As far as friends go, I consider myself very lucky to have forged relationships with some really amazing people. They’re quality people, and they’re adventurous to boot, so I’m pretty much all set.
Anytime we need a quick getaway for a long weekend, or a new venue to hold our quarterly barbecues, or need to celebrate either a friend’s arrival or departure, we lock and load, and head over to nearby Liw-Liwa, Zambales, whose super wide shoreline I find underrated. There is a tight-knit surfing community that convenes in this area, mostly because, sure, the waves are accessible, but because this is where The Circle Hostel is.
Only three hours away from Manila, The Zambales Circle feels like home. I’ve never been to the Baler or La Union ones, but I’m certain that it is the same. For P350/night, you can make yourself comfortable in a bunk bed, or hang out in their common area, where everyone is welcome to come and jam along. There are no strangers here; everyone is a new friend.
There are only two dining options if you are staying at Liw-Liwa, both of which are within strolling distance from Circle: Ate Fely’s across the street, and Mommy Phoebe’s down the road.
At Ate Fely’s, you can have anything -silog— spam, hotdog, tocino, longganisa… it is carinderia Filipino fare at its finest. You go to Mommy Phoebe’s for the bagnet, paired with either mongo, or sinigang. Ohhh, lord. It’s a good thing surfing’s a big calorie-burner!
Because the beach is so open, the Liw-Liwa waves can get a tad wild. Most surfers will usually make their way to Pundaquit, which is approximately 20 min away by car. The surfing community there is even more tight-knit, because the waves are more manageable, and the coves sets a more intimate atmosphere. Competitions are often held here, and you can either take it as motivation or discouragement to see how talented Filipino surfers are.