Crystal Beach Resort wasn’t exactly crystal that time.
Its waters, despite the attraction made by swelling waves, were almost muddied from our view approaching the sprawling sea. The clouds hovering over the beach set a gloomy mood, rendering its ashen sand, a far cry from the blinding white shores of more celebrated beaches like El Nido and Boracay, a dull display in monochrome.
Maybe because before we could even check in on Facebook, Typhoon Ferdie was already making his presence felt across the province, obfuscating what should’ve been a bright vista known as a paradise for surfers in this humble municipality of San Narciso in Zambales.
The storm, which cancelled classes in Manila and ruptured Batanes, would eventually cause our supposed hopping trips to neighboring islands Anawangin and Capones to be called off.
Amid the drab complexion of the place, our group, which spent about four hours traveling in a minicoach (commuters can go to any Victory Liner station and ride an Iba-bound bus, get off in San Narciso, and take a trike going to the resort), still found ways to make the trip worth it. Our meanderings are captured in this wistful film by Camz Co:
The surf experience was one for the books. Particularly because the storm allowed for colossal waves, which intensified more the excitement rather than fear in our group of novice surfers. The sea was intimidating, but our surf coaches made sure we only rode in safe areas. They knew what they were doing. After all, this is Quiksilver Surf School, one of the leading surfing schools in the country, we’re talking about.
Then there’s The Kampsite, an eco-adventure camp that welcomes activities for team building, company getaways, or just the casual rendezvous of friends who want to hang out and kill time swaying on swings crafted from recycled tires. The spot is replete with pine trees, which makes it refreshing to the senses.
Scrumptious servings—fish fillet with tausi, lechon kawali, leche flan, and other Filipino homestyle dishes—can be had in Domingo’s Grille and Restaurant, an in-house eatery, before finally resigning to the resort’s rustic rooms, which are equipped with air-conditioning, cable TV, and bathrooms with heated showers and bidets.
There are more stunning locations in Zambales save for Crystal Beach Resort that are worth voyaging to. In fact, Victory Liner’s ongoing campaign tagged #VentureForthToTheNorth brings the province to the fore. The campaign, bannered by Victory Liner’s brand ambassador, erstwhile “Born to be Wild” host, Kiko Rustia, aims to encourage tourists to explore the beauty of the Northern Philippines.
Right before departing Crystal Beach Resort, the sun peeked through the billowing clouds. I was quick to frame the moment and was left with this confirmation as a souvenir: the place’s pulchritude is crystal-clear.
Karlo is a Journalism alumnus from the University of Santo Tomas. He was a contributor for the Philippine Daily Inquirer and FHM Philippines. Some of his poems have appeared on the Philippines Graphic and and Dapitan, the official literary folio of UST’s Faculty of Arts and Letters. He works full-time as a senior affiliate marketing specialist, plays the drums, and dances hip-hop. Traveling to new places is his favorite way to unwind from the humdrum of corporate life. Follow him on Instagram: @kjosepineda.