Hidden Paradise

It is just the start of the year, I know, and it’s totally unreasonable to be moping this early. However, to be fair, the last few months of the previous year were a little tumultuous to say the least, thus the need for a reprieve this soon.

I wanted to go somewhere – not necessarily far, but a place where I can be alone but not really lonely. I was still undecided where to head, until I saw this place on facebook. (I actually had to deliberate in my head if I should post about this place lest everyone would find out about it and it would lose its charm. Selfish much, I know). It reminded me of the surfing movie blue crush – this place where everyone was free spirited and the place they stayed in was pretty d@mn cool.

I planned the trip Sunday to Monday, wherein I hoped there wouldn’t be a lot of people; not that I am anti-social or anything but I was traveling alone and I didn’t want to feel left out especially around the weekend crowd.

I boarded the bus to Iba, Zambales (one could take the Olongapo-bound bus, too and then transfer for the one towards Iba). This is one of the longest trips I have made alone, discounting plane rides of course. I felt like I was donkey in the movie Shrek, and I had this urge to ask “are we there yet?” every ten minutes but I caught myself. I actually transferred twice and thankfully too, my seatmates got off the bus before me, allowing different people to seat beside me, thus I can ask all five them (at least once), and of course the bus conductor (twice), “are we there yet?”

After three hours (which by the way felt like eternity to me, lol exag, sige yung totoo, it felt like five hours lang) I arrived at the town of San Felipe. I took the tricycle to The Circle Hostel and was welcomed by Ate Vangie with the bedsheet, blanket and pillow cover for my bunk bed. I just checked out the bed and put down my bag and searched for somewhere to eat.

Not really hungry because of the cheeseburger earlier and then the quail eggs, I settled for a banana shake. I also met some of the guests of the hostel at Mommy Phoebe’s place. Unfortunately for me, there was a birthday celebration across the street, rendering guests comatose due to karaoke songs overdose. Despite this bump though, the night was cool and I just stayed in the common area, drowning in my own thoughts amidst the bikini mong itim rendition wafting in the air, lol. I also got to chat with a few of the guests about mundane stuff and life in general.

After a while I went back to my bunk bed to retire for the night (the area was almost empty save for the two guys at one side and me on the other side of the guest house). Sleep though, was a little elusive; maybe because I was in a strange place, or maybe because I had too many things on my mind, or maybe it’s just because of the ongoing (still) videoke across the street.

The next day, nature wanted to make up for last night’s disaster; it was just gorgeous. What started as an overcast morning became a bright sunshiny day. :cue music: Haha! The waves were just to die for! Literally for me, ‘coz I had to hang on to my board for dear life. I got to surf in the morning, enjoyed a good siesta, and had another trip to the surf in the afternoon before I hit the road home.

All in all it was a fun experience, and I am quite surprised this is the first time I have travelled alone. It is pretty liberating – with no definite itinerary for the day and countless opportunity to meet new people, especially if you let yourself. I would definitely go back to the Circle Hostel, and bring friends on my next trip. And like I promised to myself, this is just the first of the many solo travels I hope to make!


  • Bus from San Fernando, Pampanga to San Felipe, Zambales – P185
  • Tricycle (San Felipe bayan to Circle Hostel) – P60
  • Overnight (bunk bed) – P350
  • Cheeseburger and Water (Double Happiness Stopover) – P50
  • Quail Eggs (Victory Olongapo Station Stopover) – P20
  • Banana Shake (Mommy Phoebe) – P35
  • Two (2) cups of instant coffee – P20
  • Morning Surf (could have saved if I knew how to swim) – P350
  • Bottled Water – P30
  • Brunch (Baconsilog) – P80
  • Coke – P15 (?) can’t remember
  • Popsicle stick (which I didn’t get to eat because it broke and fell to the ground) – P20
  • Bottled Water – P40
  • Late lunch (Hotsilog) – 80
  • Afternoon Surf – P350
  • Tricycle (to bayan) – P50
  • Bus (San Felipe to Olongapo) this was a non-air conditioned bus as I was already tired and wanted to go home the soonest possible time – P61
  • Bus (Olongapo to San Fernando) – P105
  • TOTAL : P1901

*Bus fare from San Fernando, Pampanga to Cubao is P102; probably the total bus fare from Cubao to San Felipe will be around P250 – P300 per person

*If travelling in groups, the place has a grill for barbecues. Or maybe a bonfire would be nice too.

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