Philippines Travel

Liw-Liwa Beach: a spontaneous getaway from Manila

circle hostel zambales and liwliwa beach san felipe zambales

Looking for a weekend getaway near Manila had us stumbling into our hostel in Liw-liwa in the middle of the night. Our target for the weekend? Chill at San Felipe’s LiwLiwa Beach!

This beach has been popular in travel Facebook groups and has since attracted young adults who are eager for a city break and bum at the beach on a weekend.

Liw-Liwa Beach

Although the hostel we booked is not on the beachfront, it would take only less than 5 minutes to get to the beach. After Mommy Phoebe’s Place, you will see a long hallway with newer hostels on each side and pine-like trees. Just go straight and soon enough you will see the shore with views of mountains on the far sides.

Liwliwa might not be a white sand beach unlike others in Zambales, but the ash gray sand is still fine enough to be enjoyed.

It is the perfect beach to disconnect and just relax because mobile signal here is spotty at best. When we got to the beach early morning, we can count with our two hands the number of people present on the beach. Perfect.

Just the sound the waves crashing on the beach and the chirping of the birds accompanying us as we soaked the early morning rays beside the small hut.

I heard that this beach is also popular for surfing but the waves so far that morning were flat and calm. Come afternoon, the waves were a bit bigger but still not like those in Baler.

Walking along the shore we came upon a dog that walked with us until we saw the fishermen hauling their net with the day’s catch. I love how this beach is not like your ordinary commercialized beach.

Popular activities in Liwliwa Beach (Things to do)

  • Swimming
  • Surfing
  • Skimboarding
  • Beach volleyball
  • Frisbee
  • Stargazing
  • ATV ride

Where to eat in Liwliwa

Restaurants aren’t aplenty and we didn’t bring any food with us. Luckily, Mommy Phoebe’s Place is just beside Circle Hostel so that’s also where we had lunch (rice meals) and ordered fruit shakes since that is what they are known for. They also have juices, coffee, and a selection of tea. They also sell some grocery items.

Other restaurants and cafe:

  • Brew Brothers
  • Beer and Waves
  • Sakk Tree
  • Tadhana Zambales

How to Get to Liw-Liwa, San Felipe, Zambales

By bus:

Take a Victory bus to Iba, Zambales from Pasay or Cubao bus terminals. Get off at San Felipe then take a tricycle to Liw-Liwa.

Alternative routes: Take a bus from Caloocan to Iba or Sta. Cruz, Zambales.

Circle Hostel Zambales (NOW CLOSED)

What made us choose this hostel at first was the art and the thought of meeting foreign travelers (guys, of course, *wink*). Circle Hostel seemed quirky and unique, unlike other hostels we’ve stayed at so far.

It also helped that it’s one of the budget eco-friendly hostels in the country. In fact, they used eco-bricks, a bottle wall comprised of plastic bottles filled with rubbish. The hostel also leads clean-up drive and educate people on waste management.

The hostel chain is always near surf beaches, with Baler and La Union as the location of the other two.

facade of circle hostel subic zambales

When it was already too hot to just lay in bed, we finally got up to explore the hostel. We also finally met the reception staff who offered us a free simple breakfast of banana, toast, and coffee.

The hostel was indeed as colorful as the photos we’ve seen. But it seems we went on the wrong day because we hardly saw other guests during our short stint. Or maybe they just woke up earlier than us!

The common room is where we spent most of our time when we weren’t at the beach. Miscellaneous materials for entertainment are available like musical instruments, board games, and the like. It even has hammocks in case you just want to take a nap.

You can even leave your own artwork on the hostel walls but by now, it’s probably pretty much full. I’m a big fan of colorful graffiti and murals, like the ones I’ve seen in BGC Taguig, Melaka, and Penang. These are some of the art walls in Circle Hostel Zambales.

Where to go next in the Philippines:

Where’s your favorite beach? 

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