travel

Liwliwa, Zambales: Once upon a time, my happy place

She was beautiful, but darn, she didn’t have a clue.

I remember the first time I saw Liwliwa. Her locks were long, straight, and fair. Her face already radiated like pearls even before her lips said a word. There was something about her that makes you want to stick around and say nothing. Liwliwa didn’t wear jewels or fake eyelashes to look attractive. She wasn’t fancy like that at all, oh she didn’t need to. Perhaps it was her eyes – it was the fire in those eyes that got me hung up on her two years ago.

I watched her wake up with reckless energy in the morning and wander softly on her toes in the afternoon. I caught her light up a thousand lamps and scatter it all over the ceiling until it created a canopy of glowing bulbs. I’ve never stretched my arms long enough to reach those moons, but they were always there by nighttime.

Liwliwa was shy to the people who stared at her from a distance. But if you make her company long enough, you’ll hear the bursts of her sweet and honest laughter. They were contagious. In my memories, the sound resembled home.

It was her quietness and nearness that pulled me to her time and time again, even when I only got to visit her in my thoughts. As strange as she was to me, her eyes spoke of sunset all the while. The wind coming out from her nostrils was the gentlest breeze that ever touched my skin.

But all of this disappeared when I saw her again. Her hair was unkempt, shorter and unwashed. Her face lacked color and her eyes looked tired. She wore dangling earrings and drank Smirnoff at noon.

Who is this woman?

It never occurred to me how much she could transform within a couple of years. People stood close to her. In fact, they stood too close to her that she no longer ran with the wind at break of dawn. Liwliwa did not flee the presence of her visitors anymore for they sought her wherever she went.

She changed because the people who fell in love with her remade her.

Even though her beauty was a secret no more, the sun rises and sets in her eyes just as it had in the old days. Her laughter sounded the same. Her smile, always so bright. And still, she is unaware.

 

Liwliwa Zambales Beach (12)

 

 

Liwliwa Zambales

 

 

 

 

 

Liwliwa Zambales Beach (2)

 

Liwliwa Beach Zambales 2018 (4)

 

 

 

Liwliwa Zambales Beach (12)

 

Liwliwa Beach Zambales 2018 (10)

 

 

December 2, 2018 — Christmas air is usually chilly but this year was different. Oddly, December has given us the perfect weather to go on a beach trip with fellow outdoorsy people like bloggers Mish, Kaye, and Aldous. The four-hour drive went smoothly, made delightful by the picturesque views of the mountain ranges, and what was left of the volcanic explosion decades ago.

The place has changed since my last visit in 2016. There were more food establishments, more hostels under construction, and more surfers making their way to the swells. It was no surprise that Liwliwa beach was packed with a young crowd especially when the holiday weekend kicked off early on a Friday.

I felt mixed emotions. None of what I saw today looked familiar. If not a cigarette butt or candy wrappers, the shore was mixed with foreign particles that made its texture feel coarse. Liwliwa’s sand wasn’t this rough a couple of years back. Am I saddened to see the bottles of beer, PVC pipes dividing the coast, the towering huts, and stores built closely on the sea? Of course.

Through it all, there is at least one thing that didn’t change a bit for me. Liwliwa beach still had a breathtaking view of the world at dawn. The sand was my throne where I capture the sun peacefully go down and leave a purplish orange color in the sky.

Despite my love for traveling, I am a mere spectator of the sun and the ocean.

 

How to Get There

  1. Take the NLEX until the last exit.
  2. Take the SCTEX until Subic.
  3. Head to Kalaklan Gate.
  4. Upon exiting Kalaklan Gate, turn left, go straight and pass through the towns of Subic, Castillejos, San Marcelino until you reach San Narciso.
  5. You’ll encounter a T-intersection with a Petron Gas Station nearby, turn right (where Crystal beach arrow is pointing you) and head straight.
  6. You’ll see  a small street before Bobulon Elementary School (painted in peach or pink), make a left.
    Go straight and follow the signs of Circle Hostel or Board Culture.

 

Note: If you're travelling by bus, take the directions from Circle Hostel Zambales here.

 

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4 Comments

  1. Louise, have you ever been up north of Pangasinan? Id like to hear you write something about La Union and Ilocos. Also, El Nido, because palagi ako dun. LOL

    1. Lucky you! Been to La Union and Ilocos once, but never got to go back again! El Nido, haven’t been also lol.

  2. So refreshing to read something like this!

    1. Thank you, Aizel! 😊

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