a journal on hiking and traveling around the Philippines

Friday, March 21, 2014

La Union : The Sun, Surf and a Happy Place

Having enjoyed a visit to the Circle Hostel's branch in Zambales (blog here), I was ecstatic to accept an invite to check out their new place in La Union. Their new branch, which looks pretty much the same as the one in Zambales is only  200 meters away from a popular surfing spot in Urbiztondo. (Know more about La Union's surfing season here.)

My bloated toes says hello!
One of the happy messages that can be found  painted on blocks aroundThe Circle Hostel
I joined fellow bloggers Aldous Ate the World,  fashion & lifestyle bloggers, Greenspired Sam Coronado, Rhea Bue, Kat Valdez, RD Llarena and my good friend Gay who lives up to her blog name, the Pinay Travel JunkieDeparting Manila on a Friday night was a nightmare due to heavy traffic, but then again, not all adventures are comfortable and you just have to suck it up. :P 
Pure good vibes! Here's the facade of Circle Hostel's La Union branch
After five hours, we finally arrived! It was only 3AM and everyone craved for sleep. Like zombies, we dragged ourselves upstairs to get to the bunk beds.The beds assigned to us were not only comfortable but also had an awesome view of the moon. I could see it clearly, like a round shiny coin in the sky. :)
Good morning indeed! 
When I woke up, I got very curious as to what kind of mattress foam I laid on and I'm happy to share that they're using Uratex, a prominent local manufacturer of foam that prides on its comfort and durability. :P Geek mode on. 

Bunk Area. They have privacy curtains and mosquito nets installed and each bed is provided
beddings and one pillow. 
Geek mode off. 
After a quick light breakfast, we walked towards the beach, crossed the highway and passed through the San Juan Surf School. We were warned by the staff and fellow surfers that waves were wild due to the North Swell (surfer's term for a series of waves that moves from North to South). But since we were all newbies, we didn't really know what we were in for. Ignorance is bliss applied in this case. 
fellow students 
Surfing lessons were at 200 Pesos/hour. I was assigned to a stern instructor who made sure my footing were right and made me repeat the proper stance around 10 times before we went to the water. I could not recall the numerous times I clung for dear life on the surf board while miserably trying to stand up. My core muscles which were built for gorge feasts were of no use and I had to rely on my arms and shoulders which were quite sore after. When the lessons were over, I could only think of one thing, a ginormous delicious meal!
Rafael Oca, The Circle Hostel's social media guy preparing his board
I actually felt more joyful seeing the ice cream man than my stint at surfing :P 
Orange ice lollies from Magnolia
After lunch at  Gefseis,  a Greek restaurant where the servers and owners are uber friendly, Gay, Aldous and I dropped by Moonleaf Tea Shop for some cold treat, fitting for a hot day at the beach. 
My fave, Passion Fruit Green Tea, 25% sweet.
The franchise owners did a great job incorporating a surfer vibe to the interiors.
It's a great place to hang out if you're clamoring for a fresh brew of tea.
Gay and I had to go home in the afternoon so we spent the rest of our stay hanging out with our new found friends and testing the beds and whatever place we could lie down for a quick nap. :P
Sam strumming away at the common area
Here you can read a book on a bench or lie in hammocks
The intimate dining area where it's easy to find someone to chat with. You can also order brewed coffee (50 Pesos/cup) or cold bottled water from the reception.


Swing area where you can rekindle your childhood days at the playground. 



More photos of our La Union weekend, here.


Thanks Aldous, our host Rafa of the Circle Hostel, Lemon for loaning us your surfboards and Moonleaf Tea Shop for the afternoon tea. :) 

Not traveling to La Union? Check out Circle Hostel in Zambales! Post here.

The Circle Hostel
Urbiztondo, La Union | San Felipe, Zambales
Mobile Number : +63 917 8326253
Rates : 350/night for the hammocks, 450/night for the bunk beds
Day Trippers accepted for a lower rate.
Visit their  Website to book.
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