A Weekend in Low-Key Philippines

You don't have to go too far from the city to find the beauty they all talk about!

Two worlds connecting, a friend and I reunited in Asia. I have just moved to the Philippines for an internship and she had been working in Hong Kong for a year. So it was inevitable we had to meet up in the middle and we planned a long-weekend adventure in San Antonio, a second class municipality in the province of Zambales in Central Luzon.

The Philippines is full of little local surprises and from this trip we realized you don't have to go too far from the city to get desktop quality destinations!

But first, this was how we got there:

  1. We booked a bus ride through Victory Liner from Pasay to Iba (it has several drop-off's along the way and you'll be getting off at San Antonio) ~ 260-300 PHP per person
    1. Not all the times on their bus schedules can be booked online. We had a late flight and the 11:30 P.M. bus we wanted to catch was only first come first serve.
  2. To get to the bus terminal from the airport we took a yellow taxi cab to the Pasay Victory Liner. A white taxi cab is cheaper, but they might try to rip you off. I can promise you a yellow cab will make your life a lot less stressful and worth the extra 2 bucks. ~ 300-400 PHP per person
  3. At the terminal, it is small, but there is food and restrooms and once on the bus, it's very clean and provides free WiFi!
  4. At 3:30 A.M., we got off at San Antonio and found a trik/motorbike to take us to our resort at Pundaquit Beach ~ 30-35 PHP per person

So talk about a late night adventure! Off to bed we went.

Day 1

We woke up at 8 in the morning, but so willingly because check out this view!

The resort we stayed at was the Pundaquit Sun and Surf Resort. To keep it short, if you're looking for comfortable, affordable, and some seriously good food (American and Filipino), come through!

For our first day, we winged it and decided to hang out at the closest islands to us (actually the islands in the view of the photo above), Camara and Capones Island.

After 6 hours of sun and enough salt in our hair, we successful had a perfect beach day of just relaxing. We got back with enough time to get ready for this amazing sunset.

How the colors of the sky took over the light was insane.

Day 2

We had originally planned on going on a 4 hour hike, but after some rain and not having the most proper shoes, we decided on a boat to Nagsasa Cove.

It was the perfect weekend and when we got our bill and we were blown away at how much we spent for an easy weekend. Lessoned learned: sticking to the local places isn't too bad shabby of a move.

TIP: Getting back may be a little tricky.

  • From the resort we called for a motorbike to come pick us up (09168457443) ~ 100 PHP total
  • Tell the driver the Victory Liner bus stop in downtown San Antonio.
  • You could possibly catch a bus returning from Iba to Pasay, but it was more likely to catch a bus from San Antonio to Olongapo (don't take the express, catch the red bus that stays on the highway) ~ 40 PHP per person
  • Get off at the Olongapo Victory Liner terminal and buy a ticket for the next bus to Pasay. 
    • We had just gotten there in time for a bus that was leaving for Cubao, which is about 10 minutes away from Pasay ~ 200-300 PHP per person
  • Now here's where the experience is a little more difficult. In a place that runs off of little structure, once you got in the city it's pretty chaotic. To get back to the airport, we didn't see any yellow taxi's in Cubao. In front of the bus terminal, there were people waving down cars for you. They are going to ask for money. I'm not much of a haggler, so this was better for me. Our guys helped us wave down a car that would take us to two separate terminals for 450 PHP total (a car before was asking for 800 PHP). He also asked for 30 PHP - I gave him 20 PHP. But in case you don't expect that or you feel brave to wave down your own taxi, go for it.

This is the Philippines. Good luck!

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

Tiffany YoungExplorer

Found love in the mountains, but I'm from the coast.