04/24/2015

Siren sanctuary

by  Kara Ortiga
Photo by Gerald Gloton
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It’s about 1:30 a.m. on a Sunday. I’m at the Crystal Beach in Zambales, usually a surfers’ getaway destination except on this particular weekend. The place has been transformed into a party haven for the second Summer Siren music festival. We’re in the middle of a set by DJ Ace Ramos—the beach filled with 2,000-ish sweaty bodies fist-pumping to heavy electronic music and getting tipsy on Jaeger Bulls. I’m passing around a cup of chilled red wine, feeling chummy with my new friends, and I’m slurring as I egg them on to swig the drink. Without even being very conscious about it, my arms are flailing in the air and I’m dancing and woo-ing on cue to songs I can’t remember, and saying hello to people I don’t know.

I’m enjoying thoroughly, actually, but I decide I need to bounce. I need to a French exit like a good girl on a curfew and go back to my room, which is a tent in a campsite a short distance away. I walk through the throngs of girls in their Coachella-pegged headdresses, passed the CrossFit boys in their sandos, and I saunter groggily into my little spruced up tent at the Lifestyle Network glamping site. I fall asleep on the floor outside of my tent, until my roommate nudges me awake 30 minutes later, and we agree to call it a night.

Hassle-free camp: The Lifestyle Network glamping site at the second Summer Siren music festival in Crystal Beach, Zambales offers the ultimate adventure but with the comforts of modern accommodations.

The last time I slept in a tent, I used my bag as a pillow to prop my head up, and my wet towel as a blanket when the breeze got chilly. Glamping (a.k.a glamorous camping) promises you won’t have to go through that. It’s an upgraded camping experience that allows you to still enjoy the outdoors without worrying about the hassles. Our tent is equipped with the basic necessities to make the stay a little bit more comfortable: airbeds complete with linens and a pillow, a small electric fan, a lamp, and an electric socket. We have a faux front lawn made of a green felt mat that comes with an outdoor lounge chair and a table. The campsite is located in a huge and secure fenced area, shaded by tall wispy trees, and is complete with dining tables, racks to hang all your wet clothes, and an air-conditioned common bathroom. In the morning, over a hearty breakfast of eggs, sausages, bacon and coffee, we laugh about the crazy things that transpired the night before.

When it’s still too early to party, there are fun beach activities that are available for guests. You can learn how to play the ukulele, learn how to make your own ice cream with a Coleman, learn how to craft your own dream- catcher, or learn how to do poi. There are stations where you can get temporary tats, have your shirts customized, or get a cute hair braid done.

When the sun becomes more forgiving, we head out to the beach — a long stretch of clear sand with an astonishing view of the sunset, while the music from the festival begins to come alive in the background. When night falls, the beach comes alive to party. The energy is viral, the vibe spreading quickly as people begin to loosen up. Beach balls are flying in the air, everyone is yelling, it’s a hedonistic euphoria and a shared thirst for a good time.

It’s a lot of fun, this music festival thing. And the best part comes at the end of the day, after exhausting all my energy dancing under the stars, stomping on the sand with the sea — it’s knowing that I will have a cozy little tent to come home to: a fortress like the ones I would build as a little girl out of blankets, one that I could escape inside. I’ll find joy in cuddling in my airbed and falling asleep while sounds from the music festival slowly fade from afar.

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