Elyu or La Union is a place that is known to many people ‘coz it will only take you 5 to 7 hours to reach this place depending on your mode of transportation. Also, it is one of the most accessible places where you can go surfing or have that bum beach life.
I went to Cubao Partas Bus Terminal and rode a bus that goes to Laoag and I asked them to drop me off at San Juan, La Union. (I was dropped off in front of 7-Eleven) I paid an exact fare of 500 pesos. The trip was 7 hours in total and had a total of 2 stopovers.
I arrived at Barangay Urbiztondo in La Union at around 10pm. I thought there were available hostels or hotels around but I found none. (Lesson for everyone: do not go to any place unprepared. Make sure that you look for a place to stay and make sure that it is safe as well.) Good thing, I ate dinner somewhere and some locals talked to me so I got a place to stay and I did not have to pay. (But again, a lesson learned: next time, PLAN YOUR TRIP!)
And then, at around 10:00am, I inquired at Vessel Hostel and thank God they have a vacant room for me! Vessel is one of the famous lodgings in La Union ‘coz aside from the friendly staff, the amenities are really great. Not to mention, Megan Young, Mikael Daez and Jericho Rosales are some of their frequent customers.
To know more about Vessel Hostel, you can check them out on Facebook and Instagram. To check or book a room, check their website to know if your preferred dates are available.
WHAT TO DO IN ELYU?
1. Walk a lot
– I did walk from one place to another even under the heat of the scorching sun because there are people walking as well and isn’t it nice to walk on safe streets without anyone to catcall you?
– There are groups who offer surfing classes especially at San Juan Beach (If in case it is your first time to go to Elyu, in order to go to the beachfront there are lanes along MacArthur Highway, that will lead you towards it. CLUE: If you found Tagpuan, the lane going to the beach is just across or pretty across it). The rate for a class is 400 pesos. But, if you know how to surf, you can rent surf boards for as low as 200 pesos for 30 minutes.
3. Talk to the locals
– If I did not talk to the locals, I would not know a lot of things about La Union. Even how much the tricycle rate is. Also, I knew that there is a bakeshop there that only opens on specific days and they bake the best breads. And, I learned about the COAL IS NOT COOL campaign.
4. Breathe fresh air
– YUP! Go to the beachfront, enjoy the fresh air.
5. Watch the Sunrise and Sunset
– Elyu is not really known for the Sunrise but I did appreciate the horizon and the colors of the Sunrise but for the Sunset, that is something you need to really see and check. There is a specific minute (YUP!) that you are gonna see that perfect circle and as it goes down, you will appreciate the gradient of colors.
WHERE TO EAT IN ELYU?
1. Mami King
– This is located across Tagpuan In Urbiztondo Road (it is the lane where the Tricycle Terminal is). Mami King is open 24 hours, 7 days a week so if you are gonna surf at around 5:30am, Mami King is open to serve you silog meals. I ate here at around 2:30am HAHAHA and there’s a lot of people really. I had my Tapsilog and the beef tapa is just so tender.
2. Tagpuan sa San Juan
– This is in front of Mami King and they offer meal bowls with a starting price of 99 pesos. Try their Lechon Kawali, the skin is really crispy.
3. El Union Coffee
– El Union is located along MacArthur Highway, San Juan, La Union. And they are famous for two reasons: one is because of Kiddo Cosio who happens to also be known for unschooling his kids (read more about here) and second is the Dirty Horchata that you should not miss and is best paired with their Grilled Cheese!
– To know more about El Union Coffee, check them out on Instagram: @elunion
4. Clean Beach
– Clean Beach is located inside Urbiz Garden which is also along MacArthur Highway in San Juan, La Union. They are literally in front of the beach where you can enjoy a cup of coffee or a pint of beer from Engkanto Brewery. They also have a Beach Clean-up Campaign which you can take part with — all you have to do is approach one of the Clean Beach staff that you wanna participate and they will give you a basket where you can put the trashes you’ve collected from the shore. Once you are done, you can pick a book from the shelf and enjoy the Clean Beach Iced Tea. I do recommend for you to talk to the Baristas and ask their specialty. For the food, I tried their BagnetSeaLog and it did not disappoint me.
– To know more about Clean Beach, check their Facebook and Instagram: @cleanbeachco
5. Flotsam and Jetsam
– Flotsam and Jetsam is located next to Urbiz Garden and is one of the party places in La Union. However, they are more than just a party place — they also serve great food. I had my Chicken Tinola and it was really good.
– To know more about Flotsam and Jetsam, check out their Instagram: @flotsamandjetsamhostel and to book a room, go to their FB Page and click the Book Now button or CLICK HERE to check on available dates.
For a chill night cap, you may visit Curious Creatives which is located inside the same complex where El Union Coffee is located. They serve one of my favorite Hard Cider from Elias Wicked Ales and Spirits.
You can follow them on Instagram: @curiouscreatives.lu for more updates and to be updated of the events happening there.
I really enjoyed my first ever experience in La Union and I am so happy to have met new friends and I even became friends with my roommates at Vessel Hostel.
Overall, my first ever solo trip in La Union is really memorable — aside from the fact that a family adopted me during my first night, I also got to meet a lot of people.
I will definitely come back and gonna eat, drink coffee and surf more. And, I will book an accommodation before hand HAHA!