Luna and San Juan, La Union

A Mural at a Restaurant in San Juan

Quesadillas at a Mexican Restaurant in San Juan

San Juan Beach, San Juan, La Union


I’ve always wanted to see the much talked about “Bahay Na Bato” in Luna but never got a chance in the past so on my way to San Fernando to do some errands I decided to swing by Luna. Since I was going for some sightseeing that day, I thought I might as well also check out the beach town of San Juan.

San Juan is the surfing capital of Northern Luzon as they say. Bauang was the original beach town in the San Fernando area but the town lost some of its lusters perhaps due to neglect and luck of development. More and more people are going to San Juan these days due to the bigger waves which are ideal for surfing particularly for beginners and for the better resorts that have sprouted like mushrooms along the highway and at the beach. In fact, tourists and surfers from as far as Manila and foreigners come to this place. Surfing in San Juan is seasonal. So, if you want to surf or learn how to surf, make sure you go during the surfing season. There are folks out there at the beach who can teach you how to surf. Surfing is best during the months of October through April. I did not see big waves in San Juan perhaps maybe because it was the rainy season when I was there. There are also good restaurants here. I was surprised to see a Mexican restaurant. It is not as authentic as the Mexican restaurants you would see in the states but if you want to try Mexican food while in the province, they have it here. It is located along the highway but I thought their servings were small though.

From Tagudin, I veered off the National Highway at the plaza in Bangar and took the Bangar-Luna-Balaoan-Bacnotan Road going west then continued back on the National Highway at the junction at the Bacnotan town proper then to San Juan and San Fernando. I thought Luna is a charming town. While driving along the highway, I saw forested areas and beaches (mostly rocks and pebble beach types). The rocks and pebbles are actually few of the biggest sources of livelihoods for the people in Luna. Luna is definitely where you can find the most beautiful rocks and pebbles for your projects. There are also big and beautiful houses dotted along the highway and the beach, and I am sure a lot of these houses are owned by rich “balikbayans”. I felt like I was driving along the highway going by Diamond Head in Hawaii. Luna is also known for the church locally called Our Lady of Namacpacan Church or Saint Catherine of Alexandria Church. This church is famous because it is where the statue of the Blessed Virgin that is supposedly miraculous is housed. It is visited by many devotees throughout the year. My late mother and I used to attend Sunday services here at certain times when she was still alive, and since I was in the area I took the opportunity to stop by. There are also beach resorts in Luna that I saw but I had noticed that the resorts were not busy or almost empty. Perhaps the resorts get busy at certain days and on weekends or perhaps because of the town not being along the national highway? It is sort of isolated from the other towns. I am sure that these places get busy during the summer months though. One resort that caught my attention is the Noble’s Tower Resort in Barangay Darigayos. The resort is located in the few patches of sandy beaches by the estuary in Luna. We briefly stopped by at this place just to check it out. In the middle of the resort, there is a very tall tower and at the foot of the tower is big pond where the owner raises bangus or milkfish. On one side of the resort is a good-sized swimming pool. The architecture of the building is very interesting. The walls are made out of dried corals and rocks. They charge 10 pesos to tour the place. This is probably where the owner of the “Bahay Na Bato” got the idea for his place.

“Bahay Na Bato” was the main reason I went for this trip aside from the errands that I had to do in San Fernando but unfortunately, when I got there, there was a big sign that says temporarily closed. We asked what is going on to a guy at the parking area and he said the owner shut it down because of a rift between the owner and the officials of the town. I have a feeling it has something to do with money. Perhaps the local government wants income sharing with the owner? Who knows. This place has become very popular in the last few years that it was even featured in many major publications in prints and online. Due to the publicity and its interesting display of rocks that is adorned for the house, it attracted many tourists from everywhere. Too bad this place had to be shut down. This could have been a big source of income for the town of Luna. I do hope that they will resolve whatever problem the owner and the town’s administration have with each other for I think people will continue to come here and this will be good for the town of Luna and for all the people including the owner and the local government. “Bahay Na Bato” is located in Barangay Nalvo Norte between Barangay Darigayos and the town proper. It is on the beach not far from the highway. By the way,Luna also has a leaning Watch Tower which is also being visited by tourists. I have not seen it. I am saving this place for my next visit to Luna.

Like the National Highway where it is being improved by the DPWH, there are constructions going on at the Bangar-Luna-Balaoan-Bacnotan Road on some segments of the highway so be aware of that in case you plan on taking this route. The area where the big cement plants are in Bacnotan now have a much improved highway. There were a lot of pot holes a few years ago when I drove through this area. Pot holes are common in this part of the highway due to the heavy load from the trucks that ply this area on a daily basis.