The Circle Hostel: Budget Surfing Accommodations in Zambales

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When in Manila, head on a roadtrip and drive to Zambales!  Escape the demands of the hectic city and enrich your soul with life’s simplest gift – nature, art, friends.  Enjoy the sweet swell on the beach of LiwLiwa Zambales and chill at the coolest spot in the area – The Circle Hostel.

Your When In Manila team has worked hard over the couple of weeks to update the website for y’alls 😉  It’s now more organized and more interactive and we plan bigger things ahead!  With this said, we need a little break after our migration and decided to head to Zambales overnight for surf, frisbee, eat, paint and meet new people.

It was a weekend we all deserved.  And if you think you also deserve an awesome fantabulous weekend getaway that would get you that far, travel here!  I highly recommend you to check this place out and experience it for yourselves.

We were supposed to meet up at 5am but we only left for NLEX at around 6-ish in the morning.  Our goal is to arrive early so that we can have more time to surf and do other beach activities.  We weren’t scared of being bored, there was just so much to do in a very simple place!

We decided to stop over Subic for breakfast and gas.  Puregold was still closed – our attempt to buy marshmallows for the bonfire.

After 45 minutes of driving from Subic – we arrived at The Circle Hostel.

oo yea.. talkin about the good life!  Lazy day for this cat!

The Circle Hostel

We met one of the owners of Circle Hostel, Raf Dionisio and he’s a “swell” guy (surfer term? whaddup!?).  The Circle Hostel is really about 3 things: cheap accommodations for surfers, making friends and a hub for travelers and creative people.  

Basically, it’s a venue to show your true self, express  yourself – no pretentions and release your inner-god or godess.  Everyone is encouraged to get to know other people with their tagline “there are no strangers.” 

The sheets were clean and the bed was comfortable.

No A/C here but the breeze and fresh air was a worthy alternative – you don’t get that a lot these days!


The Circle Hostel uses natural materials – giving you a cool comfortable, breezy place to sleep!

I experienced this when I spent the night at the hostel.  Though I was with my fellow When In Manila writers, the vibe and the energy around the area was so chill, the second we know it – we were talking to other people in the group!  

Common Area

I am a little bit of a “loner” sometimes and especially when I travel, I just like to be at peace with myself.  This time it was different though, I had no intentions of getting to know other people – yada yada yada… but hey, I had the awesome-est time ever!  At the end of the night everyone was sharing laughter, booze and Cheese & Caramel popcorn!  Thank you fellow lodgers, your food was awesome!


Speaking of food…

Mommy Phoebe’s Place

My my, we were miles away from our home, but we felt like we never left!  Our stomachs felt like we never left home!
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 Thank you Mommy Phoebe for taking care of us.  Mommy Phoebe is just a couple of minutes walk from The Circle Hostel and you have everything you need.  They have a sari-sari store too in case you forgot toothpaste, shampoo or what not.  

Most importantly, they serve GREAT budget food!  You can actually bring food for her to cook, if you want it fresh and healthy.  But, you can also get in touch with her before your trip and tell her your eating needs.  She’s very flexible with whatever you need regarding your food.  

Since we came as a group, it was wise that they cooked in bulk for us. 

Thank you Mommy Phoebe! You’re the best!


The Beach in Sitio Liwliwa, San Felipe Zambales

Surf’s Up

On our first day, there were barely any waves.  It was actually pretty flat, except for that area ear the river mouth where a little bump rises.  Good enough for beginners to get their groove on the waves!

We didn’t bring any boards with us and rented Mommy Phoebe’s surf boards.  They’re readily available for your surfing needs.  I believe they also have bodyboards and skim boards.

On our second day, I wandered at around 6am by the beach to check if there’s swell (waves).  Only in that morning, I met two new friends who were also checking the waves!

Now who says surfers are lazy bums?!? We drive to a surf spot at 3am, wake up at 6am to check the waves! Dawn Patrol baby! (Surfing during sunrise)

We get in our way just to get a good day’s surf 😉


Ultimate Frisbee

My goodness!  This sport is one good cardio!
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 A day after we played Ulitmate frisbee by the beach, my glutes were swollen – these muscles I don’t get to use a lot, got activated by this sport!  I had an amazing time!  


Sunset in Liwa Zambales

Catch a beautiful sunset and just chill by the beach.  If you’re a photographer, sunset is the best time to provoke a lot of colors in the sky!



They usually hold festivals regularly focusing on art, music, poi, yoga, surfing, skim, etc.  They also had mini events like Indio I (my fave reggae band) playing by the bonfire.  

Giving Back

The Circle Hostel is also all bout giving back to the community.  They share one space after all.
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 The reason why they actively made a decision not to have a restaurant was to give business to the local community.  They also sponsor education of a selected few and offer surf board loans for the locals who are serious in their passion for surfing.

The Circle Hostel



Twitter: @thecirclehostel

Cel: zambales 09178611929, la union 09178326253


The Circle Hostel Directions and Location:

The Circle Hostel, Zambales Accommodations

Bunk bed: P350 / night includes bananas and toast for breakfast

Hammock: P250 / night includes bananas and toast for breakfast

The Circle Hostel, La Union Accommodations

 Bunk bed: P400 

Hammock: P300

Mommy Phoebe’s Place, Sitio Liwliwa, San Felipe, Zambales
Contact no.: 09173200700 and 09185458007
Surfboard rentals: P200 per hour
Surf instructor: P200 per hour

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