I was supposed to be a part of a 25-people trip to Cagbalete Island in Quezon last weekend but due to some unforseen circumstances, the entire trip was cancelled two days before we were supposed to go. Boo.
So, what’s a girl with itchy feet and a strong desire to go to the beach going to do? Why, grab someone like her, pack her bikini and get on a bus.
Okay, so it wasn’t as simple as that. We had to do a little research to look for a good place. Ijust Googled “beaches one bus ride away from Manila” and several turned up. Once of them is Crystal Beach Resort, which was already fully booked so we ended up booking a room at Sabina Beach Resort.
“Na-Victory Liner Tayo” (in English “We’ve Been Victory Liner-ed”)
So, we were supposed to take the Victory Liner bus to Iba, Zambales. This trip would pass by San Narciso. I checked the website and we decided to take the 7:30 am trip because 6am is too early and 9am is a bit too late. Ria and I decided to meet up at the station around 6:30am.
When we arrived at the station, the bus schedules for Iba was 6:30, 9:30, 11:30, 1pm, and 3pm. We were too late for the 6:30 bus and we found the 9:30 bus too late for our liking. So, we decided to take the Olongapo bus and just catch a bus going to San Narciso there. There was a 7:30 bus trip scheduled. However, when we got to the counter, they have no idea what time the bus will leave. And I really mean NO IDEA AT ALL. The conversation went like this:
Ria: Miss, two tickets para sa 7:30 na Olongapo
Ticket Person: Ma’am pang anim na bus na kayo. (Ma’am, you would be on the sixth bus.)
Ria:What time aalis? (What time will it leave?)
Ticket Person: Depende po kung anong oras dadating yung bus. (It depends what time the bus will arrive.)
Ria: Okay. Yung sa Iba na lang, 9:30. (Okay. We’ll take the Iba trip, 9:30.)
Ticket Person: Ma’am pang 3pm na lang yung available (Ma’am, only the 3pm is available.)
Ria: Wala nang mas maaga? (Is there anything earlier?)
Ticket Person: Olongapo
Ria: Pero anung oras aalis yung pa Olongapo? (But what time will the bus to Olongapo leave?)
Ticket Person: Pag dumating na yung pang-anim na bus. Isa pa lang dumadating. (When the sixth bus arrives. Only one has arrived.)
I was like, what the fuck, not only are your website schedules not updated, but you don’t follow the schedule that’s posted above your counter. You know, that tarp that’s about 15 meters long and 10 meters high that everyone can see. What a waste of resources.
Anyway, we ended up waiting for the sixth bus to Olongapo for about 3.5 hours. We were finally on our way to Olongapo by 9:50.
By the way, the phrase “na Victory Liner tayo” have for us now come to mean that the service we got was sooooo far from what’s advertised.
The bus went to Olongapo via the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX) so it was relatively easy. The only bit of moderate traffic was along EDSA gettinng out to the North Luzon Expressway. We slept almost the whole time so we barely noticed anything else apart from the 80’s and 90’s music the bus was playing. Oh, and for those who refuse to go offline, you’ll be happy to know that there’s free wi-fi in the bus.
We arrived at Victory Liner bus station in Olongapo City at 11:50am, where we caught the San Felipe ordinary bus, which passes by San Narciso. The bus left at around 12:30 and the trip took about an hour. It was a fun ride for us. Also, life-risking if you think about how the bus barrels along the narrow road. But, we enjoyed it and with the windows open, we can finally smell the grass as the bus whips past fields of green.
When we got off at the town proper, we took a tricycle to Sabina Beach Resort. It was a easy 5 minute trip.
Sabina Beach Resort
We were “Victory Liner-ed” here too. Our reservations indicated that the room we booked was airconditioned but it wasn’t. The website description also said that we would have a beach view. We didn’t. We didn’t have any view at all. Now, Ria and I aren’t really picky about here we’re sleeping. We’re fine with just a fan room. But for P1,600, we expected better than a dark, non-breezy room that’s a five-minute walk from the beach. But since we were hungry, we decided to deal with it later and walked around to get lunch.
We arrived at the resort 2pm and there was no food apart from chips. So we walked along the beach and got to nearby Crystal Beach Resort where we were able to have lunch. We went back to Sabina, talked to the person who I assumed was the owner, and was able to get transferred to the cottage that was on the beach without any additional cash out. Cool.
Our cottage was blue so it really pops out. Plus, it’s nearest the beach out of all the rooms and cottages in the resort. It actually was ON the beach. It has an inner room, has four beds, and sleeps about 8-10 people. No AC, the shower and toilet is a couple of meters away from the cottage, but it’s bright, airy, and on the beach. We couldn’t be any more happier.
The Beach at Sunset
After sitting around for a bit, we explored the beach. We decided to walk along the shoreline to the sort-of peninsula we saw from the front of our resort. The beach was very wide, apparently long, and has fine, crystal-like sand.
We were also lucky enough to catch one of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve ever had the privilege of seeing.
The Beach at Night
We had dinner at Sabina Resort and decided to lounge around. We got chips, beer, and soda and settled a couple of feet from the water. A few meters away from us, a group that’s also staying in the resort had a bonfire going. We didn’t have one but the moon was full and there was enough light.
What I love about it is that it is a peaceful beach. It’s really meant for people who wants to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city. No nightlife, no clubs, no bars, no rowdy drunk people. It’s just you and the sound of the waves crashing on the shore.
Plus, later on in the night, the moon started to look like this:
The Beach in the Morning
We woke up early with the intention of getting surfing lessons. Unfortunately, no waves. We decided to sunbathe instead. Yes, I know it’s bad for the skin but we didn’t stay that long and we were protected. Also, it was like 6:30 in the morning when we got started.
We watched a while as fishermen threw their nets and kids walked along the shore looking for crabs and stuff.
The beach was beautiful anywhere you look.
The Beach at Noon
Ria had to leave early for some business stuff. So, after a quick breakfast, she packed up. I went back and since there are still no waves, I just wallowed. Being alone in a beautiful beach is the perfect place to think deep thoughts or write good stuff.
1. We spent around Php 1,800 each for the whole trip. Bus fare to Olongapo is Php 225.00, Olongapo to San Narciso is Php 52.00, tricycle to Sabina is Php 30. On the way back, I caught the UV Express Van to Olongapo for Php 70.00, and the bus to Manila via Pampanga for Php 207.00, though it took about an hour longer. Cottage was Php 800.00 each. Food-wise, we spent about Php 500.00 each.
2. Sabina Beach Resort people are very accommodating. Also, it’s a good place for families or large groups. They have an area where you can prepare your food, they have tables and chairs for your convenience, and use of grill is free. Contact details are (047) 222-2538 or 0932-886-0151. Look for Ruth. Visit their website to check it out.
3. It’s actually cheaper if you go there as a large group, accommodation-wise. Also, it’ll be more fun if you bring food you can grill.
4. We were able to check out their neighbor, Crystal Beach Resort, too. They have facilities for teambuilding and even an area for pitching tents. Their website is www.crystalbeach.com.ph
5. There’s a group that offers surfing lessons for Php 440.00 per hour. This rate includes an instructor and use of board. Just go to the Quicksilver tent on the beach
6. As with anywhere: do not litter, take care of your belongings, and respect the people, culture, and environment