Liw-Liwa: Unpretentious Surf Spot

by Enzo Tacadao

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Sometimes, an almost empty beach is a clear symptom how we Filipinos feel so comfortable and content with the beauty and convenience of popular beach destinations the country has to offer. Some of us love to hate new discoveries.

Liw-Liwa: For Surfers, Skim Boarders, and Beach Bums

Zambales’ municipality of San Felipe is never shy of sharing wonders to people who dare to try something different.  Rose and I were lucky enough to experience the scene.

San Felipe is the humble home of Liw-Liwa, a laid-back barangay that blossoms with over four kilometers of beach front. An emerging nest for surfing and skim boarding heads. The waves are peacefully chaotic. The people are sweet as Davis music. And the food is simple and lavish enough to bring you back to the taste of your mom’s home-cooked menu. Speaking of food, check out Mommy Phoebe’s Place. The food is phenomenal. They also have surf boards for rent.

The beach may not have the best and whitest sand in this part of Luzon, but the ambiance and culture of the beach-goers and bums are what make the experience a bit different. And the place is not packed. A breath of something wonderful.

There are several resorts and transient houses in Liw-Liwa, but we chose Circle Hostel as we read good reviews about the place. The fun facts about Circle Hostel include: paint arts and texts everywhere, hammocks everywhere, and incredibly hospitable and chill people. The hostel is a magnet for guests who want to experience a somewhat authentic surfing community culture.

Not Only Seawater

Another must-visit destination in San Felipe is the Anghalo Falls. A serene and unpretentious stream waterfall. It is so deserted that Rose and I were alone in the flow on a Saturday. However, if you are visiting San Felipe during summer months, the water may run dry in Anghalo Falls since it is a stream falls.

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How to Get to Liw-Liwa Beach (From Metro Manila)

  1. Ride a bus bound for Iba, Zambales at Victory Liner terminal (Cubao). Trips to Iba from Cubao: 06:30, 09:30, 11:30, 15:30, 17:30, 19:30.

Alternative: Ride a bus bound for Olangapo at Victory Liner terminal (Cubao). Alight at Olongapo and catch a bus bound for Iba, Zambales.

  1. Remind the bus conductor to drop you at San Felipe. Travel time from Cubao to San Felipe is anywhere between four to five hours.
  1. At San Felipe’s town center, ride a tricycle and instruct the driver to bring you to “surf spot”. The ride costs P30.
  1. There are several Liw-Liwa beach resorts and transient houses in the area near the beach, so you should not have a hard time taking care of your accommodations. Popular ones are Circle Hostel and Kapitan’s Liwa Surf Resort.

How to Get to Anghalo Falls (From San Felipe)

  1. From San Felipe’s town center, ride a tricycle and tell the driver to drop you off at the road leading to Anghalo Falls. Don’t forget to get your tricycle driver’s cell phone number so you can easily contact him once you are about to go back town.
  2. From the drop-off point, trek your way to Anghalo Falls. The trek may take up to 20 minutes. No sweat here as the trail is relatively easy to follow.
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