Low key: The Great Northwest Philippines Travel Stop & Viewing Deck at La Union


The surf capital of the north has attracted tourists, novice surfers and beach lovers in recent years, partly due to the resurgence of trendy and affordable hotels, some of the most IG-friendly coffee shops and restaurants Tarra-Panga four years ago The opening of the Southwest-La Union Expressway (TPLEX) shortens the travel time from Manila to La Union.

El Union, home to “the most and least serious coffee company in the Philippines” and a favorite place for many Instagrammers to sample dirty horchata and plain grilled cheese with bacon jam, Km 274+600 MacArthur Highway Brgy Urbiztondo, San Juan , La Union now owns the Northwest Philippines Grand Tourist Station and Observation Deck.

Led by Manila surfers Mia Sebastian, Kiddo Cosio and Raffy Castillo, Great Northwest’s philosophy is “to create a coastal community that focuses on curated options and start-ups that are environmentally conscious, community-focused and design-forward.”

According to Castillo, interested tenants submit their concepts to the team, and once approved, they also approve the tenant’s building plans. “We try to make sure that these concepts are not in direct competition but complement each other,” he said.

Just opened in late September, this brand new hotspot draws crowds for breakfast, lunch, dinner, daytime drinks, and even a tattoo (yes, there’s 55 Tinta). Find out which stalls you absolutely need to check out on your next Elyu swing.

If you’re overwhelmed by your options for this seaside community, Castillo has the perfect weekend at GNPTSVD:

  1. Grab a coffee from El Union Coffee and a fruit smoothie from Makai Bowls for breakfast.
  2. Papa Bear’s best-selling pork sambal is a must for lunch, but if you’re vegetarian, they also have pad thai salad and pho.
  3. Grab a crab or scallop wrap from Great Gamble for a post-surf snack.
  4. Enjoy a beer from Curious Creatures or unlimited wine from Artek Wine Yacht while watching the famous La Union sunset from our observation deck or beach garden.
  5. If you’re feeling adventurous, don’t miss Honey Bagoong Fried Chicken, but you can always use Sabong Fried Chicken’s original recipe.
  6. Finally, get henna or a permanent tattoo from 55 Tinta before you depart as a memento of your La Union trip.

— Los Angeles, GMA News


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