A long weekend calls for some road trip. For this family trip to La Union, the beach was loudly calling.
Situated 219 kms north of Bulacan, La Union is reachable in just 4 hours through NLEX, SCTEX and the new TPLEX. Since we have been driving for the past year to and fro SCTEX and even as far north as Manaoag, we know it to be such a joy to drive through this expressways. Our family decided that La Union would be just that – a joy ride.
So I started doing the itinerary of our family Trip to La Union. Suffice to say, I considered the comfort and preferences of everyone especially my not so young parents and of course my very young and active siblings. One older office mate had gone to La Union last summer and her photos stirred up my curiosity. That there are a lot of places worth seeing and doing aside from having a photo taken with La Union signage as a background (my only memory of La Union when we went there as a child) was a surprise. From then, Byahe ni Drew and Pop Talk, were my good sources and references in choosing the places we should see, the restaurants we should eat in, and what hotel to check in to.
LA UNION, THE DESTINATION
Is La Union suitable for a family trip?
La Union is a province in the Ilocos Region. I suggest you look at it on the Philippine map to add to your amazement as you visit each place in the itinerary below. It’s too far north and far west, it serves as our archipelago’s boundary on that edge of West Philippine Sea!
La Union (or “El Yu” for the younger generation) is most famous now for surfing. It’s location near the ocean explains why its waves are most conducive not for swimming but for surfing. The scenic and long drive to this province will make your mind wander and wonder what La Union means. Our spanish background will intuitively tell you that it means “the union” but the union of what? It’s the union of people from Pangasinan, Ilocos, and Benguet. As I have said, go on, check the map!
ITINERARY AND BUDGET
What to see and what to do?
See our itinerary and budget for a 2 days 1 night family trip to La Union, squeezing the best spots La Union is known for aside from its great waves for surfing.
PLACES OF INTEREST
Grapes are grown in La Union! Surprised? We were, too. If you want to channel the young and beautiful Aitana Sanchez-Gijon in “A Walk in the Clouds” but Napa Valley is still far-fetched, you may try the vineyards of La Union – but do it during summer! That’s when the grapes are truly in season.
Astonishingly breath-taking. The family unexpectedly found the stone to be a sight to behold, and a very awesome backdrop for photos. Sky’s more blue in Elyu.
Kamay na Bato (Stone Hand) Art Gallery
Bahay na Bato has been closed. Adjacent to that is an art gallery by an artist named Mr. Kim which is opened for tourists and art junkies.
San Juan Surf Resort
Fully booked until December, we settled to stay in two premium rooms instead of the VIP Ocean View Room. Flocks of tourists patronize San Juan Surf and based on our experience, we have clear reasons why. Sunrise and sunset are amazing here plus they offer affordable and quality surfing lessons for beginners.
SIDE TRIP – Tarlac
We dared to go to Vigan, which is still a 3-hour drive from San Fernando. Last minute, we backed out and decided to just plan a dedicated trip for it. We instead headed to a province on the way home to Bulacan and experience “Belenisimo sa Tarlac”. Belenisimo is the art of making belen or an exhibition of people and things present in the nativity scene or birth of Jesus Christ, oftentimes displayed as Christmas approaches. Belenisimo sa Tarlac is in its 10th year this 2017, with 44 participants from each municipality of the province. More of Belenisimo sa Tarlac here.
La Union is a developed province so especially in and around its capital, San Fernando, are arrays of known restaurants and fast food joints, and some more restaurants that are unique only to La Union.
We tried Cuisina – 3.1 km from San Juan surf – for dinner, encouraged by the restaurant’s good reviews. San Fernando is a place for millennials and yuppies so lots of restaurants, coffee shops and bars cater to the young. If you’re looking for a place without the club/party vibe, head to Cuisina instead which offers Filipino dishes with a twist. Their customer service is commendable, too. They serve unlimited free brewed coffee which is comparable to designer coffees we have in the Metro. For the quality of food and the service you get, the price is definitely worth it.
Coast Call Kitchen and Bar
Tarlac – Isdaan Floating Restaurant
Tarlac has its own good restaurants to boast of and so we tried one which was Isdaan Floating Restaurant. The restaurant which serves Filipino food is must-see spot in itself with all its large buddha statues and giant fish sculptures. Waiting time was excruciating for people who ordered at 5PM for an early dinner because they skipped decent lunch. So if you plan to eat hear, be sure to be armed with patience and some snacks, perhaps? The food, though, a bit pricey were delicious.
SHALL WE GO BACK?
There you go. That pretty sums up our family trip to La Union. My siblings, minutes after leaving the place, swore they will come back – for surfing. Have you also gone, too, for a family trip to La Union? Please leave us some tips on the comments section.
I’m leaving you with some awesomeness from the sunset as viewed from this place.