I must admit that the province of La Union is actually off my radar when it comes to places to visit. I thought they are all about surfing. But my ignorance has proved me wrong right into my face!
On short notice, we had barely a week to prepare. I asked my friends and officemate if there is a chance to spend the weekend in La Union for an adventure. I wanted to be abrupt as possible because I want to get confirmation right away. Just Yes or No and nothing in between. So six brave souls initially got off from Manila around midnight to La Union. We rode in Partas Bus terminal and for 6 hours, we reached Sebay in Urbiztondo, San Juan, La Union. We maximized our travel time sleeping because we knew we needed energy for our first trip; trekking and swimming in Tangadan Falls in San Gabriel.
Around 7:00am, we booked our stay in Circle Hostel and paid PHP500. For me the hostel was just okay. We got our own bed. There were no AC and fans are limited. But not an issue at all for us. There are free pandesal with spreads for breakfast. Overall, the place was really homey and comfortable especially in the common area. If you are not a backpacker type, hostels are not for you.
We were a bit hungry and we ended up having typical Filipino breakfast. The breakfast in that restaurant was awful and pricey. We did not want to go back. After that we finally took off to San Gabriel together with our guide. Thanks to our driver Francis Nones. We didn’t have to ride the jeepney to San Gabriel. The ride was about 30 minutes.
After reaching the start off point, we immediately prepared for the hiking adventure. We had our guide. Guides are important so we better not forsake our safety. We paid PHP1500.00. We prepared our usual stuff. We didn’t want to bring so much stuff during hike so we just brought those that are really necessary like cameras, food and water. Also, I recommend wearing a comfortable clothes anc a nice and good slippers. Do not wear shoes unless you want to get it wet. The trek ( for lack of better term) to Tangadan Falls was really not that hard. You will pass by several streams, cross rivers and fallen trees that would serve as bridges. You will climb into elevated lands, which seemed to be man made but really they are not, what a beautiful work of nature. The trek was all good. So nothing to worry about. But of course, always take precautions especially if crossing rivers. You need to ensure that the rocks you will step in are sturdy.
You have to prepare your eyes for the beauty of this place! I myself was really wondering and asking how the big stones and the natural platforms were created. I cannot answer. I keep on telling that God is really amazing!
After 30 minutes, you will reach the first jewel of Tangadan falls area. What a beautiful lagoon! You got to try jumping off from the 20 feet high rock. That was our first squeeze of adrenaline! The water was emerald green and it was so cold. It was really splendid to jump straight into it! So refreshing and magical!
For an hour we swam and enjoyed the place and started heading to the main falls. For another 25 minutes of walking, we finally reached the main gem of Tangadan. It was indeed amazing sight! The place is paradise! Yes, at the cost of being exaggerated, the place is paradise! Its true and it is falls! Hahaha!
We had our lunch beside the water falls. The typical Filipino boodle fight with fresh vegetable. Nom! Nom! Nom! It was so good! It was the best lunch I have had after a long time. hehehehe. We had fried bangus, brown rice, boiled eggplants with bagoong, chopped salted eggs with fresh tomatoes. We also had sea weeds, fresh baguio beans and I forgot the other one. Again it was such a nice experience!
After our sumptuous feast, we immediately cleaned our left overs and time to enjoy Tangadan falls! We rented a bamboo raft for PHP150 per hour. The water was about 20 to 30 feet deep. So if you really not a good swimmer you have to have life vest. It is freezing cold. My energy seems to fade immediately whenever I swim to cold water.
We wend inside the cave-like part of the falls. The rocks were slipper so better take care and hold the rope very well. You don’t want to mess the beautiful weekend with a sore feet. You can have an instant massage through the waters from above. Hahahaha.
Another surprise was at the top of the falls. This was actually my most favorite part. It was a natural swimming pool! There are also elevated platform in which you can jump from. Again, no rocks or anything in the pool so it is really safe. Cliff diving was unlimited. At first try, I was afraid and my legs are literally shaking but part of me is telling that I got to do it! Now or never! hahaha. I took a deep breath, count 1.. 2… 3!!! Then jumped! I cant help but shout while suspended in the air! But I tell you, the feeling was soooo good! It was a massive euphoria! When you get used to that feeling, jumping from 20 feet high place will be like a piece of cake, its like eating peanuts! hahaha. You get so addicted that you wanted to do it over and over again! So when you go to this place, I think your visit will be incomplete if you did not do cliff diving. So you have to prepare your self and drink one glass of guts before going into this place!
Tangadan falls is one of the many wonderful places that La Union can offer. I will definitely go back to this place!
Please see below total cost I had spent for this trip. Remember that there are some cost that can be totally avoided. Well it depends on what fancies you.