A word play from its abbreviation, La Union’s being coined by millenials as “Elyu” (L.U) and has a renowned reputation from being one of the go-to surf of Metro-Manilans. Aside from surfing, the tiny town of San Juan is slowly gaining the audience of those who love music festivals, and why not? You got the laid-back chill vibes, the beach wave-sounds and a mix of all the beautifully tanned people, Elyu is the place to be for events like this.
Last weekend, my friends and I braved the 6-hour bus ride to savor what the Surfing Capital of the North has to offer. We stayed in artist-built hostel, Flotsam & Jetsam (FJ), just in time for its free music festival the Supertramp #LUvParty. But I’m not here to blog about the event and the usual itineraries but rather, a telling of lessons learned and a guide to what we should’ve done to make the most out of our stay. (But the event was none the less, a very fun beach party that should be repeated annually. Kudos to the band of the night, the Flippin’ Soul Stompers!
(Photo c/o: Flotsam & Jetsam Hostel)
Elyu-backpacking-revenge item 1: Budget food hack.
Don’t get me wrong. I love the backpacking experience and drinks that we had at Flotsam and Jetsam. Our P936/night dorm-type room is a 5-star of its kind and the same goes to their comfort rooms and the perfect ambiance for artists and travelers alike (Instagram-able stay indeed!).
But there’s a lot of other convenient resto-bars to get your tummy fix (not to mention alternative cheap ones). I understand that it was quite busy for the kitchen staff of FJ’s kitchen bar that evening but ordering food there is a struggle.
This does not satisfy. F&J’s ‘crispy’ pork belly.
For example, if you’ve watched I’m Drunk, I Love You recently and craved for Bagnet, check out _Tagpuan’s 120-peso Crispy Pork Belly. Or if you’re in the mood to splurge, check out Mad Monkey’s 210-peso Classic Burger infused with cheddar beer sauce.
While in Elyu, you can’t go wrong with a good, bang-for-your-buck food trip.
Elyu-backpacking-revenge item 2: Transportation
Ride Dominion Bus Lines, not Partas.
Aside from the fact that the former is cheaper than the latter (392Php vs 436Php), the seats have enough leg room to stretch. Disclaimer though, I don’t know if this goes to all of their bus units but since you saw the exact damage, Dominion is definitely your transpo to-go. Another is that their terminal in the Metro is convenient to commuters as it is situated in EDSA, whereas with Partas you have to walk a little further from EDSA to reach it.
Dominion Bus terminal is located along EDSA, Cubao snugged in-between the Dagupan and Victory Liner
Another budget tip: When exploring, opt to ride the Jeep instead of the on-standby tricycles (trikes) in the area. Trike drivers will offer you a P100-peso ride going to San Fernando and vice versa, whereas the jeepneys are just going to cost you 8 pesos.
Elyu-backpacking-revenge item 3: Accommodation
This is not really a revenge item, as I am not disappointed with F&J’s but if you just want a place to crash, check out the nearby transient rooms within San Juan.
So for my upcoming solo-surfing trip, I’ve contacted one within the vicinity of Surf Shack and it would just cost me P500/night complete with air conditioning. This is a much comfy option rather than Circle Hostel’s hammock stay of 550Php, though I’d like to try the famed hostel too one of these glorious days.
Elyu-backpacking-revenge item 4: Proper swim gear
The north is full of Jellies. I know, I’ve been a victim.
That incident happened in Pangasinan’s Hundred Islands though, but there are many locals in La Union who claimed that jellyfishes are rampant all over the place, especially during the summer season.
Thankfully, even though I’m just wearing a two-piece on this particular-surfing trip, I didn’t get stung. So next time, a rash guard or a wet suit is a must.
Above all, this trip is still memorable
As I’m with my colleague-turned-friends and every bit of it is worth it. On my next La Union post, I’ll be blogging about my solo experience and re-do the revenge list I posted here to fully embrace the beauty that is ElYu.