Out of the thousands of beaches in the Philippines, only a few stand out for its high waves that’s perfect for surfing. We drove up north of Manila to check out the surfing capital of Northern Luzon—San Juan, La Union. The waves aren’t too high on May which, as surfing beginners, was a fortunate chance we took just to get us better acquainted with the sport. The last time Rian and I surfed was two years ago in Baler and we were looking forward to seeing what La Union is all about.
The weather forecast said that it would rain all weekend but we took a gamble and still pushed through. Luckily, we had sunny days and only rainy nights. Surfing was the priority activity of the trip, so surfing we did!
There are plenty of booths along the beach shore offering surfing lessons for 400 pesos an hour. Personally, I think it’s safe to pick any—all booths have professional instructors and they all have the same prices. We chose RAMO Surf Lesson to guide us in surfing and teach us how to properly ride the waves. The package includes the board rental and the instructor fee already and they even threw in an extra 15 minutes for us!
QUICK FACTS ABOUT SURFING ON MAY
– It’s not surfing season hence the waves are relatively small but it’s just right for newbies like us!
– Since it’s lean season, you have more space to surf and less people to bump (oops, sorry!)
– Jellyfish attacks!! There are plenty of Jelly stingers out there and luckily I dodged them but a lot of surfers got stung, Rian included. Pour some vinegar on it—heard that works! P.S. You really don’t have to pee on it.
Surfing seasons are split into two—Habagat season and Amihan season. Habagat season produces south swells and it lasts from June to September and it is ideal for beginner to intermediate surfers like us. Amihan season produces north swells that last from October to April and this is where the big waves come in! My surfing instructor said that sometimes it goes up to 3 meters high!! And where does May fit in?? Oh.. Jellyfish season, that’s right. haha.
Surely there must be other things to do in La Union other than surfing so we asked the locals what else we can do during the day and where are the best spots to check out at night. There are waterfalls around the area such as the Tangadan Falls but they discouraged us to go because hiking on wet soil can be dangerous.
So what else?
Here are some grubs we had on our LU weekend.
FLOTSAM AND JETSAM HOSTEL
After every surfing session, we head to Flotsam and Jetsam hostel just to have this! It is so refreshing and so good. This was our attempt to eat healthy until…
Oh damn, this is good! Bacon and Garlic pizza that we drenched in chilli oil. This is one of their best sellers.
This one’s a keeper too. Seriously guys, I’m no foodie so I can’t say what the flavours are exactly but the sauce… that sauce was perfect for our rings!
Burgers here have been causing a buzz online and we just had to try it! I ordered the Smoky BBQ Bacon which comes with cheddar beer sauce, sweet and smoky homemade BBQ sauce, caramelised onion, and crispy bacon—with a side of french fries dipped in their Sriracha mayo! YUM!!
Shake Break! The high noon sun called for a quick refreshment and lo and behold, my melon shake!
GEFSEIS GREEK GRILL
Loved the design of this restaurant overlooking the deep blue—you can’t miss it, it’s white and blue and as Santorini-inspired as it can get! Most of what we wanted to order though weren’t available so second options won. Rian and I shared a Roka Salata Salad which was OK… of course we had Cyma’s version to compare. For my main course, I got a mixed (lamb, pork, and beef) Souvlaki with pita bread. It was fairly good but they held back on the garlic sauce and additional sauce = additional charge.
If only for food trip and surfing, La Union would be a good place to visit on a road trip weekend. I honestly enjoyed Baler more because there are plenty more activities to do there than eat and surf.
If you have suggestions on what else we can do in La Union, leave a comment and I’ll definitely check it out the next time I visit ELYU!
Happy travels, guys!