Travel Diary: A Weekend in La Union

La Union is and will always be my favorite place to chill, beach bum, and meet new people. It all started on this trip. I went here for the first time to celebrate my birthday with my beau. I enjoyed it a lot that I forgot to take many photos as I can so I can put up a birthday blog. I only have a few and the rest were blurry– cause we had so much fun! I’ve seen familiar and met a lot of amazing people. I got a lot of messages about my La Union trip and so I decided to take more photos when I came back so I can share a detailed trip.

 

Checking-In: Flotsam & Jetsam Artist Beach Hostel

Just checked-in at Flotsam & Jetsam Artist Beach Hostel, we got the Garden View with Balcony. I took a nap wearing a bikini because I wasn’t feeling well. My stomach is acting up– hyperacidity. When I woke up, we just explored the whole hostel and went to the beach to take a dip but someone is excited to surf.

San Juan La Union September 2017

San Juan La Union September 2017

San Juan La Union September 2017

 

 

Short Story: Minor Surfing Accident

Since this guy was so excited to surf, it wasn’t on our list of to do on the first day, he hired a surf instructor that comes with the surfboard rental for P400. So it went pretty well during the land practice. He then went to the waters and waited for the wave and rode the board, he was able to surf for about ten seconds then– he had a minor accident. His biggest toenail got flipped and I had to rush him to the hospital for a minor surgery removing his whole toenail. YIKES! That happened during our first day, during our first trip– so just imagine, he had to bear the pain during our whole trip. 🙁 That’s why I didn’t surf, but maybe next time tho. This was his photo before it all happened, heh.

 

San Juan La Union September 2017

 

 

We met these amazing people:

Ace & Geanu, Jolina & Mae, Sam & Al, and Steffi, Jia, & Kim

On our first night, after rushing James to the hospital we went to Flotsam & Jetsam for dinner and beer. We met Ace & Geanu, the locals of Elyu, as we were just seated near them while James and I were having a beer. That’s the same night I met Jolina & Mae who was on the other table.

There came Sam, yes Sam YG and his crew as he was doing a project together with Al. Sam is one-third of Boys Night Out on Magic 899. I must admit, I had a crush on him back in 2009 during my college days and was an avid listener back then. Luckily, when I interned at Wave 891 FM our circles became small and I was able to work with him on a project.

The next day, after having breakfast Jolina and Mae introduced me to their roommate Steffi, who was with Jia and Kim. The rest was a solid fun night history but we got receipts here. 😛

 

San Juan La Union Sept 2017

San Juan La Union September 2017

San Juan La Union Sept 2017

 

It was really a fun night so we planned to go back again. Unfortunately, due to conflict of schedule, Kim and James won’t be able to join us but Steffi’s fab friends– Eli, Donna, and Raiza are super game for this trip. With just weeks of planning, we’re back again!

 

How To Get There

Going to San Juan, La Union will take you a 5 to 6-hour drive. You can either go via bus or a car.

During our first time, we rode a Deluxe 28-Seater Bus that’s the one with a lazy boy seats so you can just sleep comfortably during the trip. The bus was actually heading to Abra and has several drop-off points which took us 6 hours before we reach San Juan, La Union. Going home, James and I hitched with Jia’s.

On our second trip, Eli and Jia brought a car and the drive just took us 5 hours to get there. Going home, I had to leave earlier so I took the First Class 45-Seater Bus at Partas San Fernando, La Union terminal. This is the regular seating bus but this took me only 5 hours to reach Manila.

 

By Bus

Partas Transport

P540.00 Manila to La Union – First Class (45-Seater) via TPLEX

Pasay Station: 12AM | 5AM           Cubao Station: 1AM | 6AM

P560.00 Manila to La Union – Deluxe (28-Seater)

 

By Car

NLEX – TPLEX – McArthur Highway

You can use Waze App, just key in your place of stay in San Juan, La Union to give you the fastest route.

 
 

Where To Stay

There are a lot of hostels and transient apartments in San Juan, La Union. You can get a lower rate if you chose to stay in dorms. The transient apartments I haven’t tried but personally, I like staying in hostels because you can get free breakfast, access to amenities and the beach, it’s serviced so you don’t have to bring towels and you can get to meet a lot of people.

 

During our first stay, we were booked at Flotsam and Jetsam Hostel which gets fully booked always. For me, this is the best place to stay when in Elyu. And since it was fully booked we only had one night then transferred to San Juan Surf Resort on the second day. Both hotels serve free breakfast!

 

Flotsam & Jetsam Artist Beach Hostel   (book via website)

12500 MacArthur Highway, Urbiztondo, San Juan, La Union, Philippines, 2514

 PHP 3,400.00 – Garden View with Balcony (Private room for two)

 PHP 780.00    – 8 Bed Shophouse Dorm (Mixed dorm; Price is per person, per bed)

 PHP 680.00    – 8 Bed Bamboo Hut (Mixed dorm; Price is per person, per bed)

  

San Juan Surf Resort   (book via email)
Urbiztondo, San Juan, La Union, Philippines 2514

PHP 2,600.00 – Premium Room (Private room for two)

PHP 3,930.00 – Premium Room (Private room for four)

 

Getting Around

Once you get there, you can easily get around by walking on the beach side or ride a trike PHP 10/pax. Alternatively, if you have a car with you, you can just take anywhere, there are plenty of parking spaces. If you need to visit other places, you can rent a tricycle or hire a tour guide.

Things To Do

There a lot of things you can do in Elyu. I actually went there to beach bum and so here are the stuff that I wasn’t able to do, but currently on my list of things to do when I go back. Who wants to come?

 

Surfing

Well, San Juan La Union is known for being a surf town. Best time to visit and surf is during October–March according to the locals. You can get surfing lessons and rent a surfboard along the beaches, best is via San Juan Surf School. It’s totally safe, don’t mind about James’ minor accident, that was just bad luck lol!

 

Trek to Tangadan Falls

If you like hiking and chasing waterfalls, then you must go for this 50-minute trek. You need to hire a tour guide who can help you out especially if it’s your first time.

 

Stroll along Pebble Beach, Luna Watch Tower, and Bahay na Bato

I’m actually game for this activity, however, since my beau got in an accident we weren’t able to do so many things. Also, Steffi’s group went here already so during my second time I wasn’t able to explore too.

 

Visit Ma-Cho Temple

I actually passed by this when I was going home during my second trip, on my way to Partas Bus Station in San Fernando, La Union. I didn’t go up tho since I’m a rush to go home. This is a Taoist Temple dedicated to Ma-cho, the goddess of the sea and was built by the city’s Chinese community.

 

Trip Highlights

Okay, so here’s what I really did during second my trip in San Juan, La Union. I was just giving options if you’d like to maximize your trip to Elyu. I’ll go back again and finally do all those I listed above, don’t worry I’ll surely update this.

 

DAY ONE

 

Tagpuan

First stop is to have lunch while waiting for check-in time. Tagpuan is just located around the corner of the street. We had Tapa and Pares bowls which costs just around PHP 100. Their Bagnet is a must-try too! Bowls are best paired with beer. 😉

San Juan La Union December 2017

San Juan La Union December 2017

 

Flotsam & Jetsam Artist Beach Hostel

After lunch, we checked-in and rest for a while. Then had pizza and beer for merienda. F&J is my favorite hangout place in Elyu. I can just lay on the bean bags or the duyan. You can read a book and just chill. Grab a beer or something to eat, or play with dogs, meet new people talk about everything under the sun.

 

San Juan La Union December 2017

San Juan La Union December 2017

San Juan La Union December 2017

 

 

 

El Union Coffee

The best place to have coffee and smores, and grilled cheese too! I’ve tried their Horchata, a drink made of ground rice, almonds, milk, cinnamon and other spices. We ate merienda for the second time in one day! 😉

San Juan La Union December 2017

San Juan La Union December 2017

San Juan La Union December 2017

 

 

 

Urbiztondo Beach

The Urbiztondo Beach is famous for surfers because of its big waves. Look at these waves come crashing. It’s not the beach with fine white sand, but you can just play with the waves, take a morning or afternoon dip and lounge.

 

San Juan La Union December 2017

 

 

 

 

San Juan La Union December 2017

San Juan La Union December 2017

 

We went back to F&J to take a nap then had dinner and beer again at the F&J Kitchen. Here comes another day!

 

 

DAY TWO

 

Flotsam & Jetsam Artist Beach Hostel

I love the breakfast at F&J, and then after we just go the beach and swim or just chill. I told you, this is what I came for. I came to chill by the beach with ultra-amazing people!

 

San Juan La Union December 2017

San Juan La Union December 2017

San Juan La Union December 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

Olas Banditos

Mexican food! I so love their Quesadilla and Burritos, best paired with Sangria. Yep, Sangria at lunchtime because we can! Good for sharing, so that means you can get to try all almost all on the menu.

 

San Juan La Union December 2017

San Juan La Union December 2017

 

 

 

Flotsam & Jetsam Artist Beach Hostel

Back again in our favorite place to chill, then took a nap to prepare for the Friday night madness!

 

San Juan La Union December 2017

 

 

 

Surf Shack

Surf Shack is famous for their burgers and pizzas. So hungry, I forgot to take a photo but we had Mama LU’s Pizza, Buffalo Wings, Isaw, and Mussels.

 

San Juan La Union December 2017

San Juan La Union December 2017

 

 

 

Artek Wine Yacht

If you’re becoming a tita, and prefer wine and cocktails over beer. Then Artek Wine Yacht is the place for you. We had mojitos, margaritas, rum-coke, and sangria. Drinks range from PHP 100 to PHP 200 per glass.

 

San Juan La Union December 2017

San Juan La Union December 2017

San Juan La Union December 2017

 

 

 

Flotsam & Jetsam Artist Beach Hostel

Every Friday and Saturday, F&J turns into a party place so even guests from other hotels usually go here for one solid party night like no other, by the beach!

 

San Juan La Union December 2017

 

 

 

 

DAY THREE

 

Flotsam & Jetsam Artist Beach Hostel

After that one solid night, we all looked forward to having our breakfast. I had to leave early by Saturday lunch time so we just beach bummed again after eating breakfast and they accompanied me to Makai Bowls after.

 

San Juan La Union December 2017

San Juan La Union December 2017

San Juan La Union December 2017

 

 

 

Makai Bowls

I’ve seen this so many times on Instagram and I actually love Acai Bowls so I asked the girls if we could try before leaving Elyu. Bowls ranges from PHP 180 to PHP 300, could be for sharing!

 

San Juan La Union December 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

Budget Breakdown

 

If you’re asking about the budget, PHP 5000 is good enough for a three-day, two-night stay. Breakfast is free at hostels, and if you’re going with a group, you can share meals as well. If you’re a heavy drinker, then bring extra for the beers and cocktails!

Transportation: PHP 1200/roundtrip

Accommodation: PHP 1600/pax

Food: PHP 700/day (Lunch, Snacks, Dinner)

 

It’s a lengthy post because it’s my most favorite trip this year, and by far the best I’ve experienced in my life. I think God sent me these beautiful ladies to be with, I got to learn so much from them in just a small amount of time being together. This is my first trip without a family member or a partner with me. And, I’ve had trust issues by the way so this trip was like my fuck it I’m gonna go out with other people I’ve barely even know. To me, those three days made me realize that life is more beautiful when shared with other people.

 


DISCLOSURE

This is an all expense paid personal trip. 

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