Facing the Challenges of Our La Union Trip
Part of my travel with Carla last month was visiting La Union from Baguio to go surfing. We were no stranger to this activity as we were able to try it already when we went to Baler on our separate travel few months ago. We really enjoyed our separate surfing experience so we yearned for more. Because of the long weekend, we took advantage of it and included La Union for surfing to be part of our trip. Not only that we challenged ourselves to do the activity without the help of an instructor.
How to go to La Union?
La Union is a province located in the Ilocos Region with San Fernando City as its capital. It can be reached by a number of bus lines from Manila with 7 to 8 hours travel time. The province is very known to be a place for surfing, specifically San Juan, La Union. San Juan is considered to be the Surfing Capital of the Northern Philippines. It is best to surf in the area during its two surfing seasons which happen from July to October and November to March.
After exploring some places near Baguio, we went to Baguio bus terminal and rode an ordinary bus heading to Abra to go to La Union. We asked the driver to drop us off at San Fernando City as we will be taking our chances for bus reservations the next day going back to Manila.
It was past 5:00 PM when the bus departed from the terminal. Regular bus fare going to San Fernando City from Baguio costs around Php 98.00 each with 1 1/2 to 2 hours travel time.
The driver dropped us off at the bus terminal of Genesis buses like what we’ve told him but to our dismay the terminal was closed already. Instead, we asked the guard on duty and we were told that there’s no need for ticket reservation; the bus leaves to Manila as early as 5:00 AM and as late as 3:00 PM.
Finding Accommodation in La Union
We then rode a tricycle and asked the driver to take us to Urbiztondo beach where the resorts and the surfing area of San Juan is. We arrived at the area after 5 minutes and we were surprised with the number of people in the area that night. We found out that there’s an on-going event named as Surfing Break. Sadly, we didn’t make any reservations for our stay there but I’ve listed down some affordable resorts and accommodations located in the area. Unfortunately, those that I’ve listed down were already fully booked.
We first checked out those resorts nearby the sea then checked out some of those situated in the alleys then those transients nearby the main road but all of them were fully booked. I was worried about Carla if she feels disappointed that I didn’t book a room prior to our trip since I’m the one assigned to it.
There came a point that we were about to give up searching but told ourselves to try one more guesthouse/transient/resort and if we fail, we’ll go back to the city proper to find a place to stay. So we continued walking until we reached Hillside Vine Apartment. We went inside and asked if there’s a room available for us. The owner gladly told us that there’s still a vacant room for us. I think that would be the most relieving word I’ve ever heard from someone that day/night. Finally, we were able to find a room to stay for a night.
It was a two bedroom unit with an A/C room and fan room. The unit has its living area, dining area, kitchen and bathroom. There’s a couple occupying the A/C room that time. We chose to stay in a fan room. The fan room costs Php 500.00 per night. The unit is more than what we’ve imagined. For Php 500.00 we were able to find a decent one. Choosy pa? 😀
We dropped our things and prepared our take out food which we had from Good Taste in Baguio. We then had our late dinner.
Feeling tired from all the travels and searching we’ve done that day and night, we still went out of our room and headed to the beach and spent some night out.
There’s really a lot of people that night. Booze, music and parties everywhere.
Me and Carla settled ourselves at one of the bars near the beach. We spent our night somehow away from the noise of the event. We had the bean bag (which we comfortably laid ourselves in there for hours), cold beers and stories for the night.
Surfing in La Union
I was feeling sick when I woke up. In fact, I woke up behind. I quickly went out of bed and prepared for our ultimate challenge that day.
Carla took her breakfast already while she waited for me to wake up while I took mine in one of the restaurants nearby the sea. Since I wasn’t really feeling that well, I wasn’t able to finish my food. 🙁
We approached the surfing admission area situated at the shore; just in front of the bar that we hanged out last night. We asked for their rates. Board rental costs PHP 200.00 per hour and an instructor for another Php 200.00 an hour. Since we have this pact, we didn’t avail for an instructor but rented the surf board alone.
We planned to take turns in surfing and spend 30 minutes each for the first hour. I was the one who tried it first even though it was somehow against my will. May magagawa pa ba ako, Carla? 😀
So for not to prolong this, I carried the board with me going to the sea. Feeling like a pro, I paddled and paddled until I reached the surfing area for pros. The paddling alone was already hard. A pain in the arm. 😀
I looked for a good spot away from the surfers so not to embarrass myself once I take my turn on this sea adventure. Since as I’ve mentioned that I don’t want to embarrass myself, I waited for a perfect wave to take my chance on. Well, it took me about 45 minutes waiting for that perfect wave. Well, actually I’m kind of scared but when I had enough courage already to take this I prepared myself from the coming waves; then took my chance on surfing. Sadly I slipped and wasn’t able to stand up even just for a second. The scenario repeats itself many times until I gave up and went back to the shore. I got tired. It wasn’t easy like the first time I’ve tried it. It’s very different compared to having an instructor with me who can push me forward whenever there’s a wave coming.
I gave the board to Carla so for her to try her luck; and told her what happened to me. Initially, we planned to have 30 minutes each but it took me an hour to try it and still I failed.
After 45 minutes hanging out in the sea, Carla went back to the shore looking very disappointed. She had the same experience. She wasn’t able to stand up.
She gave me the board again; and tried my luck for the second time. Unfortunately, I still got the same thing, the same result. I failed. We failed.
We realized a lot of things after we had that challenge. It’s fine to test our limits. It’s OK to fail. Don’t make it hard. Just take everything easy. You know what I’ve really enjoyed during my tries on that surfing without instructor, those times where I’m just sitting or lying down on that surf board while it floats in the sea. It feels relaxing.
After all, it isn’t the success or failure that made this trip but our experiences and trials that happened in between.
We went back to our lodging, washed up and prepared our things for check out. We left around 1:00 PM and went to San Fernando City to catch a bus to Manila. We rode a Partas Bus going to Cubao. The fare costs about PHP 380.00 with 7 hours travel time.
Thank you Carla for accompanying me on this trip. Till our next adventure. 😀
Hillside Vine Apartment
Room or apartment for rental
Urbiztondo, San Juan
Phone: 09186529824; 09995941452