Where: San Juan & San Gabriel, La union
Who: Mr, Mrs & Little Miss Wanderlust
When: July 2014 (Long Weekend!)
What: Surf trip at San Juan and trekking to Tangadan Falls
Conquer Tangadan Falls by diving from a cliff and drop into its soothing cold and fresh running spring water.. Worth the risk and trek! For more info click Read More!
We have heard that it is going to be a long weekend due to a declared public holiday, YAY! And our 5 year old girl has been talking about her past surf experience last April. But many factors prevent us from being sure, there was this storm, and also a scheduled apocalyptic like traffic jam on the North Luzon Expressway that afternoon. But in the end, our wanderlust took over and we left really early.
To get to the awesome Tangadan falls, the same route is to be traveled (see our previous post when we went surfing in San Juan, La Union). Please note that for you to be able to get to the falls, it will include a total of 45 minute to 1 hour trekking each direction, which means walking through paddy fields, mud, then once the trail ends, prepare for slippery rocks, uneven terrain, slopes, climb huge stones and have to cross rivers so prepare to get wet (depending on the weather if it is rainy, the current is bigger). Locals also say that it is a lot easier to trek in summer as it is less muddy and slippery however the paddy fields wouldn't be all green since soil is too dry.
So as mentioned above it is strongly advised to refrain bringing children and be sure to talk to a local knowledgeable guide who will be able to bring you there without getting lost in the woods. Price range depends on how many heads will join the trek. But prepare a budget of around 500php per head or $25.
Our guide was a Baguio native, dread locked guy named Daniel Marley we linked his profile so you can see his page, and if you are looking for a surf instructor and a guide to Tangadan Falls, he is probably the best contact you can look for, as he is also a good surfer that can rip waves and making his own name also as a tattoo artist in La Union.
Or you could do it the hardcore way with no guides. Good luck. :)
1. From surfing areas in San Juan take a jeep going North to San Gabriel (has a sign in front says going to San Gabriel). For around 20 minutes.
2. Hire a motorcycle taxi to take you to the falls area. Usually there are drivers waiting in San Gabriel town. The roads are steep so tricycles usually can't take you further up. Arrange time when they would pick you up. Price range from 200php up per head for this 30 minute ride.
3. They will drop you off at a waiting shed and from there you start walking downhill, follow the road until it turns into a muddy track, then smaller track going to the rice fields.
4. Follow the tracks to the pilapil (middle of rice fields), then once you see the irrigation water follow it further until you get to a dam, then from the dam, you cross the river then just follow the stream of river to get to the falls.
Good luck and bon voyage, explorador!
*Protip: If it has been rainy the past 24 hours, you can expect the water in the falls to be a bit brownish in color due to soil erosion, and if it has been sunny and dry the past days, then expect the water in the falls to be on the bluish hue.
Watch the short video clip of the jump.
There are a lot of resorts to choose from in San Juan surf area in La Union. However if you plan to be stay closer to the falls, there are no place to stay in that area as houses are really secluded, though according to locals in times of hard rain / storm where some tourists gets trapped and can't leave, there are a very few houses there, but if you see one in time of trouble they willing to help and shelter you for a while. Where exactly are their houses located, you might ask? We have no clue as we don't plan on getting stuck there.
This trip we chose San Juan Surf Resort. The resort (as i have observed and asked) are owned and operated by father and son tandem. The son is half Australian pro surfer and has a built a good reputation for the surf resort.
Mr & Mrs. Wanderlust's Reviews
San Juan Surf Resort / School
The vibe i get for this resort is that it was built for the love of the surf. And since then it has been growing (new constructions for new rooms, and planning to add a new swimming pool and move their restaurant from its current location facing the beach.
I have to note that I also left my laptop there, and they kept it until had someone available to get it. So +++ points for the honest staff.
Price: $$ (2,600php for A/C room for 4 with bathroom)
Service: 5 star (supposed to be 4 but due to the honesty of staff, automatic 5)
Facilities & Amenities: 4 star (all is good, just a bit of under construction and still has no pool)
Restaurant (foods): 4 star
Bar: 4 star
Overall: 4.4 /5
> Surf - just be sure to check out the waves before renting a board to make sure there are waves. (also use surf and wave tracker programs )
> Paddle board, skim board, surf kayak, and enjoy the big waves.
> Eat drink and be merry
> Chill and watch locals surf after a hard day's work
> Explore and Trek Tangadan Falls
> Beach bum
Bonus: The usual travel montage ;) and if you like that, you might want to check other travel videos at the Sights & Sounds page. Cheers!
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