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  35. Salamat ng marami HErbert! =)

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  36. My job before required me to stay in Zambales for 10 long months.  Yes! I love their beaches, only that since we're busy with work can't always be there.

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  37. Aww sayang naman Gigi. Dbale, malapit lang ang Zambales, pwede balik-balikan =)

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  38. Eleven years ago I'd board that bus near Espana and go up to Baguio alone on a Friday night and board back Saturday night ;) It was an advantage that UST is just there so I can attend my classes on Monday like I didn't leave at all haha :)  I think I even went once to Zambales...to Dagupan, is that in Zambales?

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  39. Wow.... Adventure huh.....:-) dami nu nman npuntahan...

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  40. Hi Chan! Wow, adventure talaga.. did you always go alone? And Dagupan is before Baguio, and not in Zambales. =) They have beaches too, pero di ko gusto dahil grey sands at medyo madumi. =( Pero sana may changes na ngayon.

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  41. Di naman masyado. Marami pang kulang na lugar. =)

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  42. That "mini surfboard" is called an indo board. =)

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  43. Coolio! Thank you for putting a name on that board.. never really looked its name up. Thanks Swexie!!! :)

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  44. This was one busy anniversary. Haay, I wonder when's the wedding date. =>

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  45. Ako rin napapaisip kung kelan, lol! :)

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