The sun was in its full glory as I watched it set along the seascape of Zambales. The shoreline was bustling with people – kids enjoying their swim, a couple of guys riding the waters with their skimboards, and the sunset catchers enjoying the orange-red sun. Despite the different activities happening around, the chill vibe of the place was very evident. It seemed that time stood still as soon as we stepped onto the sands of Liwliwa, Zambales.
Tucked along the western coast of the Philippines, Liwliwa is a small sitio in San Felipe that is a popular destination for surfers and skimboarders. It is an off-beat destination that exudes the chill vibe that gives its guests the opportunity to disconnect and simply enjoy time as it slowly passes through. It is interesting that Liwliwa has maintained its laidback atmosphere despite its surging popularity among travellers.
Here are 7 #WhenWithFilipinos things that you can do to enjoy the weekend chill of Liwliwa.
CATCH THE SUNSET
I was in complete awe as I watched the setting sun along the coastline of Liwliwa. Catching the sunset was one of the reasons why we travelled for 4 hours from the Manila and the place did not disappoint. It was amazing to watch the round sun glaring in red and orange against the light blue and light pink shade of the sky. Sitting down by the beach while watching nature’s beauty makes you realize that the best things I life are definitely free.
So #WhenWithFilipinos in Liwliwa, never miss out on watching the glorious sunset of Zambales and don’t just watch it… take off your shoes and enjoy it! It will definitely sweep you off your feet.
Although Liwliwa has a number of decent accomodations, the best way to enjoy your visit is to set up camp. We initially wanted to camp out for the night but I did not want to miss out on the opportunity of spending a night in our own "bahay-kubo" - a Filipino house made from bamboo. Mommy Phoebe's have a number of wooden huts that are for rent. The prices vary depending on the number of occupants. I think we did end up renting the biggest hut for a really good rate and we enjoyed a peaceful slumber, cooled by the beach breeze.
We still had our tent set-up the next morning right at the beachfront. As the shores of Liwliwa stretches long and wide with minimal shelter, our tent served as our shelter from the heat right by the beach. Just make sure to anchor your tent very well as the wind can be tricky.
Whether you are renting a hut or camping out, Liwliwa is all about going back to the basics and #WhenWithFilipinos expect it to be lots of fun.
INDULGE YOUR PALATE
#WhenWithFilipinos expect to be in a company of food lovers and Liwliwa is a place where you can indulge yourself to variety of food that would tease your palate. We ended up satisfying our tummies with green mangoes with alamang (shrimp paste) as our afternoon snack just right after we watched the sunset. This usual Filipino treat is heavenly.
There are a number of eateries in Liwliwa but nothing beats the hospitality of Mommy Phoebe's. It really feels like home when you dine here. I enjoyed their fresh seafood and their longganisa. And one thing that you should not miss out is Mommy Phoebe's shakes. It is said to be the best in the area. It is so good that whenever I remember it now, I crave for it badly. It is one of the best!
SHARE STORIES UNDER THE STARS
Evenings are very laidback in Liwliwa and the best way to enjoy the evening is to share stories under the stars. We headed off to the shoreline and enjoyed listening to the sound of crashing waves while being refreshed by the cool evening breeze blowing from the beach.
You can also opt to gather around a bonfire and have a nightcap with your friends. Share stories and make new ones. And as the evening goes deeper, you can all try your hand in capturing the Milky Way.
#WhenWithFilipinos, there will always be stories shared around the campfire and under the stars.
EXPLORE: KEEP WALKING
Never miss out on exploring Liwliwa when you find yourself in Liwliwa. I found myself doing an early morning walk along the beach and was lucky to catch Liwliwa waking up to a new day. Campers preparing breakfast while others were tidying up their areas from the evening's night cap. In one of the open huts by the beach, I caught a young boy who just woke up to a new day. It was nice to catch the Zambales seascape and landscape void of the usual crowd.
I was even luckier to catch a group of fishermen who just came in with their fresh catch from the sea. It is one of those things that I love capturing in my photos. I also enjoy buying fresh produce from locals. Unfortunately, I had no cash with me so I had to be content with just taking photos.
I heard that there is a nearby waterfall that you can explore but we opted to just enjoy the beach during our visit. I will probably check it out when I return. Just keep exploring Liwliwa #WhenWithFilipinos.
DO THE 3S – SWIM, SURF, OR SKIMBOARD
Apart from swimming, the waves that hit the shores of Liwliwa is ideal for surfing and skimboarding. This is the reason why Liwliwa attracts enthusiasts of the board culture. So do not be surprised to find individuals riding its waves. It is interesting to find the mix of surfers, skimboarders, and beach bummers in one venue on a regular day.
There are instructors available if you want to learn how to surf or skimboard. We did hire a teacher to teach Asher how to surf. We did try to make Asher stand up and surf but she was too afraid to just let go. We will probably have to do it again soon.
Remember that there is always something new and exciting to learn #WhenWithFilipinos.
BE AN ARTIST (EVEN FOR JUST A DAY)
There is something about the vibe of Liwliwa that makes your creative juices flow. It can be because of its laidback vibe, its board culture, or a combination of both. Whatever reason behind it, let the creativity flow and do not suppress it. In fact, the Circle Hostel allows its guests to contribute their artistic skills to decorate its hostel.
In my case, I found every corner of Liwliwa photogenic so I enjoyed trying my hand in mobile photography. It was easy to capture Liwliwa's facet in a frame. I especially enjoyed trying to capture the waves using my Go Pro. We tumbled and laughed just to capture that great Liwliwa wave.
You are always in a company of creative talents #WhenWithFilipinos so just inhale the creativity. Write a song, draw, take that shot, or simply hum that tune that is ringing inside your head.
POST TRAVEL NOTES:
If I were to describe Liwliwa in one word, "chill" is the best one to use. This is one destination that ultimately defines the real meaning of the "chill vibe" that we all look for during our trips to the beach. Liwliwa is so laidback that our trip, even if we were only there for less than 24 hours, seemed a full 2-day respite from our city lives. It was as if time slowed down and that we enjoyed every minute of our stay. It did help that we had the basics to enjoy - camping out, swimming, a night under the stars, etc. It is a destination where you get to really chill even with the crowd, which there is not much either. More importantly, the sense of community and the hospitality of the locals made the experience memorable. Liwliwa is a place where you have to be one with the locals to enjoy it.
From the mountains to the beach, @thetravelingdada continues to uncover different destinations that calls for a different sense of adventure. Liwliwa had taught us the right way to chill and enjoy the beach. So if you are looking for a relaxing weekend vibe, Liwliwa will not disappoint you. It is a 5-star destination on our list and it is a place that is worth heading up to every now and then.
Getting there: You can take a Victory Liner bus that goes directly to Sta. Cruz or Iba in Zambales. Ask the driver to drop you off at San Felipe where you can take a tricycle to Liwliwa. Alternatively, you can also take the Olongapo-bound bus (via SCTEX is preferred). From Olongapo, you can then take a bus to Iba or Sta. Cruz.
We highly recommend Mommy Phoebe's Place if you plan to rent a cottage or pitch a tent. She and her staff are so accommodating. She also has a small canteen where you can have your meals and a their must-try fruit shakes - guaranteed to be one of the best. You can reach her at (0918) 5458007.
Budget Allocation per head: Php1500 approx. It covers transportation, accommodation, and 3 meals.
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Marc del Rosario
I believe in education, entrepreneurship, and caring for the environment.