San Juan, La Union: Paddle. Paddle. Pop!

12 am on a Saturday, I was sitting so comfy on a lazy boy seat. With my ipod’s on, I was observing the people inside the bus. On my right side was a Caucasian guy eating a Cream-O Wafer given free by the bus stewardess. After eating, he removed his shoes, slightly inclined his seat and rested his head ready to sleep for the rest of the trip. On my left was a businessman-looking guy sleeping soundly with a black attaché on his lap. I haven’t seen him awake on the trip. This was the scenario in a Victory Liner – Deluxe bus while on our trip to La Union for a surfing break.

This was my first time going there commuting and first time to experience the Victory Liner’s Deluxe. This bus is perfect for long trips. It has its own comfort room inside and a friendly stewardess to assist you anytime on the trip. It’s spacious compared to the usual buses. The seat was cozy it has its own leg rest and arm rests. You can incline your seat and just sleep like the man on my left side or just stay connected with friend through internet as the bus has its own wi-fi.

There are no Victory Liner buses to La Union. Me and two of my girl friends, Angela and Rachel had to drop by Rosario, La Union to take another bus to San Juan. If you want a bus trip straight to San Juan, you can take Partas from Pasay or any bus trips going to Ilocandia.

We were hailed by big furious waves in San Juan. Feeling dreadfully sleepy as all of us went straight from work, we slept till lunch time. I was awakened by day light peeping through our windows and greeted by a summer breeze in November.  I checked my watch and realized it was already lunch time. Angela and Rachel were still sleeping. I went straight to the beach and saw these big waves. There were some surfers riding it but these waves were not advisable for beginners. I’m not a good surfer, I just started 5 months ago and my two friends were first timers, so I asked our landlady if there’s somewhere we can go where the waves weren’t that big. She said they’re going to Bacnotan, it’s another town in La Union, 20 mins away from San Juan. We rode a jeep with our surf boards on top and our surf trainers with us. In the jeep were some Filipino surfers and a tall, thin, Caucasian guy.

They’re right, the waves in Bacnotan was perfect for beginners. Angela and Rachel were instructed by their trainers on how to ride a surf board and some surfing basics. They both had to go ride the waves first. I stayed on the beach to take their photos. Their trainers didn’t have a hard time teaching them. After 2 or 3 waves with some squeals and screams, both were able to pop and balance on the surfboard excitedly. It was nice to see them enjoying it. I followed after 30 minutes. The first few rides, I had to ask my trainer to push me through the waves. It was a great glide. I had to learn how to paddle myself to the waves so I had to tell my trainer to not push me anymore but tell me when to paddle and pop. With his help I was able to do it.

Paddle. Paddle. Paddle. Pop!

Surfing is such an amazing concept. You’re taking on Nature with a little stick saying “I’m gonna ride you!” and at times, Nature says, “No you’re not!” and crashes you to the bottom.

It’s a great feeling I’m learning more. We found ourselves stoked till sunset.

We were back in San Juan by around 6pm. We had dinner at San Juan Surf’s Resort, our first meal for the day. Angela and Rachel were already planning to what to drink later that evening. I was envious I had to go back to Manila that night. I had a christening to attend the next day.

Miki, a surfing instructor and a friend of mine, Angela and Rachel accompanied me waiting for the bus till 9pm. I traveled alone back to Manila. My girl friends stayed in LU. I’ll be going back 2 weekends from now. When I get back, I’ll get a trainer for an hour then I’ll have to ride the waves myself after that. This learning should progress!

Save the waves for me LU!

Helpful Tips for backpackers:

Rooms – there are some budget rooms in La Union. You may check Lola Nanny’s and Hacienda just beside Seanymph Bar and Restaurant.

Surfboard Rentals – you may contact Miki at mobile number 09273919797. He’s a surfing instructor who opened his business for surf board rentals. He has long and short boards available. Price is 200 per hour for the board and 200 per hour for an instructor if you want to get one.

Food – There’s a lot of options from cozy and simple dining. Just enjoy walking on the beach. All restaurants are on the beach front. If you’re looking for a sari-sari store, there are some at the back, near the national road.

Bacnotan Area
with my friends Angela, Rach and Miki
friendly LU kids

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