Montecruz Beach Resort, Zambales

Maundy Thursday passed and our family was just going into the norms of practicing Visita Iglesia and went to the church for Siete Palabras. Right after going home, my mother abruptly said that we should go to Zambales the next day to experience a white sand beach near Quezon City and hire a van so it would be less hassle for my father since he gets easily tired because of his heart problem.

After finding for a van, I looked for the beach resort in Zambales and learned that Montecruz Beach Resort in San Felipe, Zambales is secluded, affordable but with decent amenities and activities that could be done during the stay. Since it’s isolated among other beach resorts, we’re hopeful that there’s still an available space for us in Montecruz even if it’s holy week (April 9 – 16), the peak season.

Upon arriving, Ate Mila informed us that the entrance fee is only P50 per head and free for 12 years old below. The cottage’s rate is P800 for whole day and she said that the cottage could also be a place to sleep if we’re planning to have an overnight stay.

While it’s cheap, I find that the people here are the working class, like us who wants peace. :p :p Meanwhile, the rooms’ rate are below. montecruz (10)-1024x1000montecruz (12)-1024x1000montecruz (18)-1024x1000

There were people who had their overnight stay and set of three groups who stayed in the cottages, then there’s one cottage who rented a videoke that became the sound of this quiet beach. True enough, this resort is the reliable beach for my mom who hate crowds.

Apparently, bringing the food from the parking area to the cottage area took a toll of our time since it’s very faaaaaarrr from point to point. Good thing that there’s no corkage fee but grilling has fee but I don’t know the charge.montecruz (19)-1024x1000

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The lagoon could be an attraction to the place but the boats were not on display. I just saw it piled in a shadowed area.

Beach volleyball!montecruz (30)-1024x1000

Bonfire last night?montecruz (1)-1024x1000

Here’s our cottage and it’s also very far from the shore. As I talked to the lifeguard, he said that the big waves are bringing more sand to the seashore that makes the cottages get farther to the beach. See my picture below.montecruz (20a)

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lifeguard’s cottage

I like that there are many shower rooms and comfort rooms at this beach. Moreover, instead of palm trees, pine trees are the ones present on this beach. montecruz (34)-1024x1000

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syet, my bills!

The sand may look white but it’s actually gray when it gets wet. Unlike the sand in Bohol or in Boracay, the sand is really white. Anyway, while it was scorching hot and the air was on fire during the noon time, we were all happy that our flip flops are stepping on white sand and the view is where the sky and the ocean meet.

For public transportation: Take Victory Liner from the Cubao Station to Iba Zambales. for P250. Tell the driver you will get down in San Felipe town. From there, you may take a tricycle and tell them you will go to Montecruz. I’m not sure with the fare because it’s really isolated.

For private transportation: Actually, we just trusted Waze on this. For the toll fee, we paid P45 for Paso De Blas, Valenzuela and then paid P112 for San Fernando, Pampanga. The road we took is the zigzag one when we entered Zambales.

When we’re going back to Manila, we paid P408 coming from Tipo to Bocaue exit.

Save at least P1,500 for your fuel.

Travel time: 4 hours

So there. I hope I was able to help you calculate your budget for your quick beach getaway! For reservations, you may contact Ate Mila, 0919 488 9185 since Montecruz’ Facebook page is not active.

Montecruz Beach Resort

Aragoza St., Brgy Sto Nino, San Felipe, Zambales

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Hillcreek Gardens, Tagaytay

After looking for Santorini-inspired venue, we headed to look for a garden setting which is also for the purpose of having a photo shoot. We only visited two places but Hillcreek Gardens won the heart of my boss and the photographer, because there are so many promising spots to strike a pose.

During our ocular, there was a wedding set up prepared by the Hillcreek team.

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Hillcreek Gardens

Let me share with you the pictures I took during our ocular and the actual shoot day.

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Hillcreek Gardens
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Hillcreek Gardens

We ask for their rate, reserved via email and settled the bill on the day of the shoot.

5 hours inclusive of 5 pax, 5 free cup of coffee and a dressing room – P6,000

exceeding rate – P1,500/hour

upgraded the room with air conditioner – P1,000

exceeding person – P150

Also, they do not allow of bringing food inside the venue but they offer food menu for P400/person.  In our case, we only ate outside the venue during the shoot. Teehee!

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Hillcreek Gardens
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Hillcreek Gardens

The place is magical isn’t?

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Hillcreek Gardens is a lovely and a reassuring place for your wedding day or if you are looking for a place to have a photo shoot in a garden concept. The sales or the reservations associate are all helpful and welcoming; they attended my queries about our concerns with a smile on their faces.

Hillcreek Gardens, Tagaytay

website

Address: 134 Luksuhin, Mangas Rd, Alfonso Cavite

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Disclaimer: I am not being paid to write this review.

Villa Nonita, Tagaytay

My workmates and I did an ocular in Tagaytay for a good place to have photo shoot and we’re specifically looking for a Santorini-inspired venue. There are three places on our list: Meteora, Costiera Fermiliana and Villa Nonita. Villa Nonita is the last place we had for viewing because the way going to this place is not a joke. The road is steep to get there so we had to go down from the vehicle to go up by climbing. Yes, it’s a climb as Miley Cyrus would say.

After the climb, it’s worth it.Nonita exterior (1)

That view!Nonita view (5)

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the photo shoot day!

The rate they gave us is P10,000 for a 5-hour photo shoot. However, our shoot will run for whole day. Luckily, the owner of the villa was there so my boss and the owner did all the talking. Meanwhile my eyes are on feast and so my camera phone…

The living rooms! There’s a lot!!Nonita living room (2)

It’s not Santorini if there’s no stairs!

The view at the rooftop

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Villa Nonita is not just for photo shoot but also for accommodation and vacation, especially honeymoon! There were Koreans who just had their check-out during the time we had our ocular.

The bedrooms. Look, there’s a bath tub beside the bed! I smell romance ❤

The living room, dining area, and kitchen area. By looking at these pictures, I can attest that Villa Nonita is a best choice to relax.

The owner also put waterfalls at the second floor. She said that whenever she feels stressed, she would just look at the scenic view of Taal Lake, have her massage and turn on the waterfalls. What a life!

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More details here!

I was really looking forward to have a trip in Ilocos because there’s also a Santorini-inspired tourist spot there but it just feel so awesome how God made it easier for me to not travel far just to experience the pseudo-Greece hehehe. The downside though in Tagaytay is the absence of the sea but Villa Nonita has a pool and picturesque view of Taal. Imagine from Manila, it only took me 2 hours to have that Santorini feels! Therefore, this place is enough to feed the hungry soul of travel experience.

For inquiries, you may contact:
Norman De Paz Santos – 09277970495

Address: LIGAYA DRIVE SUNGAY EAST Tagaytay City, Philippines