If you're thinking of escaping the suffocating heat of the city, the province of Zambales is one of the more popular destinations for a vacation in Central Luzon because of its close proximity to Metro Manila. There are new adventures to take, if you know where to look.
Best resorts in Zambales
There's more to Zambales than just Subic! Find unexplored places that will take your breath away, aside from popular resorts in this province up north. Surfing? Check! Snorkeling? Check! Powdery white sands? Also check—and they're all just three to four hours away from Manila. Planning to have some R&R soon? Here are a few places to consider.
1. Sundowners Vacation Villas
Purok 5 Barangay Danacbunga, Botolan, Zambales
0917-5018224 / 0917-1333007 / 0939-9073689
Overnight rates start at Php 9,000 for 6 persons (1-bedroom villa)
Visit sundowners.ph/zambales for more details
This Santorini-inspired resort became famous among travelers with their first property in Bolinao, Pangasinan. Late last year, they launched a two-hectare beachfront resort, this time in Botolan, Zambales. It's impossible not to feel the summer vibe any day of the year in their well-designed accommodations. Currently, they have six villas of different sizes (from one-bedroom to six-bedroom units), all of which come with their own pools or a plunge pool, a furnished kitchen, a grill area, lounging areas, and access to common pools and the beach. You can bring your own food and even cook in their well-furnished kitchen. Plus, the entire resort is pet-friendly!
2. The Lighthouse Marina Resort
Block 4 Lot 1, Waterfront Road, Moonbay Marina Complex, Central Business District, Subic Bay Freeport Zone, Subic, Zambales
0917-5123364 / 09189455697
Overnight rates start at Php 6,600 for 2 adults and kids below 6 years old, inclusive of breakfast for two
Visit lighthousesubic.com for more details
It will be hard to miss the hotel because of the iconic 20-meter light tower that also serves as a landmark. The family will find plenty of things to do at this three-level boutique hotel, which is complete with a restaurant and function rooms. Kids will love to play in the pool or by the beach, which is a short walk from the hotel.
3. Haven Beach Resort
Km 188 Binuclutan, Botolan, Zambales
0919-6428611 / (02) 782-7672
Overnight rates start at Php 1,500 for 2 persons (Campanilla kubo)
Visit havenbeachresortphilippines.com for more details
If you want to experience the idyllic provincial life, a weekend at Haven Beach Resort might be what you're looking for. The place is charming in its simplicity: There are several kubos by the beach front where you can watch the sun set or to gaze at the stars at night. Instead of luxurious hotel rooms, they have traditional bahay kubos that can accommodate from two persons to bigger groups of 15, with verandas that look out to the sea. And don't worry about going hungry—you may bring your own food without a corkage fee, pre-order three meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) for P675 per person, or you can ask their staff to buy fresh food from the market and cook it for you for a minimal fee.
4. Crystal Beach
Purok 1-B, Brgy. La Paz, San Narciso, Zambales
(02) 404-2342 / (047) 603-1475
Overnight rates start at Php 2,400 (Econo Bamboo Cabin). Glamping rates start at Php 2,700.
Visit crystalbeach.com.ph for more details
There is something for everyone at Crystal Beach resort, whether you want to have a day trip, pitch a tent and camp (or try glamping), or go for the total beach experience. You can go island hopping with the family or surf the waves, or if you'd rather keep it simple, you can just enjoy a day at the pool. On some nights, you might even catch a cultural performance or an acoustic show, too!
5. Puerto del Mar Beach Resort
Uacon, Candelaria, Zambales
0916-5837992 / 0921-2721209
Overnight rates start at Php 1,500 for 2 persons (Standard Room 1) on weekdays, or Php 2,200 for 4 persons (Thailand Room) on weekdays
Visit puertodelmarbeachresort.com for details
If you come from a big family, this resort is the place to go! Aside from swimming, you can get competitive and do some rounds of billiards or volleyball—the more, the merrier! Go on a picnic, sing to your heart's content, explore the nearby Potipot island in a banca, or just chill by the beach—one weekend won't be enough.
6. Hermana Menor Island
Santa Cruz, Zambales
Find Hermana Menor and Mayor Island, Sta.Cruz Zambales on Facebook for more details
Though not technically a resort, one of the places you'll want to explore while in Zambales is the hidden gem that is Hermana Menor. This privately-owned island forms half of a pair of islands (the other one, Hermana Mayor, is not open to the public). To get there, you'll need to take a 30-minute banca ride from Sta. Cruz.
You'll be amazed at Hermana Menor's powdery white sands, and if you want to snorkel, this is the place to be! There is an entrance fee of P100 to the island, which allows you a full day to swim and snorkel and take photos as you wish. There is no electricity on the island, and there are no accommodations, so overnight stay is not allowed. Bring your own food and your fully-charged phone.
*This story originally appeared on Smartparenting.com.ph. Minor edits have been made by the Preview.ph editors.