What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear about surfing? One would instantly picture the coasts of Siargao, Baler and La Union. While these surfing destinations are among the top beaches for the sports, there is a quiet beach not so far away from Manila where one can freely ride the waves.
Liwliwa beach in Zambales may not be as popular as the others but it boasts of untamed swells in a laid-back vibe surrounding — ones that would satisfy a surfer’s lust for a ride. Aside from the fact that Liwliwa beach is near, it also wouldn’t cost you much. Some would say that surfing is an expensive hobby but scratch that mindset because surfing isn’t the sports to make one feel graceful and glamorous. It’s the total opposite! If you choose the right place to stay and the right people to chill with, then you’re set even with a small budget. (This hostel is all about resourcefulness and practicality!)
December 2, 2018 — There weren’t many surfers the first time I visited Liwliwa back in 2016. Couples, groups and solo travelers each minded their own business by the beach. The usual scenario involved camera phones instead of frisbee discs and stereo instead of books. It was cool and calm by the shore.
I expected the same kind of chill vibe upon stepping foot on the sand of San Felipe two years later. Rather, this time I was greeted by a close-knit community that promotes not only the beauty of the area but the quality of the friendships they share with one another as well. I met them during a humble hostel stay at Homebase Surf Camp.
This hostel is nothing sort of fancy but hey, you don’t book this place for that reason anyway! The simplicity of the accommodation and even the facilities make Homebase Surf Camp bold and unpretentious. You clean up after yourself like you’re supposed to when you’re at home. Homebase Surf Camp doesn’t spoil you rotten but brings out your relaxed yet real self. It may not sound like a vacation, but trust me you’d love the place for its modesty. In other words, bawal ang maarte.
We spent the whole afternoon just relaxing by the beach. My friends and I each had a bottle of beer while watching the sun go down. Surfers seemed to enjoy the swells while the rest of the crowd savors the moment, too. I saw a girl meditate by herself, another girl read books, and on the other side, a group of friends jams with the sound of the guitar. The beach was singing in delight with them.
Unpleasant changes alongside tourism development are inevitable but they can be controlled. As a witness to the younger Liwliwa Beach, the bad news is that the trash multiplied as the tourists increased. Well, the good news is this: the hostels themselves create initiatives to clean the area. Homebase Surf Camp encourages visitors to collect plastic bottles, cigarette butts, and other pollutants so these materials may be repurposed. Preserving the environment while having fun is possible, and hopefully sustainable.
Speaking of having fun, Homebase Surf Camp has a really nice way of bringing the people together. The hostel started the Open Mic Nights, happening every Saturday, where they give the spotlight to anyone who wants to sing their heart out. It is surprising how music breaks tension and awkwardness in the atmosphere. And you’ll also get amazed by unexpectedly good singers from the crowd!
Looking forward to your stay here? Make sure you’re ready for a backpacker-style accommodation!
Guide to Homebase Surf Camp
The resort offers rooms and tents for those who want to stay overnight. Make sure to contact the management ahead of time to reserve via their Facebook page.
Visit on weekdays to avoid the crowd. But if you prefer meeting new people, then go on weekends.
The hostel is perfect for solo and couple backpackers, even for barkadas and young professionals. For families, know that Homebase Surf Camp doesn’t have a child-friendly facility.
They do not offer cooked meals but allow guests to use their kitchen. They only serve beer at night.
CLAYGO is the principle to live by! Bring your trash with you and wash your own dishes.
Day Tour Rates
Tent or hammock
Pitch a tent
Good for 5
Good for 8
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Homebase Surf Camp
Address: Liwliwa San Felipe, Zambales 2204
Operating hours: 8am – 6pm
Contact number: 0917 506 8889
Check out their Instagram page