For many years, the Philippine province of La Union has been claiming the title of the “Surfing Capital of the North.” And rightfully so as La Union’s coastline boasts some of the top surfing beaches in the country. This coastline is considered to be one of the longest in the world.
Although the La Union coastline offers numerous surfing choices, the beach in Urbiztondo Barangay (village) of San Juan town is the most popular. At certain times of the year, this beach (also generally referred to as San Juan Beach) generates short waves that are perfect for novice surfers.
With many convenient flight options to Manila and a growing number of reasonable hotels and resorts to choose from, San Juan is a nice area to explore for a long weekend. Our Beach Breakdown article, further explores important features of San Juan Beach.
Here are the steps on how to get from Manila to San Juan Beach:
La Union is about a 6-7 hour drive from the Philippine capital of Manila. If you’re flying here, most tourists book their flight to Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
This airport has four separate terminals. The terminal you will land at depends on which airline you’re flying with. Most international carriers fly into Terminal 1.
1. Choose your private bus company to La Union.
Important Note: There is no central bus terminal in Metro Manila. Private buses run their own terminal in separate locations.
So you should already select the bus company you want to go with before you tell your taxi what bus station you want a ride to.
If you are spending a night in Manila first, you can check out the hotels and accommodation options near the airport here.
The Partas Transportation Company is one of reputable bus companies that drop passengers in San Juan town. If you choose to go with Partas, take a taxi from the airport to their terminal which is on:
816 Aurora Boulevard, Cubao, Quezon City
Telephone numbers in Metro Manila: +63 2 727 8278, +63 2 724 9820
Partas Official Website
The estimate bus fare rate from Manila to La Union should be around 380 pesos.
Partas Transport buses usually go all the way to Laoag – the capital of Ilocos Norte. But you can tell the ticket personnel and the bus driver that you want to be dropped off at Urbiztondo, San Juan along the way.
2. Make your way to your chosen private bus terminal if you plan to go straight to La Union.
You can take a taxi from your terminal at the Ninoy International Airport in Manila. Make sure you get the metered taxi and don’t let the driver ask you for a set price. They tend to overcharge foreigners.
You can use the GrabCar Service. GrabCar is the only ride-sharing app in operation in the Philippines. If you don’t have access to 3G or 4G, then you can go to the GrabCar booth outside the Arrival Terminal.
This booth will have a GrabCar staff in uniform who will help you book a car using his/her phone. GrabCar service offers a fixed price to a particular situation. Be sure to have Philippine peso as they do not accept any other currency.
3. Tell the bus driver that you wish to be dropped off at the highway of Barangay Urbiztondo or at San Juan town’s main plaza.
Barangay Urbiztondo is located on MacArthur Highway which is parallel to San Juan Beach. This road is often called the old highway.
Take note thats some buses don’t pass through Urbiztondo and the old highway but instead take the new highway called San Fernando By-Pass Road to avoid traffic congestion.
If the bus operator informs you that they won’t be passing through Urbiztondo, you can just tell them to drop you off the San Juan town’s main plaza.