Once in your lifetime, you should head north to this place in the Ilocos Region and discover a fun-packed vacation in the farms, the sand, and the sun. What’s there to do in La Union? Of course, surfing. To the curious beginner and the expert surfer alike, there’s no comparable joy to the adrenalin rush. So, by all means, take that trip to San Juan this summer, hop on that surf board and race with the waves.

How to Get There

From Metro Manila, the most reliable way to get to San Juan, La Union is by bus via Partas Bus with terminals at Cubao, Quezon City and Tramo, Pasay City. San Juan, La Union is around 277 kilometers north of Metro Manila, travel time is around 5 to 7 hours and bus fares will cost you from P400 to not more than P500.

Other buses that operate in the area from Manila are Dominion Bus Lines, Fariñas Trans, Maria de Leon, Viron Transit, Sta. Lucia and Florida which leaves Manila terminals every hour. Take a bus bound for Laoag, Vigan, Abra or San Fernando City – La Union.

Where to Go
1) Gapuz Grapes Farm—This farm is in Bgy Urayong, along the highway in Bauang, La Union. During harvest seasons, people can spend time at the farm to pick grapes, relax, and experience good life. During harvest seasons, people can spend time at the farm to experience good life. Pick and pay rates can start at P160 per kilo.

2) Urbiztondo, San Juan—From Bauang, take a bus going north and drop off San Juan. Whether you just want a good sunset or you want to learn to surf, go to this surfing hotspot for a thrilling adventure. The beachfront has many affordable resorts, bars, restaurants, shops and surf schools where board rental is also available. The best waves are from October until March. In December and January, the beach becomes crowded for surfing events which are attended by local and foreign surfers from all over the globe. Surf board rental and the surf instructor’s fee can cost P200 each.

3) The Circle Hostel—The entire place is colorful and comfortable. The stone steps and the stairs, the walls, and the lockers, everything is painted with bright colors. There are bunk houses, one co-ed bunk house with 45 beds and an all female bunk house with 8 beds. There are 35 hammocks with built in mosquito nets, a relaxing common area for socialization, and a tree house. Bunk beds cost P450 and hammocks cost P350.

4) Halo-Halo de Iloko—This store is found on Zandueta St in San Fernando City. From the city proper, you can get a tricycle to take you there. Don’t miss the buko halo-halo which sells at P180. More than the presentation, it’s creamy, delicious, and full-packed with ingredients, all claimed to be naturally grown and prepared.

5) Thunderbird Resorts—If you have enough money to splurge, try the luxurious resort life at Thunderbird Resorts, which is located at Poro Point Freeport Zone, a few kilometers from downtown San Fernando. They have day tour rates starting at P1200, and full accommodation package in Santorini-inspired villas. Enjoy the beach and the high-end facilities at Thunderbird Resorts La Union.

One thing is sure. Your once-in-a-lifetime-trip to La Union will never be just once in a lifetime. You will keep going back for all the great adventures it has in store for you.

Photos taken with Cherry Mobile Flare.


ArisMape is a travel insider at ABS-CBN's Choose Philippines. He loves orange, halo-halo, and PowerPoint, and hates beef, slow internet, and long taxi lines. His pastime is watching people watch other people. He swears on the power of smartphone. His half-life? Thirty.