Let me tell you about two of my best gal pals whom I share some great similarities. We’re all single, writers, and travelers. That’s where my similarity with friend #1 ends. Now if I could describe this friend in an interesting way, this is what I would say, “She isn’t me.” And by that I mean 2 things:
She moves on quickly
She meets guys easily
In fact, not long after her breakup with her boyfriend, she met a guy at Circle Hostel in Zambales. The guy sports a long blonde hair reminiscent of the Hanson brothers’ do. Hence, we start referring to the guy as Hanson.
Here comes friend #2, whom I would describe as somebody like me.
She doesn’t move on quickly
She doesn’t meet guys easily
Like I said, me.
And just like me, friend #2 is hoping to meet a guy. Feeling inspired about the “luck” friend #1 had, friend #2 and I went to the Circle Hostel some time in May hoping to snag our own Hanson brothers.
It’s a 6-hour ride to Zambales. At 8:00 p.m., we took the overnight bus at Victory Liner in Pasay terminal. Fare is PHP 223 (USD 4.48). We reached Olangapo City at around 11:00 in the evening where we had to take another bus to San Felipe, Zambales. Bus fare is PHP 61 (USD 1.22).
In Olongapo, we too an old aircon-less bus with open windows that let the air in. A drunkard got in somewhere along the way and sat in front of us. We were in the middle of the bus, near the opened door where drunkard guy and his friend were standing as there were no more seats available. Drunkard guy clearly couldn’t keep himself upright so his friend had to support him the entire trip. Because of drunkard guy and the possibility he would suddenly fall off from the bus, I was restless the entire ride.
At 2:13 a.m., we reached the dark town of San Felipe and approached one of the tricycles that were spotted in the corner of the street. I told the trike driver to take us to sitio “aliw liwa,” (the correct name is Liwliwa); whether he found my blunder funny he didn’t show it. The fare ride is worth PHP 30 (USD 0.60). From the main road it took about 17 minutes to reach Circle Hostel.
There we were met with stillness and darkness. Since we came very late, there was no one to greet us. The entrance has no lock so we were able to get in with no problem. I’m not sure if this is a good thing, because what if some crooks enter the place.
We tried to find anyone who could assist us to no avail and we weren’t sure which part of the hostel should we spend the night over. We decided to enter one of the houses; we left our flip flops at the bottom of the stairs. The room was bare and we wondered where the other guests are. We picked a spot, each of us taking the lower bunks of the double-deck beds. It was equipped with a mosquito net and curtains to allow a bit of privacy, but since none of the staff saw us coming, we slept sans pillows or blankets.
The next morning, the staff was quite apologetic that they weren’t able to receive us properly. We did text them last night but they were already asleep when the message came through. We told them it was okay. That mosquito net did a ton of difference.
The few guests the hostel had were already leaving that morning to our dismay. Our goal was to socialize, meet new people, maybe meet a Hanson, but it looked like none of these were going to happen.
The Circle Hostel Zambales is one of the three from this eco-hostel chain; the other two can be found in Baler, Aurora and La Union. It’s categorized as a budget-friendly, art hostel, and sure enough, the hostel is designed using environmentally friendly materials. The place didn’t go shy with art; the lockers, the walls, even the bahay kubos themselves are painted in cool graphic designs and graffiti. There are paints and brushes available to those who want to share their artistic prowess. I am artistic and a very creative person, the problem is, I cannot draw. So I made do by painting the name of my blog on the wall.
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As with the accommodation, they have 50 dorm style bunk beds (44 co-ed and 6 in an all-female bunkhouse) and hammocks. Bring your own towel, toiletries, and padlock for the locker. They do provide towels for additional price, I say just bring your own.
e is free breakfast but do not expect it to be anything other than some bread and peanut butter, coffee, and banana.
There is a common area equipped with bean bags, playing cards, guitar, and hammocks. This is where guests can stay to hang out and maybe make friends. Problem is, we didn’t find other guests to socialize with. As shown in the photo below, it’s empty.
The beach is a 5-minute walk from the hostel. It’s a gray-sand beach, bare save for some boats, and a few small cottages. It was real peaceful, with only a few people around. My friend and I spent a few hours in the morning lying on the sand, taking pictures, and generally taking in the beauty of the beach.
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Another friend of us who lives in Olongapo came over to hang out with us. Check-out time is 11:00 a.m., so we just left our belongings downstairs and went to the beach where our friend went swimming. Like we needed more proof that friend #2 and I are like twins, both of us skipped the swimming part. I just like staring at the beach, appreciating it from afar.
We just had an overnight stay. When we checked out of the Circle Hostel, we went to Olangapo where we had dinner and coffee. Friend #2 and I went back to Manila that day, with a failed attempt to snag a Hanson. Girls like us have a hard time meeting men, but if there is something true about us that I am proud of, is that we have a full life with or without men. We didn’t feel like something was missing, if at any, I found our trip pretty invigorating.
The Circle Hostel
Sito Liwliwa, San Felipe, Zambales
Telephone no.: +63 917 505 4329