Don’t be silly! This post is not about prohibited substance or anything alike. This post is about a different kind of high, which you’ll likely get if you visit Elyu or La Union.
Disclaimer: this is another overdue post, and the trip happened last year, but some of the memories are still clear on my mind; more so the feeling of being high, a different euphoria I had in this short trip.
I would like to thank Wilson and Tan, my good friends since college for joining me on this trip. We’ve explored La Union with a spontaneous side trip to Vigan for more than 24 hours! Best trips are experienced with friends who are willing to go anywhere with you.
La Union, or more popularly known today as Elyu is considered as the surfing capital of the North. On it’s surfing town – San Juan, tourists endure long drive (or short flights) from different parts of the Philippines to enjoy north swell season (occurs from October to July).
I’m quite lucky since we arrived there on November, so there is a big chance of surfing but at the same unlucky, since it was a holiday (I actually forgot which holiday it was). Hence, there are congregation of millenials parading their summer OOTDs – mostly fedora hats, pull-on shorts, floral shirts, crop tops, short jeans, bikinis, tankinis, and board shorts are seen even in night time. Few couples roam around, taking photos while others are with their families.
I’ve come to know San Juan by reading travel blogs and according to them, if you want to learn how to surf, there is no better place than to do it on the surfing capital. So off I went….
But before I dwell on my surfing experience, let me share you some snaps of other places you could visit in Elyu.
Located in San Gabriel, this beaut is not easy to reach. You have to ride a motorcycle and hike for about 15 minutes to see it. But if your traveling with a bigger group, the local municipality will arrange a jeep or larger vehicle for you. By the way, going to this majestic falls is not free; you have to pay some municipality fees and hire a tour guide. I guess, you can always have the option not to hire the tour guide if you already know the ins and outs of the place.
Between the two falls, this is very accessible and easy to trek. The falls is near the main road and pathway to the falls is cemented with some parts still muddy with grass. You can see some small houses scattered in the area. There are small tubes on the upper tier of the falls which provides water and irrigation to the community.
Stone Hand Gallery and Pebble Beach
When visiting this gallery, expect to be entertained not only with paintings of the Filipino artists but also some kind of adult entertainment because of the quirky (or naughty) stone sculptures.
A little walk from the gallery is a pathway which will lead you to Pebble Beach. As the name suggests, the shore is filled with pebbles. Residents within the area hand-pick and separate the stones by color and sell them.
Where we stayed
It was already afternoon when we arrived at San Juan, and the area is already swamped with cars and people roaming, walking around the area. We stayed at Circle hostel and looking at the reviews, the place is quite decent for its price. For only Php 800/night you can stay at one of their co-ed dorm rooms with bunkbeds. They also offer hammock for Php 500/night. The rates are already inclusive of breakfast – pandesal and cocojam.
I like the hostel for its relaxing, down-to-earth vibe, perfect for budget travelers or solo backpackers. If you’re not out surfing, you can chill at their common play area or use their hammock. The side panels have charging stations and if you’re up to meeting and making friends this place is a great place to start.
Surfing at San Juan
Now for the highlight of this post. After unpacking our things at the hostel, we headed to the San Juan beach where a number of groups will teach you how to surf. It will cost you around Php400 for an hour lesson with an instructor.
I literally got high after that awesome experience, an intense feeling like no other. Riding the waves will elevate your spirit, bring you bliss. It was scary at first but definitely worth the try. Just know how to balance on the surfboard and you’re already covered.
Side trip to Vigan
Since we have spare time before heading to Manila, we decided to travel to Vigan. It was 3 hour long drive from La Union, good thing Eraserheads snd tupig kept us entertained and fed. Arriving at half past 7pm, we started walking along with flocks of tourists looking for a place to eat. The trip of course is not complete without roaming the famous Calle Crisologo and tasting the scrumptious Empanada.
Overall, it was tiring but very great experience. If you’re planning your next road trip, head North and visit La Union and Vigan. Worth every buck and time you will spend. You’ll get high but in a good way.
Share your Vigan or La Union moments below.