The Next Pitstop: Oh Yeah! Surfin’ LU On July 2010

Billabong Surf School photos courtesy of Ivan Henares

Learn To Surf In San Juan, La Union

I have always been dreaming of at least trying one extreme adventure and surfing is actually one of them in my wish list; and I heard that the hobby has a strong tendency to be quite addicting. Admittedly, it’s quite impossible for me to become a surf expert myself however it would be an entirely different experience to get STOKED once in a while!

STOKED Pronunciation: (stōkt), [key] —adj. Slang
1. exhilarated; excited
2. intoxicated or stupefied with a drug; high

Whether going to La Union to beach bum, surfing lessons or a veteran surfer yourself, La Union offers fine white sand beaches with surf breaks from the South China Sea. About 10km north of San Fernando is the small town of San Juan, which is becoming popular with surfers. Activity seems to centre on the popular La Union Surf Resort where according to research, the Surf School offers surf classes at Php400/hour per person. This rate is inclusive of the surf lessons and the surf board rental.

Aside from surfing, there are also other things to look forward to in La Union. If you’re architecturally inclined, the St. John the Baptist Church, finished before 1707, was severely damaged during the November 14, 1707 earthquake, was rebuilt and restored in 1895.  The adjacent bell tower is a new construction. Other Spanish colonial structures in town include the old tribunal, brick houses and a ruined Spanish watchtower.

The Surf School photo by Markus Hidalgo


Directions to La Union from Manila:
La Union via SCTEx is about 5 hours with NLEX Dau exit then entering SCTEx then Tarlac, Pangasinan via MacArthur Highway. In Rosario, La Union, turn left on a fork (where the right fork leads to Baguio via Kennon Road)

La Union from Baguio is just an hour via Naguillian Road.

How to commute to La Union by bus:

From Manila, board bus bound for Laoag (Ilocos Norte), Vigan (Ilocos sur), Abra, La Union, Benguet, or Ilocos Sur and drop off in La Union (request the conductor to drop you off near the town or resort). Bus lines operating bus routes passing by La Union are Dominion Bus Lines, Philippine Rabbit, Partas Transit, Maria De Leon, Viron Transit, and Panther. No updated information on bus fares to La Union.


Aside from the accommodations being offered by the Surf School, I have found several other resorts scattered within the proximity of the school. Thanks to Backpacking Philippines who provided all the necessary information on going about in La Union. You can also check out Biyahero‘s post about San Juan, La Union.

San Juan Surf Resort
Urbiztondo, San Juan
Phone +63.72.720.0340
Official Website:

Monaliza Surfing Center
Urbiztondo, San Juan
Anthony Luebben +639052444201
Official Website:

Sebay Surf Resort & Entertainment Center
Urbiztondo, San Juan, La Union
Tel. No.: +63.72.888.4075
Fax. +63.72.700.0849
Official Website:

Las Villas Resort
Montemar Village, Ili Norte, San Juan
Tel. No.:+
Fax: +

Little Surf Maid Resort
70 Urbiztondo, San Juan, La Union
Tel. No.: +63.72.888.5528; +63.72.888.5538

Sunset German Beach Resort
Montemar Village, Ili Norte, San Juan
TeleFax: +63.72.888.4719

Puerto de San Juan Resort Hotel
Ili sur, San Juan
Tel No.:+63.72.607.4328; +63.72.607.4355; +63.72.607.4377; +; +63.72.720.0185; +63.72.720.0255 to 56
TeleFax: +63.72.720.0184
Official Website:

NorMi2’s Beachfront Resort
LANDLINE: (072)720-0519
CP NOS:0927-449-6934(Globe)
Official Website:

Surfer’s Inn
0926-7195369 or 0920-7776264
Official Website:

surfin's LU photo courtesy of Markus Hidalgo


The Manila Surfers Association does not want you to just have fun out there in the line-up. They want to make sure that we are having the best possible time in a responsible manner. Please check out these tips from writer Rebecca Heller of Maximize your stoke by knowing the general rules and guidelines of surfing.

Check out the following often unspoken rules and etiquette surfers, especially beginners, can keep our squeaky clean image in and out of the water.

Don’t drop in. The person furthest out from shore and closest to where the wave is breaking has the right of way. If you are further out on the shoulder and the person on the inside is catching the wave, pull back. As a beginner, pretty much consider anyone up on a wave having priority over you.

Queue up. At point or reef breaks where there is a centralized take-off area there is an unofficial line. Kind of like Disneyland, wait for those who were there before you to go, then it is your turn. Once you have taken a wave, or even attempted a ride, give those closer to the peak a chance. Let a couple waves go by before you try again. Hopefully, they will do the same for you.

Paddle straight out at a beach break, avoiding the peak of the wave and the take off zones. This is easier said then done, since the take-off spot at a beach can shift around. This also means you may have to paddle out through the white water rather than the unbroken sections. If a surfer is coming down the line as you are paddling out try to gauge your speed and paddle behind them. At a point or reef, try to paddle around the break.

Location. Location. Location. Stick to spots that support your ability level (i.e. beginners, don’t paddle out at Pipe). Surfing at spots that are too difficult put you in danger as well as those around you. That being said, more advanced surfers shouldn’t get pissy with those trying to learn at well-known beginner breaks.

Don’t ditch your board. When you are turtling or duck diving hold tightly onto your board. Don’t just let it go haphazardly with the wave as you will knock out surfers behind you. Remember you have a ring of destruction around you equal to the length of your leash! If you can’t hold on – let’s be honest sometimes the wave will rip the board out of your hands – try and yell “Board!”

Beginners are invisible. When more advanced surfers see beginners flailing around looking like they don’t have it all under control yet, they will ignore you. Thankfully they will avoid you, but they will also ignore you. Meaning, they will take off when you are going for a wave assuming that you are unable to catch it. Don’t get upset, you probably weren’t going to catch it anyway. Hopefully, when they see you catch one they will pull back and give a cheerful hoot!

Respect your elders. They have probably been surfing the break you are at since before you were born. Give ’em some space and their fair share of waves; hopefully they will do the same for you. Don’t be afraid to ask advice, more surfers than not will be flattered and eager to tell you what they know. Plus, they have a lot to teach you; if they give you some advice (kind or unkind) take it.

Support others. Help others, give encouragement, and don’t drop in on them. Beginers are the minority out there so give a little love to the others out there. Give ’em a smile when they paddle out a hoot when they catch a good wave. Compliment them. There is no greater buzz than someone telling you, “Nice ride.”

Share waves. Once you get good enough to catch most of the waves your try for, share, especially if you are on a longboard as you will be further out than the shortboarders and able to catch more waves. Let others have their turn, especially those who aren’t as good as you. Even if you were snaked all the time when you started, don’t return the favor. Surfing shouldn’t be a hazing process.

Localism sucks. But unfortunately, it does exist. Know something about the surf spot where you are going out. It is best to go with someone who has surfed there before. Bad behavior should not be condoned, but should be avoided, especially by the beginning surfer.

Surf with Aloha. If you are a beginner, or even a veteran surfer, have the right attitude. It’s all about having fun, communing with nature and goofing around. Leave any grudges or bad attitudes at home and surf with aloha, peace and love.

Pick up after yourself. And finally, the best etiquette is always to leave the beach as you found it. Don’t litter whether you are on the beach or on the street. Join an ocean conservation philanthropy like Surfrider Foundation. We only have one ocean so treat it with respect.


2 comments on “The Next Pitstop: Oh Yeah! Surfin’ LU On July 2010

  1. Surf Camps offer packages including lodging (often you are able to choose from a variety of types of accommodation) and surf lessons for beginners and/or advanced surfers. Most also offer board rentals and surf tours or surfaris.

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