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Half A Day in Barrio Barretto, Olongapo

Written : Jan 22, '08 8:46 PM

After a day of camping in a remote island in Zambales, me and my gal pal Bitchay craved for a good bath straight off a real faucet. After the short tricycle ride from Brgy. Pundaquit, we immediately sent text messages to our friends to ask for information where we could stay. While on board an ordinary bus bound for Olongapo, I received a text message from my friend Tina who was in Manila and she told me to check out Barretto, a town before the bus stop to Olongapo which has a lot of beach resorts along the highway. I consulted the locals sitting with us at the back part of the bus to determine if Barretto is indeed a better option than travelling all the way to Subic. After their enthusiastic replies (Local: "oo, maganda dun!") I was convinced that it was a promising destination.

Subic Mirage Inn (Formerly Known as Casa Blanca)

The conductor let us off on the part of the highway across The Coffee Shop, a prominent restaurant in the area which serves jumbo tacos. The second problem we now faced was where to stay. Just what the locals told us, there were several resorts lined up along the main road and we decided to walk in on several resorts to inquire their rates. It was nearing lunch time and me and my friend were both feeling hungry, tired and icky (since we haven’t taken a bath before we broke camp). After 10 minutes of walking like lost tourists which indeed we were, we landed at the Subic Mirage Inn. A huge banner which mentioned a Promo Rate of 985.56 net per room drew us to the place. Excitedly, we approached the front desk, made sure that the rates were true and paid for a night. It actually costs 986 plus free breakfast. When we checked in our room, our spirits immediately lifted up. The room had two comfortable single beds, huge closet, good airconditioning, clean bathrooms with hot and cold shower, cable t.v.. mini refrigerator and a huge dresser with a mirror. Beach was also within walking distance from our room. The water in the beach looked clean enough Sand is off-white. Docked on the shore are several boats which you can hire for 700 pesos an hour (good for 10 people). The staff – weren’t as accommodating as the other hotels I’ve stayed in though.

Here’s the Inn’s website by the way -

Contact Number : (+6347) 223-9245 / 223-9254

Rates are as follows:

ROOM RATE ( Per Night )

Regular Room

P 1,601.60

Deluxe Room

P 1,971.20

Beachside Room

P 2,217.60

Extra Person

P 308.00

Extension Hour

P104.7 2

SUNDAYS - THURSDAYS (Except Holidays)

Regular Room

P 986

The Coffee Shop

After cleaning ourselves a bit, we ventured outside the inn to scout for a place which can serve a satisfying meal. A few minutes of checking out several eateries and restaurants, we decided to try The Coffeeshop which was a 5 minute walk from where we stayed.

We immediately placed our orders. The waitress was quite friendly although, it was strange the way she just placed the plates on one side and didn’t even put it where it should go. We ordered four pieces of fried chicken, iced tea and their specialty – jumbo tacos. Food took around 30 minutes before it arrived, just in time before I faint from hunger. The food, uhm, well, what can I say.. their serving of one cup of rice is quite huge. The dish we ordered was fried chicken and let’s just say, I prefer my mom’s fried chicken over it. We also tried the jumbo tacos which is one of their specialties. It was really huge, in

fact, the biggest taco I’ve ever seen in my entire life. It was a little less than 10 inches long and 3 inches wide if my estimates are accurate. It can actually be your main dish. What I loved most was their frozen iced tea. I’m guessing that it was a house blend. It’s enough to invigorate your body on humid days. Ambiance inside the restaurant wasn’t anything out of the ordinary. We didn’t get to see the area located in the second floor which looked more promising but it was still closed. Oh - are you curious if the tacos where any good? Well..aside from its enormous size, it's taste doesn't stand out but it's so huge, it becomes a must try.

For more comprehensive information (menu and prices) regarding this restaurant, please drop by their website :

Trying Out Rowelan’s Beauty Salon

Several days before our trip, I noticed my hair had split ends but I didn’t have enough time to get a haircut. Since we still had several hours before we checked out, I decided to explore the quiet town of Barretto to find a decent salon. There was a trustworthy-looking barbershop near the inn and I decided to ask if they can give my hair a shot. Unfortunately, they told me that they have not hired someone that can do women’s hair. The guy helpfully directed me to a parlor near the market not far from where I was. I badly wanted a haircut so I decided to walk to the area where the salon was. It was near The Coffee Shop and wasn’t hard to find at all. When I saw the parlor, I did a double –take. Was I that desperate for a haircut? I took a deep breath and decided to take a chance. It turned out to be a great move. As I entered the parlor, I was greeted by the only person inside – Trixie. She offered to style my hair exactly like hers and I asked her if she was sure it would suit my round face. She was quite convincing. After all, she really looked like someone who can fix herself up. I agreed. While cutting my hair, we chatted a bit and after several minutes, she turned my hair from a boring one length to what she refers to as “extension” style. My hair looked really great and I found myself smiling a lot as she placed finishing touches with my hair.

I left the salon not only with a new hair, I also gained a new acquaintance - a young lass from Vigan named Trixie.

My stay in Brgy. Barretto albeit a short one was filled with memories of a fun-filled and relaxing afternoon . The people around the area, at least near the place where I stayed were all friendly and I felt at home instantly. My excellent experience has given me a great reason to come back and explore more of this quiet town.

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