While Siargao is the “Surfing Capital of the Philippines,” La Union is also known as the “Surfing Capital of the North.” And what’s the best thing to do during summer? Of course, hit the beach!
Originally, it was I and my best friends’ plan to go to my province, La Union, over the weekend but unfortunately, they didn’t make it through. Since I don’t want the long weekend to go to waste, I pushed it through and invited Ron’s friends (who are also my friends, of course) instead. The trip supposed to take place on the first week of May, but since the last Friday of April (April 28) was declared as holiday, we moved it right away. The majority of my friends are already working and this has been a huge break from all their stresses, so I made sure that we will maximize our 3-day La Union trip.
Exploring La Union
We arrived at San Fernando City, the capital of La Union, around 4:30 PM, we were at the Cubao terminal from 11 PM to 8:30 AM (all thanks to the delay of our departure, hah.) My uncle fetched us then we rode a tricycle going to our Lola’s house – our main advantage in staying at La Union for 3 days; it cuts our expenses from booking a hotel accommodation. We rested and settled for an hour then we went to our first stop: Poro Point Baywalk.
Poro Point Baywalk
Poro Point Baywalk is just a few minutes jeepney-drive away from San Fernando bayan. It is a very nice place for us to walk around, de-stress from the long and tiring bus ride we’ve had, and just enjoy the moment that we’re no longer in Metro Manila.
Poro Point Baywalk features a very spacious playground, picnic area, gazebos, an amphitheater, a lighthouse, and a strip of food stalls.
La Union is not La Union without us tasting the Ilocos empanada. This large Ilocos empanada costs us Php 40, while those Ilocos empanada that you can see in Metro Manila costs like Php 90. Overly priced, right?
We went home around 7 PM, had dinner, freshen up, and then lights out.
Saturday is the longest day we’ve had there. We woke up around 9 AM, took our breakfast, and played cards on our free time. An hour before lunch, we went to our first stop for the day: Halo-halo de Iloko.
Halo-halo de Iloko
This was not really a part of neither our plan nor the itinerary I made few days before the trip, but since Bianca’s friend told us to try it and it was only in San Fernando, we gave it a try. We arrived at the place around lunch time so the place was pretty full with families and other tourists. We waited for a couple of minutes before we could get a table inside.
We only tried their halo-halo and shrimp okoy, because we’re planning to have lunch in San Juan.
After feasting on their specialties, we then headed to bayan to ride a jeep on the way to San Juan.
Flotsam and Jetsam Artist Beach Hostel
Flotsam and Jetsam Hostel is very famous for millennial travelers who want to hang out in beachfront with Instagrammable ambiance. The hostel has plenty of rooms available for accommodations and the KitchenBar wherein you can chill with good foods, drinks, music, and party on the evening.
What I love about staying at the KitchenBar is that the place is very comfortable; there’s a kubo where you can literally sleep and lounge around. Did I forget to say that it’s for free? Yes! You can stay there as long as you want because there is no entrance fee or whatsoever. The only expense we’ve had there is when we bought my Makai Bowl’s Beach Break aḉai bowl and a bucket of beer. That’s all, and then we stayed there for a couple of hours.
When the heat is almost bearable, we left the Flotsam and Jetsam area and went to the seashore to swim. We spent the entire afternoon there and when the sun was down, we packed up for our dinner.
I was able to discover these places with the help of my brother who also went to La Union a few weeks ago with his girlfriend. We went to Tagpuan for dinner because it was the cheapest (I think?) and I’ve also read good reviews about them. The place was really jam-packed with so many tourists who are also digging for the cheapest meals (probably because they overspent on their beers? Lol.)
I ordered their Tapa which costs me Php 90 and they ordered Bagnet which costs Php 120. To verify how affordable they really are, Php 120 is the most expensive on the menu. Can you believe that?
El Union Coffee
We were so full so we walked our way to have our coffee fix in El Union Coffee. All thanks to my brother who introduced this awesome place. I must say that this is my favorite place we’ve visited in the entire trip. Not just because of the chill and indie vibes, but also because I love being surrounded by those kinds of people who are hanging out there – indie locals if I’m going to name them.
I ordered Dirty Horchata for Php 150 and they ordered iced lattes (I forgot how much it is.)
I also bought a sticker from them which costs Php 20.
We went home around 9 PM, took a bath since we just air-dried ourselves after we swam in the beach, and then ended the second day.
For our last day, we originally planned to go to Tangadan Falls in San Gabriel, but my Lola and my Tita didn’t let us because according to them the place was too far. TOO far – to emphasize how they really objected our plan. We opted to go to the nearest museum and Ma-Cho Temple, but it was Sunday so we thought that they were closed. We also thought of going to Baguio, but probably Baguio is overcrowded with other tourists that time. So, we decided to go to Thunderbird Resort because we also wanted to dip into a swimming pool. When we arrived at Thunderbird Resort, we were dumbfounded that it will cost us Php 1,500 each to get into the resort. We don’t have that kind of money so we just settled to go back to San Juan instead.
We rode a jeepney going back to San Fernando bayan, did a grocery shopping for our snacks to eat at the beach, and then went to San Juan.
We were supposed to have our late lunch in Tagpuan but it was already closed that time, so we walked along the Urbiztondo in search for a cheap place to eat. We discovered Seawadeeka – an Asian restaurant that serves Thai foods. It’s not really a perfect time for us to try out different cuisine because we were looking for an affordable and familiar food, but we have no choice but to just try it out.
I ordered Chicken Satay while they ordered Pork Satay. It costs us Php 150 plus long minutes of waiting. *Ughhh*
We spent the entire afternoon at the seashore; them taking naps while me and Ron enjoying the calm waves of the sea. We left the beach as the sun sets. Ron, Jansen, and I went back to Tagpuan to have our early dinner, while Bianca, Uly, and Kent went on a hunt for pasalubong. We actually waited for an hour before Tagpuan is opened for dinner time and then went home right after.
We left the house around 10 PM, went to the terminal, waited for 3 hours, bought pasalubong while waiting for our bus, departed around 1:30 AM, and then fell asleep the entire bus ride. We arrived at Manila around 8 AM, had our breakfast in Jollibee, rode our separate cabs, and that concludes our La Union trip.
To sum it all up, I’ve had so much fun. To travel with friends 6 hours away from Metro Manila is something to cherish, much more when I’m traveling with my boyfriend, Ron. We finally crossed another place off our bucket list! It feels so great, too, because I was able to explore and appreciate my province more – something that I can be proud of, my province is the Surfing Capital of the North! 🙂
If you are interested in visiting La Union, here is my DIY itinerary for 3 days under Php 2, 500 (excluding hotel accommodations because we have a house to stay in.)
If you don’t have any place to stay in over a couple of days, there are available hotel rooms around La Union.
To know more about the places we have visited, you can check their links down here:
Poro Point Baywalk – Facebook
Halo-halo de Iloko – Facebook
Flotsam and Jetsam Artist Beach Hostel – Website, Instagram, Facebook
Tagpuan – Facebook, Instagram
El Union Coffee – Facebook, Instagram
Seawadeeka – Facebook, Instagram
Have you been to La Union?
share your thoughts below! 🙂
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a commission if you make a transaction using the link.
Disclaimer: Some photos are taken by my friend/photographer Jansen Calderon.