I was celebrating a big milestone in my life and I wanted to do something special and symbolic at the same time. I was turning XXX and I wanted to spend the day filled with various elements. I wanted to travel. I wanted to experience something new. I wanted to do something I missed doing. I wanted to take a break. So, I went to do some soul surfing in La Union (a place that I’ve been meaning to visit), also did some actual surfing (something I’d been missing) and took a much-needed break from the stresses of my city life.
I initially wanted to do a solo road trip for my birthday. But that didn’t push through. Instead, I took a Partas bus with Moche to La Union. I had some of the most horrible commutes ever*, with Partas being a big inefficient non-system of transportation. But, for now, let me focus on the positives first.
The Little Surfmaid Resort
We booked an overnight stay at The Little Surfmaid Resort. I wanted to stay at the famous San Juan Surf Resort but the trip was a bit last-minute so, they were already fully-booked when I called. We ended up with The Little Surfmaid Resort because they had lots of rooms available that weekend.
The resort was a bit on the far end of the Urbiztondo beach, beside the Mona Liza Surf Centre. Their rooms are really basic – aircon, fan, CRT TV with cable, bed, hot water and that’s it. All for the steep price of P2500. I actually opted for their room with a balcony, adding P400 more to our bill, but we didn’t really get a good view from our room. They have their own restaurant but the prices were also on the expensive side so we ventured to other restaurants to eat. But we still tried their breakfast the next day.
Surfing in La Union
The last time I surfed was when I went to Bali last year. And that was far too long ago. As such, I didn’t do too well on the surfboard. And I have several excuses for that, like I wasn’t used to the type of waves – close out – that they have. But, of course, it was mainly because of my lack of physical activities for the past five months. But still, I was able to ride some of those close out waves.
But really, one of the best things about that weekend was that Moche finally gave in and tried surfing! He was a natural at it, too. Too bad he still insists that it’s not his thing and that a repeat performance is not in his near future.
Eating in La Union
We were in La Union for only a short period of time so I made sure that we tried as many places as possible. We had lunch at the Kahuna Restaurant, dinner at the San Juan Surf Resort, breakfast the next day at the Little Surfmaid and lunch at Happy Tummy in San Fernando, near the Partas bus terminal.
Soul Surfing in La Union
Turning so old felt like some introspection was in order. But was I able to do that in La Union? Not really. Hehe. I was too busy surfing, eating and sleeping. Sleeping because the long and cold ride to La Union left me exhausted. I took a nap after check in, another nap after lunch and slept like a log immediately after dinner. I was dead to the world for a good part of my stay there.
Nonetheless, I was able to enjoy myself on that special day, consciously focusing on the positive things, like being under the sun, walking on the sand, riding waves, seeing the sun set into the ocean, watching the stars twinkle in the total provincial darkness, sleeping for more than 4 hours, and being with someone who keeps me safe and well-fed (most of the time, haha!). And the most important thing I learned that weekend – aside from that I should start exercising stat! – was that I should try to keep my pessimistic and anxious nature at bay some more. Because, well, happiness is a state of mind, after all.
Little Surf Maid Resort
Address: 70 Urbiztondo, San Juan, La Union
Phone: (072) 888 5528
Mobile: 0920 548 6112
Contact Person: Sie
Other notable expenses:
Surfing at Nose on Toes: P350 per hour (board rent + instructor’s fee)
Partas Bus to San Juan, La Union: P449
Dominion Bus from San Fernando, La Union: P378
—– Rant Alert —–
*Steps on how to get on (or not) a Partas bus:
1. Take a number stub from the security guard.
2. Think through the following options:
a. Be an honourable human being and wait around 3 hours for the number to come up
b. Proceed to the ticket window immediately, dishonorably cutting the line but also effectively getting a ticket on the next bus
c. Catch a different bus
In other words, the Partas bus lines’ idea of a system of operation consists of giving number stubs to passengers who are then expected to wait for an eternity, unless they use their wits and either cut the line or look for a different bus. Us, we went through all of the above. In their Aurora terminal, we waited for about two hours before trying our luck in jumping the queue after seeing a guy do it effortlessly. In San Fernando, we also waited for another two hours before deciding to try our luck in catching a different bus. Because in La Union, all were “chance passengers”, waiting for buses that arrive every 30 minutes but have only 1-2 seats left. So, a passenger could arrive at the San Fernando terminal as early as 9am, but leave for Manila as late as 5pm. Or earlier if he/she was willing to stand until Urdaneta.