23 April 2016

When in La Union - The Circle Hostel

I wanted to make just a single blog post for my recent La Union escapade, but I feel like it would be too long. So I decided to focus more on the place where we stayed at in this blog post and the activities we had on the other post. Anyway, I rarely travel nowadays, except when I visit my grandmother at Nueva Ecija. It's just hard for me to take a leave from school for leisure. But when I was invited to visit The Circle Hostel at San Juan, La Union, I didn't think twice. I badly needed a breather from my stressful life.

Welcome to The Circle Hostel!

We left Manila at 8:30 in the evening on a Friday. Surprisingly, it wasn't that traffic going to NLEX. We arrived at San Juan at a little before 3 in the morning. I think it used to take longer than that to get to La Union but the TPLEX and SCTEX made the trip faster. The trip from Urdaneta exit to San Juan took some time because we weren't sure of the directions. But upon reaching San Juan, locating The Circle Hostel was quite easy. 

Not your ordinary front desk

The Circle Hostel, a known budget friendly eco-hostel, is quite an artwork. It was dark already when we arrived so I wasn't able to see how colorful the place was until I woke up in the morning. Upon waking up and seeing all the colors surrounding me, I am sure that the next 24 hours would be awesome. There's so much positivity and life at The Circle Hostel that the guests give, which comprises mostly young adults.

Mornings at The Circle Hostel

There are lots of activities that people could try out while at San Juan, one of which is surfing. The Circle Hostel's location isn't exactly by the beach, but it's very near. It is probably just a 3 minute walk to the beach. The Circle Hostel at La Union rents out surfing boards for those who wanted to take lessons and there are awesome local instructors that they could recommend. Moreover, they also offer a tour to Tangadan Falls which I will be sharing on my next blog post. 

Surf boards for rent

I've never tried hostel types of accommodations before so I made sure to keep my expectations low as regards comfort. I was surprised that it was more comfortable than I expected. We were made to stay at double deck bunk beds. We were given our own pillow, pillow case, bed sheet, and blanket. Though they didn't have electric fans dedicated for each guests, the place was well ventilated. For the two nights I have spent there, I was greeted by chirping birds during the morning. They were definitely the best alarm clocks!

Airy and eco-friendly sleeping quarters

Although the sleeping area is coed, I was afforded some privacy because they have curtains for each bed. The beds also have a mosquito net but I still used insect repellent just in case. There aren't any lockers by the bed, but I was able to leave my clothes and other things at my bed during the day. The Circle Hostel has a locker though located near the common area for leaving valuable items.  By the way, there aren't also any outlets by the sleeping area. The sockets for charging are located at the common area. And although they recommend everyone to stay off their phones, The Circle Hostel offers free WiFi for their guests.

My comfy bed! I already removed the bed sheet and took out the blanket when I took the photo lol.
Lockers for valuables. Could also be a source of inspiration.

For the more adventurous folks, The Circle Hostel has several hammocks where you could stay at night. I am not sure if this one's for me. I would probably be freaking out once I zip myself up. Nevertheless, this is one extremely affordable way where you could sleep and rest at San Juan (which you wouldn't probably be able to do because there are tons of activities to try out!)

The thing that feared me the most before our trip was the restroom. I am not exactly OC when it comes to restrooms and I am not even expecting a luxurious one, but I prayed that it be decent lol. And I was extremely relieved when we arrived. They have hot and cold showers and continuous supply of water, except during that time when there was no electricity. I brought my own toiletries although you could purchase there for those. I also brought my own towel but they also rent them for cheap.

During our first day, we did the Tangadan Falls tour and went to the beach during the afternoon. Later that night, we were treated to an exciting boodle feast by The Circle Hostel. One of our new buddies during our Tangadan Falls tour happens to be a chef and he cooked us an awesome laing dish which was part of our dinner. Several foreigner guests joined us during the boodle feast wherein they devoured the food using their hands. It must probably be an awesome experience for them!

After dinner, we went out to have some drinks (coffee and beer!). Another friend of ours whom we met during the tour introduced us to some locals. We ended up having drinks by the beach before heading over to a local bar. When we got back at Circle at 3 in the morning, there were tons of people at the common area. Most of them are groups having drinks. Some were charging their phones (lol) because there was no electricity during the day. But you could just approach anyone or join anyone's group and make friends. After all, there are no strangers at The Circle Hostel. 

Circle LU's Common area

What I loved about this trip was it was very easygoing, probably because I stayed at such an laid back place and was joined by the an adventurous and happy-go-lucky bunch. I have usually plans for everything I do and when I decided to join the trip, we didn't have an itinerary. All I was expecting was to go to the beach, chill by the common area, and try out some local restaurants. I didn't even intend to surf, which I ended up not doing because my body got sore from the hike. But I ended up jumping off a cliff, dancing at a bar in flip flops, and meeting tons of new friends whom I get to share these amazing memories with. If you are an extremely stressed law student like me or if you are just stressed in general, I suggest you pack your clothes, take that bus, stay at The Circle Hostel, and just see what happens.

The Circle Hostel currently has 45 bunk beds and 35 hammock spaces but be sure to book ahead because they were fully booked during the time we were there and it was just a normal weekend then. Prices starts at P400 for the hammocks and P500 for the bunk beds. You could also stay during the day for P150, inclusive of use of showers, common room, and WiFi.

With my awesome LU crew! :D

For an easygoing and fun-filled adventure, visit The Circle Hostel at Barangay Urbiztondo, Circle Road, La Union, San Juan, Philippines

Don't forget to check out their sites:

Be sure to check out my blog post about the fun activities you could try out at LU on my next post. :)

When in La Union Part 2 here! (Tangadan Falls tour / San Juan beach surfing tips + budget for the entire trip) - http://www.mishrendon.com/2016/05/when-in-la-union-tangadan-falls-tour.html

XO, Mish


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