San Narciso: Crystal Beach
The province of Zambales is blessed to have beautiful beaches along its long coastline. Among those which probably tops the lists are the long stretches of beach along the towns of San Antonio, San Narciso, and San Felipe, which were visited for swimming and surfing.
The frequently La Paz beach can be found in Barangay La Paz. It is more famously known as the Crystal Beach, because of the Crystal Beach Resort that is found here, and the beach is called as such ever since the resort was built. The resort is also one of the most distinguished spots because of the large structures standing here. There are also cottages that can be rented for those on a tight budget.
The beach has fine, beige like sands that are pleasant to walk. We witnessed the marvelous beauty of the West Philippine Sea as the sun slowly sets. The view is so captivating that many people are trying to take photos of it. At the same time we saw several people fishing at the shore. The fishers actually stayed throughout the evening, and are leaving only when the waves grow strong.
LA PAZ LANDMARK
The coastline of Zambales has not only beaches, but there is one point here where a small historical monument can be found. The marker detailed how this spot played an important role in the Philippine liberation during the Second World War. It is here where more than 30,000 Allied forces landed on January 29, 1949. More known as the Mike VII Operation or B-Day, the landing operation was a peaceful one as the Japanese forces were repelled by the combined Filipino Guerillas and the American forces three days prior.
If you want a short getaway from Manila, Crystal Beach is a great place to visit. The place offers many activities that you can do and enjoy. Aside from it, you will also learn another piece of history.
Take the Pangasinan-Zambales road until you reach the town proper of San Narciso. A trip from Manila takes about 4 hours. The beach is located 2 kilometers from the town.
From Cubao, ride a bus (Five Star or Victory Liner) bound to Iba, Zambales and alight at San Narciso town proper. The frequency of trip is daily. From the town proper, ride a tricycle to the beach.
Alternative: From Olongapo, there are provincial buses, mini-buses, and jeeps with a route to San Narciso. Just inform the driver or conductor to drop you at the town proper.
Crystal Beach Entrance Fee: P150
Note: There are also cottages that can be rented for those on a tight budget
DASH OF HISTORY
The Mike VII Operations, as it is called, took place when the 30,000-strong American troops landed in the San Felipe, San Narciso and San Antonio coastlines of Zambales on 29 January 1945. The objective was to secure Bataan Peninsula so that the Japanese forces in Manila would not be able to hold a prolonged resistance like how the Allied troops led by General Jonathan Wainwright had done three years prior.
The American intelligence badly overestimated the size of the Japanese force in Bataan and Zambales, and they were about to unleash heavy bombardment on the coastline when it was revealed that the Philippine resistance forces (Philippine Guerilla and US troops) had already captured the place days before. The Americans landed without opposition, and by the end of January, the entire province of Zambales was liberated.
Source: La Paz Marker