Friday, March 15, 2013

La Union, Philippines: More than just a Surfing Spot

One Saturday, I decided to pack my bags and revisit La Union with only one reason in mind, not to surf but "to move meaning to break my usual routine". It was my first Solo SPONTANEOUS trip--no plans, no anything. I took the risk of boarding in a bus with no idea about their schedule; going to a place with no room reservation yet and no definite day of going back home. This was again the day when I succumbed to my alter ego (Dora the explorer).

Traveling rejuvenates the mind and body ---- BUT Solo traveling reinvigorates the mind, body and SOUL. Every journey gives me new perspective about life. Traveling solo is one of the ways i do whenever i like to ruminate, reflect and discover some aspects in life. It never fails to inspire and feed my soul.

My recent trip was monumental. It superseded my expectations. During my 4-day stay, i was able to meet a lot of people who were mostly strangers and engaged into meaningful conversations with them. I experienced living like a local and was treated as one. If you'll ask about my typical day during the trip, it was like...

     One day i was accidentally on a table discussion with an American, Australian and English men who were older. We talked and shared different topics about life, love, travel, career, poverty, etc. The almost half day conversation made me realize a lot, the wisdom you get when you hang out with people older than you. It also gave me a chance to know more about their culture. It made me giddy to plot my soon-to-be itinerary.
     The next day I was like a translator/local tour guide to a Korean guy who is exploring my country. The moment reminded me of my "Tour Guide" dream, sharing my passion about travels and places i really love. An interesting exchange of culture happened during our short conversation, as he also shared something about his country. Engaging in travel conversations makes me happy because it's like traveling without even moving (or more like bringing the world closer to you) and letting your imagination do all the work.
     AND most of the days I was like a local spending time with the people there, appreciating and admiring their way of life. I really fell in love with the Place. Yes, I am a Beach Lover, and I've been to a lot of beaches. But San Juan is the place where I felt HOME away from home. Everyone was so warm and accommodating. Since it's a small community everyone knows almost everyone which gave me a feeling of Safety. 

"My love for SOLO travels never gets old, rather leaves me craving for more."

I love observing people and engaging into meaningful conversations with them. Through observations alone i get to learn much and more during interaction. 
10 things I Learned and Felt during my recent Solo travel:
(Well there's more, but I'll summarize a few)
1. Contentment leads to genuine happiness. Be grateful of what you have. Know when things are enough, too much can be poisonous. A contented person feels the happiest.
2. Yes, Money can't buy you Happiness, Friends and even Love. Collect and count memories rather than tangible things. Establish good and real relationships, they do last a lifetime. Many things fail because sometimes people are too busy focusing on less important things in life.
3. Friendship has no barriers nor condition. Sometimes a perfect stranger can become your good friend in just minutes. It's about embracing each one's differences then learn from them. Wouldn't it be boring if you all think, do and act the same?
4. Face your Fears! You'll be astounded on how much you can do. Courage should be your best friend and Fear, your enemy. Never underestimate self. I am glad i did, it was an experience to remember. One tiny little step is better than not trying at all. Life is unknown and must be continuously explored. 
5. Flashing a REAL Smile when asking a favor and Saying Thank you is inevitable and can even save your day. TRY it! It won't cost you anything but you might gain something. It works for me every time!(***It varies on some culture, know the social norms in the area. In the Philippines it is considered polite.)
6. RESPECT everything and everyone around you. You'll be repaid or much more. The world is a better place when people learn to respect one another.It's never a one way process.
7. Dedication and Passion results to Greatness. Nothing is impossible if you exert much time and effort on to something. Nothing worthy enough comes so easy. 
8. Simple things in life are always the best. Live humbly, it will make you feel the richest person alive.
9. OPEN your mind. It's a BIG world out there. If you think you know everything, i suggest you think a thousand times. Avoid BIGOTRY and Be HUNGRY in so many ways. An open mind gives us more room for learning and experience, a never ending opportunity.
10. Life is a Choice. Your choices reflect the life you live. Life is not miserable, if you try to always embrace positivity. Life is Beautiful if we choose to see it on a much deeper sense. Choose to Be Happy, because Everyone deserves to be.

These Ideas are basic, but sometimes we still overlook them because we are too drowned in a World (or Society) where greed, fear, and money exist. Sometimes, we need to step out from time to time to always remind us and make us see what life really means. As i walked through the shore and slowly watched the waves crash into my feet; I realized that just like a SURFER, "In Life, Everyone just needs to learn how to dance with the waves to appreciate every bit of it."

How about you, what are your thoughts during your travels? 
At Cirle Inn. A Hammock can be your Home for a Night or a place for lounging. I spent my time here reading books.
Taken at Angel and Marie's Resto, and yes they really serve delicious grub. The best place to grab an iced cold coffee in the area, if you can't live without coffee. haha They also have rooms for rent, and i stayed there during my entire vacation. I called it my second home.
At Circle Inn (Perfect Place for Backpackers). Indeed! Inspiration you can get from Graffiti. 
San Juan Sunset is one of my Favorites. Sunsets make my heart skip a Beat, it's one of those moments that is worth waiting. 
Overlooking the Island, we were at the third floor of a House. It was Breath taking.
Meet my cutie little buddies!
While I was walking at the shore they confidently approached me and asked if we can have a picture together. Aren't they the cutest? 
A spot near Monaliza's point. The surfers love this point because of bigger waves.
Surfers' Shack, My favorite Place! Everything was built and made of scrap. I loved the creativity in here. Great Vibes, Great People, Great Company! I definitely admire their passion in Surfing.
Hammock by the Beach, now this is LIFE! The sound of the waves is music to my ears.
Great things you can get for Free.
Of course, MUST not leave the island without surfing. It was not a good surf day for me, BUT still thankful for the waves.
With Jeff, Textback (Norman) and Junior, great local surfers and new friends. We explored the night food market in the City which is only a 15min ride away from San Juan. Yet another Gluttony night. Thank you for the great company
For more tips about surfing in La Union, you can go to my previous blog 
La Union: Drive, Surf, Eat 


Aleah | said...

Those are wonderful life lessons you've learned! I agree of course, I am all for solo travel, after all ;) This post reminds me I have to write about my LU trip too. :D

Kara said...

Hahaha! And reminds me as well of my pending posts. =D Can't wait to see and read your LU experience! It's one of my fave local places. =) Btw, I really enjoyed your Batanes post! I hope to see that place real soon. =)