When a U.S. friend was flying into the Philippines to visit me and mentioned that he really wanted to surf, I started asking my local friends where the best surf spots were in the country. The consensus was that either 1) The island of Siargao or 2) a place called La Union were the best for paddling out and riding waves among the Philippine’s 7,100+ islands.
So I started looking around online for hotels in La Union that would offer us a great place to chill for a few days, surf, and enjoy our vacation. We really weren’t too worried about price up to about $75 a night or so since we were sharing a room to keep costs down as we traveled, and our #1 priority was a nice place right on the beach where we could easily jump in the water.
But we had other needs, too. While my buddy was big on surfing, I’m not much of a wave rider (although I do love the beach and swimming in the ocean). I still had to work a few hours each day while we were traveling, so a place with decent Wi-Fi was a must. I was also getting in shape for an upcoming karate camp in Thailand, so I’d spend my outdoorsy time running, shadowboxing, and doing other drills and exercises.
Luckily, we found that exact resort that fit both of our Wish Lists with Awesome Resort in La Union.
To be honest, I’d never even heard of La Union, and it’s sort of tucked away on Luzon’s west coast, a formidable 5-6 hour ride from Manila, 4 hour-ride from Angeles City and Pampanga, or probably about the same from Baguio. The highways leading to La Union – either from Pampanga or Manila once you get out of the city – are actually really nice and the countryside is green and scenic. You can really whip right along, whether in a bus or car. But once you get off the main highway and go on the one-lane road that leads to the coast, you’ll be in Philippine’s driving hell. The traffic just crawls along, and you’re stuck behind every bus, trike, and moto driver.
But once you get there, you can take a deep breath at Awesome Resort. While it seemed like a simple family guesthouse by talking to the helpful staff working as we checked in, the rooms were actually quite modern and practical. Likewise, the swimming pool area was enjoyable without being resort-quality spectacular, and the restaurant was set up nicely, with great views over the ocean.
But the sprawling lawn and garden right by the sea was the highlight – a perfect place to take in the sunsets, chill with a few friends and drink some beers or have food in one of their native nepa huts, or, for me, exercise to my heart’s content.
The lawn ends right at the beach, and that’s where we could sit in the sand under palm trees, and, again, take in the sunset. Unfortunately, my buddy wasn’t able to surf, as the waves were completely flat for the couple days we were there – a complete anomaly. But we both had a great time at Awesome Resort and didn’t even feel the need to get out at night and explore chill La Union. If I ever go back, I’ll stay at Awesome Resort again – and jump on a surfboard, myself!