Work life is hectic and sometimes we all need a break from the city to heal our minds, body and hearts. The opportunity presented itself when my friend Gelic wanted to celebrate her birthday on a beach far from the city and far from everyone.
Details about the resort:
Crystal Beach Resort is conveniently located in Zambales (4-5 hours drive from Manila) and offers different accommodation types and necessities, from air-conditioned rooms to camping tents, to common area wifi, good food and car park.
With an eight-hectare property of agoho (pine) trees, there is just so many activities to do – things you’ve always longed to experience. Be it a magical sunrise and sunset surf session, perhaps back-to-basic bonfire camp out, or simply reading a book by the sea with the soft sound of waves, Crystal Beach Resort is surely the perfect place to create memories that will truly last a lifetime. (From their website)
We met at the office because my friend and I live on different locations then we took an UBER from the office tower to Victory Liner bus station to commence our journey to Zambales. At the end of this blog I will give you guys the breakdown of the amount we paid for the entire trip. This is on commute so it’s beneficial to those who didn’t have a car.
The travel time from Manila to Zambales took around 5 to 6 hours because of the different stopover and the traffic. We took 2 Victory Liner bus – Manila to Olongapo then another bus from Olongapo to Iba, Zambales. We left Manila 9:45 AM and arrived at the resort at 3:30 PM. We decided to sit at the rear area of the bus for ample leg room and good view of the entire coach. Gelic and I enjoyed eating steamed quail eggs dipped in sea salt and Chicken Arroz Caldo with Yema as dessert on the way there.
The place is huge and spacious as the resort is also used for company team building facility and religious retreats. The huts, cabins and private rooms are cool. Gelic and I were supposed to get Glamping (glamour camping style) where we have a bed, socket, fan and lights in the tent but unfortunately it was fully booked. We were given an alternative of a cozy hut room which you can see on the video below. We stayed there for 2 days 1 night and we enjoyed every bit of our stay there. The only down side is the room we paid for for the amount of Php 2700 (52 USD) includes a breakfast buffet but it didn’t have toilet and bath. You have to walk a good 3 minutes just to get to the nearest toilet and bath (because the one nearest to our room/hut is under renovation. So a word of advice – never drink too much water before going to bed or you have to wake up in the middle of the night with full bladder and run to the toilet. They do have rooms and mini houses with toilet and bath inside but the room rate is around 150 to 200 USD per night.
Upon arrival, we were greeted by very courteous staff people who showed us to our room and informed us that the cut-off time for swimming on the beach is until 6 PM and that they always hold bonfires and movie night by the shore.. Aside from the room payment, you must pay additional Php1,000 as a security deposit which they will return to you upon check out. After getting into the room, I decided to take videos and photos of the location. I took tons of photos of the place and of my beloved birthday girl, my little sister from another mother – Gelic. As we rested a bit from hours of sitting in a bus, we decided to change to our swimwear then went straight to the shore where huge waves greeted us and threw us around like a rag doll. It was really fun and both Gelic and I accidentally drank sea water and sand after we were thrown around by the strong waves.
The food is superb in their restaurant but a bit pricey for budget travelers so I would greatly suggest that you bring your own food, rice cooker, rice, meat and veggies. Our dinner costed us 750 php that night and it’s way expensive than some of the restaurants in Manila just for a light meal for 2.
My overall experience on this trip is a positive one. Despite of some setbacks like the far toilet and bath, the deep sand wherein the sand gets in your shoes or on your wet slippers, the experience created a solid bond between me and my soul sister. We were able to talk about our goals and plans for the future and we made videos which I still have to edit this weekend as a memory gift for her.
Cost breakdown in Philippine peso.
From my home to office – PHP 40
Uber from office to Victory liner Cubao bus station -PHP 325
Bus from Cubao to Olongapo PHP 225/pax
Quail egg meal – PHP 25/10 pcs/ person
Chicken Arroz caldo with yema – PHP 150 total for two.
Bottled water – PHP 20 per 500 ML bottle
Bus from Olongapo to San Narciso, Zambales. – PHP 70/ pax
Tricycle from San Narciso Plaza to CrystalBeach – PHP 20/pax
Room rate, entrance and security deposit – PHP 3700
Dinner for two at the Resort restaurant – PHP 750
The travel going back to Manila has the same rate so I won’t be writing them.
I hope that these information can help with your Summer planning. I encourage everyone to visit the place because it’s really worth it.
For more information, booking rates and details, please visit their website: http://www.crystalbeach.com.ph
Link for the complete and detailed pictures of the trip and the resort posted on my flickr page: