La Union Trip: One of My Dirt Cheap Trips

So, I remember promising Garry to update my posts. Fortunately after more than a month, here is my second installment to all my blabber-ies about my trips.

Before the end of the year last year, while we were hunting for nice deals to travel within the Phils., we came to realize that we planned a little more than usual, thus the hashtags #TanNaNaman & #WOWPhils2012 were coined.

Come February, there was really not a planned vacation because me and my friends (I call them my Proserphine Moisture cluster) just went to Bohol on the last  few days of January.  But the 20th of feb is a working Holiday for me and my office friends. It was the (US) President’s Day/Washington’s Day. Since I have no “ganap/gala” on the weekend, it crossed my mind that it was gonna be a long staycation weekend at home. What I did? I literally begged to be included in planned vacations of my officemates. Most of them are going out with their family. That I cannot cross of course. Before going home my friend/co-designer asked if I wanted to go with her and a friend and possibly her friend’s friend on a roadtrip, the destination? La Union. The easy-to-reach surfing haven of the north. I was a bit hesitant because it was supposedly a trip for the 2 of them, not being out if line but I don’t wanna be a third wheel or anything. So I just said i’ll try.

Bored enough, I made up my mind and texted I will be joining(Kebs-kebs na ang peg ko nun). So I packed and went to the meeting place so early(hey I was way too excited haha).

One of the good, if not the best thing about our trip is-we had our own vehicle. With the help of iPhone GPS, we  were able to reach the place just fine. Again please don’t ask me the hows of the driving because the whole time I was sleeping and I only remember one place because of our stop over, a McDonalds branch in Pangasinan. An iPhone and an iPad are definitely helpful-that’s all I can say. Of course you have to have phone internet/3G and a GPS app.

We shopped for the lowest rate online and when we saw what we found, it looked like a  haunted and dilapidated place. No we’re not going to risk our lives there. We shopped for more and finally found SEBAY, the cheapest (yet nice) of them all.

       We had to wait until 11am (originally it was 12pm but the people staying in the room we were about to occupy checked out early) to check in our things. It was not a big problem though because we had our own vehicle, it was an SUV a Hyundai Tucson. We were 4, we couldn’t be fighting for  space right?

We were there just past 3am. So our lone driver went to sleep. His friend as well. Me and my friend were asleep the whole travelling time, so we had trouble sleeping. I regretted not bringing my running shoes with me, because the place, though a highway was really conducive to training for runs! I could’ve squeezed it in, there. We decided to go for a walk. From San Juan to past the town proper of San Fernando. If you would calculate distances, it was more than 5KM and we just walked and talked!. Well it was a lot of talk, plus the weather was so laid-back and easy, a little breeze here and some crickets there, it was really conducive to sharing thoughts. Take note, we were not afraid even if it was our first time there. We were walking on a highway in an ungodly hour of the day!(What do you expect us to do it was prior to breaking of dawn?). We passed by a bakery so we bought pan-de-sal. We came back to the resort’s parking place just in time for their opening so we ate our full breakfast meal. I really can’t recommend the resort’s variety of meal. They’re the usual breakfast meals and the like but not worth what you pay them for.

If you are a newbie when it comes to surfing but is interested to learn, you don’t consider that a problem because that’s what most resorts there cater to. There’s a lot of Surfing lesson packages that you can choose from. Only package I remember was 500 for 2 person for 4 hours of training. Surfing wasn’t really the reason I went there. If you happen to really fall in love with the sport, there are souvenir shops which sell SURF BOARDS yes actual surf boards!

 

 

We spent most of our time at the beach area from about 7am to check in. Mine was spent mostly on burning my skin under the almost painful heat of the sun. But what really brought me to it is my almost death experience in the mean waves of La Union sea. I SWEAR my childhood and my whole life flashed in an instant because I was really giving into the dying part. If you are just swimming, you should not go farther than above waist of sea level or you’ll be eaten by the sea. Good thing I was trained by my family when I was small, I have acquired Muro Ami skills so I managed to survive.

Come lunch time, we had it somewhere else. The place? Halo-Halo de Iloko. It’s the best place to dine in and their Halo-Halo is EPIC! I know this is a bias judging (considering that it’s the only establishment we ate at), but WTH, their food is seriously good to deserve it.

Another thing that made me fall in love with the place is the cozy ambiance and the feel of the entire place. It was so relaxing and laid back in their. They matches the whole feel of the place with good chill out music from genres like Bossa to Balearica beats and renditions like Acoustic  and the like. Perfect for casual conversations with your friends and loved ones. I tell you, you would want to have a house like that.  It was a makeshift from a house converted to a resto and they had a do-it-yourself kind of decoration but in a 10-notch-higher level. Below is a picture of their sink between doors of male and female powder rooms. Yeas that’s a sandok and a kawa as the sink that you see.

     Their key pieces were vintage glass bottles, scrap wooden parts of other furniture, sculptures and fixtures and vases. One phrase: PINOY na PINOY.  Of course if you’re Filipino, you can never go wrong with that theme.

But what’s a beautifully decorated restaurant without good food right? Oh I swear (again) you will drool over their food. They sound, look, smell and taste all the same- YUMMY! Their variety is purely Pinoy. From twists made on sinigang, rice, etc.. I don’t want to rant on how each of what we ordered is sumptuous because I can’t handle wanting to eat there again.  Below are pictures of Sinigang na Manok sa Buko(My highly recommended dish) Bagnet, unusual Garlic Rice and Pandan Juice(no it’s not your usual pandan juice in the corner of the street or the ones commercialized and bottled, it’s seriously pandan and tasty).

After our lunch, we decided to just sleep because we couldn’t get over or should I say handle being full with what we had.  Speaking of which led us to just eating in an outside karinderia for our supper. It was located to the right of the resort. If you’re a budget traveler and doesn’t really crave, it’s the perfect that u can get because they also cook nice. At night we just chilled along bay-side and had liquors and continued it inside our room.

The next day we spent most of our time at the beach as well. This time no near death experience. But we found out that we spent a little more than what we could’ve based on what was feasible to our comfort. There was this place along the beach stretch that is like a public area. Locals of the town would normally stay there to have you know the usual things you need in a beach: huts, tables, chairs etc.. We asked and we found out that we can actually stay there and camp. We could’ve set up our tent there instead of arranging it in our room. Yes we did set up a tent inside a resort room and we tagged it “Indoor na outdoor pa“. The bathroom was not a problem because the resort we were in actually had a pay-per-use bathrooms. Had we known it was possible, we would’ve stayed there because it was much cheaper than how we actually managed our stay. Plus the fact that we didn’t need the resort to be able to eat. It was a little “sayang” moment. But it shouldn’t ruin the stay right? we just had to make the best out of what we already had.

 

 

We had our meals at different places including a dormitory beside one of the colleges hahaha. But for merienda of course we had to go back to Halo-Halo de Iloko  for their famous Halo-Halo.  Yes that’s actually their specialty. From the looks of the picture below, even post processing aside, you know it tastes heaven and boy was it really GOOD! We also had Palabok . It was good as well. I just failed to take a photo because I was busy admiring what I was putting in my mouth. You know, if I start talking about each food we had there, it would be really obvious that the highlight of this travel is this establishment of which is already bordering in that area.:D

la union surf budget places

 

 

After our merienda, we started heading home with our skin burnt, our tummies happy and our memories and experiences richer.

 

 

 

Trip Costs:

hotel:  PhP1800 (good for 4 to 6 people.)

Food: will depend on one’s budget & craving. We splurged much in Halo-Halo de Iloko

Rentals: ranging from PhP400 to PhP700(hours of surf lessons or surf board rentals)

Gas & Tollgate fees (This was way below PhP1000 from each of us)

 

 

Possible alternative Cost:

Camp area: PhP50 per person(for overnight stay)

Bath/Shower Room: PhP15 to PhP35 (depending on what u need to use it for)

Rentals: ranging from PhP400 to PhP700(hours of surf lessons or surf board rentals)

Gas & Tollgate fees (This was way below PhP1000 from each of us)

 

 

Ain’t that a Dirt-cheap trip?

 

Other pics from the trip:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Rye

Lover of Sun, Sea, Sand, Friendship & Life. Runner. Rusher. Photography Enthusiast. Aspiring Burst of Sunshine. PURE & PROUD PINOY down to my last fiber. Always have something to say about almost anything under the sun including my skin that is.

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