Thursday, February 07, 2008

Philippines Yearbook 2008: San Juan, La Union

This is an intro to the article I did for the Philippines Yearbook 2008 whose theme for the year is Travel and Adventure. Filled with informative activities throughout this awesome archipelago, supported by excellent photography from some of the country's best, the book as a whole is an excellent addition to any bookshelf. It makes a great gift as well.

Text and photos: Kage Gozun

San Juan, La Union is in the Ilocos Region. La Union itself is considered to be one of the gateway provinces that connect Southern Luzon to the Northern provinces. It is bordered to the north by Ilocos Sur and to the south by Pangasinan. Its eastern border is Benguent province and to the west is the South China Sea.

Surfing came relatively early to San Juan and in the last decade alone, a growing surf industry has been witnessed along the stretch beach in the town of Urbiztondo, San Juan, La Union. Most, if not all, of the residents living along this short strip of beach are part of the local surf community. Each household will have at least one member who surfs, teaches surfing or is a good friend of a surfer.

The laidback vibe has also attracted its fair share of foreigners, mostly of Japanese and Australian persuasion. Some have been living in town for over two decades and are considered as locals in the community.

A combination of an established surf industry and its accessibility from Manila has created one of the most tourist-friendly surf spots in Northern Luzon. Most would-be surfers choose travel to Urbiztondo simply because of the ready availability of boards, specifically longboards, for rent and instructors for hire. Beginners hooked on the sport but have no personal boards can easily rent one for the weekend.

The influx of beginners and students has also allowed for a longboarding culture to sprout in the water. Most of the local La Union surfers are equally adept at handling longboards as well as shortboards. It is not uncommon to find an equal amount of longboards and shortboards being ridden on any given day. Longboarding is in fact more commonly seen in La Union when compared to the other breaks nearby. In fact, the local La Union surfers have sort of a reputation for dominating longboard-related competitions and contests. And come the weekend, as more Manila longboarders pour out of cars and buses, expect to see more longboards sitting outside in the line-up.

Throughout the season, surf competitions are often held for both longboarders and shortboarders. But it is the annual international longboarding contest held town at the start of year that is the longest-running. . Run by long-term foreign residents in cooperation with the La Union Surf Club, the year 2008 will mark its tenth year in existence. The event is open to all people and has attracted its fair share of loyal followers who arrive each year to join the friendly competition.

For the rest of this... you'll have to buy the book.
For the rest of this, please go out and get yourself a copy of the yearbook. National Bookstore retails the yearbook for around Php1,800. Support your local travel writers and photographers!

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Blogger Noel Yaneza said...

I heard about the "La Union Summer Surfing Break 2008" how do I get in touch with these guys? Just wanna know how the surfing lessons are :)

Noel Y

3:04 PM  
Blogger travelkage said...

Hi Noel,

Summer Surfing Break is being organized by the La Union Surf Club. Send me your email address so I can give you the contact number of the organizers.


3:19 PM  

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