La Union Trip 2020: Where to Stay, Eat, and Go With a Baby!

Last February, the husband had work in La Union and needed to stay there for a week. Because we had no yaya, I couldn’t imagine being left alone with a giddy baby for seven days. So off we all went to LU! I’m glad we were able to travel and sort of go on a vacation before our country enforced strict quarantine. It will be a while before any of us will be able to do this again–but I’m posting photos and short stories here because they’re happy memories and for future reference!

Where We Stayed

While most tourists would prefer to stay in San Juan, La Union–the country’s surfing capital–we had to book a hotel in San Fernando since Enzo’s job was there. We stayed at Sunset Bay Hotel, a beachside resort near the Airport Road. It’s a three-star “budget” resort so we didn’t expect anything fancy. The hotel surprised us, however, with its friendly service, clean facilities, and breathtaking views!

The standard rooms are privately tucked behind lush bushes and have their own patios.


The resort’s pathways are neatly landscaped and decorated.


Their beachfront al fresco restaurant serves a wide array of dishes (from pasta to burgers and Filipino meals), with huge servings. They were surprisingly delicious too! We enjoyed our daily breakfasts here with the boy, who learned to eat pancakes and french toasts.

They also have a small infinity pool, which Lucas loved. It was his first swimming pool experience!

We had previously stayed at Aureo Resort, which is just a couple of meters away. While Aureo has more modern amenities, I truly recommend Sunset Bay if you’re on a strict budget or traveling with a large group. We stayed at their standard room, which comes with its own patio. Just a tip: bring an insect repellant lotion or spray to ward off pesky mosquitoes!

Where to Go/Eat in La Union

For a yaya-less mom like me, surfing was out of the equation. I conceded that I won’t be able to do that, at least until Lucas learns how to confidently walk and entertain himself. For now, all we could do was explore new restaurants and sight-see. We also didn’t have much time, because Enzo was mostly at his job site. During his breaks, we were able to go to San Juan, which is about 10 minutes away.

If you only had a day to explore San Juan, I recommend you go to The Great Northwest Philippine Travel Stop and Viewing Deck. It’s right smack in the middle of resorts, right in front of the great LU beach. There’s ample parking and hip restos. We had merienda at El Union Coffee and had the most amazing cheese sandwich and ricotta toast.

We wanted to try other food stalls, but we were so full and we can’t stay long. If you’re coming here, please don’t for the love of you miss trying Coco Mama. It’s a small shack that sells coconut ice cream. You can have it with other fruits, but the coconut base is the star. It was soooooo good I’m actually craving for it now!

A few meters away, we discovered Coast Call Kitchen and Bar. It’s a restaurant within the famous San Juan Surf Resort. It serves fusion cuisine that’s really, really tasty! We had their ginormous burger, milkshake, and longganisa pasta. That one’s a winner!

Ah ELYU, it’s been a while, old friend! The first time I came here was when I was a new college grad, to learn how to surf with my friends. La Union was so different then. There were no resorts, no restaurants, and no crowds. While I certainly miss my youth, I’m happy to see a different LU today. I can’t wait for Lucas to grow a bit older so he can appreciate the surf!

P.S.: How are you holding up, mamas? Stay safe and healthy!


Aureo Resort La Union: Lucas’ First Beach Trip

Last week, the husband had a meeting which took him to San Fernando, La Union and I decided to tag along with the baby. Lucas was turning four months and it would be the perfect opportunity for his first beach experience! I went online to look for beach resorts in San Fernando and immediately found Aureo.

The last time I was in La Union was years and years ago! I think I was pleasantly surprised that the drive north is now faster and smoother, thanks to SCTEX and TPLEX. Aureo is Waze-able and quite easy to find. We were greeted by friendly staff and this friendlier view:

Aureo Resort La Union

Since we were only staying for a night, we booked the cheapest room, which was located in the gardens. The other room types were the pool view and the beach view. Our room was modest but really nice, and the best part was the patio where we had late-night drinks. The Instagram-worthy garden has two gazebos with chaises perfect for lounging.

Aureo Resort has an ample beachline–the sand isn’t white but clean, and the La Union waters are clean. The resort also has two swimming pools. Since we were there on a weekday, there weren’t many guests and we had the pools to ourselves almost the entire time!

Lucas couldn’t sit on the sand or dip in the sea yet–but the change of scenery and the fresh air surely did him some good. I, on the other hand, definitely enjoyed my time in the ocean. It was my first beach trip in a year!

We also enjoyed the food at Aureo. They have large servings! I wasn’t able to take photos of all the food we ordered, but each dish came in HUGE batches–enough to fill six grown men!

Traveling With Kids?

Unfortunately, Aureo Resort isn’t too kid-friendly, IMHO. There aren’t a lot of open spaces, and I didn’t notice any special areas for children. That being said, maybe kids don’t need a manicured lawn and swings, slides, and playsets–the sand is calling! Nature is always, always the best playground!

I did notice, though, that one of their swimming pools might be a hazard. The entire pool is shallow, like 4ft deep only (in my guess); and in the middle of the pool, above it, is a bridge without railings. I could already picture an overly excited kid running to it, diving to the pool, and getting injured. I pointed this out to the lifeguard, but he didn’t look too alarmed. Maybe it’s the paranoid me, being a new mom and all.

Still, it was a pleasant overnight trip. Great well-kept place, nice ambiance, and friendly staff! We’ll definitely be back for a longer stay!


Barangay San Francisco, San Fernando City, La Union
Tel. No. (63) 072 888 0833

La Union Souvenirs

On the way back, we passed by road-side stalls to buy pasalubongs. Of course, we had to get native garlic and suka that Ilocos is known for. A pleasant surprise is La Union’s locally grown grapes. Apparently, the province is now growing grapes and offering grape-picking packages as part of its tourism programs. We skipped the picking part and just bought grapes per kilo–at only P230!