The Magic found at Liwa

So, the adventure continues.. this time to Liw-Liwa in Zambales.  AAAAAAAAAH….. The Magical Liwa. The very same spot where I learned how to surf.

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While most of the Manila crowd went to Sinulog to party, I went back to my “surf” birthplace, Liw-liwa last weekend to watch Indio-I perform live at The Circle Hostel (and also to surf!) It’s been a looooong time since I stepped into the waters of Liwa (2007 was the first and last time) but I remember it’s crazy currents and it’s beautiful waves.

Lance and I, missing one weekender short, left Manila sober and pumped up for the weekend at 2 am. His awesome driving skills managed to bring us to Z-land at around 5:30 am. We arrived at the hostel and saw that only Ziggie and Tito Ricky were the ones there (and also Paco, by the sound of his thunderous snores) Upon checking in The Hostel, we were able to get the nicest bunks and decided to doze off for a few hours before surfing.  We were then awakened by the sunlight and the sound of the people chatting.. Now.. let the good times roll.

Upon unloading our boards from the car, we were greeted by warm and familiar faces of the Manila surf scene. Every one was excited to be back in Liwa because those who went before us already gave the people some good news… Z-land had awesome waves. After a quick breakfast at Mommy Phoebe’s, Lance and I carried our boards to the beach. Along the beach, people were finding their own spots to tan, to wax their boards, to have celebratory drinks or to stretch those tight muscles before paddling out.

With our boards fully waxed, we surveyed the beach break in order to know where to paddle out. Lance being the advance surfer, paddled faster to go to the line up while I tried to stay on the inside for the mean time so that I can practice (and get over my fear) my paddling without making a fool of myself. I told myself that this time, no one should push me. True enough, with some courage and stamina because of a good night’s sleep, I caught two good waves just before lunch time.

After a quick lunch of Bagnet at Mommy Phoebe’s, Lance and I went up to the common area of the hostel to have a nap. We agreed to go back into the water at 3pm. Since the common area was a public area, there were a lot of people that were chattering and drinking. So after a few minutes, I went downstairs to the hammock area to stay beside my friend Nobs to have a quick chat with her. While we were hanging out, Indio-i was doing their soundcheck. This very moment stuck in my head because in the middle of my conversation with Nobs (about love!), Vic started singing Diwata and it wasn’t only like a couple of lines, it was the entire song. Nobs and I became quiet to listen to the music and after the “soundcheck” I told her “because of that, I can’t sleep anymore! Time to go back to the beach.”

I woke up Lance and told him that it was already 3 pm. Time to head back into the water. Grabbing our boards, we bumped into a couple of other surfers who told us that there’s going to be a yoga sessions at 3 pm (but after a few minutes, when they found out that the waves were good, the yoga session got cancelled.. Cancelled due to a good surf!)

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The afternoon session even brought bigger waves and stronger currents. Wiping out is part of the surf scene and I was always a victim of it. I haven’t even started paddling out, I already got smacked on the face by my board. So I just decided that the afternoon is well spent with a bottle of beer and some serenading by the men of Indio-i (they were shooting their music video at that time at the beach and luckily, Lance and I became part of the music video). The afternoon session brought about the crazy side of the Manila surf scene. Endless chatter, drinking beer by the bonfire, fooling around (“The Circle Hostel should have Circle elves.. and they should wear elf Hats”-Soler,2013) added joy and made everyone pumped up.

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(Photo credits to The Circle Hostel for these photos)

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As night fell upon us, everyone started preparing for the Indio-I set while listening to Miko’s acoustic set. He played an awesome version of “Who’s gonna save the world tonight” and “Don’t you worry child”. The bonfire and the free beer provided by the Circle gave warmth to everyone. Indio-i on the other hand pumped up everyone with their awesome set. They played Diwata, Di Mo Lang Alam, Blue Lights, Malungkot na Masaya and 12 other songs. We ended the night with the music mixes of PawFlava, while other people still partied at the beach. It was an awesome night cap for everyone who went to Liwa.

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(photo credit to the Circle Hostel for this photo on Facebook)DSC_0891 DSC_0897 DSC_0911

The next morning, quite hungover from the night before, Lance and I grabbed breakfast while the others at the Circle packed to go to Camara island. Deciding to stay at Liwa, Lance and I grabbed our boards and went back to the beach. The waves were smaller and the current was not as strong so a lot of the beginners paddled out. Again, I caught a wave on my own( but had to stop because there was a beginner who might get injured) After lunch, we hung out at the chill room with the surfers who stayed behind. By 5 pm, we packed our bags (and boards!) and headed back to Manila.

Hearing the thunderous sound of the waves made it hard to say goodbye. But we had to go back to the city. So we packed also the memories and the friendships that we formed in Liwa as we packed our stuff.  The weekend spent at my surf “birthplace” was indeed one for the books. (Lance was a happy camper because of his surprise shots and being able to use his short board, Finally!)

So, Congratulations and Thank you to The Circle Hostel, Zambales, Indio-I, Craig Pulsifer  for the awesome weekend and photos you gave us. Till next time! 🙂

LIVE.LOVE.SURF. Till the next adventure kiddies!

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(photo credit to Craig Pulsifer photography for tagging me in this photo on Facebook)

Surf and Music Festival 2012

Surfing and Music. Two of my interests in life. And combining them both in one looooong weekend in La Union was definitely a good idea.

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The festival celebration started for me and Kash when we saw my good fried JP at Prive last Oct 31st. I informed him that we wanted to head to La Union for the festival but did not have any plans on how to get there. He invited us to ride with him on Nov 1st for he was leaving at 4pm in order to get to the festival just in time. Without any reservations for a place to stay in for the festival, Kash and I packed our bags and went to Jp’s house and the 3 of us headed to La Union saying adieu to the majestic sunset of Manila visible on the horizon.

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heading to JP’s house with Berto

 Day 1: A flat tire, High-end Petron, Meeting Bogart D Explorer and Dancing the Night Away.

Around 8:30 pm, when we were in Urdaneta, Pangasinan, we hit a bump on the road. This did not however dampen our mood. It even pumped up our energy because we can see that the moon was bright and heard that the surf was good and people were starting to party. After hitting the High-end Petron to grab a few bites to eat for me and an imported beer for JP, we finally got to La Union at 12 midnight.

Imagethe conyo Petron gas station filled with imported goodies

As soon as we got to the Surfer’s Inn (where JP was staying), we were introduced to the people in the apartment. He then introduced us to this guy with a straw fedora and he said “that’s Bogart D Explorer.” We then headed to the beach where JP introduced us to a few of his friends (including the owner of the Bamboo bikes that you see at the Fort) then Kash and I became “part of the band.” The bands that we were able to watch was 6 Cycle Mind but everyone started to party when Sandwich went on stage. The ones that we met who came from Legazpi, Albay dance the night away. Tanduay Ice and Manila Beer became the booze of choice inside the concert grounds. A beachball was thrown around in the crowd. Every one was wild until the DJ finished playing his set. At 3am, my last dose of energy slipped away and we crashed on the sofa of JP’s apartment for the night. Crashed to recharge after a long drive and a very loooong weekend.

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Day 2: Welcome to the Circle Hostel. Kash’s Surf lesson on Berto, Reggae night, The Captain and Endless Tanduay.

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Day 2 started when we transferred to The Circle Hostel, a lodge which is a 5 minute walk from the beach front. After settling down at the Circle and having a hearty breakfast at San Juan Surf Resort, Kash and I decided to just stare at the ocean with a few couple bottles of beer and buko juice for her. I saw a few friends who just arrived that morning and invited them for a few drinks. When the sun stopped beating down on our necks, Kash decided to change into her surf gear, I got my surfboard at JP’s, rented a leash from Lemon (one of the Local surfers in La Union) and hired a surf instructor for Kash.

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I met up with my friend Maita, whom I agreed to meet up with during the festival while Kash was out learning how to surf. After a few wipeouts, photographs of the sunset and introducing ourselves to some of the locals in La Union, we headed back to the Hostel to change for the music fest.

trying to take a siesta at the hostel

After dinner and a quick siesta, we texted one of our new found friends from the US, Jay Bird, to meet up with us outside the concert grounds. We weren’t allowed to enter since we didn’t want to purchase a ticket anymore so we decided to stay outside, finished the bottle of Captain Morgan and bought a bottle of Tanduay, Red Horse, Coke and eat at the ihaw-ihaw stand located near the entrance. Feasting on grilled dried squid, isaw, hotdog, kilawin and bbq and drinking the mixed Tanduay and Coke in liter bottles, we listened and danced to the music of Indio-ITaken by Cars and Tropical Depression with our new found friends: Francis, Rafu, Erik, Leo, Jay Bird, Mitch, Megan and Kaylee.

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Day 3: Beginner’s Longboard Surfing Competition, Body surfing and the Project X House party.

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watching the Beginner’s Longboard Competition

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Kiddo and his family being interviewed by GMA

Kash and I woke up at around 7 am because I overheard that the Beginner’s Longboard Competition was about to start at the beach. Even though hung over from the partying the night before, Kash and I headed to the beach front to watch the first round of the competition. We cheered for the one’s who were competing. At lunch time, we headed to the Sea Nymph Cafe to have lunch because we hear the service time would take up to an hour. JP met with us for lunch and we talked about what happened the night before. After lunch, we headed back to the hostel so that I can take a nap before surfing and for JP to chat with the people there.

At 3 pm, Kash and I decided to go back to the beach to surf. Again, I had to borrow a leash for my board from one of the locals that we met from the night before. I saw Megan who was heading up to The Point and she invited me to surf with them, but I was too intimidated by the waves and just decided to just stay at the beach front.

Because we decided to stay at the beach, Kash expressed her interest to try surfing without an instructor. So I took off the leash and acted out as a coach for her, telling her when to paddle and when to stand up. How to hold the board properly against the crash of the white water and how to start paddling out. While watching her (and deciding that she can fend for herself) I saw Vic and we decided to just body surf in an area where there were no surfers (but still keeping Kash in our sight, just in case she needed help) While we were out in the open, we can hear Franco and Wolfgang sound checking for the night’s concert. Their voices were a good backdrop to the waves crashing and to the sun setting in the horizon. Time to bid good bye to the day and hello to one hell of a crazy night.

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Wolfgang

Around 9pm, I left Kash sleeping at the hostel and I headed back to the beach to watch the concert. I met Jay to get my tickets from him and I was just there in time to hear Wolfgang perform. I was so pumped up to hear them perform again and I was looking forward to hearing Franco and Urbandub as well. With beer in hand, I swayed to their music and rocked out through out the concert.

Franco, doing his thing

After the concert, I met up with Kash at Kahuna to have the most amazing time during the festival. All of the people that we met were there. When I mean everyone, I mean EVERYONE. (yes, I even shook the hand of Franco) The house party was fun for it became the place of the after party for the end of the festival. Everyone talked to everyone, pushing people in the pool.. Everyone were just having fun.

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at Kahuna, with everyone ( I was thrown in the pool twice, I think)

That night at Kahuna was definitely the icing on cake.

Day 4: Last Day at La Union

After partying for 4 straight days, we decided to be mellow during our last day at the beach. We woke up at 8 am and headed to drop off some of JP’s stuff and to look for my cellphone (which was with Jay) and the hat that I was wearing the night before (which luckily was still in Kahuna)

We decided to mellow out at Sea Nymph to nurse my major hangover with hot noodles (whoever invented noodles should be given an award) and to chat with a few friends we made at the hostel. Before the afternoon ended, we again bumped into Vic and he decided to join us. We talked about their music and other things under the sun.

By 6 pm, I was dreading to pack my bags and to go back to Manila. I was hesitant to leave the sound of the crashing waves behind and to go back to the crazy stir of things in the city. But the fantasy had to end. We bid good bye to La Union at 8pm, full of memories with new found friends.

True enough, the sun, the sea and the surf bring people closer together. Imagine, the trip started with just Kash and I formulating an idea to head to La Union for the festival and then we met JP in Prive and we ended up in La Union and meeting a lot of new people. That 4 day trip was a refresher from the hustle and bustle of the city and it sent positive vibrations to every bone in my body that until now, I am still having a major withdrawal from this event.

Who would’ve think to mix Surf and Music together? Kudos to the people of Aloha Boardsports and Manila Surfer’s Association for pulling this massive event and brought people together. Surfer or not, it gave everyone a vacation/halloween party to remember. 🙂

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with our new found friend, Megan

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**Again, Kash, thank you for letting me grab most of your photos for this blog. hope you enjoyed the trip. Let’s do Zambapalooza this December. And thanks to JP, Jay Bird, Mitch, Megan, Kaylee, Francis, Leo, Erik, Rafu, Vic, Paw, Kat, Peds, Jay, JM, Kiddo, Ziggie, Raf, Stef, Christian… and to anyone I forgot to mention, for letting us hang out with you and enjoy this vacation* 🙂

The Circle Hostel, La Union

I am not the backpacker type of person. I usually make sure that before a trip, everything is laid out properly: the accommodations, the flight, where to eat … etc. You know the drill. But last week, I dragged my friend along to attended the Surf and Music Festival in La Union just to give her an a new experience.

When we reached La Union, the first place I thought of to stay in was at The Circle Hostel. I saw it on Facebook and it looked like it was a cool place to stay in, but I was informed  that they were fully booked for the weekend. but we tried our luck. Luckily, there were two hammocks still available so we took the chance and decided to stay here for the next 3 days.

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The Circle Hostel’s idea is to provide affordable lodging to a solo traveller or to someone who wants to make new friends. It is a place where positive vibes lingers the area because every one will try to get to know anyone and where they came from. Their motto: THERE ARE NO STRANGERS HERE.

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True enough. Since I’m new to travelling alone and my companion, Kash, is no expert either, we felt welcome in this place. We were greeted with warm smiles by everyone. When you sit in the common area, someone will talk to you and ask for your name and offer you the available breakfast on the table. The hot shower was a welcoming feeling as well. You can order FRESHLY BREWED Coffee every morning  and just observe people who came from their morning surf.

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Their accommodations are as simple as possible. Everything made out of bamboo and local wood, there are customized hammocks (with mosquito nets) located below the Big House. The Hammocks are very comfortable to sleep in because even though you are zipped in, you can still feel the cool breeze inside.Image

The Big House where the bunk beds are located are separated into the Female Bunks and the Co-ed Bunks. Each bunk bed has a mosquito net, mattress, pillow and bed sheets to provide the traveller a good night’s rest after a whole day of surfing.

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The common area is where everyone can congregate and mingle. It has hammocks and throw pillows on the floor. You can charge your cellphone or laptops or any other electronic device there. It’s for free to anyone who wants to jam, play the guitar, mingle with other people, or to just simple sit back and relax.  In fact, I was informed that the night before we arrived, one of my favorite bands, Indio-I played in the hostel for the guests of the place (for free!)

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Lockers are also found at the Circle to ensure the safety of the items that the traveller has. You just have to bring your own padlock and key (or they also sell it for Php100.) You can also rent a newly-laundered towel for only Php 20.00. You are also free to express yourself by painting on the surface walls and floors.

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This place is a budget traveller’s dream come true. It’s not a backpacker’s nightmare because you will feel safe in this environment. People are friendly and warm but they will still give you your space and privacy. As I have said, I am new to travelling alone and when I set foot in the Hostel, I felt very much at home.

Thank you THE CIRCLE HOSTEL for accommodating us for 3 days. 🙂

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HOW TO GET THERE:

— So you’re already at La Union and you don’t know where to stay? Just hop off the bus along the highway. On your right is the San Juan Surf Resort and on your left you will see the sign Oracinek Realty (It’s written in blue). Underneath that signage is the Tarpaulin of The Circle Hostel. You need to walk for like 2 minutes and lo and behold, there’s the Hostel already.. ready to welcome you with open arms!

Few details about the place:

1. HAMMOCKS  (with built in mosquito net) can be rented out for PHP 300/a night per person. The Hammocks are comfortable enough to give you a good night’s sleep. The BUNK BEDS are Php 400/a night. Mosquito nets, as well as a pillow, mattress, sheets are available for the bunk beds.

2. You can rent your Towel here for Php20.00

3. Breakfast (bread and fruit) are available for free.

4. Freshly Brewed Coffee is also served here for Php 50.00

5. You can refill your water bottles here and leave it in their fridge

6. WIFI is free for those who are in need to use their laptops/gadgets (but who need’s wifi at the beach?!)

7. You can charge your phone at the common room area while relaxing or maybe sleeping.

8. Warm water is also available for around Php 20.00

9. Just feel free to relax and be yourself. But of course, keep in mind that there are other people there so be polite and respect them as well by not shouting or parading in your knickers. 🙂

You can email/reserve a slot in the Hostel through these details.

ZAMBALES:

Zambales in the subject head for reservations and availability.
Cell Number: +63917 8611929

LA UNION:
La Union in the subject head for reservations and availability.
Cell Number: +63917.832.62.53

for other information email thecirclehostel@gmail.com or thecirclereservations@gmail.com

Do also check out and LIKE their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/thecirclehostel to know more about them. Check out their photos and their house rules so you’ll know what to do when you get there. 🙂

Enjoy your stay at The Circle Hostel. Happy travels!

**photo credits to Kash Zabala. My travel buddy for this trip. Hope you enjoyed your stay as well as I did.:) **