San Felipe, Zambales
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As everyone who read my review knows I'm a big fan of LiwLiwa Beach since this is the nearest surfing spot that I know of from Metro Manila. Good news visiting this surf spot just got even better. A few weeks ago our group known as Project U Smile I Smile decided to join Mad Travel Tribe Trek and Rainforest for a community service in one the aeta tribe in Zambales. It was really fun and enlightening.
The whole activity starting point is at The Circle LiwLiwa. Call time was very early at 0700H so we decided to travel Friday night and just sleep inside the van. You can also opt to travel via bus. Best route is via Victory Liner in Cubao going to Olongapo and another Bus from OIongapo going to San Felipe. Ask the bus driver to drop you off at Bobulon Elementary School. From their get a tricycle going to Cicle Hostel. Travel Time from Manila<>LiwLiwa is around 4-5hrs by Car and around 6-8hrs by bus.
While waiting for the call time we grab some breakfast in Mommy Phoebe's Place. Try their yummy bagnet for some energy booster in the morning haha.
At around 0700H we started gathering at The Circle Hostel common area and at exactly 0730H Raf Dionisio (co-founder of Mad-travel and Circle Hostel) started giving the group an overview of what to expect and the do's and don'ts. Since we are going to Yangil Tribe he asked us to be very respectful of their culture and ask permission before taking picture. Since some technology are foreign to them. Another important reminder make sure to have sun blocked lotion on because it was hot ️ along the trail.
So we are good to go. 1st rode a jeepney and car going to the base point of our trek. From their we were introduced to Chief Erese, the Chieftain of the Yangil Tribe. He was very funny and ready to hit you with some awesome one liner joke haha. He guide ask in our trek toward Yangil Tribe. Along with us there were also around 3-4 carabao for people who are not too fan of trekking. Haha.
The trek was easy there was no uphill and mostly it was just a long walk. What I enjoyed during our trek/walk was the awesome beauty of our nature. You could see the scenic view of green mountains and blue sky. Along the way prepare to get wet as you cross rivers. Love the refreshing feel of it. After a walk of around 1hr we arrived at the river crossing and time to have a break. We enjoyed ourselves swimming in the river. Funny that a few from our group is experiencing for the 1st time swimming in the river. Happy they enjoyed it!
After our break, Raf gave us another overview as we about to enter the Yangil Tribe. He shared to us how the whole idea of Mad Travel started. He shared to us by pointing to the mountains that he once thought was so awesomely beautiful. Only to find out from comments from his friend that the green mountains in his picture was dying because there were no trees. That's when he came up with all the interest how to help. He started studying efficient way of reforestation by knowing the right plants for based planting and soon follow it up with more durable trees. He also coordinated and asked the help of Yangil tribe to start a sustainable plan to help the tribe and in the process teach them how to bring back what this mountain should be. Kudos what a great vision. I love it! As he was sharing this suddenly a river snake appeared heading toward us and funny how we were all on panic mode haha. Now we are really one with nature haha. Another great experience and memory.
After all the overview we headed for our 1st tribe activity the seedlings planting. The group was divided into small groups and we started packing soils inside the small black plastic. We make sure that it was jampacked siksik with soil and planted seed one finger partition deep. As we were doing this we met some new friends and enjoyed chatting and having fun planting. After around a combined hundred plus packed seedlings from our group it was snack time! The tribe prepared for us some delicious kamote chips and refreshing lemongrass tea. Awesome!
So now we headed for another around 15 minute trek going to their community. Upon arrival we were served some delicious lunch meal. Love the adobo and singang! It was a feast and food was overflowing. After having our lunch we headed for a quick siesta as the rain started falling. Ahh fresh air so much relaxing. Best siesta I ever have.
As we continued our activity after the siesta each of us go on our own way as we chit chat with Aeta community. The girls had fun having their hair braided by the little girls of the Yangil tribe. While me and the other had fun learning old school archey. Got it after a few try. This is a bit harder/challenging than the archery activity I had in manila but I enjoyed this more. One of the oldest member of the tribe. Their master craftsman in making bow and arrow showed us some exhibition by hitting the target wooden block with so much power. Awesome! You could see how strong by seeing almost the whole arrow deep in the wooden block. While some of the group also enjoyed a quick herbal plants tour. Learned how this tribe still uses different plants for their everyday medicine. From cough, flu, wounds and even for aphrodisiac! Cool!
Now its presentation time. We gather around as one by one starting from the kids giving us some cute song number. To the oldest with their courtship dance. Some of the group got to tagged along and dance with them. Luckily I was able to escape! Dancing is my major kryptonite! Haha.
As the event was about to end we supported the children by buying some of their hand made bracelet at a very cheap price. Some also get to further support the community by buying some wooden plates and sandok. Good Job! We also take this oppotunity to invite our new Aeta friends to join us in some pictorial and we were so happy that they were very game.
As the activity about to end we bid farewell to the tribe as the rain was starting to pour heavily. The river that we crossed earlier are now how much higher water level but still safe to cross. Going back was an easier trek since the rain was refreshing and helped ease our muscle. When we arrived a few river before the base point it was already very deep. So we decided now its time to relax enjoy a ride at the back of the carabao. Yahoo! Can't remember when was the last time I get to ride at the back of a carabao. I really enjoyed it. As I was riding this carabao ride I imagined how this aeta kids walked daily just to go to school and walked again going home. A sad reality but at the same time made me appreciate this kid more. You could see their dedication by exceling in their studies in such situation. This was an adventure that I will always cherish and will truly support. They have started something great and really looking forward to comeback for more Adventures That Matter. Kudos to Raf and Chief Erese! Good Job guys!
*Visit Mad Travel FB Page for slot reservation. Schedule is almost every Saturday and around 25-30 slots. The whole adventure only cost 1,800 per head (excluding transportation going to Zambales). They also have some package like 2,250PHP per head that includes an overnight stay at Circle Hostel. Also note they cancel trek during heavy rain/typhoon due to the danger of river crossings.
*They also recently launched a Baler version of Tribes and Trek Tour. This one is a bit more expensive at 6,500PHP per head but they include a transportation from Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf BGC to Baler Aurora. Plus a 2 night stay at Circle Hostel Baler and a guided baler food scene tour! With food and snack include plus access to skate half pipe for the skater boys. This time you'll meet the Atlas Tribe and a visit to RV cacao farm. Already excited to join this event. I love to visit that cacao farm and tribe. And as a foodie love to have that food scene tour! Already drooling on what to expect on Bale food scene. Soon your on my target list.
Overall this is a great way to have your weekend adventure with your friend or family. Time off from technology and just purely enjoy nature and simplicity of life. What I also like about this event is that unlike other community service this one hit the nail by making sure sustainability of the tribe and not dependency of the tribe to other. Best part after this whole adventure that matters you also get to surf and relax in the beach while having some ice cold San Miguel Pale Pilsen. Cheers!
#AdventureThatMatters #ProjectUSmileISmile #loolooDroneGiveaway
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It's a gray-sand beach, bare save for some boats, and a few small cottages. It was real peaceful, with only a few people around.
My friend and I spent a few hours in the morning here lying on the sand, taking pictures, and generally taking in the beauty of the beach. This was during our trip to San Felipe, Zambales.
There are a few hostels and inns around this area. We stayed at the Circle Hostel. From the hostel, it's a 5-minute walk to the beach.
If you're looking for a nice beach that doesn't have too many tourists, not commercialized, and is good for surfing, Liwliwa beach is for you.
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Secluded and peaceful
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Liw-Liwa is one of the most underated surfing spot in northern luzon. Its a secret surf haven that people like me wants to be kept hidden from the radar of other people. The place is well preserved no commercial establishment and mostly zambales locals are the one who gain from this tourist spot. From time to time there are great small fun events that the community organize like last weekend The Return of the southswell. We had indie bands playing and lots of fun fun activities.
How to get there:
Going to Liw-Liwa via Public Transpo we rode a Olongapo bus from Victory Liner in Pasay. We choose the via sctex route for a shorter travel time. Bus Ticket was less than 250php and we were able to get the 4am bus.
After 3hrs of bus ride we arrived at Victory Liner Olongapo bus terminal. We 1st had our breakfast near the terminal. There are many fastfood just around the area like Jollibee, chowking and mang inasal. If you want something Olongapo, try Wimpys. Its a burger fast food which is olongapo's original.
After eating just go back to the bus terminal and look for buses going to iba zambales or san felipe zambales. Lucky we were able to get the aircon bus. Tell the conductor to drop you in LiwLiwa San Felipe and bus fare is around 60php. Major landmark to know when you have arrived is the Bobulon Elementary school.Once you've arrived at BoBulon get a trike going to Liw-Liwa. We paid 90php for the three of us.
Where to Stay:
-For the ultimate Backpackers - Circle Hostel*
-For Fan room - Kapitan Liwa* or Board Culture
Where to Eat:
What to do:
-The thing to do here is surf surf surf!!! Enjoy the waves may it via skimboard or surfboard. The waves here are very good for beginners and the instructors are very friendly.
-Yoga - Circle Hostel conduct some Yoga class from time to time. May it be on the beach or in their common area.
-Beach sports game - the sands in liw-liwa is very fine. Very close to the texture of boracay sands but this one just got a more darker color. Imagine the wide shoreline of boracay with no people. Thats exactly how I see liwliwa. Thats why we had so much fun playing frisbee and football on the sand.
-Swimming - of course swimming! This beach is very nice fine sand, great waves and very nice 3-5 ft deep water. Very food for a relaxing floating and wave slamming!
Overall this will always be my little surfing paradise that is very accessible from manila.Hope that business tycoons will not be able to penetrate this place like what happened to LU and Baler.
*more on a seperate review
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