From the City to the Sea: How Crystal Beach Lures You Back
Christa De La Cruz | May 18, 2015
All roads lead to the sea. Or, at least, that’s what they say. If you live in an archipelago like the Philippines, every turn on the road will most certainly lead to a body of water, in one way or another. The famous pathway at Crystal Beach Resort in San Narciso, Zambales proves that even the passing of time cannot escape this truth.
I first went to Crystal Beach in 2008 for a college org-related activity. Though not entirely a breather as it was for the annual planning session, the three-day trip was still as memorable as any summer getaway with closest friends should be. The rows of pine trees, crashing waves of the sea, and the calmer (and a bit hidden) estuary provided a respite from university life.
Seven years later, I was sent back to the same beach and, this time, it was entirely for work: the event coverage of the Summer Siren Festival. Considering the two nights of non-stop partying, it was a bit harder to remember the tranquility that Crystal Beach once provided in all its sepia-toned glory.
It was only the morning after—while the stage is being slowly taken down and people with hangover packing up their bags and tents—that the coast I once knew made its way back in a whisper. Run by the Ramos Family since 1980, the resort has become a playground for lovers of the sun, sand, surf, and even the mountain, which serves as the backdrop in the whole beach-by-the-mountain scene.
What to Do
Some people have called this place their second home as friends share their most remarkable vacation, may it be just lazing around or riding the waves, in its vast expanse.
Crystal Beach is one of the nearest surf spots from Metro Manila, especially with all those highways to bypass the traffic (sort of), making it one of the prime destinations for a surf sesh. According to their website, "waves [there] can range from really small to overhead with some occasions of double overhead during surfing season - varying wave breaks, left and right handers and A frame peaks." Of course, I didn't understand that but the fine print said: "In layman's terms: it's got a little bit of everything for everybody."
Prior to the trip, I asked Coach Virgel of Quiksilver Surf School to (finally) give me my first (legit) lessons in surfing. And my first lesson in surfing was: there are no waves in the summer.
Where to Stay
If you're either the type who can't be bothered with setting up camp or the type who loves sleeping in the outdoors, you'll find that their list of accommodations has options for suitable everyone. Their no-frills native-style cottage for two is at PhP 1,550 while their biggest 10-person "Beach Party Cabin" with aircon is at PhP 11,950. You can just pitch a tent if you're on a budget and do that one-with-nature thing.
Seven years may have passed but Crystal Beach still has the same sunset that bids you goodbye as you leave for the city, knowing that you'll be back.
(All photos from 2008 courtesy of Tel Castillo and Toni Delmo-Narciso.)
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