There is nothing quite like the beach in Liwliwa. Three times I’ve been to this beach in the town of San Felipe, Zambales, and its quiet beauty and magic remain the same.
There is the ash-gray shore that seems to stretch on forever and the pine-like agoho trees lining it, with sweeping mountain ranges in the distance. And, because, the shoreline is so long, you can easily find your own quiet spot – this is what I’ve found, even amid the rush of people during Holy Week.
There are the powerful waves perfect for surfing, and occasionally tranquil for swimming.
Then there are the glorious sunrises and sunsets – yes, both can be seen in Liwliwa. The sun makes its first appearance over the agoho trees in the east, and later descends a fiery end on the sea’s horizon. If you love walking like me, you might even see the sunrise reflected on run-offs from the river, or on clear pools left over by the receding tide.
And, this beach is just relatively near Metro Manila. If you want to surf or just have some quiet time on the beach, Liwliwa is the perfect place.
Below is a guide to this beach:
How to get to Liwliwa:
Ride a Victory Liner bus bound for Iba or Sta. Cruz in Zambales. While there are buses in Pasay and Cubao, the bus terminal with the most trips to Iba and Sta. Cruz (usually leaving every hour) is Caloocan. Bus fare from Caloocan is P282 (as of March 2018). Get off at San Felipe town proper (you can see the public market on one side and 7-11 on the other).
(Alternatively, you can ride an Olongapo-bound bus, with more frequent trips in almost any terminal and any bus liner, then ride a bus that will be passing by San Felipe. But I recommend the first option as this is a direct route).
From San Felipe town proper, ride a tricycle to your chosen accommodation for P30 each person. If you are riding alone, you pay P60.
Trip usually takes 5-6 hours.
Where to stay:
If you want some quiet time amid the agoho trees, I would recommend Hideout. This is where my friends and I stayed just recently this March. It is located toward the end of the strip of accommodations. There is also a noise curfew so you can sleep quietly at night. And, like most Liwliwa accommodations, it is just a 5-minute walk away from the beach.
Dorm beds start at P500 with vegetarian breakfast. The room we stayed at (good for 4) is P1,900.
If you are a solo traveler also keen to meet new people, I would recommend Circle Hostel. This is where I stayed the first two times I’ve been in Liwliwa. I love their “There are no strangers here” motto, and true enough, I met new people here. They have duyan (breathable hammocks) for P450 and bunk beds for P550. You can also stay in a tent for P350.
You can also bring your own tent and stay at a campsite for P100. There is a campsite just a bamboo bridge and a short walk away from Hideout.
There are other accommodations in Liwliwa to choose from, some more higher-priced like Surface Liwa.
Where to eat:
Budget options abound – especially carinderias and canteens – along the strip of accommodations which you can easily walk to. There are tapsilogs and variations below P150, there are freshly-cooked food (ulam and rice) for the same price, and there are more higher-priced open-air cafes.
What to do / Activities in Liwliwa:
Surfing is the main draw in Liwliwa, and lessons are usually P400 per hour while board rental is at P200. The waves for riding usually come during the rainy season (July to November), and even afterwards, till February. As with surfing areas in general, waves are usually bigger just after a typhoon.
You can also swim with the waves, which can be fun! If you want the waters to be calm for your swim, best time to come is in the middle of summer, around late March to early May.
The long stretch of beach, though, is also good for just walking and some quiet time. You can also just pick a spot among the agohos and set up a picnic with friends, and later, wait for the sunset.
On weekdays you are likely to see fisherfolk slowly pulling a huge net to the shore, hoping for a big catch. Watching them can be meditative.
Two times I also pulled with them, and I felt the rope burn into my hands. This is what they do for hours, faithful they will be blessed with the sea’s bounty.
If they have a big catch, you might also be able to buy fresh fish from them to roast for your lunch. I remember buying two plump yellowfin tuna for P100 some years ago.
What to buy:
For souvenirs, do buy handmade products from the locals. I would suggest those made from bamboo, especially the bamboo cups. These can be used for drinking or for holding objects like pens. At Hideout, they have some bamboo cups for drinking.
Sample budget for overnight trip:
Victory Liner bus from Caloocan to San Felipe P282
Tricycle to Liwliwa P30
Environmental fee P20
Dorm bed at Hideout, or share in a room good for 4 persons P500 (with breakfast)
Three meals – lunch, dinner, and lunch next day P450 (assuming P150 per meal)
Surfing lesson P400
Bamboo cup souvenir P50
Tricycle back to San Felipe P30
Bus back to Caloocan P282
65 thoughts on “Surfing, long beach walks, and more: Guide to Liwliwa Beach with a budget below P2,000”
Thanks for the updated guide. Is it possible to use cooking stoves (butane or alcohol-based) within the area?
We’re planning to go there either this Monday or Tuesday, thank you!
I am not sure. What I do know is that bonfires are prohibited. Re: cooking, when I passed by the camp site, I saw the locals cooking for the campers. They say it’s for a fee. Enjoy your trip!
Ey! Thanks for the reply. Couldn’t reply back because I just got back from there last night. We ended up just eating on the nearby kainan. We stayed in Circle Hostel and tried our luck in surfing, though the waves really are pretty calm.
And another big THANK YOU!! I used your post as my primary guide to the costs, accommodation and activities. Spot on! Might actually write something as well, hahaha.
This is interesting. Do u have, perhaps the contact number of the place/inn u stayed? I hope they have an accomodation good for 15 pax
Me and My friends are looking for a place near subic and this place might be it! 🙂
Here are their contact details. Their FB page is also linked to my blog post. They can accommodate 15 but in separate rooms, I think.
Phone: 63 917 500 0708
Not sure re: cooking stove. Perhaps campsites allow them. Perhaps you can also ask the accommodation. Enjoy!
Hi! Just want to ask if they allow walk or they are strict with no reservation policy? Thank you in advance.
As long as there is still a room available, they allow walk-ins. But best to have a reservation if you are visiting during peak season.
Indeed! Liw-liwa beach is quiet a beauty.♥♥♥
Hi, do they allow to pitch a tent near the beach?
There are designated campsites. Some accommodations also have pitching areas. All accommodations and campsites anyway are just a five- to ten-minute walk to the beach.
Meron po bang tent pitching area sa mga resorts? gusto kasi namin makatipid as much as possible..
Not all resorts have tent pitching areas, but some do. Meron ring malaking tent pitching area malapit sa Hideout, like I mentioned sa blog post. 🙂
thanks sa reply. how about locker rentals, and surfing, required ba surf instructor and cash deposit pag mag rerent ng surfboard?
Hi! Even if the waves are calm, is it still possible to surf them? We plan to go this 2018 end of April. Thanks!
Sorry, did not see this immediately. I hope you had fun visiting Liwliwa! One summer we were there some surfers were still able to catch a few waves, but it took them a long time.
How about entrance/Environmental fee? HM?
And meron bang alternative buses from Buendia Terminal?
Lastly, can we cook there? Thanks 🙂
Sorry for many questions 😀
There is now an environmental fee of P20. I just talked to our accommodation then. Will update this blog post.
You can try going to San Felipe via the Olongapo bus (two bus rides) but I don’t think there are Olongapo-bound buses at Buendia. There are buses from Pasay but I the trips are more limited.
Re: cooking, I think it’s allowed in campsites though I cannot affirm this 100%. Enjoy your trip.
Hi, just wanted to ask the name of the resort in Liwliwa. Yung 20 pesos na environmental fee, iba pa po ba sa entrance ng Resort? Do we need to pay entrance for the resort? or kahit hindi na. Thanks.
Hi ask ko lang about cottage? Balak namin magpunta kaso one day lang.
Sorry, did not see your comment immediately. I hope you were able to find a cottage.
is the strip right next to the national highway itself? if not, how many meters away?
Do you mean the strip of accommodations (which are just 5-10 minutes away from the beach)? It is accessible via tricycle from the main road. Kindly see blog post again.
Hi, how about pabalik ng manila?
Same – only, you take a trike back to the highway then a bus back to Manila. Expenses listed on the post include round-trip transpo.
Hi there, what is the best time to leave Manila? Planning to go there next week. Thanks 🙂
As early as possible, especially if you are commuting like we did. I think bus trips can go as early as 430 am or 5 am. We took the 7 am trip and we arrived past noon already.
Thanks, Ms Claire 🙂
Ask ko lang po regarding sa campsite near hideout.. my public toilet din po ba doon? saan po kaya pwede mag park ng sasakyan pag pupunta sa campsite..
Yep, may nakita akong toilets sa campsite. Not sure re: parking, though but I think meron.
malapit lang ba ang hideout sa beach? kung gusto namin magpunta ng beach wala na bang dadaanang mga beach resort who will ask for entrance fee or something like that? thanks in advance!
Yes, mga five- to ten-minute walk. Malawak lang ang sand bago dumating sa tubig pero tanaw na ang beach konting lakad lang from Hideout. No, wala namang naniningil every time. May environmental fee lang (specified in my blog post) that they started charging after my latest trip pero alam ko bago ka pa dumating sa resorts babayaran mo na yon sa isang checkpoint.
Is there a safe parking area near the beach? Or do they have their own parking?
I haven’t taken note of the parking, but you can contact the accommodation directly for where to park your car, if ever.
Hi! the Surfing lesson po is P 400.00 per hour then kasama na po yung magtuturo or rental lang po ng surfing board? thank you:)
Yes, lahat-lahat na yon.
Hi. Gusto po namin pumunta sa liwliwa . required po ba na mag surfing and how much po ang cottage good for 2 person?
Hi. Hindi required mag-surfing. For the places to stay, I have links to some on my blog post. You can check prices from there.
Hello, can i ask what’s the name of the campsite where we can pitch a tent for just 100 pesos? We’re planning to go to Liwliwa next week and we’re trying to limit the cost for the accomodation kasi to maximize our budget for surfing. Thank you for your blog, and in advance for your response. 🙂
I don’t remember the name of the campsite (I don’t recall seeing the signage), but it’s the campsite that’s just a short walk away from Hideout. When we were there, there was a bamboo bridge to the campsite from the area around Hideout. Hideout is a bit toward the end – Circle Hostel comes first.
Does the Campsite near the hideout accommodate late arrivals? like 8pm? onwards?
I am not sure but I imagine if they have space they would. 🙂
Hi!. I am planning to go there for a DIY vacay on the 26th. I am really happy seeing this kind of guide. This is my first time travelling alone. 🙂 Thank you
Cool. Yes, Liwliwa is great for solo travelers. Enjoy! 🙂
Hello! regarding the to the campsite is that safe to stay there just in case that we choose to sleep on our tent for overnight instead of staying on the hideout? thank you!
Yes, I think so, because I saw many people staying there. =)
Thank you! 😊
your blog is very informative, very appreciated …
hi mam, nice post
planning to go there by car, day tour only. do they have a safe place to park? is the beach public?
Yes, the beach is public. Not sure about the parking as I noticed they are connected with some of the resorts. Drive is about 4 to 5 hours so I recommend overnight.
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Hi! I’m not familiar with the surfing season in the Philippines. I’m glad to come across this page though. Liwliwa is stunning! How does June look like surf-wise?
Not sure about June as summer is just ending then. July, or even August, onwards is better. Best to check magicseaweed.com for wave forecasts.
Hi! Planning to go on Liw-liwa this week, kailangan pa po bang magpareserve? or walk-in lang since may mga tent kaming dala. 🙂
Sorry did not see this immediately. Hope you enjoyed your trip!
Hi! I’m planning to go on a day trip so I want to maximize the day. Is it possible to leave manila at midnight and arrive there at around 6AM?
Sorry did not see this immediately. If by private car, no problem. But if by commute, not sure if there are buses leaving at 12 midnight. Best to check with the bus company.
What’s the best time to come if you want to go surfing?
I think the rainy months July to October would be your best bet, but best to still check magicseaweed.com for wave forecasts and also ask your chosen accommodation in Liwliwa – for example, Hideout.
Hi. Does this place have a nightlife? Or maybe you know other places near Manila that’s accessible through land travel that does? Sorry to use your blog for this question. Me and my friends are desperate to find one aside from La Union. Thanks!
I believe Baler has more of a night life than Liwliwa. 🙂 Didn’t really see much going on at night in Liwliwa.
Cool. I’ll check that out. Thanks for the tip. 🙂
Hi. This is very helpful. But would you know if we can charter boats from here for island hopping in Anawangin & Capones?
I can’t say for sure, but you can inquire with the accommodation you are planning to stay with. Surely they will know. 🙂
Hi There, What is the best time to surf in Zambales?
The three times I went there (March), people were already surfing, but I imagine the waves would be biggest during typhoon months, from July to October. Best to check https://magicseaweed.com/ first for forecasts to be sure.