Out of the blue, one of my friends suggested we go to San Juan, La Union on the Holy Week weekend. It was the perfect idea since I would be in Pangasinan at that time, it was summer and I’ve been itching to try surfing again (and plan to succeed this time). This was a semi-unexpected trip because I only had a month to anticipate and prepare – I usually plan trips months in advance. The search for our accommodations and budget planning fell to me as the usual protocol during barkada trips.
The most annoying part of planning a barkada trip is that I don’t know who would really go until the day of the trip itself. There were some who said No to this trip and ended up going, Yes which turned to not going and Maybe’s who didn’t decide if they were going until the last minute. Such is life – full of uncertainties. Anyway, 8 was our final number. All of my companions were really good friends so I was looking forward to the fun times ahead.
Jhodan had his car so 5 of our number rode with him. The others had to commute to San Juan, La Union. It was a 3 hour ride from Pangasinan to La Union. There was moderately heavy traffic for the first half of the journey so we took longer than usual to reach our destination. I wish I could give the exact route, but I’m hopeless with directions. All we did was follow the highway. That is all I can remember. Please forgive me, it was still early in the morning when we left Pangasinan. My brain was still not functioning.
Our Accommodation: Normi’s Beachfront Resort
I searched for our accommodations 3 weeks earlier. My criteria for searching was the room could accommodate 6-10 pax and would not cost more than Php 500.00 per person. All the famous hostels and resorts which fit these criteria were already fully booked for Holy Week. Then more Googling led to me discover Normi’s Beachfront Resort where there was still an available room for 5 pax at Php 2,750.00 per night, inclusive of breakfast. Further inquiry revealed that in case there was more than 5 people in our group, we only had to pay Php 350.00 for each extra person. I immediately reserved the room for us with the hope that the room can accommodate all of whoever would be going on this trip.
I didn’t have to pay any downpayment or any reservation fee. All they require is that I call 3 days before we arrive to confirm our reservation. Otherwise, they would be giving our room to someone else. We gave the full payment upon check-in. This was not required but we decided to pay immediately so we don’t spend it on other things.
Normi’s is not located in the touristy part of San Juan, La Union (contrary to what I initially thought). We knew we finally arrived in San Juan when we saw many resorts, restaurants, parked cars and tourists along the road. But it was another 10-minute drive before we reached Normi’s, away from the hustle and bustle of the crowds.
Our 5-pax room was spacious enough for all 8 of us. All we had to do was arrange the beds side by side and place an extra mattress or 2 so everyone has enough room to sleep.
Wandering around Normi’s, I discovered that they had 3 pools: a semi-olympic pool (10 feet deep), the usual 3-6 feet pool and the kiddie pool. The pools are heated at night so it wouldn’t be so cold for swimmers. We lounged around the pool until it closed at 11 PM.
The breakfast that came with our room was a simple affair. It consisted of 2 slices of white bread, egg and banana.