The Circle Hostel La Union

2:25:00 AM


To kickoff my birthday month, I went on a road trip to Baler with several blogger friends. While stuck in traffic on a C5 flyover, Issa asked "Did you know we're going La Union?" Bewildered, I said no. I was so sure she was joking. You see, I already told my parents and my friends that I was Baler-bound. So when I finally verified that she wasn't kidding the tiniest bit, I said "Game!"

(Because when life surprises you, you say yes. Always.)

We arrived at The Circle Hostel La Union past 3AM. (They allow really early check-in for half the rates!) My eyes instantly went on a frenzy as soon as I got inside the gate. I had so much I wanted to share on Instagram. In a tweet, I actually called it "backpacker-charming" and that's really what it was for me. It was a place where every nook and cranny was made special by the collaborative art of the guests who have stayed at the hostel.

True enough, I posted 15 photos about this trip. 15!! And my phone wasn't even
 a week old at the time! Scary Instagram relapse!

Location

Urbiztondo, San Juan in the La Union province is one of the go-to surf spots for everyone looking for a quick weekend stoke. No need to get out of mainland Luzon. All you'll ever need is a car or a commuter bus that can take you there in several hours, about 4-6 hours depending on which mode of transportation you will take. The hostel can be found along the access road beside Urbiztondo Grill and Moonleaf Tea Shop. You won't miss the bright and colorful painted bamboo fence!
The fence has different colors per letter of the word "Circle." Perfect for your OOTD needs! See video below for reference!

Accommodations

The Circle Hostel has no private rooms, only bunk beds for rent at the moment. They have a total of 45 bunk beds, each priced at PHP550/night during the peak season AKA summer. (Off peak - PHP450; Regular - PHP500) When I first saw the bunks, I immediately thought I was in a Peter Pan movie, living with the lost boys like I've always fantasied about as a kid. (No, I didn't actually mean you'll get to stay at a tree house although they do HAVE a tree house too, but the bunk bed huts have that distinct air of youth and adventure that instantly got me excited.)


They have 2-3 level bunks with their own bedding set, ready to be made on your own. There are mosquito nets for every bed and a privacy curtain that you can pull out when you're going to rest. There is no air-conditioning but even in the summer, it could really get cold at night in La Union. Then, there are also strategically placed electric fans keeping the air well-circulated. Humidity never became a problem during the two nights I spent sleeping there.


Oh, and they also have a total of 35 hammocks for rent. If you just need a place to crash the night, this is a steal at only PHP450/per night! (Off peak - PHP350; Regular - PHP400)

Amenities

1. Wet clotheslines/racks - This is a little thing most resorts forget about. If you have guests going back from the beach, this is one of the things they look for to hang their wet clothes/swimsuits. You'll be glad to know The Circle Hostel has these racks all over the hostel grounds for your clothing-drying needs.
2. Common toilet and bathroom stalls - I have experienced living in hostels when traveling in other countries, and almost all of them practice sharing common toilets and bathrooms. I know it's not for everyone, but it has never really been a problem to me. With that said, The Circle Hostel's common T/B is at par or maybe even more maintained than some of the hostels I have stayed at in Southeast Asia.



3. Free use of lockers - Although La Union is relatively a safe province, (Don't quote me on that. I don't have the stats to back it up haha!) it is reassuring that like any good hostel, this one has lockers you can use freely to secure your valuables. Just don't forget to bring your own padlocks. 

4. Reception Hut / Store - This is self-explanatory. It is open by 8AM and closes around 11PM. You may want to note that they also provide surf lessons, board rentals and trekking tours for a minimal fee. They also rent out bath towels at PHP50 each, for those who forgot to bring towels (AKA me!) It might also interest some of you to know that they do accept guests who want to be reception volunteers in exchange for accommodations. Ask them how!


5. Below Zero Beer - Do yourself a favor and buy Red Horse!! It is the best when it's that cold. They also have this makeshift dumbwaiter/pulley contraption to transport the beer from the store to the common area, which is at the second floor opposite of the reception/store. 

6. Free WIFI - DO WE HAVE TO TALK ABOUT THIS. Free and fast wifi connections are the best!

7. Common area - What I would call this hostel's best feature is the charging station located in the common area. There are two posts with a hundred power outlets (exaggerating, but there's plenty for everyone, I can assure you!) where everyone can charge their gadgets. This is also where the WIFI connection is the strongest, consequently forcing face to face conversations with people, whether they are part of your group or another guest staying at the hostel. Yes, it's a trap, and a good one at that! The common area makes people talk to each other while they charge their phones. It's genius! 
[L-R] Aldous, Issa, Me, Basti, Kira, Apple. These were not even half of the throw pillows and bean bags in the common area.

There is an abundance of bean bags, throw pillows and four hammocks, making its comfort level the best after a long day of surfing. This is also where the free below zero beers are served and where we played drinking games. *chants random game, random game...*

Pets

At this point, I should probably say I brought my puppy, Basti, with me. I was so worried we would have problems on the ride to LU and with the hostel, but everything turned out great! Everyone loved him. He didn't pee nor poop while in the car. He managed to charm everyone who saw him. Heck, he made foreign hostel guests talk about their own pet dogs back home for a good hour! I was so glad The Circle Hostel was pet-friendly! 


Basti's Day Out from Jennever Pelaez on Vimeo.


Verdict

If you're on the adventurous side and someone who wants to enjoy La Union in a tight budget, this hostel is definitely worth considering. This is by far the most affordable hostel in that area.  

I'll be thrilled to come back and stay here again! It's a place that I would recommend to big groups going on a team building. It could also be that hostel to start your budding solo travels. It's a good place to meet fellow travelers looking for that same stoked feeling. At The Circle Hostel, there are no strangers

Before I end this post, let me give a shout out to Aldous of Aldous Ate The World and Rafael Oca of The Circle Hostel for organizing this trip! What a way to start my March as interesting as it could possibly be.



RELATED: What to do in La Union (aka Where to eat in La Union) 
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The Circle Hostel
Urbiztondo,San Juan
La Union,Philippines
Email: lu@thecirclehostel.com
Mobile: +63917 832 6253

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