#BeachVibes with family and friends. It’s that time of year when you book flights to Boracay, Baler, La Union, and El Nido — aka the summer hotspots of the country to escape the city. But if you’re the type who wishes to stay away from the mainstream beach scene, Liwliwa in Zambales should be your next beach trip.
The sloping shores and gentle waves make the sleepy yet special town of Liwliwa, Zambales a worthy retreat from the city. Just a few hours away from Manila, Liwliwa has become an alternative to most famous surfing spots in the north. If you’re not a big fan of the crowds La Union and Baler are famous for, then San Felipe’s surfing pride is your best bet.
As we try to make our way of out of this pandemic into some kind of normalcy, do know that some travel restrictions will apply in the province and the resorts. Make sure you’ve got your requirements ready and GCQ essentials before heading out to your destination.
UPDATE: Zambales currently requires tourists to take RT-PCR testing (which costs P2,700) at its border, or for tourists to furnish them with test results (negative, of course) taken 48 hours prior to traveling to the province.
If you took the test at the border, you’ll head to your accommodations and stay in isolation until the results come out. According to the Zambales tourism Facebook page, this is done within the day of your arrival. Current uniform travel protocol states tourists are no longer required to undergo quarantine, unless symptoms are apparent.
You also need to pre-book at a DOT-accredited resort or hotel and a QR coded travel pass from VISITA, a visitor management app. Only those who are 15 to 65 years old may travel to Zambales.
How to Get from Manila to Liwliwa, Zambales
There are two ways to get to Liwliwa: drive or commute. My friends and I chose the first option. We rented a car and one of us was the designated driver. All six of us paid P1,000 each to cover the car rental, toll fees, and gas.
The commute option is more affordable. Initially, we planned to take a Grab to Victory Liner’s terminal in Cubao and take the bus to Zambales, which costs P450 per trip. To and from Zambales, we only had to pay P900. After the bus, we would look for tricycles to take us to Sitio Liwliwa, which would cost less than P50. Had we gone down the commute route, our transportation budget would be a hundred bucks cheaper.
Still, nothing beats the convenience of having your own car.
Where to Stay in Liwliwa, Zambales
Liwliwa’s accommodations are simple, but they fit the area’s rustic charm. Homey and soulful, the beach’s line of hostels and inns range from P400 to P1,400 per night. My friends and I stayed at Surface Beach Resort where we booked the largest room (for eight people) and paid P8,200 for the night.
Food isn’t a problem for your budget either. There are karinderyas everywhere and their menus have meals for as low as P80. Mommy Phoebe’s, for example, had the best home cooked meals and fresh fruit shakes. We had dinner at Kapitan’s where a friend and I shared calamares for P200, which was more than enough for us.
Another place to check out is Board Culture, a surf camp where you can rent a board and hire an instructor to help you ride the waves. If you don’t want to pitch the tent and sleep under the stars, you can book any one of the available kubos in the camp. But if you want to experience the true outdoors by sleeping in a tent, you can rent one.
Another Liwliwa beach resort to stay in is Kwentong Dagat. Located in barangay Sto. Nino, this pet-friendly spot offers nipa cabins, abaca rooms, and tent accommodations. If you’re vegan or vegan curious, Kwentong Dagat would make a perfect choice.
What to Do in Liwliwa, Zambales
Most people flock to popular beaches to get their piece of “peace and quiet.” I used to think Bora and Elyu could offer me said peace of mind, but when I arrived at Liwliwa, I changed my mind.
A pine tree-lined smaller alley will lead you to the area’s wide and unspoiled beach. Complementing the simplicity are the roaring seas, clear blue skies, and fresh air. A few nipa huts here and there completed the peaceful scenery.
It was the perfect place to relax and — yep, you guessed it — to take a couple of #beachfashion photos.
One of the best things about Liwliwa is that it’s not as crowded as the other mainstream beaches in the country. It can’t rival the shores of Palawan, Boracay, and Cebu, but there is something about this place that makes you feel more peaceful and at home. I spelled CHILL NIGHTS with L-I-W-L-I-W-A.
The beach also has a pretty strong signal reception so if you’re dying to capture your #beachvibes photos for Instagram, you’re free to do so. We barely got any internet at our hostel, but we did have a weak phone signal. It’s the perfect place for to unplug and actually talk to your friends.
Although most of the travelers prefer to lounge and laze around the shores, some take the call of the waves and surf. Most of the restaurants and hostels offer surf lessons with locals as instructors. Also, surfboard rentals cost P250/hour.
If you’re staying in one of the pricier resorts, expect more than the usual beach bumming, Instagram-worthy moments. Some will have therapeutic sessions like yoga or exhilarating classes like muay thai. Other resorts can also arrange island hopping tours to Camara Island, Anawangin Cove, and Talisayen Cove.
And as you wind down for the sunset, you can have the resort set up a bonfire on the beach as you enjoy the perfect stillness of this Zambales destination.
I had a really good time at Liwliwa, though I’m no beach bum. It made me realize my ideal beach outing: just a chill day, lounging around with the girls and exploring nearby eateries for food. If you’re not much of a beach lover like me, you’ll surely fall in love with the waves — all thanks to Sitio Liwliwa.
Prices quoted here are subject to change
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