Looking for the nearest surfing spot in Manila? Liwliwa, San Felipe in Zambales is the perfect place to be! Travel time is approximately 3-4 hours away from Manila by bus. Much closer to San Juan, La Union which is approximately 5-6 hours. Compared to La Union, Liwliwa is not crowded and not yet developed. You won’t see fancy hotels and resorts here. Most people come here then drive back to Manila after surfing. But if you wish to stay for the night, you can sleep in hammocks or huts. I like it here because the locals are friendly and very accommodating. The waves are also perfect for beginners according to the surfers we met.
How to get to Liwliwa from Manila?
1. Take a bus from Cubao going to Iba, Zambales. I highly recommend Victory Liner because I’ve been taking that bus line since I was a kid. 🙂
2. Get off at San Felipe Town and take a tricycle.
3. Tell the driver that you want to go to Liwliwa beach or just tell them that you want to surf.
05:00 am -Departure Manila-San Felipe
9-9:30 am – (ETA) arrival and breakfast at Liwliwa beach
11am – explore the area, swim, get a tan
7pm -hang out at Circle Hostel and socialize with other surfers
06:00 am -breakfast
07:00 am -surf up!
11:00 am -departure to Manila
2:00 pm – arrival at Manila
Where to stay in Liwliwa?
Circle Hostel -it’s perfect for backpackers and anyone who likes to experience to sleep in a hammock. They also have comfy bunk beds with mosquito net and privacy curtains for Php400 ($9.03) per night, hammocks for Php300 ($6.77) and big tents that are perfect for family or big groups for only Php300 ($6.77)
Nipa huts – There are some huts there lined up near Circle Hostel, Kilabot Sir Ping and DK Pasallan’s Skate Bowl to name a few. Price ranges from Php400-700 ($9-$15).
Things to do in Liwliwa
Surfing – Rent a surf board at Mommy Phoebe’s Place. Php200 ($4.52) per hour or Php400 ($9.03) for half day. If you don’t know how to surf, get a local instructor for Php200 ($4.52) per hour. After the 1 hour session, you should be able to paddle on your own and get wipe out! 🙂
Skate Boarding – If you’re scared to get drown coz you can’t surf, I recommend that you stick with skate boards. At DK’s Skate Bowl, you can skate there till night. Bring knee pads or helmet for protection.
Skim Boarding – If the waves are low, some surfers use the small waves on shore to skim. I haven’t try it yet coz my co-worker accidentally twist his arm when he fell and I got scared to try. Maybe next time. 🙂
Painting – Ask the staff at Circle Hostel for the painting materials so you can paint their walls, stairs, fences, ceilings, etc. You can write a quote, doodle, and use vibrant colors so your masterpiece will pop out.
Slack lining – Ask again the staff at Circle Hostel to set up the slack line. Cross the rope from one end to another to develop your balance. Balance is very important when you surf, skate or skim.
Island Hopping – Rent a snorkel gear or bring your own, Liwliwa is just 30 minutes away from Pundaquit Beach. From there, you can go to Camara Island, Capones Island, Nagsasa and Anawangin Cove.
- Strong currents are from June to August so it’s not advisable to surf during those months.
- Eat at Mommy’s Phoebe’s Place, you can have a decent meal for Php50 ($1.13)
- Weak mobile signal but it’s tolerable. No mobile data so don’t expect to check Facebook or Twitter.
- Bring insect repellent lotion or spray coz there might be some bugs there.
- Come on a weekday if you want the beach by yourselves