If you play it by ear and feel the need to trust your instinct rather than rely on your gadgets for directions, you’ll probably find yourself in circles searching for Yang House, a private little hostel situated in one of the surprisingly many back roads of La Union’s surf town, San Juan.
The homey three-storey building houses a cozy hostel that reminds you more of your tita’s house in the province because of its laidback vibe. Nothing pretentious here and everything is up to you as you go – cooking, dishwashing and even chilling out. Yang House stands out mostly not for its flashy gimmicks to attract guests to stay the night but its unhurried atmosphere that welcomes all types of visitors -from transient backpackers looking for a place to call home for a few days to yuppies just looking for a respite from Manila.
The story behind the hostel is just as spontaneous as an impromptu barkada beach getaway. Four friends that had already dabbled into organizing workshops for spiritual awakening through meditation and yoga, realized the opportunity ripe in La Union at the time. Despite the constant flow of people in the surf town, it retained its relaxed vibe throughout, and it was easy to indulge in that steady stream. One day, they chanced upon a vacant building that was being rented out and it was more obvious a sign than ever.
Yang Untalan, the managing partner, and we assume the hostel’s namesake, manages the hostel full-time and moved to La Union, leaving her corporate life back in Manila. She has no regrets however, and has embraced the easygoing lifestyle of the surf town. Although the influx of visitors that vary in everything from nationalities to personalities probably keep her hands full most of the time.
As soon as entering, you’ll notice the abundance of wall art, with one of the most prominent mural at the freedom wall painted by artist Reese Ricaborda depicting two skeletons kissing alongside a very strong message. Yang Hostel welcomes guests as friends, for who they are, according to Yang.
Yang Hostel also aims to show more of La Union. And although surfing has become a main reason for its boom in tourism, the hostel offers packages to experience La Union in other ways as well (with surfing as a mainstay of course). During the weekends when it gets busy, the hosts normally accompany guests to sites like Tangadan Falls, and offer extras like bonfires by the beach and boodle fights.
Yang House offers rooms for sharing that go for Php 800/bed/night, inclusive of air-condition, hot and cold showers, Wi-Fi and a light breakfast. Of course, those who plan to stay longer get a lower rate, while weekday group packages are also available upon request.
The hostel is also partners with Villa Sebastian just up the hill, and allows guests to use their pool. Cooking has no charge, and without corkage fee either for food or alcohol, and you are free to hang out in the common areas for as long as you like to unwind with a book or make new friends.
But apart from the camaraderie of the community formed in hostels, Yang House offers something that resembles something so close to home in an address unperturbed by the hustle and bustle of the highway, and the flashing lights and thumping rhythms just at a distance. It’s easy to see its charm in a town filled with endless accommodation options.
Yang House La Union