11 May 2016

When in La Union - Tangadan Falls Tour and Surfing at San Juan

I didn't know that there are tons of activities to try out at San Juan, La Union. All I had in mind was getting burnt from staying at the beach all day. I didn't even want to try out surfing cause it's not something that fancies me. But when I woke up during our first day of stay, I was told that we were touring Tangadan Falls. So I skipped breakfast, brushed my teeth, and washed my face and we went to the falls at around 9 in the morning.

On our way to Tangadan Falls

Tangadan Falls is a 15 minute ride from The Circle Hostel. Inclusive in our tour fee was a jeepney and two tour guides to help us in our trek. I wasn't really prepared for this one. I didn't bring anything with me except money and my camera. We passed through narrow pathways that made me wish I was wearing trekking sandals and not flipflops and tons of beautiful scenery that made me stop every now and then to take photos. It wasn't extreme like hiking in the mountains but there are portions which are slippery, especially the ones by the river. I am not sure if there's an age limit for this tour but I think one should be fit to walk for long and could withstand the heat. Just imagine commuting through EDSA. If you could survive that, then you're fit for Tangadan Falls lol!

The scenery changes every now and then. From luscious greens to bamboo haven.

Our first stop was two diving spots. I tried the one which was lower, but I think that was still around 15 feet. We didn't have any life vests on so it was quite scary. Some of my companions tried out the higher diving spot, but I was too scared to jump again. I just enjoyed the lagoon with mini falls which reminded me of Ace Water Spa.

Higher diving spot is on the opposite side while the lower diving spot is on the right
You could just sit here and chill.
Not cloudy, just sunblock that smeared on my camera

We probably had two more breaks during the tour, both of which is to buy random snacks such as mangoes with shrimp paste and grilled chicken intestines. Our group was divided into two because others went ahead to the falls already. The trip to the falls usually takes 45 minutes to 1 hour but because we had too many photo and snack breaks, it took us at least 1 hour and 30 minutes to get to the falls. We didn't have extra set of clothes so we ended up trekking in our bikinis. Be sure to bring water with you because I ended up buying water and soft drinks every time we pass a food stall. 

Beautiful Tangadan Falls!
Relaxing by the falls

When we got to the falls, we were all amazed. It was absolutely stunning! There was quite a number of tourists in the area, but it wasn't exactly crowded. Just avoid holidays if you are going to visit because my cousin told me that they went during the Holy Week break and it was crowded. Anyway, I left my camera with our tour guide and all of the photos I had from the falls (including the scenery) are all his shots! 

If you aren't comfortable swimming at the falls, just ask your tour guide where you could avail of life vests. Some of my friends were able to rent theirs for only P50. I should have rented one because when I tried swimming back to the raft we rented, it felt like the falls was repelling me. I was exhausted when I got back to the raft. Our group availed of the raft for P200 so all of us could get near the falls. The falls massage was such a relaxing treat after that exhausting walk.

Heavenly back massage
Lagoon at the top of the falls

We were supposed to be back at The Circle Hostel by lunch time, but we only got to the falls by then. So after swimming, we had our lunch at a food stall near the falls. Luckily, there were all sorts of viands that were available and everything was so cheap! I had pinakbet and barbeque for less than P50. I am not sure if they are available daily or if they are available all day, so I suggest you still bring food with you just in case there aren't any cooked food available.

Tourists and food stalls near the falls
The fittest in our group: Topher, Virginia, and Erica

Before leaving, some of us had a little hike up the falls. And my legs felt like jelly and were extremely sore from that point on. There were several men who jumped from the top of the falls, but we were told that it extremely dangerous to do that. There was also a lagoon at the top but I didn't see anyone swimming in that area. It was definitely awesome to see everything from there.

Picnic time!
That kid just jumped from that point I didn't even dare try

Our hike back felt like forever! I was already tired from all the walking and swimming and it was too hot when we returned. But the gorgeous scenery never failed to amaze me. It was as if I was seeing it the first time! Anyway, The Circle Hostel offers tours to Tangadan Falls for only P450 per head with a minimum number of 7 people. I assure you that this side trip is definitely worth it!

On our way back!

When we got back at The Circle Hostel at around 3 in the afternoon. Some of us went to rest, but I decided to go to the beach with Cohen and Eyah to get toasted and see the sunset. Everyone was too tired to go surfing. And besides it is safer to surf in the morning (if you are a beginner) when the waves are calmer. Watching the sun set at La Union was one of the most beautiful things that I have seen. It was absolutely breathtaking!

Surf boards for rent!
Beautiful sunset at San Juan!

We went back the following morning to the beach with only a few hours of sleep because we ended up partying until 3 in the morning. I wanted to give surfing a try but my body was still sore from the hike. There are tons of establishments that offer surf board rentals and surfing lessons by the beach. But if you are staying at The Circle Hostel, you could get everything from them. The surf board rental is only P200 per hour or P800 the whole day. And if you were to avail of surf board rental and an instructor, it only costs P400 per hour

Mornings by the beach
Surfing starts at 6am.

Aside from Tangadan Falls tour and surfing at Urbiztondo, there are still other fun activities you could do such as trying out local food establishments such as Choka and Geifseis, partying at Clique in your flip flops, and hanging out and having drinks with the locals as well as with fellow tourists. We initially didn't had an itinerary but we ended up doing a lot. There's just always something new to do at this hip and fun, yet relaxing and chill summer spot!

Btw, here's my estimated expense for our 2 day trip:
Transportation (Toll fee and gas only) - Around P400 per head. There were 7 of us in the car
Accommodations c/o The Circle Hostel (for 2 nights) - P1000
Food (Lunch, dinner, snacks, and drinks only cause I kept on skipping breakfast) - P500 ( Around P250 per day)
Tangadan Falls tour - P450 + P20 for the raft rental
Total - P2370

Hope you enjoyed this post! :)

PS. Check out the first part of my LU trip here: http://www.mishrendon.com/2016/04/when-in-la-union-circle-hostel.html

XO, Mish


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