Monday, April 14, 2014

The Circle Hostel, La Union: Amidst Artists And Adventurers

I woke up next to someone new. And I wasn't sure if we were even introduced.

The scent of salty hair hung in my nostrils, and for a moment, I couldn't recall where I was. I tried to rise but a pang in my head made me plop back down the bunk. The pain disabled my brain, completely. I rolled over to my other side and came face to face with a wall made of bamboo strips. Beyond which was a figure awake and moving about —  I caught sight of between the tiny gaps.

I watched mindlessly for a while.

There are no strangers here.

Berths and personal spaces.
Was brought back to my senses minutes later when I heard a constant shuffling of feet. Lots of feet. I managed to sit up and saw the strangers I rode with, on a land journey of almost six hours the previous night. All just outta bed, and were nameless to me at that point but I greeted each with an inaudible "g'morning".

So I finally remembered where in the world I was, and how mad I was for traveling to La Union straight from Boracay. The heady concoction of eight hours on a vessel plus eight hours in vans surely was the culprit for my hammered head.

The brekkie nook, right by the locker area.

 The lounge/common area upstairs.

I spotted a familiar face. The figure from the other side of the wall, I soon found out, was fellow travel blogger and my homegurl Christine of She who managed to convince me to pursue the trip even if I already begged off days earlier. Well, she and Aldous of who organized the weekend bloggers' shindig.

We, along with four other bloggers, were checked in The Circle Hostel, La Union. We arrived about half past three that morning. In which time I randomly chose among the bunks assigned for the group and passed out right away.

Hammocks for rent. Such cozy cocoons.

This lattice wall spoke to me. So I just had to try it.
The Circle Hostel La Union is a very affordable hostel for both surfers and non-surfers, that sits on a lot away from highway noise but just two hundred meters from the beach. Its layout is set up with the backpacker culture in mind. The open plan structure having only 2 bunk rooms, 1 hammock area and 1 lounge/common area paves way for interaction between guests. Bed in the bunk room (has privacy curtain and mosquito net) is P450 (about $10), and a hammock is P350 (about $8).

Facilities: Free WiFi (common area), lockers (bring your own padlock or rent one), toilet and bath.

A towel may be hired for P40, with a P100 deposit.

Day use of facilities is a pocket friendly P150.

 Anyone can grab a bucket of paint and send a message through art.

Couldn't help it.

"There are no strangers here.", says on their website.

True enough, our motley band of bloggers congregated with other guests for an uncomplicated power brekkie of pandesal all-you-want with two choices of spread. I introduced myself to the rest of our party: Samantha of, RD of, Rhea of, and Kat of

Everyone was up for surfing. Except me. 

As the sun inched higher, the crowd at the lounge thinned, group by group. Ours headed off as well, led by one of The Circle Hostel's owners Rafael Oca, to catch the early waves.

Not exactly what we were hoping for.

 Brief lesson from Surf Star School Of Surfing.

The waves, we were told, were too wild for us beginners. We then parked our arses on the sand, thinking we'll prolly just call it a day and start chugging beer at 8 in the morn (Okay, that was just me thinking!). But because we saw other beginners braving the shoulder-height waves, the rest said they might as well surf.

So they did, after a brief lesson from Surf Star School Of Surfing.

I watched each one attempt and stand and fall and laugh. And found myself wanting to attempt and stand and fall and laugh too. 

So I did. I was able to stand on the board on my first attempt and I was the most surprised of all. I felt so victorious that after the first ride, my thoughts went back to beer.

First and almost last attempt.

From left: Christine, RD, me, Aldous, Samantha, Kat and Rhea.

And beer happened during lunch at Gefseis Greek Grill. Christine and I had to bail out later that day so we took the opportunity to get to know more about the individuals in our group. Individuals from different niches. Over platters of souvlaki, we discovered common interests and frustrations. We shared stories that, although very random, entertained everybody on the table. We made friends.

There really are no strangers. Just friends we have not met yet. The Circle Hostel is out to prove that. Come spend the night, leave your inhibitions behind. And prepare to meet a new circle.

How to get to The Circle Hostel, La Union: Visit this page for info

The Circle Hostel La Union
Urbiztondo, San Juan
La Union,Philippines



Sam said...
April 15, 2014 at 1:53 AM

Really loved this trip of ours. :) Realized that going with strangers isn't so bad after all, in fact it makes trips more memorable the fact that you made new friends in a new place :) said...
April 15, 2014 at 5:42 AM

Too bad we had to leave early. It was great to meet you, Sam :)

Kaiye Pallarco said...
April 15, 2014 at 9:23 AM

I love The Circle Hostel LU! Sobrang chill ^^

Pinay Flying High said...
April 15, 2014 at 12:15 PM

Looks like a very chill place. :-)

docgelo said...
April 15, 2014 at 11:37 PM

no one's a stranger when they meet you, gay.
they become fans, not strangers. I mean, friends. ;)
great post, as usual.

ian | going places said...
April 17, 2014 at 5:32 PM

I hope to try surfing soon.. it seems to be an exciting activity, but haven't tried it yet.

Micamyx|Senyorita said...
April 19, 2014 at 12:13 AM

I'm planning to visit La Union again now that I'm based in Dagupan. I tried surfing for the first (and last) time in 2009. Cool hostel! :D said...
April 21, 2014 at 8:07 AM

Yep, a very cool one. Hope you get to try the hostel someday. said...
April 21, 2014 at 8:07 AM

Ahahaha! You and your kind words, doc :) said...
April 21, 2014 at 8:08 AM

So exhausting, but when you get to stand on the board, the rush you feel... WOW. said...
April 21, 2014 at 8:09 AM

You were with Marky, among others, when you went?

kaiyewashere said...
April 21, 2014 at 8:38 AM

Yes :)

mark julius Estur said...
April 26, 2014 at 2:25 AM

Beer and surfing is really the best combination. Haha kidding aside i would love to try this hostel and meet new friends as well. said...
April 27, 2014 at 11:07 AM

Hahaha! One of the best combinations, yes :) We should have a tipple again soon.

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