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To The hostel and the beach I’ll never forget. Thank you


“They say that when you travel, better stay at a hostel as it’s more travel-friendly and at the same time, making new friends is as a child’s play, but,  I got more than that”

I just found myself stuffing up my mini backpack with a pair of sleeveless, a set of bikini, a big scarf and a pair of shorts. “I am leaving,” I shortly informed my bff, my close friend and my sister whom I am living with. “Where are you going?” they surprisingly asked. “I’m going on a short trip to Zambales,” I quickly replied. “I’ll be back in a couple of days, I just need to find a quiet place to write my articles”. And I vamoosed.


Unfortunately, I didn’t catch the earlier bus. It already departed before I arrived. As a result, I kicked around for almost two hours before hopping on to the next bus. I didn’t mind at all, anyway, I was excited. I even drafted and wrote down all the titles of my article for my blog to be posted soon. It took me 6 hours to get to the place, contrary to the blogs and write ups I read online. I even thought that on the way I got lost as the bus ride seemed unending. I also felt that I burned my butt for a long-hour seat and had crazy a premonition of being kidnapped or held up in the bus when I saw two bad-looking guys got in. I sighed. I breathed out after getting off the bus, took a tricycle and got to the hostel safely.

The hostel was very  eye-catching. It’s walled with old and red- and blue-coloured paint. Upon entering, every corner was uniquely painted and designed with arts by guests and visitors, I presumed, which I was able to confirm later. Hi, I finally got here. It seems empty and a very quiet place, it’s perfect for me! I struck up a conversation with the receptionist who is a middle-aged good-looking woman. I asked for a Wi-Fi, unfortunately she said the signal is too weak. I was envisioning finishing my writings.


Later that night, I came upon a new guy who arrived at the hostel. He was a few lengths next to me at the reception area while I was ordering a beer. I overheard him whining about why he had to put his age at the registration. I didn’t mind him much so I came back to the common area where I was doing my stuff and at the same time chatting with newfound friends and trying to concentrate even though distractions were winning over me that night. A moment later, I couldn’t hear him, he must have gone to sleep, I thought.



It’s another day, sticking to my original plan, I woke up early to fully concentrate on my writings. That tall white and curly hair guy came up, I smiled and said hi, he said hi back. The conversation started. His name is James Steven, but I call him James. Originally from the UK but lived in Australia for work. He seemed like a very nice guy, approachable and easy to get along. First two things that I noticed were his curly hair like my favourite local noodle and his accent. (C’mon! British accent, right? Don’t judge me XD!) I must deeply admit, British accent is a sexy thing for me. I couldn’t deny it. I excitedly got hooked on his stories, we exchanged stories and got to know each other. He was even funny and polite asking me if it was okay to drink beer at 9:30am, I said of course! He told me that he owned a two big huskies back in Australia, then later we figured out, we both have common interests. We decided to walk our feet to the closest beach that’s just a few steps away from our hostel. He told me he’s a surfer, I joked, I don’t know how to swim. He laughed. I knew it. (Prior to this, I wrote a separate article about someone I met at the beach. Hello. Nice to meet you. Sorry. Thank you. Goodbye. ) But, he taught me how to swim in the beach of Zambales.

I guess that day was cooperative. The beach was literally empty except for the engaging beautiful turquoise waters, clear sky, gray sand and a beautiful brightly shining sun and just the two of us. We were under a small nipa house, lying in the sand, having an endless conversation about random stuff especially our best common interest – traveling.


He had a lot of stories of fun and misadventures. He’s a guy full of adrenaline. And that’s what got me more excited while I was amazedly listening to him. It felt like it tickled my bone though some of his shares were beyond my imagination. I couldn’t help but leave in awe. Hearing travel stories I’ve never heard before even before to some people I’ve met along the way was absolutely fantastic especially coming from a stranger. Aside from that, his stories were genuine. It’s a real experience from a real person right in front of my eyes. I never got bored, we enjoyed each other’s company. In fact, I was so silly I kept urging him to tell me more, share more. He also had many inspiring words, like, you can do it too! It triggered my soul to make my own. Back to the hostel the same day, we met fellow travelers, watched a movie, back to the beach and watched the sunset, had a full board dinner and the drinking session at night all together.


The beach.


So that day I tried skim boarding, it was hard I can tell you that. But it was fine, it’s worth a try

So during my stay at the Zambales Circle Hostel It wasn’t that very surprising to find a small relaxing town where I could explore the beautiful beaches with a few of the other hostel guests. It is not a crowded place. That pleased me as often I feel we all go to the same place and do the same things! It was not the season for surfing and for the first few days of my stay there was no waves at all. So we had the chance and ventured into town on a tricycle! Cruising down the dusty roads risking life and limbs we pulled up at the markets where we adventurously tried some of the local cuisine!  Absolutely fantastic!  A great experience in itself!

The hostel itself was an amazing place to make friends, be lazy and share unique topics to each one. Circle hostel has a very friendly atmosphere, it’s filled with a calming ambiance like no one seems to be a stranger to the other. Everybody mingles. And even though that day there were only five of us, it’s like we were in each other’s bones and we have been friends for ages.


New found friends and James

Headed back to my own flat later on, James came over a couple of times and we spent time and did some fun activities together.

Though, James and I did not create a relationship that’s just more than friendship, He’s indeed a very special person for me. We are just two people who met at the right place at the wrong time.

As of the moment, he’s sailing his new journey to Alaska while I am back in my four-cornered room, in front of my Mac and planning my soonest trip on the road and still never stopping to find meaning in everything I do and explore. We’re basically unsure if we’re crossing paths again, but one thing is for sure, he left footprints in my heart. 

I believe, in life, we particularly meet someone who will become a big part of us, yet, they will never be for us. Though, they’ll leave a special remarks and we will forever treasure that. No matter what we do or where we go. And one day, if we meet them again, It’d remind us the good times we spent time like we have never been separated with them for a long time. It’s indeed a beautiful thing. Life is just like that. It’s classic. Too many captured moments you don’t wanna let go. But you know,  tomorrow is yet to be written.

Thanks to Circle hostel, it awarded me one of the best prices of my travel – meeting a wonderful person, a person who added more spices to my exploring soul, the one who will forever be part of my journey and the beach of Zambales, for it paved the way for me to learn how to swim. My trip to Zambales was definitely worth it and I’m pretty I’m coming back. 


Book your next stay at The Circle hostel now!



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  • Marge Gavan
    June 3, 2016 at 06:06

    This is where you met the Hanson guy hahaha… I loved Circle Hostel (though I didn’t meet my own Hanson), I love the vibe, the simple structure, the graffiti, and the fact that it’s close to a beautiful and uncrowded beach. It’s my first hostel experience in the Philippines and it was fantastic.

  • Sally
    June 3, 2016 at 23:12

    The beach looks absolutely amazing! And thank you for the review of the hotel

  • Johna
    June 4, 2016 at 02:40

    Sounds like you had an amazing time! I’ve never been on a solo trip around the Philippines, or anywhere yet but I might check this out! Can I ask how much did you spend on your whole trip? 😀

  • Angela
    June 4, 2016 at 03:48

    I think one of the best experiences about traveling is meeting new people! Sounds like you had an unforgettable time and met an unforgettable person!

  • Catherine Mendoza
    June 4, 2016 at 05:01

    Oh haven’t you? You should try too! It’s fun! Sure! It actually didn’t cost me much,
    I think I spent roughly 2,500PHP for 2 nights and 3 days 🙂

  • Catherine Mendoza
    June 4, 2016 at 05:01

    Sure did! Thanks a lot! 🙂

  • Voyager
    June 4, 2016 at 07:37

    The Circle hostel seems like an amazing place to stay and mingle with like minded people, I am really bowled over the by the colourful art all over the place.

  • Marta
    June 4, 2016 at 09:42

    I love travel stories about encounters! Our mind frame when travelling, a beautiful landscape and in this case the right place to stay are the perfect ingredients to meet someone special and you clearly did! Oh and I completely understand about the British accent: it used to catch me, until I discovered the Irish one (my husband is Irish) LOL!

  • Darlene
    June 4, 2016 at 12:20

    Circle Hostel is my first hostel here in PH and Marge and I definitely had a good time. Although we didnt meet new people while we were there. Hehe. It’s always fun meeting and connecting with travelers. 🙂

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