My birthday was coming up & I had heard the swell back in La Union was cranking, so i took yet another freezing 10 hour bus ride back to The Circle Hostel. Arriving back in La Union made me feel slightly at home again. I walked through the hostel gates to see some familiar faces, Alex, Ulla, Marc & a few others. I slept terribly that first night back, I think it was the excitement to get back in the ocean. My entire time here was spent just surfing as much as possible.
My 25th birthday was rolling round & the surf report was looking hopeful. Waking up at dawn I saw the guys had already left for the beach, my anticipation doubled. I scrambled around to find my shorts, board & leash then rushed down the beach to Monalisa point. I usually stop & watch for a while before paddling out but i couldn’t wait.
On my birthday Wednesday 10th Jan I couldn’t have been presented a better gift. I paddled out to see everyone from the hostel amongst some nice waves. I don’t remember the stats but i do remember having one of my best surfs yet. Catching rights until i needed to re-wax my board, i mean i was all for staying out but my front foot would slip on the bottom turn every-time. To me this day will be remembered as ‘Big Wednesday’, yes thats a film reference. Everything lined up, birthday, waves, good surfing. The evening of my birthday was spent in the hostel with friends & surf instructors from the beach for beers & music. It was my perfect night, we sang a long to acoustic classics & laughed over beers, these guys didn’t know me all that well but without knowing gave me my best birthday yet.
San Felipe Night Market.
We also took a trip to the night market in San Felipe guided by a local surf instructor Ervine. He showed us the local delicacies. You should really visit if your in the area, the for is pretty fascinating, at least it was for me. I had seen it before but there’s an egg called Balut which is a boiled duck embryo, the locals love it, but it looks hard to stomach.
Fried young chickens, intestine on a stick & chicken feet are all up for grabs. All these things which are seen as a waste product by westerners. To me its pretty smart theres less waste from the animals they are eating anyhow, they find a use for all parts. I have a pretty strong stomach so chowed down on almost all of it, just absorbing the culture of the market. A favourite of mine was deep fried peppers, they are a must try for foodies.
If you head to the San Juan surf area stop by ‘Nak-Naks‘ its a family run spot with awesome eats. A place we would go to sometimes twice a day. ‘Mambas‘ is another great spot & has incredible veggie burgers.
The End of Another Adventure.
The remainder of my time was spent in an apartment just outside of town with Alex. It was mega cheap & about 100 yards from the nearest beach break. We would from this point on just surf, hangout in the hostel & spend evenings at different bars around, like the hostel Flotsam Jetsam. This is a cool place to chill or party & usually where you’ll find the locals having a good time.
I had a tough decision to make. Where to next? My Visa was running out & I was running out of time to extend. My next stop was decided…Malaysia! I packed my bags ready for the next adventure. With a long bus journey back to Manila ahead I spent the last night with the friends I had made. A group of locals & backpackers, a group of misfits. Ocean air, local beer, good company & a new adventure ahead.
I had one last thing to take care of before leaving. My Surfboard. I had tried to sell it along with everything but nobody needed another board & travelling with them honestly sucks. So i decided to give it to the hostel that had been my home for some time. I said my goodbye by slapping a sticker on the nose. I like to think people take it out & have sessions as good as mine. The best way to end my philippine journey this time around. As always i was blessed with an unforgettable time. I hope my path leads me back there someday. To Alex my momentary roommate thanks for the good vibes.
For more information on what to do in La Union CLICK HERE.
To check out & book the same place as i called home click: The Circle Hostel.