Life’s a Beach! – Weekend Getaway at Flotsam & Jetsam Artists Hostel in La Union

“Let’s go to the beach!” was how the conversation at Fred’s happened in December 2013.  And, since all four on the table (Angge, Ros, Justine, and me) already had travel plans for the first two months of 2014, we all agreed to hold a weekend getaway to La Union on the first weekend of March.  From the original four, the invitation extended to the rest of our travelling group.  And, in the end, eight (8) of us pushed through with the trip:  Angge, Raisa, Cecil, Peach, Ros, Chummy, Justine, and me.

We all went there in three batches.  Angge, Raisa, Cecil, and Peach left Manila at 4:30 AM riding Nothing.  Ros and Chummy took the bus to La Union and left at 5:30 AM.  And, since Justine had several shots of drinks the night prior while I needed to sleep and rest (yes, an old folk I am), we left Manila at 11:30 AM.

We took the Partas bus to Abra, which would pass by San Juan, La Union.  And, because we were really just lucky, the bus we rode on had poor airconditioning system.  So, that was 8 hours of heat.  Darn.  And, adding to the challenge, we had to do one extra stop because the tires had to be vulcanized.  Yay.  Good thing I was travelling with Justine, who’s someone I enjoy having conversations with and who also has a very good playlist.  So, the trip to La Union became bearable and, well, fun. :)

Justine

We arrived in La Union past 7:00 PM.  After hopping off the bus, Justine called Angge just to make sure that we were on the right path.  I talked to Angge and she was like, “How are you?  Are you cranky?”  I said, “No.  Justine’s crankier than I am!”  Haha!  “Have you guys already had dinner?”  I asked.  Angge answered, “We’re waiting for you.”  And, while I love walking, I asked Angge if we already had a place in mind where we would want to have dinner.  The 8-hour bus ride was with poor ventilation.  I was hungry.  And, I was kind of hoping that we wouldn’t have to make the extra trip back to the restaurant.  But, Angge, being the sweet friend that she is told me, “What about we’re waiting for you don’t you understand, woman?”  Haha!  Yes, I love my friends to bits.

When we got to Flotsam and Jetsam, I said a big, “Hello!!!” to my friends.  I immediately looked for Peach, apologized, and asked how she’s doing.  While she knew Ros from years ago (yes, Blue Onion days haha) and she’s met Raisa and Angge a couple of years back (a simple hi-hello), I’m the connection between the group and her, see.  And, yes, I knew that she could manage to make friends with anyone, I kind of felt guilty that I left her with them.  Well, just kind of.  Haha!  And, yes, you know why they were all waiting for us before we went to grab a bite?  ‘Cos they had a bet on what time we would arrive.  Crazies.

After settling in, we walked our way towards Sebay, where we had dinner.  The food was yum (grilled porkchop, baby!) but the service sucked.  And, the music was, well, not to my liking.  Sorry, I’m usually not a snob when it comes to food and service but theirs was just really, uhm, almost unbearable.  Or, maybe it was because someone sang “My Way” in a kind of out of tune manner?  I don’t know.  So, while their beer is way cheaper (Php 50.00) than in Flotsam (Php 80.00), we opted for the latter.

And, it was worth it.  The vibe made it so.  There was an engagement party going on while we were there.  And, that group looked like they were having the time of their lives!  What about us?  Well, we were content with lounging on the bean bags, drinking our beer, enjoying the cool breeze of La Union, and just plain loving life. :)

Angge and Justine played the guitar and we just enjoyed some chill music, in contrast to the loud one being played by the bar.  But, I don’t know, it was as if we were in our own little world.  And, I didn’t care if the rest of the people in Flotsam were partying. I was just really grateful that I was in the presence of people I love and adore.  In my mind, I was living the life I love. :)

One by one, people in our group went inside the kubo.  And, while I took a bath (I felt stinky, man), Angge and Justine just stayed by the bean bags.  Justine later on relayed to me that the other group invited us to join them.  But, they declined the invitation.  Angge reminded Justine, “Monica’s social stamina, remember?”  Haha!  She knows me so well. :P

After the awesome shower, I headed back to where they were.  Angge tucked it in as soon as and Justine and I stayed up until 3:00 AM.  We were talking about her parallel universe (oh, I have geeky friends, yes) and other life shares.  The sky was bright and it reminded me of Nagsasa Cove, the first time I laid on the sand and watched the stars before going to sleep. :)

In the morning, we all got up to have breakfast together. And, while there’s free breakfast, I opted to pay Php 150.00 for bacon and rice. And, it was totally worth it.

Breakfast

Peach and Friday

The lady

Chummy and Ros

Angge

Also, since it was morning, I wanted to get my caffeine fix. So, I looked for the coffee. I don’t know if I was just too lazy or plain stupid, but I asked my friends, “Do they have coffee? Where’s the coffee?” even if it was staring me right at my face. Haha! So, yes, it will add to our list of travel stories. What do I expect? :P

Breakfast

Inuman

Bean bags

Raisa and Justine

Cecil and Angge

After breakfast, Peach, Justine, Ros, Chummy, Raisa and I headed to the beach. Peach, Justine, Ros, and Chummy took a dip while Raisa skim boarded. I wanted to get some tan and just lay on the sand.

Beachwalk

Monica and Justine

Raisa and her skimboard

Skim

Raisa Skimboarding

Justine

In the last hour or so, Raisa joined me and we again had one of those convos we would always have. At that moment, I let my vulnerabilities loose and be seen by my friends. I didn’t care about how they would view me. I am sure enough that they love me for the entirety of me, regardless of what I would say. And, it felt good to be vulnerable at times. It got me present to my friends’ love and compassion. I will forever be grateful that they are in my life. :)

Beach

After taking a dip, we headed back to the hostel and I took a shower. I lost track of time and, apparently, we were supposed to check out at 11:00 AM. Good thing no other guest would be using our kubo so they let us stay for a while.

Kubo

Inside the Kubo

Tulugan

Tambayan

Blue

Fish

Peach, Justine, and I were leaving ahead because Peach was going to do some work when we get to Manila, Justine would be having dinner with her family, and I will be having dinner with mine and my Tito who was visiting from the US. We then bade our long good-byes and enjoyed the last few minutes that we were spending together as a group.

My friends!

Happy friends

Friends at Flotsam

Monica, Cecil, Ros, Chummy, Justine, Raisa, Angge

This trip was again one for the books. I loved the water. I loved the beach. I loved the place. I loved the company. I am grateful that I got to experience La Union with this bunch of adorable people. And, yes, I hope to return to Flotsam with them again or alone. Maybe next time my social stamina will allow me to mingle with the other guests. We’ll see. :)

Cecil, Ros, Justine

Cecil, Raisa, Angge, Justine

Ros and Raisa

Angge and Monica

Summary of expenses:

  • Bus trip from Manila to San Juan, La Union (Php 450.00 for the bus; Php 50.00 for food and drinks on the road and bathroom breaks)
  • Accommodations at Flotsam and Jetsam Artists Hostel (Php 650.00 for the bunk rental)
  • Dinner at Sebay (Php 160.00 for grilled porkchop and one bottle of San Mig Light)
  • Drinks at Flotsam (Php 300.00 for 3 bottles of San Mig Light and 1 bottle of Pale)
  • Breakfast (Php 120.00 for their bacon and rice, super yum!  They provide free breakfast, too, with coffee)
  • Bus trip from San Juan, La Union to Manila (Php 450.00 for the bus; Php 50.00 for food and drinks on the road and bathroom breaks)

Useful tips:

  • Reserve as early as you can.  Flotsam & Jetsam Hostel is becoming popular to travelers and artists who would like to experience the chill vibe of this place in La Union.  You may contact them at +63.917.802.1328 to check the slots still available.
  • If you can, try to gather a group of eight (8).  The kubo that we stayed at could house eight (8) individuals and was supposedly open to anyone.  But, because there were eight (8) of us, it felt like it was our private space.
  • If someone within your group has a car, use it instead of taking the bus.  The transportation expenses would turn out to be cheaper by more than half.
  • Leave early and try to get to La Union by 12 noon (it took us 8 hours to get to La Union by bus).  Maximize the time you can spend at Flotsam.  Lounge by their bean bags.  Take a dip on the beach.  Enjoy the sound of the waves.  Write.  Draw.  Listen to good music.  It’s really a great place.
  • While beer is cheaper in the nearby restos, the vibe in Flotsam and Jetsam Hostel makes it worth the Php 80.00 per bottle.  And, since most of the guests are artists, the place also lets its guests freely use the guitar and bongos.  My friends, Justine, Angge, and Raisa, know how to play the guitar so we got to enjoy music while lounging on the bean bags. :)
  • Stargaze while lying on the bean bags.  My friend, Justine, and I stayed up until 3:00 AM conversing and watching the stars. The sky seemed brighter in that side of the world, seriously.
  • Wake up early and catch the calmer waves in front of the hostel.  While the surfing area is quite a walk away, the beach side in front of the hostel was good for lounging, listening to music, having conversations, and skim boarding.
  • While there’s free breakfast and coffee (yes, coffee), I suggest that you also try their bacon.  Super yum!  My friend, Angge, swore that “It was the best Php 150.00 I’ve ever spent for breakfast my entire life.”
  • Chill, enjoy, and have a blast!  Flotsam and Jetsam Artists Hostel is one place you’d have to visit when you’re in La Union. :)

Not yet convinced that you should visit Flotsam and Jetsam Artists Hostel?  Here’s a video made by my friend, Justine, of The Red Backpacker.  You can also watch it (and her other videos) on Vimeo by clicking this link.

—–

Flotsam and Jetsam Artists Hostel
Address:  San Juan, La Union, Philippines
Check-in time:  12:00 PM
Check-out time:  11:00 AM
Contact numbers: +63.917.802.1328
How to get there:  Take the bus from Partas to La Union (Php 450.00).  Ask the conductor to drop you off at Flotsam & Jetsam Hostel or at Urbiztondo Garden, which is more known to them.  From Urbiztondo Garden, you just have to walk a few more steps.  And, when you see the sort of number “5” signage, you’ve already found Flotsam & Jetsam Artists Hostel.



Liked what you read?  Share the love!  Follow See ya, Monica on social media to get updates on my recent travels, with tips and a lot of shares on what I got during my trips.  Plus, some barely edited photos to give you the most authentic feel of the place. (I do not know how to use Photoshop, and what I can only do are cropping, adjusting brightness and colors the way I remember it):

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/seeyamonica
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Thank you! And, in whatever space you’re in now, I hope that you get something from reading my articles.

See ya,
Monica

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13 thoughts on “Life’s a Beach! – Weekend Getaway at Flotsam & Jetsam Artists Hostel in La Union

  1. Hi! I’m so moved by this post. Thank you for sharing your insights on your LU getaway. May I just ask how are the comfort rooms in flot and jet? Thank you!

    1. Hi Potxee! You’re welcome and I’m glad you liked the post. :)

      When I asked my friend the same question that you’re asking me, she answered, “Did you find the comfort room at Woke Hostel in Singapore fine? Well, Flotsam’s is better.” And, I’d have to agree. It’s clean, smelled good, and spacious. It’s quite artsy, too. While they only have 3 cubicles for peeing and stuff and two for bath, I would say that it’s more than enough. During our entire stay in Flotsam (well, that’s just overnight), I never had to share the comfort room with anyone. They have a good supply of tissue paper and I didn’t have any problem with their water.

      I hope this helps. :)

      Happy and safe travels,
      Monica

        1. When my friends and I walked to and from Sebay, which, if memory serves, is quite near to San Juan Surf Resort, I’d say I felt safe and wouldn’t mind doing the walking again. I suggest you guys bring flashlights, if in the evening, watch out for the fast vehicles, and use footwear that you’d be comfortable walking with on pebbles. :)

          I hope this helps. Safe and happy travels!

          Monica

  2. Hello! I’m planning to go on a getaway with my girl and this post helped us to finally decide to spend it in La Union. FJ really is a nice place. I have loads of questions for now, and i hope you can find time to answer them :)
    I liked the Kubo place you stayed in and you mentioned about the bunk rental, is that bunk good for one only or two people could share it? Coz i was thinking to get one bunk bed for both of us. And would they allow it kaya?
    How did you get a bus ride back home, Is there a bus terminal nearby or you waited for a bus on the highway or something?
    Do they have a curfew on letting their guests into the beach? I mean, we plan to stay on the beach until at least it gets dark enough to stop. So i wanna know if they have this curfew time in going into the beach haha
    And are the other amenities like the Hammock,huts, beanbags, surf boards and skim boards free to use? or do the we have to pay for them too?

    Sorry for the questions again, thank you soo much tho! :)

    1. Hi Jerms,

      Thank you for visiting my blog! Flotsam and Jetsam Artists Hostel is really a nice place. We visited it again a couple of months ago, actually. :)

      The bunk beds I think are built just for one person per – the size is really that of a single bed. But, I’ve noticed that couples usually rent two beds and they just use one. :) The other one, they normally use to put their stuff on (even if there are small cabinets in the kubo). That said, I’m not so sure if they would allow you to rent just one bed for the two of you, but you can of course ask them. :)

      Will you be coming from and going back to Manila? If yes, you could easily wait for a bus just outside Flotsam and Jetsam. The last time we commuted, we just waited for about 5-10 minutes, I think. And, that was in summer!

      As to the curfew, I have no idea. Haha! After swimming for a couple of hours, my friends and I just hung out by the mats and under the stars (the first time) and in the big kubo where there were a lot of beanbags (the second time). We just needed a few hours of dipping in the water. :) To be honest, I didn’t see a lot of people swimming after sunset. My theory is that because they, too, found Flotsam and Jetsam chill and fun enough to lounge in, after hours of surfing and playing with the waves. :)

      When we visited, the duyan, big kubo, bean bags are all free to be used by guests. They also have board games and some musical instruments that you can borrow and if you’re into those things. :) Surf boards, if I’m not mistaken, have to be paid for separately and together with a surfing lesson plus of course the teacher. When we visited the last time, there were some in front of Flotsam and Jetsam who were offering guests surfing lessons. The skim boards, though, I am not sure if they have. My friend brought hers when we visited La Union. :)

      I hope my answers help! No worries about asking the questions. I know how challenging (and fun!) it is to plan a trip. And, I always look forward to getting first-hand accounts from fellow travelers. :) So, paying it forward, I help out in any way I can. :) And, thanks, too, for trusting me enough to answer your questions!

      Happy and safe travels to you and your girlfriend! :)

      Cheers,

      Monica

  3. Hey Monica!

    Wow! Thanks! Thank you for answering all of my questions and giving us a heads up on a few things. I really appreciate it. :D

    We’ll be coming from Baguio so its gonna be a Baguio to La Union trip. Hopefully there will be a bus going back to Baguio when we try to wait for one there haha

    And yeah, we want to enjoy our stay there that’s why i wanted to lessen the budget on the bunk beds because i want us to at least try everything that can be done there like surfing and trying out their best food and drinks, specially the bacon breakfast you highlighted :) So practically, two bunk beds are more than what we need haha When we get there, I’ll try to ask FJ management if they would allow us. Hopefully, they would allow us :) *cross-fingers*

    Anyway, thank you so much for everything. You and your blog has been a BIG help in the planning of our trip. And who knows, we might bump into you guys someday. haha

    God bless on your future travels!
    Again…thanks! ;)

    -Jerms

    1. Hi Jerms,

      You’re very welcome! You should contact them right away, btw, if you’re already decided. They are almost always fully booked weeks/days before. :)

      Have fun in La Union!

      Cheers,
      Monica

  4. Hi, Monica! Helpful post as I was researching about going to F&J. I just would like to know if minors like 13 &14 y/olds are suitable to F&J. I’m a mom and would like to bring my teenage son & daughter this summer for a different kind of experience and for them to learn surfing. Also, do you have an idea how much is the surfing lesson? Thanks so much!

    1. Hi Airees!

      Thank you for visiting my blog and I’m glad you found the post helpful. :)

      When I read your question, I would be honest that it really got me to think if Flotsam and Jetsam is indeed suitable for those aged 13-14. The reason is that I don’t think I have ever seen anyone in that age bracket at Flotsam and Jetsam – most of those I’ve encountered are young adults. Also, for those times that we were there, they played loud music up until around 9 or 10 PM, if I’m not mistaken, so those who have to be in bed by that time may not be happy about that. Oh, alcohol is also available throughout the day, if memory serves. But, if you are fine with that (alcohol + loud music), then I think Flotsam and Jetsam would suit your kids and they would enjoy the place, too. :)

      As for the surfing, I have never really tried it from Flotsam and Jetsam so I cannot say with certainty how much it costs. When we did it in the past, though, and from a different location (just about 10-15 minutes of walk away from), I think it’s about Php 500.00 per hour, inclusive of instructor and board rental. So, if they still haven’t changed the fee, then it would be around that price point.

      I hope this helps and I apologize if I’m not able to give you a definitive answer. I have never really stayed at Flotsam and Jetsam with kids (I’ve only experienced it with friends) and haven’t taken surfing lessons from there as well. I suggest that you get in touch with them directly at +63.917.802.1328 or FlotJetLife@gmail.com. :)

      Thank you and wishing you safe and happy travels!

      Cheers,
      Monica

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