My friends and I grossly underestimated the number of people hoping for an exodus from the city for the long break that our supposed five-hour travel time to our destination was met with a lot of difficulties. Eventually, after almost nine hours on the road, we got to The Circle Hostel in Sitio Liwliwa, Zambales and it was amazing.
Truth be told, I've never heard of The Circle Hostel before. According to their website, their goal is "to create affordable lodging and create a positive and friendly community atmosphere amongst travelers." They also want to be "a sanctuary for the artsy and the adventurous where people can express themselves freely among each other and on our walls." My friend Ed who went there last year said the place is very relaxed and laidback, and based on the photos I imagined it has a very Jason Mraz-ish vibe to it.
I was right. Stepping in to The Circle Hostel was like stepping in to a Jason Mraz video where everything is light and breezy and wonderful.
For P350 a night, we stayed on the bunk beds. We were a little late in reserving so all the bottom bunks were already taken and we had to stay at the topmost bunks. It was a little challenging to climb all the way up especially if you're holding something but we easily got the hang of it.
|Each bunk has its own mosquito net and curtains for privacy. Guests are given fresh linens, blankets, and pillow cases upon checking in.|
|I am showing you a photo of my toes so you can see how high up we were.|
|You also have the options of staying in tents or renting a hammock. Hammocks are cheaper at P250 a night but I can just imagine how painful your back will be in the morning.|
|Store within the hostel that also offers surfboard and padlock rentals|
See those artworks and murals? They were all painted by guests! Everyone is welcome to borrow paint and brushes and paint away.
Whenever it was still too hot out to go to the beach, we either stayed in the hammocks or went up the common room. (Doesn't that just remind you of Harry Potter?)
The common room houses bean bags, a speaker, musical instruments, and more importantly, these:
|Outlets for charging your gadgets!|
I never realized the extent of my dependence to a reliable Internet connection until I was forced to live without it for three days (no wifi, very weak data connection). I mean, without the security blanket offered by Facebook and Twitter whenever boredom strikes, what else was I supposed to do?
Turns out, there was a LOT. I could write, I could sing, I could read, I could swim, I could stroll by the beach, I could gaze up at the stars, I could talk to people. I'm not gonna lie, it felt very disconcerting at first and I had a massive case of the FOMO, but on the second day I became a lot more comfortable about it. Relished the thought of not having to check what everyone's up to or if any work emails are coming in, even. Thanks to my friends Ed and JV's outgoing personalities, we met a lot of new friends!
|Halo-halo with Salve|
|Joy, Inad, Ed, and JV|
|Beachin' with Carlota|
|Categories and dares|
|Ed and Sasha, the wanna-be snowman|
From The Circle Hostel, it's just a three-minute stroll to the beach strip. As expected, we spent our afternoons there until the sun set, and went back in the evenings to watch the stars.
|We didn't realize we were making memories, we just knew we were having fun. Thanks for another memorable weekend, Ed and JV!|
|"With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world."|
- Desiderata, Max Ehrmann