I’m a sucker for all things colorful, whimsical, and look like they came straight out of my imagination.
I absolutely can’t resist quirky places and whenever I travel, I’ve always got a spot or two in my head that I intend to visit. See, whenever I have a trip coming up, I’ve already gone through countless websites, relying on reliable bloggers and Instagram to alert me to hidden gems in an area.
One such gem I still get excited over is Haji Lane in Singapore. It’s this tiny alley in Kampong Glam little known to tourists, literally bursting with color, character, and crazy jolts of creativity. I go there not just to check out vintage clothes, but also to stimulate myself visually and go crazy with my camera.
Armed with my camera (really just my iPad mini or my Samsung Grand S2) and getting some good lighting, I can really be absorbed in capturing the vibe of a place. It’s my soul therapy, my energizer, my happy break from the demands of real life.
So when I came home to La Union a couple of weeks ago, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to drop by the Flotsam and Jetsam hostel.
Frankly, I was quite stoked to learn that there IS such a place, just a few minutes away from where I grew up. I mean, what happened to La Union after I left for college and went to medical school? It slowly, gradually transformed itself into a cool spot to get away to for the weekend. It’s not as crowded and high profile as Boracay, not as far as Siargao, and offered just enough distance to be away from Manila and yet civilization wasn’t too cut off. You could meet all sorts of people on the beach: surfers, artists, backpackers, yoga enthusiasts, travel writers, college kids and yuppies out to try the waves and drink under the stars.
And perhaps, the magical place to be, when you’re on the beach in La Union is this place with that familiar-sounding-yet-catchy name.
Don’t you just love the chill atmosphere? It’s very laid-back, bohemian, and very much attuned to its surroundings. I liked the huts, the bamboo furniture, the hammocks, the vibrant lanterns, and the inviting beanbags strewn all over the place!
I’d go to this place over and over again, just because it is pure EYE CANDY. This is the kind of place that just makes me HAPPY.
I didn’t have time to try the drinks at the bar, but I didn’t mind, because I knew I’d go back for more the next time I’ll be in La Union. I heard, though, that what you should also come here for is the PIZZA. For a foodie like me, that’s all I needed to hear.
But, really, Flotsam and Jetsam is more than just a pretty place to stay with great views and even better food. Its website, http://flotsamandjetsamhostel.com/home/flotsam-and-jetsam/, says it is “a living space brimming with art, music, style, design, happiness, and imagination.” It’s really a community for artists, travellers, and people who want to break out of the routine and do something soulful for the weekend.
Various festivals are regularly held here, be it about music, travel, yoga, or writing, so it’s always a good idea to watch out online for updates. It’s the perfect place for these special gatherings – once you step inside, you feel transported into a world where you can be free and young and playful. I felt a lot like Alice in Wonderland when I was here. Its founders are Mia Sebastian, Carla Suiza, and Joncy Sumulong, whom I hope to bump into someday when I wander around this enchanting place again.
Like a breath of fresh air, Flotsam and Jetsam definitely surprised me. Being a local who got whisked off to the big city nine years ago, I thought I knew everything there was to know about La Union. I was wrong. Many exciting things are happening to this place, and Flotsam and Jetsam is sparking that growth.