LA UNION: Lazy Weekend Getaway at PHP 3,132

Why do we say “Back to Reality” every time we go back to work after a trip with a matching photo of tall buildings, of the concrete jungle? Ibig sabihin ba nito, we are surrendering to the fact that in reality, we are just ~corporate slaves~ who happen to escape the stress and pressure of our work once in a while? I used to say that too. But the more I travel, the more I realize that “work” is not my reality, and definitely, it is not your reality, either. The more I travel, the more I realize na hindi yung 7 to 4 job ko ang realidad ng buhay.

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The realities of life are the things that make us happy. 
It’s the waiting game at the airport waiting for boarding time. It’s the sound of the plane as it takes off and land. The reality of life is the 10 hour bus ride to paradise. The reality of life is the ship or boat braving strong waves in the middle of the ocean. The reality of life is watching magnificent sunrise as the darkness of the night turns into day. It’s the sunset by the beach, and the feel of sand on your feet. The reality of life is enjoying a new dish that is not common to your taste buds.

Going back to reality means going back to what makes you happy BECAUSE THAT IS THE REALITY YOU DESERVE. That is the reality we all deserve. Ang realidad ng buhay ay yung mga bagay na hindi matutumbasan ng sweldo mo. You can drink on a Monday night and hustle back to work on the Tuesday after. Yes, you still have to work because work is important but don’t let work be more important than your happiness.

If you’re going “back to reality”, I hope you’re going back to being happy, because that is one of the most beautiful thing you deserve. 

 


LA UNION TRAVEL GUIDE

La Union is a province in the Philippines located in the Ilocos Region in the island of Luzon. Its capital is the city of San Fernando, which also serves as the regional center of the whole Ilocos Region. The province is bordered by Ilocos Sur to the north, Benguet to the east, Pangasinan to the south and to the west by the shores of the South China Sea.

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It is very much well known as a surfing paradise because of its majestic waves and blue waters. I fell in love with La Union last weekend. I don’t know what it is about Elyu but I would consider spending most of my weekends here, just watching surfers brave the waves, or eating Choka’s grilled chicken. If you’re looking for a quick escape to your temporary world a.k.a work, you must pay this lovely province a visit. I hope the guide in this post could help you out.

🚃 How to Get There

We went to La Union from a day tour in Vigan, so it wasn’t too hard for us even if it was our first time to visit the province because we were riding a van for the tour. Only told the operator to drop us in San Juan. However, if you’re coming from Manila, you can:

  • Take the bus to San Fernando, La Union via Partas from Cubao.
  • The bus fare is 541 PHP and can take you approximately 5-6 hours of travel.
  • Get off at the terminal in San Fernando La Union and take a jeepney ride to Bacnotan. Jeepneys with Bacnotan signages passes through Urbiztondo & San Juan where most of the beach front hotels are located.

If you’re going back to Manila, you only have to work your way back to the terminal. Remember:

  • Ride a jeepney with the signage “San Fernando” and get off at the Partas bus terminal. The fare is 10 PHP.
  • At the terminal, get your stub number from the security guard and wait for your number to be called before you purchase your bus ticket.
  • Ride the bus to Pasay or Cubao. The fare from San Fernando Terminal to Cubao is 541 PHP, too.

🏪 Where to Stay

There are a lot of hotels, hostels and resorts in La Union. You can book via Traveloka or Agoda but I suggest that you book 2-3 weeks ahead if you’re strict in following a plan because weekends in La Union are busy and these accommodations are often fully booked.

In our case, again, we made a last minute booking with San Juan Treasure Resort. This place is a little far from the busy Urbiztondo area where most of the restaurants and resorts are, but definitely worth the money you pay. If you’re looking for a balance between the busy party life of Elyu and it’s tranquil side, you should book a stay with San Juan Treasure Resort.  The hotel gave me a Bali-like feels, and its interiors are Santorini-ish to me. They have separate villas for huge groups, and hotel rooms at their main house for smaller groups.

Things I Needed To Note:

  • The mobile signal (for Globe, I think) in the resort was weak. I can’t access the Internet.
  • There is no TV in the deluxe room we booked but they give complete guest kits and towels.
  • The hotel is beach front, so access to the beach is easy!

Directions to The Resort:

I. Using the Waze App:
Search for “Normi’s Resort” (neighboring resort). After exiting Mc Arthur Highway, on your left hand side you will see NORMI’S BEACH RESORT sign. Turn left and go straight. Once you see Normi’s Resort, turn left again and follow the curved road. Turn right and go straight. On your left side, you will see a brown gate that leads to the resort.

II. Through Public Transportation
From Manila, take a bus ride bound to Vigan, Laoag or Abra via any bus (Partas Bus, Viron, Genesis, Dominion Bus Line, Farinas Tran, Florida, etc) and tell the driver to drop you off at Normi’s Resort at Barangay Taboc / Taboc Bridge which is on the left side.

🚣 How to Get Around

Getting around La Union is easy. Public transportation like jeepneys and tricycles are very much accessible but if you like walking, surely, you can get around the best places in La Union by foot. For first timers like us, we took the trike and jeep. Our hotel was a little far from the restos so we took a jeep bound to San Fernando and got off at Urbiztondo. The tricycle fares range from 20PHP to 150PHP depending on where your destination is.

🍛 Where to Eat

There are a lot of amazing food in La Union and if there’s one thing I wouldn’t mind spending more than the allotted budget during trips, that is on food. I believe I was able to go on a gastronomical adventure in Elyu with the food I tried, which you definitely should too!

El Union Coffee
Cold Brew Latte – PHP 140 

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These iced coffee from El Union is the best thing that happened to me in La Union. The coffee is not too strong but still tastes like coffee. It was deliciously creamy and light.

Makai Bowls 
Beach Break Smoothie Bowl – PHP 220 

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Perhaps the only healthy food I ever finished in my life. The Beach Break Smoothie Bowl is made of Spinach, Pineapple, Banana, Mango, Spirulina, Coconut juice topped with muesli and chia seeds! It’s so good sans the guilty feeling after finishing a bowl.

Choka
Grilled Chicken Bowl – PHP 199 

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Dinner should be filling and Choka did not disappoint. As I’ve said before, offer me any chicken dish and I will politely decline your offer because the only food we eat at home is chicken, as this is Patrick’s diet. But Choka was an ultimate exception. Their grilled chicken bowl is so delicious I wouldn’t mind eating it everyday. The barbeque sauce with sweet, salty and tangy with a kick of smokiness that isn’t too overpowering. The chicken meat was tender! Patrick, who won’t eat chicken legs finished the chicken barbeque leg to bones. That’s how good the dish is.

Tagpuan sa San Juan 
Beef Pares – PHP 90 

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I’ve always like beef and Tagpuan’s beef pares is to die for. It’s savoury and delicious. The beef chunks were tender and easy to chew. I like how the dish tasted milky yet soysauce-y. You should try it out, really!

🏄 What to Do

For us who can’t swim, it wasn’t a good idea to try surfing yet so basically, we just dipped in the cool waters of the point break and watched beginner surfers get engulfed in happy waves.

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But there’s more to La Union than surfing, during the day, you can go on a day tour in the city which we didn’t do, and then go food-hopping at night. You can also drink your broken hearts out in the many chill hang out spots in the place like Flotsam & Jetsam (which was too crowded for us).


Expenses Summary

Bus Fare to and from Manila – PHP 1,082
Accommodation at San Juan Surf Treasure – PHP 1,250
Food & Transportation Around La Union – PHP 800 approximately


Contact Details

San Juan Treasure Resort
Reservations: 0977 485 6801 (Kat Santos)
Resort Staff: 0907 814 4292 (Ate Che)
Email: <travelwithgru@gmail.com>
Facebook Page: CLICK HERE!

I hope this article can help you the way it should!
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