Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Surfing in La Union: Yes, I went back!

When you’re on a wave, time ceases to exist, and you’re in a such an intense combined state of euphoria, peace, presence and excitement that it’s something you have to return to over and over again. Once you realize that, to live any other way would seem completely insane. (source)
Ever since my first visit to La Union, I couldn't get surfing out of my mind. I got so emo on the way back to Manila that in my head I was counting the days til my next surfing session. I was missing the sea so much that a few weeks ago, I organized a trip to San Juan with my friends Alex, Anne, and Krissy. I was so eager to be in the water again and get up on the board.

As usual we chose Circle Hostel (Php 550 per day) and planned to stay for 3 days and 2 nights. That was definitely more than enough time to get baked and escape from the big, bad city.

Alex had this awesome idea (and I say this in a very sarcastic Kira way) of just chilling on the first day. I will admit that I felt that this was such a waste of time -- because the waves are out there! Well, we did visit ocean and found out that the waves were a little flat. We just decided to just stuff ourselves silly with local food (and S'mores from El Union!), and return the next day hoping that the waves would be stronger.

So on Monday, we headed to the beach bright and early. And look at that, the sun was out and the waves were perfect for newbies (that's us!). This would be my 3rd surfing session and I came prepared -- I wore a rash guard this time. The last time, I just wore a bikini and I got rashes on my stomach plus my mole was severely burned to a crisp. That mole has since been C02 lasered off though :)

outtake from our beach shenanigans

I was assigned to Papa Pink (Black Mamba wasn't there that day) who is obviously known for wearing pink all the time. I'm always iffy about new instructors but I'm glad he taught me that day because he forced me to paddle hard and turn. The padding was sort of okay, but I really had to exert effort to steer the board. Alex has laughing half the time and said that I looked like a Chihuahua in water :P

The first time I jump into water, there's always a feeling of excitement and hesitation on my part. I'm so ecstatic to be back, but I'm also scared of what might happen to me. Waves are unpredictable and if you're not careful, you might just get into an accident with either your own board or with the other surfers.

But look, I survived and have photos to prove how fun surfing is:

Alex is a great surfing buddy, she's game and she's competitive. I am secretly competitive, as evidenced by me surfing nonstop (or me winning all of a sudden in Monopoly Deal, hehe). Alex recounts that after every ride she'd rest for a bit (she was also wearing falsies and she had make sure they were still intact before riding another wave), and me on the other hand would ride 3 waves straight. Then we'd ride again together on the fourth wave. I do remember though, that I'd easily plop on the board after every ride, eagerly waiting for the next one even if Papa Pink said I should take it easy. Yes, that's how much of a high I get from surfing. Halfway through, I was already breathing through my mouth while waiting for the next wave, it was a total body workout.

The #KirAlex2015 love team is back! Haha
After that first surfing sesh, we stuffed ourselves silly again and then slept in the common area. And then it rained (a LPA was building in La Union), so we just stayed indoors. That night, we decided to play cards in the common area while getting to know the other tourists who were staying at the hostel. This is one of the good things about Circle, you get to meet a whole lot of interesting people/backpackers who have lots of stories to tell. Most of them have been to our tourist spots like Vigan. Siargao, Baguio, etc., while some have more elaborate stories about their stays in Australia, Poland, New Zealand. France, etc.

Doris, Tom, Adrien checking out the Philippine map
Adrien plays the guitar for us *swoon*
Bromance at Circle, haha

Alex also taught me how play "tong-its" and whoever lost would get a lipstick mark on the face. Well, you could say I lost several times that night.

The next morning, we woke up earlier because the waves were expected to be stronger. But first, let me show you Marek's yoga moves. He's been travelling for months now (both for work and leisure) and it's his first time in a hostel.

We skipped breakfast and trudged on to the beach to surf. It was 8:30am and the water was cold but we were eager to make the most of our morning. The predictions were right -- the waves were definitely more intense because of the brewing storm! So with our instructors in tow, Alex and I surfed again.

Waves were coming in succession that I almost got thrown off while riding, I was swept away twice while holding the board and trying to go back to deep water, and Papa Pink kept saying, "Hawak ng maigi sa board, may malakas na paparating!" I'd hold on to the board while facing the wave, duck my head and pray that I don't get hurt or that an incoming surfer won't hit me. Several times, I wanted to go back and in my head I kept thinking, "What the f*** did I get myself into."

But look, another successful surfing session. I will never forget moments like these. 

"I'm so proud of you, Kira. You're a changed woman," Alex quipped. And yes, I'm proud to say that I have shed a part of my prissy shell and have now embraced surfing :)

La Union has truly grown on me and I think I will be back here several more times. Thank you to Rafa of Circle Hostel for being accommodating as always and for introducing me to surfing. I'll see you guys again soon, maybe in Baler? :)

Read more of my La Union adventures here
Check out Alex's surfing experience here


  1. I was waiting for you to talk about the 5km run, too! Hahaha! Honestly di ko na alam san ko isisingit cos my blog post is getting longer.

  2. Blog about the Shakey's Fun Run separately! :D

  3. I don't even know how to start talking about the shark and Kate Perry :D

  4. All I can say is: Thank you, Robinsons Dept. Store, for sending me Playtex and Vaseline :D

  5. Surfing is on my bucket list. Ever since I saw the movie, Blue Crush, funny as it sounds. Your trip looks like so much fun.:)

  6. I loved that movie but never thought of surfing until last January. Now I'm hooked! It's something you should definitely try, it's so much fun :)

  7. what if you don't know how to swim? goodbye surfing na?

  8. No naman! For newbies, they'll bring you to water that's chest-level lang. Don't panic when you wipeout because you'll really be submerged and the waves are strong :D

  9. i'll try it next time if i have guts na haha.. some would even say the board it too big for you (bcoz im small)

  10. There are long board and shorter ones, but the longer ones are recommended for newbies because it's easier to maintain your balance :)

  11. ah ganun pala un kaya pala may mga sobrang malalaking boards..

  12. nakita ko si bimby sa kris tv nag surf.. feeling ko kaya ko.. hahah kaya nga ng mga bagets.. next time.. ;)

  13. Kaya with instructor for sure, it's when you do in on your own that's challenging :)