I woke up at 5AM to get myself ready for the day’s adventure (we weren’t due to be picked up until 7, but I hate feeling rushed). Good thing my headache from yesterday had finally eased; it got so bad, I was seriously considering the night before to skip today’s tour. Fingers crossed, today would be better than the less-than-stellar activities of yesterday.
On my third day, I woke up fully aware that I could take it easy since I had no concrete plans for any tours. My agenda simply involved spending some time at the beach before checking out and transferring to my hotel in Tagbilaran. After a filling breakfast of bacon, eggs, and toast, I set off on foot (dry bag in tow) towards Alona Beach.
(If you haven’t read Day 1, here you go.)
On my second day, I got up at 5 to get ready for my dolphin watching/island hopping tour. I had to skip breakfast since my pick-up arrives about the same time they serve it. I just stuck a few crackers into my bag to have something to eat in case I get hungry during the tour. At precisely 6 AM, a tricycle arrived to take me to Alona Beach, the jump-off point for the tour.
(Haven’t read the first part? Click here)
We got up early the next morning excited to start the day, which happens to be Samal Island day. Beach day. Swimming day. Kick-of-your-shoes-feel-the-sand-between-your-toes-and-splash-around day. Yep. Excited. After a quick breakfast, we hurriedly packed up, checked out of Pacific Palm, and met Kuya, who was waiting for us at the parking lot. He suggested that we buy lunch here at the city that we could take to and fork down at the beach. So after stopping at KFC for a looot of chicken, we headed to Sasa Wharf, where barges take people, whether on foot or on wheels, to and from Samal. We were in Kuya‘s vehicle, so we paid Php250 and off we went.
It’s been four months since I took my trip to La Union with a friend, and I haven’t felt up to writing about it until now, so I hope you won’t mind a little bit of prattling. I’ll try to keep the chatter to a minimum, especially since the photos are a lot more interesting.
I’ve actually been to La Union years ago (with my sister and her friends), but we did nothing but eat and get beat up by the waves as we foolishly tried to swim at the beach. This isn’t my first time surfing too; I went to Siargao a few years ago where I got my first taste of it. I wiped out more times than I got to stand, but, as any surfer will tell you, it’s pretty addicting. So when the opportunity came to pay the province a visit again, I took it. This time, I went with fellow Motley Crew-er Dani (for reference, consult our group’s Alkan and Palawan trips), who has also been raring to go back to La Union for some surfing.
I love the beach, that much I’ve made clear. My whole family is a group of beach bums, in fact, so no arm-wringing was necessary when we decided to go to Bataan for an overnight trip. My nephews were about to sign up for different summer activities, so we figured this would be one of our last hurrahs before the new school year started.
You’ve read my exciting waterfall-climbing experience at Diguisit Falls, my tirade about AMCO hotel, and my journey aboard JoyBus to get to the province. But before I close the Aurora chapter of my travel portfolio, I’d like to give a shoutout to Groundswell Cafe, which is actually one of the highlights of the trip.
A couple of weeks ago, a friend and I went to the Aurora province, and I mentioned in my post about the vacation (click here if you haven’t read my blow-by-blow of the experience) that I stayed at AMCO Beach Resort and that I’d tell you about it in a different post. Well, that time has come, so I hope I get the word out soon enough about the place to those who are considering going to Baler and staying at this hotel.
After yesterday’s island-hopping tour, Day Two in Pangasinan was spent hopping across Bolinao to a few of the city’s main attractions. I set my alarm for 5:30 for the obligatory sunrise photo, and went back to Vista De Las Islas Hotel at 7 for a complimentary breakfast of Alaminos longganisa (which I found tasty enough, but made me long for Lucban longganisa even more). By 8AM, the other tour joiners and I were at the lobby to check out (so we could head straight back to Manila after the day’s tour), and Paul the tour van driver came to whisk us away to our first stop: the Cape Bolinao lighthouse.
“Lima lang po kayo, ma’am,” (“There will only be five of you, ma’am,”) the tour driver, Paul, said as I climbed into his van and asked how many were taking the Bolinao-Hundred Islands tour. It was a little past 10 PM when he picked me up at McDonald’s in Blue Bay Walk in Pasay. Apparently I was the only one there, and we’d be picking up everyone else at QC. Traffic was a bitch on the way there and Paul was obviously livid, which I tried to ignore by napping to Bon Iver. Between this and Pangasinan were hazy, sleep-filled events like Paul taking a wrong turn somewhere, picking up the other four passengers, and stopping at Bridgeway Travel and Tour’s office to pay the balance and we were on our way.