Bui Vien

Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam

Otres Beach

Sihanoukville, Cambodia

Bukit Bintang

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Big Lagoon

El Nido, Palawan

Bangui Windmills

Bangui, Ilocos Norte

Calle Crisologo

Vigan, Ilocos Sur

Filipino-Chinese Pagoda

San Fernando, La Union

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Solitary Journey: The Circle Hostel, La Union

After my surf sesh in Baler, I decided to try another surfing lesson in La Union. I stayed at the Circle Hostel located along Mc Arthur Highway in Urbiztondo Beach, San Juan, La Union. The hostel is located behind Urbiztondo Grill (the grill is located across San Juan Surf Resort).

It was my first “solo” trip and I would really like to thank my parents for allowing me to travel alone.

Getting there:
Partas Bus Lines terminal in Cubao - Ride a Vigan bound bus and tell the conductor to drop you off at Urbiztondo Grill or San Juan Surf Resort in La Union (they already know where it is). The hostel is just right behind Urbiztondo Grill.
Cost: PHP450.00+

The Hostel:
I paid for the bunk bed which costs 400 pesos per night. They have separate dorm-type rooms for girls and boys. There’s also a common bath separated for girls and boys. The hammock costs 300 pesos. Even though I paid for the bunk bed, I decided to sleep in the hammock. Sleeping in a hammock was really uncomfortable because my legs were resting higher than my body. I really don’t know how James Betia managed to sleep in hammock during his trips. Hahaha.

They have the common area, where you can charge your cellphone or digicam battery, meet new friends, drink beer and just relax.

Meet my bunk bed!

"duyan" or hammock area.

shared bath (left side for women and right side for men)

 drinking with my surf instructor and Maribel, the hostel's receptionist (with my oily face)

drinking with the locals & Craig

There are surf lessons offered at the beach front. (Nasa kabilang side yung Hostel, so make sure you wear a cover up before hitting the beach because you actually have to cross the highway before you reach it.)

Cost: 200- 1 hour surfboard rental only
400- 1 hour surfing lesson w/ surfboard

my swimsuit and the surfing board! (something's not right with the color..)

I had my lesson at San Juan Surf Resort and Kuya Rey was my instructor. Sadly, no one was there to take pictures of me surfing. Kuya Rey taught surfing lessons in Club Manila East (Taytay, Rizal) before.

Sunday is the perfect time to surf.

Where to Eat:


Blue Marlin Kilawin is a must-try! “Kilawin” is a Philippine exotic delicacy served with raw fish mixed with vinegar. It was my first time to eat raw fish (because my momma told me not to eat raw foods when I’m in a different place) and at first I thought I would not enjoy the dish. This has got to be one of the best seafood I’ve ever tasted. One serving costs around PHP170.00+. I shared this dish with another friend, Craig Pulsifer.


The foods were reasonably priced and they serve seafoods, as well. I spent around PHP 200.00 for the meal (grilled squid, rice and soda).

Total estimated cost of damage (in Philippine peso): PHP1700

Bus to La Union- 500
Lunch at Urbiztondo Grill- 200 (est.)
One night at The Circle Hostel- 400 (bunk bed)
Dinner at Angel and Marie's Surfer's Retreat- 200 (est.)
1 hr. Surfing Lesson- 400 

I didn't take the bus from La Union to Manila, because I did a side trip to Vigan (it's another story) before going back to the city. So, probably you'll be spending less than PHP2,500 for 2 days and 1 night stay in La Union.

Monday, 11 March 2013

Our Cheap Accomodation In Baler

Near Baler Central Terminal

El Trophine Lodge

This place is just walking distance from the terminal. This place is located just beside Moreno's Lodge. We arrived in Baler past 12 midnight and this place was still open so they gave us the Family Room (1 double deck & 1 single bed) for P700/night (I guess the rate is for 2pax).

Reception Area


the room

 our toilet

 shower area

  • This place is just a walking distance from the market.
  • They were able to lend us a cup and hot water for our coffee. (You can actually borrow utensils.)
  • They have a lot of rooms that you can choose from.
  • There's a store located just beside the Lodge so you can easily buy something you need.
  • We got the air con room for 700, sulit na sulit!
  • We checked in at 12:30AM; the check out time is at 6PM. 
  • At around 2AM, we were awaken by the noise from the next door. Guests are laughing boisterously that we weren't able to sleep well.
  • Sorry, but the water in the faucet was really stinky that we just used bottled water to brush our teeth.
El Trophine Contact Information:

Brgy. Suklayin, Baler, Aurora
09193737575, 09387972080

At Sabang Beach

Secret Spot

The Secret Spot is a seaside resort located in Sabang Beach. This resort is just a few walks away from the Lighthouse in Parola. Tricycle from Baler Central Terminal to Secret Spot is 15 pesos per head. We got 750 for a fan room (1 queen sized bed). It's 1,500 for aircon room. Why Secret Spot? Find out by checking Lois' post here

Secret Spot, Baler!

our nipa hut

our room

our bed

toilet & shower area


  • The room/nipa hut has a feel-at-home atmosphere and the resort itself is located at the seaside. You'll experience the best sleep of your life here, ever.
  • Lois and Tita Rose (Adi's mom, the owner of Secret Spot) were able to accommodate us well. We even had breakfast with them in the morning!
  • No need to look for a Surfing instructor because Tita Rose knows someone who can really teach you how to surf well (Kuya Joel).
  • The room is simple and clean. They need to add a table, though. Hehe.
  • We checked in at around 1PM and checked out earlier at 10AM (work reasons. Hehe).
  • They are still building additional rooms/nipa huts there to accommodate more guests.

Secret Spot Contact Information:

T. Molina St., Sabang Beach, 3200 Baler, Aurora
(Tita Rose) 09434898188, 09284531777