The Circle Hostel is a chain of budget friendly eco-hostels in the Philippines and with a branch in La Union. The hostel is highly recommended for those looking for a cool and relaxed style of accommodation. Everything here is kept fuss-free. For PHP450.00 (off-peak rate) a night, I’d say it was a pretty good deal. The place was decent, clean and colorful.
The Circle Hostel’s location in La Union was a perfect one too. It was just a few steps from the beach and from the main road. There are a lot of local eateries nearby. And if you need to buy something, there is a mall just a few minutes jeepney ride away.
Upon entering the wooden gate, turn to the left to the reception area. The big basket on its right side is where you place your pillows and linens when you check out of the hostel.
To make a reservation just fire an email found on their website telling them of your intended travel dates. Make a deposit payment to their bank account and just go. Upon checking in, you’re handed linens and a pillow and you’re pointed to your bed. I was smiling quietly and felt excited upon settling in because this is the first time I’m staying in a dorm style bed that is also located outdoors. No walls, no doors, no windows. Just a dorm made of bamboo and native materials, electric fans and of course the single bunk beds. Underneath the dorm are the hammocks with built in mosquito nets if you want to get a real feel of sleeping outdoors.
I really loved the ambience of the entire hostel. I maybe not so young anymore but I can still relate to the many street-art kind of style that is plastered everywhere. It took me a while to read some of them. Many of them are travel related or wanderlust quotes that I can relate to.
Lockers are included in your accommodation cost of PHP450.00 but do not forget to bring your own padlock. The place is quite safe but if you have some valuables and gadget that you want to keep safe before you go hitting the beach or surfing, its pretty handy to have one on you. I had my camera and iPad safe in there after a photo walk and the day that I stayed at the beach.
The locals of San Juan, La Union are generally young and friendly. At an instant the locals would know you’re new in town because you don’t have the sunburnt skin and the surfer’s body. I looked at myself and noticed that my skin color looked like that of an anemic girl when I stand beside my new local friends. I made a lot of friends here, played chess, learn to paddle and a bit of standup paddleboard, had a few beers with the guy who sells barbecues and grilled hotdogs when the sun sets in.
At night, hear the cicadas serenade you while you’re trying to sleep. My day of sitting out on the sandy beach and learning to paddle literally wore me out so I fell asleep early. Deep into the night, I woke up to the sound of a gekko’s mating call. I got scared due to its loudness like it was just beside me. After a few minutes, the mating call stopped allowing me to go back to dreamland.
The common or shared bathroom is also kept clean too. I was surprised that hot water is available. So for those who lose their sanity when faced with cold showers, this is a treat! The hostel management also provided a rack for the guest to dry their wet clothes.
I loved their common area where dozens of bean bags and native mats are scattered around. The common area is also where the charging station for your gadgets are. There are lots of boardgames, deck of cards and a ukelele for your hours of bumming around, meeting other guests and/or clearing your thoughts. Before you check out, leave a message or post that says something about you or your stay in the hostel on the community board.
I enjoyed my 3 day stay at the circle. It was something new, something I have never tried before, something fun and definitely one that will stay with me for the longest time. And I am definitely coming back again.
Disclosure: This is review is in exchange for my stay at the Circle Hostel. All opinions and photos featured here are entirely my own.
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