Elyu not just a Surfer’s Paradise Community / Eat + Drink / Travel

San Juan, La Union or Elyu (L.U.) as fondly called by the locals is the Surfing Capital of the Northern Philippines. It boasts of the fifth longest coastline in the world and is the nearest surf spot from the Philippines’ capital, Manila.

A bus ride away from Manila can take you to the eclectic vibe of the new Elyu complete with a world-class coffee shop, burger joint, and restaurants with authentic Mediterranean flavors. Let’s not forget the classic Halo-halo de Iloko serving the famous shaved ice and evaporated milk dessert with boiled sweet beans, coconut, sago (tapioca pearls), gulaman (agar jelly), and banana.

Barangay Urbiztondo has a lot of budget friendly hotels that have beachfront properties but also have rest houses with semi-private lap pools at the other end of the spectrum.

Where to stay:

Kahuna Beach Resort and Spa offers 40 Balinese-inspired cottages, Ocean Villas and Rest Houses that are perfect for families and groups of 6.

Kahuna Hotel, Cafe and Restaurant
National Highway, Brgy. Urbiztondo
San Juan, La Union 2514

The resort’s cottages use native elements but offer more than basic facilities. Kahuna boasts of an infinity pool and open-air clubhouse perfect for people watching and sunset sessions.

The Big Kahuna Bar and Restaurant serves Asian and International cuisine. If you fancy trying the Filipino breakfast, go for the longganisa or their fluffy omelet if you want something simple yet satisfying.


For the more adventurous set, there’s Flotsam & Jetsam Hostel, a living space celebrating art, music, design, style and life. The shared rooms are uniquely designed and curated, perfect for backpackers. The hostel is a good place for happy hour too!

Surf Town, San Juan, La Union, Philippines
+63 917 8021328

Where to eat:

Gefseis Greek Grill – Authentic flavors of the Mediterranean coast that will not disappoint! This beachfront restaurant that has a predominantly white interior with hints of blue reminiscent of Santorini serves crunchy pita, a must try with their souvlaki.

San Juan Surf Area Urbiztondo, 2514 San Juan, La Union
(072) 603-0183 / +639216049989

Magellan’s Restaurant & Lounge – If you like cod then this Portuguese restaurant is for you! They have more than one bacalhau dish that’s both savory and satisfying. Try their piri piri chicken too!

Urbiztondo, San Juan, San Fernando La Union, Luzon, Philippines
+63 905 210 9918

Makai Bowls – There’s nothing like powering up with a smoothie bowl topped with fresh fruits! Such a nutritious and delicious treat!

Flotsam and Jetsam Hostel, 2514 San Juan, La Union

Mad Monkeys – Short menu with only 1 kind of burger + fries and a drink. Their 200-gram, 100% beef patty served with cheddar beer sauce makes up for the lack of variety. The fries are as good as their burger and they serve below zero beer – the perfect combination!

Urbiztondo, 2514 San Juan, La Union
+63 998 555 1990


Riverfarm Seafood Restaurant – Tilapia and Bangus (milk fish) from farm to table. Fresh seafood enjoyed on a floating nipa hut on their fish farm is an experience on its own.

Km. 282 National Highway Bocnotan, La Union Philippines
+63 908 9987132


El Union Coffee – Don’t get me started with El Union Coffee! Hipster feels done right! The coffee is world class, the ambience is authentic, the food is delicious, the Milo cookie skillet is TDF (to die for). Their dirty horchata is a perfect pick me up on a hot summer day!

Kilometre 274 MacArthur Highway, Urbiztondo, San Juan, La Union

Halo Halo de Iloko Restaurant – Don’t leave Elyu without checking out this institution! The food is good for sharing because Filipinos love sharing their food so they can try more dishes. The halo-halo is a must try of course but the food is also highly recommended. Try the okoy if you want something light, the pinakbet for some greens, the palabok if you are into noodles and the binagoongang baboy to go with rice for a full meal. Their soup dishes are also highly recommended, try the sinampalukang baka – the beef is tender and the broth is delicious!

Zandueta St, San Fernando, La Union
(072) 700 2030

What to do:

Surf –July to October and November to March is the best time to surf.

Trek & Cliff Diving – Chase waterfalls at the Tangadan Falls in San Gabriel, La Union. From San Juan you can take a jeepney to San Gabriel.

Leave a Reply