Surfing has piqued my interest ever since I’ve first tried it in Baler on Summer 2015. Paddling until your arms ache, catching and riding waves, being able to stand for the first time, or performing cool moves on the surfboard, like cross-steps or hang ten– it’s always a thrilling experience. My friends know that I’m a frustrated, wannabe surfer. LOL
Maxine and I decided to visit La Union. She’s a good friend from college, and we’ve always planned to go on an out of town trip as soon as we finish the board exam. After months of finding a schedule that’s compatible for both of us, we finally have a travel date. It was Maxine’s first DIY trip, and we’re both excited about it.
At 2:30 in the morning, we decided to meet at Partas Bus Terminal in Cubao. Travel time from Manila to La Union takes about 4-5 hours. The bus terminal operates 24/7. Our bus left at exactly 3:00am.
We reached San Juan, La Union at around 8:30 am. We decided to eat breakfast at Choka first, before checking in to the hostel.
There are many accommodations around the area. But prior to our travel date, Max and I agreed to stay in The Circle Hostel.
The Circle Hostel is a nice place to stay for travellers who are looking for a budget-type accommodation. They have branches in Zambales, and Baler, aside from La Union. There are two types of accommodation available: bunk bed (PHP 550.00) and hammock (PHP 400.00). They have separate rooms for males and females.
The place is unique. It has a laid-back atmosphere, and the whole place was colorful. It feels like I was actually staying in a playground! There’s a common room in front of the ladies hut, where you can stay and meet new people.
At around 10:00 am, we decided to go surfing. The manager of the hostel introduced us to their neighboring instructors, Bilmar and Glenn. We were supposed to surf in Urbiztondo Beach, but headed to Carille Jesus Point as the instructors advised us that the waves were better and few people were present in the area.
We stopped surfing by 12:00 pm to rest, and eat lunch. We became acquainted with Bilmar and Glenn easily. They also introduced us to two other fellow surfer friends. (Hi Z and Arienne!) After lunch, Max and I went to Urbiztondo while they continued surfing in Carille.
When in La Union, don’t forget to do sunset watching. Witnessing the sky turned from pastel pink and blue to golden orange. It felt like the world stopped for a bit. It was truly a magical hour!
The next day, Max wanted to visit the famous falls in La Union, the Tangadan Falls. Glenn and Bilmar knew the place so they offered to guide us to the waterfall. Z haven’t visited the place, too, so he also went along with us.
From San Juan, we rented a tricycle (PHP 500.00) to get us to San Gabriel. It took us less than an hour to reach the drop-off point.
Trekking up to the waterfall takes about 45 minutes to 1 hour, depending on your pace. It’s better to wear trekking sandals instead of rubber shoes since there are rivers to cross.
Tangadan Falls is about 40 meters high. It has a wide water pool below, perfect for swimming. The place has available bamboo rafts you can rent (PHP 20.00), where you can sit, and relax. You could also try cliff diving if you want some heart-pumping activity. It definitely scared the hell out of us to jump, so we settled to the other side of the waterfalls, which was a lower cliff.
By 5:00pm, we were back in the hostel. We prepared our bags, and washed ourselves before heading home. The whole experience was amazing! We were able to meet new friends, and enjoy our stay in La Union. Definitely need to come back soon!
- Surfing board rental costs PHP 200.00/hr + instructor costs PHP 200.00/hr
- Another option on how to get to San Gabriel is by riding a jeepney (San Juan-San Gabriel), but you still have to ride a tricycle going to the waterfall (San Gabriel-Tangadan Falls).
- There are available eatery or sari-sari stores along the way up to the falls.
- There are barangay officials and life guards in the area.