10 Beautiful Spots in La Union to Visit on Your Next Surf Trip
Check out all the other pretty places you probably haven't been to.
The surfing capital of the north isn’t just all about getting stoked. Art galleries and design studios are popping up one by one; creative cafés and beautifully designed hostels all offer a respite from a full day in the sun. So hop into your car and drive out to La Union this weekend; you’ll be rested and relaxed, and you may get a decorating peg or two.
HOSTELS AND HOTELS
Tropical tranquility at Kahuna
This Balinese-style retreat features cozy-huts and villas that are either surrounded by refreshing greens or fronting the rugged sea. If you’d rather lounge than surf, the resort has a pool for a leisurely dip.
Kahuna Hotel, Café & Restaurant is at National Highway, Barangay Urbiztondo, San Juan.
Container van goals at Vessel Hostel
The four-storey Vessel Hostel is a tropical-minimalist wonder that is composed primarily out of repurposed container vans. “It’s very simple but timeless,” says architect Buji Libarnes. “Walang clutter, very calming and peaceful.”
Vessel Hostel is at Urbiztondo, San Juan.
The quirky boho vibe of Flotsam and Jetsam
Upcycled materials, cool prints, color-blocking, and an overall laid-back vibe make Flotsam and Jetsam a fave Elyu haunt for weekend tourists. Tricks to try at home: Sampaguita glass used as wall transoms, mixing cobalt, teal, lemon yellow, and lavender in a single color palette (it works!)
Flotsam and Jetsam Hostel is at 12500 MacArthur Highway, Urbiztondo, San Juan.
ART AND CULTURE HUBS
Natural formations at Bahay Na Bato
Drive further up north and you’ll come across the town of Luna, which is known for its abundance of pebbles. Here, you’ll find Bahay na Bato, a resthouse-turned-tourist-spot built using pebbles for the walls and floors, and is highlighted by wooden and stone sculptures made by local artists.
Bahay Bato is at Barangay Nalvo Borte, Luna, La Union.
The art of Inabel at Balay Ni Atong
Former accountant Al Valenciano returned to his home in Ilocos in the 1990s to study and collect Abel blankets from around the region as part of his work for a museum. While doing this, he gained a deeper understanding of the Ilocano’s life, the weavers, and Abel.
Now, Al works with up to 12 weaving communities in the region, helping the weavers professionalize their production processes. Balay ni Atong also participates in trade shows like the annual Habi Fair and Manila FAME, making it possible for more foreign buyers to learn about Inabel.
Balay Ni Atong is at Pindangan Ruins, Carmel Monastery Compound, San Fernando City. Visits are strictly by appointment only.
L.U. Art scene at Urbiztondo Beach
La Union isn't only for beach bums and surfers, it's also for artists and street-art enthusiasts who want to get away from the city, even only for a weekend. Urbiztondo beach has plenty of vibrant murals splashed on the walls of its many hip hostels and restaurants. Don't miss the chance to scout for IG-famous street art by Kris Abrigo, Archie Oclos, Distort Monsters, and many more.
Urbiztondo beach is at San Juan, La Union.
RESTAURANTS AND CAFÉS
Modern resort vibes at Clean Beach Co.
There’s a touch of relaxed mid-century style mixed in with super-casual beachcomber pieces (such as the Union Crafts stools made out of inabel fabric) at the appropriately named Clean Beach Co. The resto is all about clean living as well, and they shave off P10 from your drink if you bring your own glass or cup.
Clean Beach Co. is at G/F 134 Beachfront Collective, Urbiz Garden Bed & Breakfast, MacArthur Highway, San Juan.
Ethnic hip at The Coffee Library
While its first branch is in Baguio, The Coffee Library now serves up its tasty Vietnamese brew to La Union in a cozy café that’s part-rustic-resort and part-modern-ethnic with its bleach-wood panels and repurposed basket lamps.
The Coffee Library is at MacArthur Highway, Urbiztondo, San Juan.
Mishmash Pinoy at Halo Halo de Iloko
This restaurant that sells the region’s local fare is decorated like your mad tita’s Pinoy-inspired home with its fiesta-like colors, capiz windows, and a hodgepodge of traditional Filipino ornaments like sungka and taka horses. It’s charming and delicious at the same time.
Halo Halo de Iloko Balay is at 12 Balay Mercado, Zandueta Street, San Fernando.
Surfer cool at Olas Banditos
As one of the hippest dining spots in Urbiztondo, you can get a lot of design pegs here, from the multicolored recycled-wood walls and eye-popping murals, to the mid-century style concrete blocks.
Olas Banditos is at National Highway, Brgy. Urbiztondo, San Juan.
MAIN PHOTOS: Balay ni Atong and Vessel Hostel by Michael Angelo Chua. Parts of this article originally appeared in the April 2017 issue of Real Living magazine.
This story originally appeared on Realliving.com.ph. Minor edits have been made by the Spot.ph editors.