HAPPYness Project

Nocturnal Mom Travels: Camping and Island Hopping with Tropa P


It’s been a while since this Nocturnal Mom filed for a vacation leave to have a “real” vacation. When my college friends planned to have a summer getaway, I immediately requested for a 3-day leave because I really felt that my husband and I need it. Thanks to my ever understanding boss, it was approved! I’d love to share with you our Zambales experience on this post. It’s extra special because: 1. the last time my husband and I went to the beach was 2 years ago, and 2. I missed my college friends sooo much (I call them Tropa, my highschool friends are Zabhao. Read about them here)

photo by Win

MAP Travel and Tours made this trip possible. We availed their package and set foot in Crystal Beach Resort, located in San Narciso, Zambales (I have included a review of this place at the end of this post) We paid 1999/head for an overnight stay at the resort inclusive of food, entrance fee, transportation, and tents. The place is a 4-hour drive from Manila if you will start travelling at 1am, which is advisable to avoid getting stuck in traffic. We reached our destination at 5am, ate breakfast outside the resort and entered at exactly 6am. P and I decided to not bring our kids since it is too humid and we are going to sleep in a tent, but we promised to have a staycation with them. Ms. Jhaja, our tour coordinator, and her team, set up our tent so we could drop our things and head to the beach. We are 13 in the group (with 5 couples) and each tent can accommodate 4 people but MAP was kind enough to provide additional tents so every couple had their own place. After settling down, we walked to the beach and the sight of it was enough to take my stress away *How Far I’ll Go playing in the background*


The sand at Crystal Beach Resort is not white and the color becomes almost black the closer you get to the water, but it’s all fine with me because the water is clean and the sand is the least of our concern. Some of my friends and I splashed around. The sea was so refreshing! You would be energized once you take a dip. I do not know how to swim so the husband tried to teach me but I kept laughing! We would love to stay longer but everyone was sleepy and tired that’s why we got out of the water after 30 minutes and idled for 2 hours. Lunch time came and we agreed to go island hopping after eating. Sorry there’s no picture taken during lunch, we were too hungry due to long wait and we already finished everything when we realized we haven’t taken a picture yet!

Here’s the list of our activities for Day 1:

– swimming (and picture-taking) from  8:00am-10:00am
-rest at our campsite
-lunch from 12:00pm-1:30pm
-island hopping 2:00pm-5:30pm

to Anawangin

Oh, this is my favorite part, island hopping. There’s an additional 300php per head for this activity. We visited Camara and Anawangin coves by boat, which was a first for me and husband. The water was green and blue and it’s clear. I was amazed by this magical view. You can see corals and small fish for the water was transparent, no waste. Our first stop was Camara Cove.It’s a tiny place where you can do snorkeling. Just be careful, it has big, slippery rocks underwater.

friends! Camara Cove photo by Con
me and husband at Camara Cove by Arj

After swimming and picture-taking for almost an hour, we headed to Anawangin. It’s larger than the first cove but was too crowded. The food was way expensive (a cooked pancit canton costs 70php!) but still, we enjoyed the water because it was cold. It really helped us to cool down and we did not mind the scorching heat of the sun. The group left when the sun started to set.

on our way back

The sight on our way back made me realize how powerful God is. The rocks, sea, wind, and the way nature calms your heart and mind is a solid proof of His love. Be one with nature, it is our responsibility to take care of the natural wonders God has provided us.


– dinner from 7:00pm-9:00pm
– night life 9:00pm-10:30pm good music, fire dancing, cold beer, bonfire, the breeze (we could not ask for more!)

night life photo by Win
do not roast your mallow! photo by Irish

I particularly enjoyed “s’moresing” ( we had marshmallow sticks placed on fire)

Since we haven’t had any sleep yet, my husband and I went to our tent before our friends to rest. I thought it’s going to be a cold night since we were outside but boy, it was too hot! We slept with our tent open and without a blanket. I woke up at around 5:30am feeling light. I waited for my husband and tropa to wake up. We had a hearty breakfast (buffet pa more, bebs!) before our last round of swimming.

good morning! courtesy of Arj

What we did on Day 2:

-breakfast from 8:00am-9:30am
-swimming from 9:30am- 11:00am
-packing up and picture-taking
– going back to Manila at 12:00pm

picture before we swim by Redge
more pictures before we swim for the last time by Redge
before leaving the Kampsite
we will come back! photo by Redge

We had a quick stop in Subic to eat lunch. Husband and I grabbed some pasalubong at a nearby Duty Free. Below is the only picture we have with our food.

photo by Con

It took us almost 6 hours before we reached Manila. Inside the van, we laughed our hearts out and exchanged stories about our jobs, families, and plans. I incredibly missed Tropa P. When we were in college, there’s a lot of things we would love to do but we did not have the money. Now that all of us have our own stable jobs, busyness keep us from meeting each other often. So ironic, no? Everyone was glad that we were able to make this getaway happen. We all need a break from motherhood, being a supervisor, from production, and our day-to-day routine. It would not hurt to be stress-free and reward our selves by enjoying the good things life has to offer. After all, we work hard for moments like these, right?

sunset and kisses by Irish
dusk by Irish
island hopping courtesy of Redge
the Georgina smile. LOL. thanks, Win!
Moana by Bessie
see you again, Zambales!

I love you bebes! See you all soonest!

In this portion, I will share our experience at Crystal Beach Resort. Hope this helps if you’re planning to have your vacay here.

Thumbs up!

1.The lifeguards are active and they really are watching. They call out those who are about to cross the mark and remind parents from time to time to be careful and not let go of their kids

2.Every cubicle has a bidet

3.When the shower room is crowded, their staff will assist you in looking for available ones in other parts of the resort

4.They quickly replenish their supply of tissue and soap

5. The beach is clean, it has cigarette butts container everywhere, the ice cream vendors collect the plastic of your popsicle to ensure it will be put in the garbage

6.They offer early morning yoga for free

Thumbs down

The only turn-off my friends and I noticed was the food. For Day 1 lunch, we had adobo sa gata, chopsuey and 1pc. of breaded pork. Their menu for dinner was the same, but we had liempo as an additional. We also added a plate of Sizzling Tofu for 150php during lunch and 2 plates of adobo and chopsuey for dinner for 600php. The food tasted good but not something to die for.  I just find it expensive because of the amount of servings. Each plate is good for 2-3 persons only. It was Silog breakfast for Day 2 (price is 150php and above)- bangusilog, spamsilog and corned beef silog or avail buffet for 285php. It’s better to bring your own food or go to bayan (5-minute drive from the resort) where food is cheaper.

Food is included in our package but if you feel like it is not going to be enough for your group, just have additional plates of meal and pay extra. Lunch at Shakey’s was from our own pockets.

Photos are posted with my friends’ permission.

Photos with my watermark are my own.

17 thoughts on “Nocturnal Mom Travels: Camping and Island Hopping with Tropa P”

  1. This looks amazing, Sunset Kisses are my favourite images here. You look so relaxed, makes me want to island hop too. Thanks for sharing, now I’m off to browse the internet for our next holiday.

    Liked by 1 person

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