La Union: A Beauty to Fall for

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Almost every trip to a new place, I fall in love.

I fall in love with nature, waterfalls, and landscapes. I get attached rather easily. Discovering and exploring have always led me to what seemed like an unending series of love affairs – affairs with breathtaking sunsets, beautiful mountain ranges, new friendships, different cuisines and unforgettable adventures.

With warm sunlight, gentle waves beneath my feet and spectacular views of the ocean, La Union has an inexplicable charm that surely won my heart.

La Union Inside and Out
Occupying the central‑southern section of the Ilocos Region in Luzon, La Union which means “The Union” in Spanish has a distinctive, relaxed attitude imbibed through the Ilocano spirit.

Surfer’s Paradise
La Union is known as the “Surfing Capital of the North.” San Juan, its most popular surfing destination, sits in the west of the province. The town is crowded with diverse-wave riding spots – for both starters and professional surfers alike.

Apart from being home to a beautiful rugged coastline inundated with alluring waves, San Juan doesn’t disappoint when it comes to fun party scenes, delicious food and inviting accommodations.

One of which is the Kahuna Beach Resort – a Balinese inspired premiere resort in the area. Located along a very popular stretch of beach – it is a great choice for friends on a bonding trip together, couples on romantic yet adventurous getaways as well as families traveling with children.

The month of October until March sees the most sought-after “surfing season”. The beach becomes a tourist hot spot in December and January when surfers and tourists from all over the world seek to experience both the “chill and thrill” La Union has to offer.

Warm and Friendly Locals
La Union is at heart a welcoming province that boasts of naturally friendly and warm locals.

What better way to truly know this place than to talk and have a good old conversation with them – the people who know it best.

“Ilocanos” are known for being hardworking, appreciative and accommodating.  Do not be surprised if a local instantly greets you with “Naimbag nga aldaw” meaning “Good day!” in Ilocano (the province’s official language) while you explore the streets or stroll along the shores.

They are people with happy and positive demeanor. Greeting with a smile is a common gesture and they’re ready to go the extra mile in making you feel comfortable. The authenticity of the people here enchants visitors to always come back for more.

Awe-Inspiring Beauty at Poro Point
You can’t help but close your eyes and feel the wind kiss your face as you savor that breathtaking moment at Poro Point.  Imagine that you are standing on top of the world. The vast clear blue ocean stretched beyond the horizon.

Surrounded by the West Philippine Sea, La Union is also home to this dramatic coastline and picturesque mountain range.

If that’s not enough, you might fancy being transported to Santorini Island in Greece with Thunderbird Resort’s opulent blue-and-white architecture. The hotel gives you the blissful scenes of dancing ocean waves and an unmatched view of the setting sun. Staying here is the sweetest escape you and your loved ones deserve.

A Glimpse of the Past
The 76-foot lighthouse situated within the vicinity of Poro Point is a historical sight to behold. With its perfect panoramic views of the West Philippine Sea and San Fernando Bay, the remarkable infrastructure continues to lure tourists’ interest and attention.

Just a few meters away stand the original lighthouse built in 1885. During the Spanish era, Poro Point served as a military site but later on became Camp Wallace when the Americans took over the port.

Variety of Experience for Everyone
Tourism in La Union centers on surfing, great waves, and sandy beaches. However, there are many other reasons to visit this place, even for non-surfers.

From going on a food trip around town to visiting historical churches to hiking and swimming at Tangadan Falls in San Gabriel – you can count on its numerous attractions even outside the surfing season.

Sweet Return
As the Northern breeze brush against my skin, while basking along Bauang beach’s untouched shore, I had a realization. Falling in love with a place feels a lot like the real thing. The adventure entraps you to this constant desire for more. All you know is that you’re never satisfied – you want to see more, dig deeper and explore further. The feelings do not go away. The more you know it, the deeper you fall.

It’s the last day of our brief escapade in La Union. The fiery sunset that marries the sky and sea reminds me how distance makes the heart grow fonder, and La Union will be waiting for my sweet return.


Photographed by Godwin Gasacao

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Spotlighting the growth, development, and progression of the Philippines since 2009. Balikbayan Magazine is a publication of the Asian Journal Media Group.