We were all decided to spend our summer getaway for 2015 at the Puerto Galera. It’s a whole lot nearer as compared to our Caramoan trip last year and will definitely be a lot cheaper.
But however rare I watch TV, it was one of those rare nights that I was flipping through channels when a very handsome guy—mulatto with a set of perfect teeth and yummy abs, caught my attention. Whoah! Gosh, hotness! My curiosity was piqued when he talked about surfing and their outreach activity in his resort: free surfing lessons to kids with special needs. Awww, who wouldn’t fall inlove with a sporty man with compassion? May malambot na puso, ahahay!!! I didn’t know I was looking for love until I found Luke Landrigan. Lol! The surfbeast, their word not mine. For me, he’s hotness overload!
I suddenly had a desire to see him in person so I told Gaby that we are going to learn how to surf this summer. Surprisingly, she told me that she thinks she knows how to surf and even demonstrated how to balance in a surf board. Apparently, she saw on TV that Bimby, Kris Aquino’s son, was being taught how to surf (by Luke). And she thought she wants to try it too.
And so to make my long story short, I was able to convince my travel buddies to go to La Union instead of Puerto Galera.
Before I knew it, we were a huge group already: our consistent travel buddies, Reymar and Roxanne, and Jenny and for the first time, her husband, Bong. Julie and Jay for their second time with us. The first timers were Kuya Rhandy and his whole family: Ate Weng, Hannah and Drake and the last but not the least, Janine.
So our 3-day, 2-night summer get away started:
Day 1. May 22, Friday
We rented a van and left Lipa at 3am. The travel was smooth since there was no traffic and we mostly traversed through express ways: Startoll, SLEX, (Edsa was also clear), NLEX, SCTEX and by 7 am, we exited TPLEX.
It took us another 1 1/2 hours before we saw a Jollibee at Rosario, Pangasinan and had our breakfast. By the way, we earlier agreed to have a foodtrip and try out local delicacies since we had package deals inclusive of food in our previous travels. But since it was our first meal in this travel, we reckoned to forego with being experimental yet.
By 11am we reached our resort, the Sebay Surf Central at Brgy. Urbiztondo, San Juan, La Union. Imagine how my heart leaped when I realized that it is right beside Luke Landrigan ‘s San Juan Surf Resort!
But anyways, since check-in is at 2pm, we had to kill time at the resort’s restaurant at the beach front.
Gaby went gaga seeing the waves and insisted on swimming at once. And me, I let myself complied with her whim.
She was not alone on being too excited to hit the beach because Drake also pestered his daddy and finally, they both braved the huge waves of the West Philippine Sea at the height of scorching mid-day sun.
We had lunch at around 1 PM of a boodle meal composed of grilled squid, grilled pork, sisig, fried tilapia, pansit and veggies-eggplant and kangkong. Yup, it sounds sumptuous but it’s too pricey for its taste. From there, we agreed to try other restaurants in our next meals.
Immediately after lunch, Gaby and Hannah tried out surfing and wohoo!!! Was I not stoked??? I was actually reeling! I was so excited for Gaby and Hannah. They were so good at it.
Gaby was coached by Kuya Atoy who’s very cool with Gaby and kept calling her baby. They really had a good rapport. He never ceased to encourage her and high fived with her whenever she had a successful glide across the water.
She was immensely enjoying herself that 1 hour seemed to have gone so fast. She pleaded for an extension but told her that we can’t afford another Php400 for the day.
We had our siesta after, since we were all deprived of sleep and went beaching again at 4pm. Every body had a good time dancing with the huge waves. It was quite intimidating at first but they had so much fun once they got the hang of it.
Bong was quite a “feelingero”, he rented a surf board and tried surfing on his own. Do I need to say that it was a huge mistake? Hehe… Itanong nyo sa kanya, anyare?
We had our dinner at the town proper because the restaurants along the resort were all too pricey for our budget but still we ended up in a Chinese restaurant that is quite expensive also. Like a 1.5 L Coke was Php100 so you can guess how much the food would cost. We didn’t have the appetite to take pictures of the food anymore.
Day 2. 23 May, Saturday
Flash back from the night before, we decided to forego checking out the Tangadan Falls at a nearby barangay, San Gabriel and considered to see the Macho Temple, the Ruins, and the botanical garden all located at the Capital of La Union, San Fernando. Such was because we were being charged of Php300 per person for the tour guide by a local we met at the resort.
Good thing, while a bottle of Empe Light was doing its rounds among the boys, Kuya Rhandy convinced the others that we push through with the original plan. He reckoned that it would be a waste if we will not see it and might regret when Tangadan Falls become known later.
And so, a little after 8am we arrived at a the drop off point at Brgy. San Gabriel to Tangadan Falls. It was a 20 minute drive from San Juan. Along the way, we met a local who offered his services as a tour guide at Php700 which Reymar haggled to Php500. O, nakatipid na!
We knew that it takes an hour trekking to get there but we didn’t expect that it was not an easy trek. Good thing, Jenny, as she is 3-month preggy with her little Bong – Bong, decided not to join us and just stayed at the resort.
It took us 1 1/2 – hours instead of the supposed 1 hour to get to the falls which is around 3.5 km from the drop off point. We traversed through rice paddies, balanced along narrow paths which sides were ravine or rocky river, pass through thick vegetations, steep climbs and downs, and crossed rivers. Exciting, right?
Everyone was huffing and puffing except me and Gaby. Kuya Rhandy also impressed us because he was carrying Drake on his shoulders all throughout.
It was all worth it when we finally got to Tangadan Falls. It was such a majestic sight! The water was little bit murky because apparently, it rained the other night. But still, the water was refreshingly cool! The falls itself I think is some 25 to 30 feet high and people are doing cliff jump from there.
Bong and Kuya Rhandy immediately dived into the cool water but decided to stop after that 1 try because they were told that someone had died there last May 13 after cliff diving. Hehhe… Scary.
There was a raft to ride to be able to get underneath and experience the waterfalls which charges Php20 per pax. They all tried it except me, and by their loud screams while they were showering underneath the falls, one can say that they were enjoying immensely.
After a couple more minutes, we immediately headed back to the resort so that we won’t be caught by the burning heat of the mid day sun and have our brunch. Yup! None of us had breakfast yet that’s why they were all whining of hunger already.
Brunch was ordinary but the price was a little bit pricey for its taste just like the other day.
We took siesta after that rigorous trek and hiking. At about 4pm we headed to the beach again. The waves were rougher than the other day. We learned that it was actually raining nearby because it was so dark at the western side and we heard thunderstorms.
But still, the beach was teeming with people. Families, friends, lovers, soloists, foreigners, local tourists, pro and beginner surfers, just beach bums, and sellers (ice cream, balut, grapes, taho, ripe mangoes,etc.).
Gaby and Hannah wanted to surf again and good thing, there were no more available instructors since it was already around 6 PM. And the waves, in fact, were quite scary already.
Since our food trip was a failure we ended up at Mc Donald’s for our dinner. Ooohhh, it was the most satisfying meal that we had for the last 2 days. Never thought that Mc Do could taste that good! Lol!
San Juan, La Union is the “Surf Capital of the North”…
Day 3. May 24, Sunday
Our last day in El Yu but definitely not the least of excitement and fun.
Me, Gaby, Julie, Ate Weng, and Drake woke up at the break of dawn to capture the sunrise. We also had the beach all by ourselves and they had a blast. As usual, I was just ashore watching them and taking pictures. 🙂
By 7 am, Gaby and Hannah tried surfing for the second time while Janine and Bong had their first. Roxanne also tried it. Among the adults, surfing was just like a breeze to Janine. Galeng!
We had buffet breakfast which was as usual, uneventful and left the resort by 11 AM.
We headed straight to Caba, La Union for “grape picking” at the Manguerra’s Farm. You see grapes are not normally grown in tropical countries like the Philippines. And sure enough, Gaby was so excited cutting the fruits and I had to remind her that we don’t have money anymore so we cannot possibly pick every grape that she wants.
We had a late lunch before TPLEX at Ulo-ulo Restaurant. This time, the food was reasonably priced and almost everyone of us enjoyed the food, sinigang na ulo ng maya-maya. The thing, however, they don’t have softdrinks… so the meal was bitin in some way.
We arrived safely in Lipa at 8PM…
Well, until our next getaway.