When my sister finished her residency program in October, she was set on a mission to travel anywhere and everywhere. I got dragged along in this mission and I suddenly found myself traveling more frequently than anticipated starting November. I was exhausted and tired and broke, but it was all worth it.
I originally planned to visit La Union with Aika, but I ended up traveling with Ate, Riza and KP first. Before the trip, I had never been to La Union but I had wanted to visit for the longest time, not for the surfing but for the chic hostels and the bustling food scene. I am happy to report that La Union didn’t disappoint. We had no itinerary, no plans whatsoever but we still had fun. I enjoyed every minute of it, and the weekend trip wasn’t enough. Even before we left, we were already itching to go back.
We started our weekend getaway with a short trek through the mountains to reach Tangadan Falls in San Gabriel. They said it’s a 45-minute hike but it took us two hours! I blame it through our inexperience and the gazillion of photos we took.
After a four to five-hour travel from Cubao to San Juan, La Union, we checked in at Sebay Surf Resort, had breakfast at the only open restaurant we could find at 6 in the morning, then searched for a guided tour to Tangadan Falls. Hiring a tricycle and a guide would cost us PHP 350 each, but we opted for the PHP 400 per person tour at the resort because it’s just a PHP 50 difference and we’d be riding a van instead of a tricycle.
We initially wanted an earlier schedule but we had to wait for an available van so our tour started at around 11 AM. The jump-off point was quite far from the resort and the road was quite bumpy, so we were glad we opted for the tour the resort offered.
Our tour guide Kuya Bok and Onyok met us at the jump-off and they were incredibly nice and patient with us. I couldn’t be more thankful, because I move pretty slowly when hiking or trekking.It’s best to wear trekking sandals or at least a pair of sturdy slippers. We crossed streams a couple of times just to reach the falls. There was also a spot for cliff diving, but sadly, we didn’t get to try it. Next time I’ll try it for sure. I don’t know how to swim, though, so you can expect me to rent a vest to stay alive.
There’s a makeshift “cable car” traversing over the river. It seemed pretty dangerous to me. But for daredevils, I’m pretty sure jumping on a wooden seat with no protective gears sounds exciting. But for a non-swimmer like me, it sounded scary.
After two gruesome hours of trekking, slipping, and talking, we finally reached the falls! There were two vertical drops, and it may not look that tall from the photo, but it’s actually quite high.
There were little stores there, and quite a number of tourists, but not that many to be crowded. I’m guessing that it’s being frequented by a lot of tourists already since some spots are already cemented. There were also life vests for rent for people like me. There were bamboo rafts that can take you to the middle of the lake and under the waterfalls, too.
The water was so cold that we could only stay in it for around 30 minutes. Riza didn’t swim at all, so I was left to third wheel with Ate and KP. We had a pretty good time swimming, but we soon realized that algae started sticking to our skin. So if you don’t want to feel icky about it, be wary before you dive into the water.
After changing out of our wet clothes, we saw steps leading to the top of the waterfalls. We were surprised to see that there were more falls above! I’m not sure how the human on the photo managed to reach it, but I’m pretty sure I’d fall if I’d attempt to do the same. It looks really pretty and overwhelming, though. So when you do visit Tangadan Falls, make sure that you also see this for yourself.
Our trek on the way home was pretty uneventful. It took us another two hours and other tourists ended up overtaking us. It was definitely not a difficult trek, just a slippery one. We filled the two hours of walking with conversations about food, more traveling, and supernatural beings. Hey, it’s during moments like this that talk about the most mundane things usually happen.
It has been a couple of months since we went to La Union, and as much as I’d love to blog about that random weekend, I just don’t have enough time! I’d try to rave all about the food we tried, though, because that’s always the highlight of every trip. We’ve went on a couple more adventures after this, and I’m hoping that blogging fairies will hear my wish of having enough time and motivation to sit down and finish a blog post.
** I wrote a La Union weekend itinerary on Philihappy so please check it out! 🙂