La Union – Dubbed as the “Surfing Capital of the North”. Due to its proximity and accessibility, La Union is definitely the most visited surfing destinations in the Philippines. La Union has a lot of tourist spots that locals should be proud of. Aside from being a surfing capital, La Union is also popular for local and foreign tourist because of its active nightlife. There are several bars along the main road that offers beachfront party experience, the most popular nightlife hotspot is the Flotsam & Jetsam.
LA UNION or in short “ELYU”
We’ve been planning to visit La Union months ago and it finally happened. A long queue of passengers welcome us at Partas bus terminal in Cubao, it’s too unpleasant and crowded, some were heading to their province while some were just for a short vacation. We didn’t book a reservation prior to the date of our trip that’s why we end up for long hours of waiting just to buy a ticket. You need to get a stub first and those stubs were divided into colors. We got the yellow one which our queue number was on the 1700+. They were calling the blue stub and it was around 1250 at that time. It needs to reach 2000 before to switch into another color. We were waiting for about one and a half hours until we decided to leave Partas Bus Terminal to look for other available terminal going to La Union. We went to Viron hoping to expedite our departure.
There’s no long queue of passengers at Viron bus terminal unlike in
JOURNEY TO LA UNION
We left Cubao at exactly 1:30 AM through TPLEX and we arrived at San Fernando, La Union around 6:30 AM. It was a 5 hours journey. We took breakfast before heading to Urbiztondo. There are a lot of tricycles at the Plaza, but I suggest to take a jeepney instead of a tricycle. Tricycle will cost you PHP 150-200 going to Urbiztondo. To give you an option, there’s a jeep terminal beside Watson, the fare is PHP 11 only.
Camp Avenue is a Bali-inspired bohemian-themed beach and camping site situated in the northern part of Urbinztondo beach in San Juan, La Union that offer another kind of experience to its visitors.
A peaceful ambiance welcomed us upon arriving at Camp Avenue. We haven’t seen any activities aside from people who keep taking photographs. Camp Avenue is not as crowded as we expected. There are only a few people swimming on the beach but most of them were also doing photo shoots. We all know that La Union beach is very popular and a hotspot for surfers but surfing isn’t the main reason why visitors keep coming to Camp Avenue.
When the dark seized the light, Camp Avenue will transform into a bustling one-stop place for party goers. If you want to experience another kind of relaxation, camping and partying on the beach, Camp Avenue is a perfect place for you but if what you really planned was to surf, I suggest to go to the
We arrive at Camp Avenue at exactly 8 AM, if you don’t have a tent, you can rent for PHP 750 per pax. If you have a tent, you need to pay for the entrance fee, PHP 500 each. They also provide pillow rental which cost PHP 50. If you’re not used to camping, they also have Bali Hut that cost PHP 1200 which includes electric fan, soap, pillow, and mattress.
Hiding in one of the busy city in La Union is an old Chinese temple build atop of the hill of San Fernando overlooking the vast South China Sea. This Taoist Temple was built in the 1970s dedicated to the Chinese deity Matzu, a powerful protector of the sea and a patron of fishermen. That is why the temple is facing the sea.
Inside the temple, you will find the breathtaking 13 tiers spider-type dome, towers, pagoda, gardens, fountains, wood carvings of deities and many traditional Taoist interior decors. Ma-Cho Temple is absolutely a holy place and a majestic landmark in La Union.
Holding hands and dating is highly prohibited in Ma-cho temple. It’s like Taoist Temple in Cebu, the place is holy and sacred for Taoist so visitors were expected to pay respect. Nevertheless, anybody is welcome to enter Ma-cho Temple. There’s a lot of picturesque spot inside the temple, you can also pray, meditate and offer a donation. Ma-cho temple is a great place to stop over if you’re exploring La Union.
If you are coming from Camp Avenue, ride a jeep going to San Fernando. Ask the driver to drop you off at Ma-cho temple. The fare is PHP 11.
FLOTSAM & JETSAM
One of the most popular destinations in San Juan, La Union lying in the long stretch of beach of Urbiztondo is the Flotsam & Jetsam. This resort is perfect if you want to experience a beach party. Flotsam & Jetsam is also one of the best spots to try surfing. A part of Urbiztondo beach where the big waves seem like playing against surfboard which is a great opportunity for the surfers. La Union trip wouldn’t be completed if you didn’t visit Flotsam & Jetsam.
La Union is a very popular destination among all kind of surfers. But I never thought that La Union has a lot to offer. It is also home to numerous waterfalls. There is a hidden treasure hiding in the midst of its mountain. Tangadan Falls stands around 50 feet high. In case you wonder, Tangadan falls means “to look up” in Ilocano. You have to cross the river before reaching Tangadan falls.
We started trekking at 12 noon. It was really fun despite our dizziness due to hangover last night haha. We really enjoyed the beauty of the scenery and our journey to Tangandan Fall that’s why we forgot that it’s already 5 PM when we leave the place.
There are two options going to Tangadan Falls. If you have a private vehicle you can go directly to the trailhead going to Tangadan Falls where you need to trek for about 20-30 minutes. The other one is you need to start at the jump-off point. Trekking is approximately 1 hour, it’s an easy trek for beautiful scenery you will see along the trail. You have to cross the Barobo River to reach Tangadan falls.
The rock formations are similar to Tinipak River in Tanay Rizal. Halfway through, you will see a cliff jumping site. It’s free to jump unless you pay for a life vest for PHP 50. You can also experience the hanging chair over the Barobo River for only PHP 20.
HOW TO GET IN TANGADAN FALLS FROM LA UNION
- Ride a jeep going to Sa Juan proper.
- Alight in front of Municipio de San Juan
- Go to the other side of the road and ride another jeep going to San Gabriel. Jeepney f
areis PHP 10.
- Alight at San Gabriel Municipal Hall. Travel time is approximately 15-20 minutes.
- Go to municipal hall to pay for registration.
- You can either take a tricycle going to Tangadan falls jumpoff point or your guide can transport you via habal-habal.
As per locals, there are many falls can be found in La Union but it is not enough to visit all of those hidden gems of La Union in a day.
LA UNION TRAVEL GUIDE | HOW TO GET THERE
- From Cubao, ride a Partas/Viron/Dominion bus going to San Fernando, La Union. The fare is around PHP 450 to PHP 500 depending on the type of bus. Travel time is roughly 5-6 hours.
- From San Fernando, ride a jeep to Urbiztondo Beach or San Juan for PHP 11. Travel time is approximately 25-30 minutes.
LA UNION ITINERARY
|10:00 PM||Meet up at Cubao|
|11:00 PM||ETD Partas Bus Terminal|
|Day1: 6:00 AM||ETA San Fernando La Union|
|6:15 AM||Ride a jeep going to Urbiztondo|
|6:30 AM||Check in|
|7:00 AM||Visit Tangadan Falls|
|2:00 PM||Back to hotel|
|3:00 PM||Swimming and surfing at Urbiztondo Beach|
|5:00 PM||Prepare for dinner|
|7:00 PM||Visit Flotsam & Jetsam | Camp Avenue|
|8:00 PM||Socialize / Partying|
|12:00 MN||Sleep / Rest|
|Day 2: 8:00 AM||Wake up|
|10:00 AM||Visit Ma-cho Temple|
|1:00 PM||ETD La Union|
WHERE TO STAY IN LA UNION – ACCOMMODATIONS
Aureo Resort, San Fernando La Union
P and M Final Option Hotel
Check room rates at
Awesome Hotel – San Juan La Union
Check room rates at:
Thunderbird Resorts – Poro Points
Book a room at:
Check more rooms at Booking.com
WHERE TO EAT
Restaurants and bar is not a problem in La Union, it probably has all the variety of foods tourist have been looking for. San Juan, La Union is very active at night. The ambiance is like in Boracay. People were partying. One thing I could suggest is the Elyu Surfer’s Grill which offers unlimited barbeque. For only 399.
Our total expenses in La Union was approximately PHP 2500 – PHP 2800. It can be reduced depending on the places you want to visit and as long as you stick on your food budget limit.
PLACES TO VISIT IN LA UNION
There are many places to visit in La Union but we haven’t got enough time to visit all of those destinations. However, here’s the list of destinations in La Union you might want to visit.
- Bahay na bato
- Baluarte Watch Tower
- Pindangan Ruins
- Poro Point Lighthouse
- Pebble Beach
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