La Union is best known as the surfing capital of the north, but there’s more to love about this province than its waves. In fact, the provincial government is gearing up to transform their sleepy agricultural towns into tourism destinations by 2025.
If you’ve never visited the province or it’s been a long time since you’ve last stayed here, you’d be surprised at the number of new attractions the province has to offer. Best of all, some of these attractions are actually free and some are incredibly affordable, even for the most frugal of travelers. Budget accommodations are no problem as well with new hotels and hostels like the Sunrise Hotel opening their doors to visitors.
Take advantage of this time, as La Union is still a budding tourism destination. Be one of the first travelers to discover the reasons why it should be on everyone’s itinerary.
Arosip Eco-Trail at Bacnotan
Nature lovers who love to hike, mountain bike, and chase waterfalls should not miss the free adventures to be had on the mountains of Bacnotan, La Union. While the trail is only 440 meters above sea level, you still need around 3 hours to complete the trek on foot. But don’t worry! Your efforts will be richly rewarded by the sights of 3 majestic falls namely—Zim-sim-ug Twin Falls, TekdagAso Falls, and Padtok Falls.
Tangadan Falls in San Gabriel
If you prefer an easier hike, take a side trip to Tangadan Falls in the town of San Gabriel. There is a minimal fee, and you will be required to hire a guide that’s good for up to 6 people. At the waterfall, you can cliff jump and swim to your heart’s content and take breath-taking photos of the unique rock formations and jungle around the falls.
Ma Cho Taoist Temple in San Fernando
Take a break from the adventures of La Union and take the time to visit one of the few Taoist temples in the country, the Ma-Cho Temple. The temple was built in the ’70s and is mainly dedicated to the Chinese sea-goddess named Mazu. Visitors are welcome to pray, meditate, and take photos of this picturesque landmark in the busy streets of San Fernando.
BahaynaBato in Luna
One of the newest tourist attractions in Luna, La Union, is Dr. Edison and Dr. Purita Chan-Noble’s rest house named “BahaynaBato” (Stone House). Made of stones and rocks from Luna’s famed pebble beaches, the house also features stone artworks by Korean artist, Mr. Vong Kim. His carved masterpieces attracted more and more visitors over the years until the house was eventually recognized as an official tourist spot by the local government in 2015.
Sagat Crust in Rosario
Foodies and history buffs shouldn’t miss the opportunity to dine in Sagat Crust, an open-air restaurant beside an old traditional wooden house built in the 1920s. With antique artifacts decorating every corner, you can’t help but feel nostalgic while eating their deliciously baked pizzas and empanadas.
KamBak Restaurant at Santo Tomas
Get introduced to authentic Ilocano recipes at this unique restaurant that serves mostly goat and beef dishes. KamBak is a portmanteau of the words “Kambing” (goat) and “Baka” (cow). With specialties like Beef Bulalo, CaldaretangKambing, and Beef Kinigtot, carnivores will have plenty to devour. It’s also safe to say that this restaurant is not a place for hungry vegans.
Immuki Island at Bacnotan
There are crystal-clear lagoons off the beaten tourist track called Immuki Island, located at the Paraoir Beach in the municipality of Bacnotan. It’s the perfect place for visitors who want to avoid the beach crowds since these tidal pools are still relatively unknown and not so easy to find. What’s more, you need to wait for low tide to be able to walk to the “island” that’s actually connected to the main beach.
Every year, more and more tourists are finding out about La Union’s natural and man-made wonders. That’s why it’s a must-visit, especially if you’re already traveling to more touristy destinations of Vigan and Baguio City. Include La Union in your itinerary and you might be surprised at how much more enjoyable this lesser-known province actually is.