5.22.2014

La Union: Surfing + Food Trip + Tour Around

Me, together with my co -a.k.a "team wanderlust" went to La Union for a very short trip (2 days).




La Union is known as one of the best surfing spots in the Philippines and perfect for weekend warriors from Manila like us. While planning this weekend get-away, I am actually nervous about surfing. It's my first time to surf and I don't know how to swim. So embarrassing! I tried to learn how to swim since I started traveling, I just can't float :) But well, I managed to surf.. It's an achievement for a non surfer like me! I will definitely try it again.

Since we just planned it in less than a week, and we were not able to find any decent package, we just decided to just create our own itinerary.

This is a DIY itinerary since this trip is a short notice and most of the package offered requires 12 or more people. I am also practicing to travel without any packages. It's empowering and inexpensive.

We divided the tasks so each member has assignment.
- what are the must-visit sites
- must try food and local resto
- where to stay
- how to get(by public transpo) to all the places we decided to visit.

So here's our itinerary..


How to get to San Fernando, La Union:
1. Go to Cubao Bus terminal
- From Cubao Bus Terminal, take bus with San Juan, La union route. 
You may check Partas Transportation Company Terminal, located along Aurora Boulevard, Cubao Quezon City.

- If in case bus schedule for San Juan route is already fully booked(like what happened to us), you may try bus that will pass to San Fernando, La Union. It is one-town away to San Juan. Tell the bus conductor that you want to be dropped at San Fernando and you're going to San Juan. This cost us P378.00 each

-From San Fernando Drop-off point, ride a jeepney going to San Juan. P15.00


Where to Stay:
2. Check in to hotel/Inn/Hostel
One day before the trip, I searched for different hotels and Inns near the beach, called all of them but all are fully booked. 

Except for this hostel which is my last option that time because we were not used to sleep in an open area and the time I called, hammock is the only available. 

Since we really want to push this trip and we want a break from work, we go ahead and pack our things up. :)

We stayed at The Circle Hostel which is walking distance from the beach. It's backpacker-friendly, and just costs us 300 each per night, click the link for my blog review. 

We were also lucky that I was able to contact the host the day before. So even though we were not able to pay in advance, they still record my name for reservation.


What to do:
3. Lunch
It is already past 12 noon when we reached the hostel, so right after we checked-in, and drop our bags, we headed to Urbiztondo Grill House. It was just a few steps from the hostel and we also saw this grill house from different blogs. So we gave it a try.

Kare-kare, tortang talong with ensalada, Sinigang na hipon, Grilled pusit and Sinigang na baboy sa buko


Then we ended our sumptuous lunch with Fresh Buko Juice! Divided by 6, our lunch costs P203.00 each.

4. 1 hr. Surfing Lesson + laid back beach life
After lunch, we just go back to hostel for a few hours to rest and ask the host for surfing lessons. Then we headed to beach for the Beginner's Surfing lesson. P400.00 each



5. Watch Sunset + Afternoon rest + social. It's free!

7. Dinner at Halo-halo de Iloko
This restaurant is one of the most suggested restaurants to visit in La union. Since the hostel is just few steps away from the main road, jeepney and tricycle are easy to spot. We rode tricycle and asked the driver to drop us off at Halo-halo de iloko.

Halo-halo de Iloko. I was attracted at the main entrance! It is located in a residential town and uniquely stood with its light and vibrant color. When we entered, the vibes is oh-soo cozy. I like the ambiance. It reminds me of my favorite restaurant Cafe Juanita in Kapitolyo, Pasig.



Food. We started it with rice and 2 viands :)


Then we tried their best seller halo-halo for dessert.


Our dinner costs P260.00 each. When we're satisfied, we headed back to Hostel.
We were charged P35 pesos/one way for the tricycle. Back and forth costs us 70 pesos each.

10. Rest and socials, mingle with other guest at hostel.
11. Consumed breakfast at the hostel. Then Check out. 
We rode jeepney from Urbiztondo to San Fernando. Fare is P10.00 each
12. On our way to the Poro Point Thunderbird Resort, we dropped by at Macho Temple. It's free!
after some photo-opt, we take tricycle from macho temple to Poro Point Thunderbird Resort. and that costs us P35.00 each.



13. Santorini view at Poro Point Thunderbird Resort.
After our super basic and unique experience at The Circle Hostel, we splurge a little bit and experience a little bit of lux at Poro Point Thunderbird Resort. This is what I love about travelling.

You experience best of both worlds! Day tour is 1200.00. Consumable.
btw, we presented our ID for discount( company perks!)






We stayed at the resort for the whole day. my separate post about this resort to follow :)

14. Travelling back to San Fernando Proper.
The resort is offering free ride to San Fernando proper but we have to wait until it go back. We decided to take the private service since we are trying to get to the bus terminal as early as possible. Each costs P50.00.

Tricycle ride to Bus Terminal. P20.00 each.

15. Back to Manila! Fare is P378.00

Overall, our expenses is just 3,319.00 including the Poro point Thunderbird Resort Tour.
Some of the packages rates are about 3000 pesos but stay at Thunderbird resort is not included. So we are happy we achieved this. And the most fulfilling about this trip is we were able to travel without relying to a package tours.

5.21.2014

La Union: The Circle Hostel

The Circle Hostel made our travel different from usual. For me, the highlight of my La Union trip was my stay here than our stay in Thunderbird resort. Both stay are my favorite but yeah.. The Circle Hostel is way wayyyy different from the others! (plus cheap)


photo grabbed at http://www.launion.thecirclehostel.com/
This hostel is an open-air accommodation, perfect for solo backpacker who's open to meet (and mingle with) fellow backpackers. This is built with open hut, no divider between bunk beds and hammocks. There's also free strong wi-fi connection and Free breakfast too, except for the coffee. Locker rooms are also offered for free, you just have to bring your own padlock. If you will choose to stay here, be friendly, wear a smile and surely you will win a friend. 




What makes it special for me are their tagline "There are no Strangers". It is true that you will meet nice travelers there. One night, while I am sleeping in the common area, with nipa mat on the floor and bin bag as my pillow, I was bothered by the sound of gecko.. I am trying to find it as it sounds so near when a Canadian guy who is swinging from one of the hammocks noticed me. I saw him smiling/laughing while I am trying to figure out where the gecko is(I know I looked funny that time). When I noticed him, he came to my space and ask me why I woke up (as if it's not obvious). He sit beside me and asked so many questions. Then after that, we exchange travel stories...

Also, I love the artworks around. Guests are allowed to vandal and paint the hostel. Yeah, we are allowed to leave a mark! Like a kiddo who loves to draw on the wall, I am so excited for this. Qoutes, motto, doodles... everything in different colors send a happy vibes.



 Me and my friends at the Common Area





















Some of the marks left by guests...







At first, we were actually hesitant to sleep in this hostel since hammocks is the only available. But we have no choice since all of the hotels and inns nearby were already fully booked. Well, we just paid for the hammocks(for only 350 pesos per head) but we actually slept at the common area. Bin bags there are soooo comfortable!

And Oh! before I forgot... The restroom are clean and well maintained. Common restroom with more than four cubicles, (I didn't count, I'm just sure, it's more than 4 :p) and has powerful showers and bidets.


Final say... If ever I'll be visiting La Union to surf or just beach bumming and sunset watching, I'll choose to stay here.