Reasons to fall in love with La Union, and to keep coming back
La Union is truly wonderful, but in a different way.
The beach is unlike the popular and pristine white-sand resorts down South. The sand isn't even white, but it doesn't matter.
La Union is the Philippines' surf capital. People primarily go there to ride the waves, only to realize that there are so many more reasons for one to fall in love with it—and to keep coming back.
Laid-back and relaxing
Mornings seem slower Urbiztondo beach.
There's no rush for you to immediately finish your coffee because too many people are waiting to take your spot at a bar or coffee shop. It never feels as if the beach is overcrowded, or that your personal space is compromised despite the easy-going, free-spirited vibe.
Places like Flotsam and Jetsam offer comfortable and commendable accommodations. The hostel feels like a home away from home, with rustic interiors and a artsy-bohemian aesthetic. You can take your time staring at the horizon and the listening to the sound of waves crashing on the shore every single morning, for as long as you want.
A sane amount of party spirit
Peaceful and calming by day, fun and festive at night. Flotsam and Jetsam is a social hostel—expect to meet new friends, and to share a few drinks, or even dance with them as well.
The party spirit is strong particularly on Saturday nights and holidays. Piped in music floats through the Kitchen Bar during the day but you can expect a DJ to share his playlist on weekends.
There’s more than enough booze for everyone. Flotsam and Jetsam owner Jeff Ortega recommends the 5-minute drink to first timers who want to get the most buzz –and fun—as they party.
Management encourages guests to drink responsibly, and drugs are not allowed. Clean, good fun—tons of it—can be expected.
Love for local
San Juan, La Union, has evolved from a small fishing town to a thriving surf community. Both locals and former city dwellers have chosen to set up businesses in the area.
Just a few minutes away from Flotsam and Jetsam is The Great Northwest Philippines Travel Stop & Viewing Deck, which is but one of the locations where you can fulfil gastronomic fantasies. T houses several tenants that landmark products that La Union has become known for.
There are also other establishments along Urbiztondo beach which have similarly captured the essence of La Union’s local flavor.
A sense of community
If people seem so friendly and everyone seems to know everybody else, it’s probably because they really are warm and accommodating people, and that they have known one another for a long time and treat one another as family.
For champion surfer and resort owner Luke Landrigan, living in La Union is like having a vacation every single day of his life. It is a joy that he shares with both locals and migrants who have given up city living in favor of waking up by the sea.
It’s been six years since El Union Coffee owner Lorenzo “Kiddo” Cosio and his wife Amy practically packed their entire life in a van to start a new life with their kids in the coastal town. He is friends with Luke, Jeff and other business owners in the area. They greet and welcome guests with genuine warmth and openness, all the time.
Surf culture is what brought people in La Union together, and their love for the sport has encouraged them to be supportive of one another’s endeavours— if only to ensure they get to maintain the lifestyle they have fallen in love with.
If you don’t surf yet, you might as well book surf lessons. The La Union Surf School (LUSS) is accredited by the Academy of Surfing Instructors in Australia (ASI). It applies the highest safety standards and all instructors are ASI certified, with the necessary lifesaving and first aid qualifications.
You can let your guard down
Sometimes, going on vacation compels people to put so much effort into the way they look. La Union makes you do the exact opposite, however, and encourages you to let your guard down.
Dressed simply in a swimsuit under a pair of shorts or a cover-up over a bikini, you will find yourself drawn by the simple joys only coastal living can give.
There are several food tenants at the Viewing Deck and the owners of these establishments have decided to put up business in La Union not merely to make a buck.
Makai Bowls at The Great Northwest Philippines Travel Stop & Viewing Deck serves the healthiest, tastiest, and most refreshing sugar-free and dairy-free smoothie bowls, ever. My favorite is the Beach Break, which is made with moringa, banana, spirulina, pineapple, and coconut water.
Try the seafood sandwiches at the Great Gamble Seafood Shack: kilawin and grilled treats at Layag: the Honey Bagoong Fried Chicken at Sabong; healthy vegetarian and meaty Asian food at Papa Bear; and of course, the Dirty Horchata at El Union Coffee.
Halo-Halo de Iloko in San Fernando, La Union offers the Sinampalukang Buknok, a refreshing yet sweet-sour-savory soupy dish made with chicken, coconut water, and coconut slices. The soup alone is so good even on its own.
At the very least, this dish warrants a second serving, if not a return trip to La Union.
The startlingly beautiful sunset
You will be amazed by what the sun can do to the sky, and marvel at its unique beauty. And the viewing deck is the perfect place to witness it.
La Union is among the many spots in the country that local homegrown fruit drink brand Locally wants Filipinos to explore, discover and be re-acquainted with the #TravelWithLocally campaign. Visit the Locally Facebook Page for details. – Rappler.com
Want to experience all that La Union has to offer? Visit now and enjoy discounts on accommodation when you book with Agoda!