|Finding a stretch of empty beach in the summer was heaven-sent!|
Ever since summer has started, I’ve been yearning to spend some time at the beach. Last weekend, an invitation to visit CASA San Miguel in San Antonio, Zambales was a perfect excuse for me to take a side trip to Crystal Beach in the neighboring town of San Narciso, a choice spot for surfers during the rainy season, but no less appealing to mere beach-bummers like me, especially in the summer months. Off surfing season, skimboarders can also still enjoy the waves.
The name of the beach must have been taken from the sparkling quality of the grey sand containing a high concentration of quartz crystals from the volcanic ash mixed in from the cataclysmic Mt. Pinatubo eruption in 1991. Like Puerto Galera and Bolinao, San Narciso makes for a great beach getaway from Manila, since it’s only four to five hours from the metropolis.
Upon arriving, I soon found out I had the beach all to myself. The entire resort was reserved for a company outing, and most of the employees will be be arriving later in the day. I charmed my way into letting myself in, explaining that I won’t be spending the night there. After a satisfying lunch of tuna steak, I hit the beach armed with a good book and a bottle of Coke.
At the next resort, I met a group of fishermen fixing their nets, who suggested that I walk to the northern end of the beach, where the river flows into the sea. Surrounded by the beach, a stream forms a freshwater inlet lined with a few water hyacinths. A little further on along the shoreline there was no one at this part of the beach, so I decided to take swim here. I walked back to the resort, and snoozed for a few hours under a cogon hut, before departing for San Antonio to spend the rest of the weekend at CASA San Miguel.
|Crystal Beach Resort has affordable accommodation and camping sites|
HOW TO GET THERE: From Manila, ride a Victory Liner bus bound for Sta. Cruz or Iba in Zambales at the Caloocan Terminal near Monumento LRT, and alight at San Narciso town (PHP 216, non-AC, 5 to 6 hours). From the town center, catch a tricycle to Crystal Beach Resort along the highway across the town church (PHP 30).
WHERE TO STAY: Crystal Beach Resort offers rooms starting at PHP 1,000 for double fan rooms. Tents for two can be rented for PHP 500. You can also bring your own tent, but you still have to pay the camping fee of PHP 150 per head. Address: Brgy La Paz, San Narciso, Zambales. Mobile: +639228419004 or +639175452791.