Moving to the Beachside? Here’s What You Need To Do

Moving to the Beachside? Here’s What You Need To Do


For some, moving to the beachside is a dream. For others like content creator Nicole De Leon, it’s a happy reality. Nicole gives MEGA Style all the details about beachfront living.

The constant city life can have you longing for the sound of crashing waves, the soft sand on your toes, and the warmth of the sun. Content creator Nicole De Leon took a permanent vacation to the beach, the whiff of the fresh sea air beating the subway ‘breeze’. But before you worry about renting or buying a beachside real estate, take a page out of Nicole’s guide for tips on a dramatic move to the sandy shoreline.

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Nicole has been enjoying the beautiful ocean water and the perfect sundown view on the horizon for almost a year now. She tells MEGA Style that she fell in love with La Union during a visit back in December 2022, so making the trip and back as a tourist has been a go-to monthly activity. But then: “I was sitting in my living room and I hadn’t even unpacked my bags yet and I was already thinking about when I’d get to go back,” she shares. “And then it dawned on me: ‘why don’t I just move to La Union?’”

Nicole packing up her things last May 2023

The content creator later on proves that crazy ideas sometimes from the best decisions, but of course, in the beginning, a crazy idea is just that—crazy. “It was a cute little thought that I just wanted to entertain a bit, so I looked up the price range of renting a studio unit in La Union,” she explains. “I did the math and for me, the cost of one weekend spending on hostels/hotels and car/bus rides as a tourist, is around the same as one month of renting a small studio unit. So when I realized I could afford to move and I would be allowed to move, I thought why not? So I hadn’t even eaten yet, I was fresh off my bus ride home to Manila, but I immediately started calling some of the landlords of the viable units. Fast forward to May 2023, and I had fully moved to La Union.”

Nicole has been fully living the beach life for almost a year now

Why the big move

While saving yourself from breaking the bank is a factor, it’s not just the math. For Nicole, making the switch from the city to the beach life was primarily based on wanting to have a better work-life balance. “When I lived in Manila, I got swallowed by work,” she shares with MEGA Style. “I felt like this twenty-something girl was getting old, but all she’s done so far was study and work. I wanted to do something for myself, to really commit to living a more well-rounded life where I had time to enjoy and rest. Living in a slow-paced town near the beach really helped me do that.”

Nicole exploring the lagoons in La Union

Surrounded by the peace and quiet with no distance standing in between your residence and the sparkling pristine ocean, impressive panoramic views, and basking in the drawn-out sunshine can be a refreshing and improved lifestyle as compared to living in the city. “I can work with the view of the beach, take a quick swim during my breaks, and watch the sunset every day,” Nicole says. In addition, her downtime living in La Union has increased greatly. “I feel like I’ve made more friends in La Union in the short time I’ve visited and lived here compared to the many years I’ve lived in Manila. Because there’s substantially less traffic, it’s so much easier to meet up with friends who all already live so near. Also, all the places to go are just at max twenty minutes away. After work on the weekdays, I still had the time to meet friends. I didn’t have to wait for the weekend to have some fun,” Nicole explains. “The weekdays are quiet in La Union which I love. But the weekends are so much fun because it’s so alive in Urbiztondo. So I feel like I get the best of both worlds, the probinsya life on the weekdays and the party life on the weekends. There’s also so much to do in La Union, like go to the falls, swim in lagoons, surf at the beach, and free-dive in the ocean.”

Before the big move

Nicole tells MEGA Style that her apartment hunting process only took a month, though it wasn’t the easiest process. She shares that not a lot of online listings were available in La Union, and that the initial plan was to try it for a couple of months first—then extend or move back depending on the experience. So the content creator set herself the following criteria: flexible lease terms, at or near San Juan, and white walls and unfurnished so she can decorate and make it her own. She made two separate visits to check the units and walked around for those not listed online, but eventually, Nicole was able to secure a unit that asked for one condition: whoever moved in the earliest gets it. “So I confirmed on a Sunday, and by Tuesday, I had packed my whole life and moved to La Union,” she says. 

Nicole’s switch from city to beach life has benefited her emotionally, mentally, and financially

Making the big move

The now-beach life girl was well-planned in making her move—all of the factors considered and addressed in under just one month:

1. Work: Nicole works as a social media manager for a company based in Manila, whose hybrid structure makes it feasible for her to pack up her things and go. “Because I knew I was willing to go back to Manila twice a month, La Union could be made my new home.”

2. Salary: The “do I want i?” and the “can I do it” are two different things, so Nicole had to take into consideration paying her own rent, electricity, water, gas, food, and all other living expenses. In practicing practicality, Nicole shared that she had to make sure to live below my means for a while until she was better at managing her finances. “Since then, I’ve gotten higher paying jobs so I am now able to fully support myself in La Union with no worries.”

3. Family: Nicole mentioned moving out and living alone in La Union, and fortunately, her family was very supportive. Although making a new life for herself at the beachfront is a big win, one con she mentioned is being away from her mother and sisters. “But I do go home once a month to spend some time with them.”

The better life from the big move

Nicole also reveals to MEGA Style that she used to live near the beach in Boracay, so the La Union switch feels new and nostalgic at the same time, but now navigating life in a slower and a more human pace as opposed to her life in Manila. “I’m no longer rushing for no reason, I’m not trying to overwork myself up the corporate ladder, and I’m not wasting hours in traffic just trying to meet up with friends,” the content creator says. 

“I’ve learned that it’s alright to take things slow. In La Union, I feel like I have the luxury of time; the time to rest from work because I don’t feel the pressure to race to success with my peers; the time to spend with friends; and the time to just be a human living life, instead of trying to just survive it.”

– Nicole De Leon

Nicole further shares that financially, mentally, and emotionally—she is in a better place (figuratively and literally) than she was before. In Manila, she explains that everything costs so much—trying out a new café, a new hobby, getting to wherever is needed. “In La Union, the good things in life are free: Walking to the beach and going for a quick little afternoon swim is free. Going to the cliff at Poro Point and watching the sun set into the ocean is free. Meeting up with friends who are all just minutes away from you is free. For activities that aren’t, you can spend a maximum of P60 exploring three lagoons all day,” she states. “So in La Union, I think I’ve grown so much more appreciative of the little but beautiful things in life. I’m in love with this life now, and the beautiful places and people in it.”

Advice for those who want to make the big move

Here’s what Nicole’s day looks like: on weekdays, she works near the beach—either at the beachfront decks at Flotsam and Jetsam Beach Hostel, or Fatwave so she can order food, or at some of the local cafés—both present a magnificent beach view. “Sometimes, I also go to boutique resorts to film some content for work, and to take a little afternoon dip in the pool while I’m at it. After work, I always drop by Lokal Coffee for my coffee fix, and to meet up with some friends,” she says.

Nicole with her mom in La Union

On the weekends, Nicole makes time to explore new places and appreciate familiar ones. She shares that a hidden gem in La Union is a kitchen-café called today.shophouse. “And every now and then, we take trips to Immuki Island, Poro Point, or if we’ve got more time, we just drive up to Baguio,” she says.

If this appeals to you and you’re looking to start a new chapter in your life living by the beach, especially for those who seek a slower, cheaper, and livelier lifestyle, Nicole’s tips are (1) be respectful of the locals, and (2) make sure you plan everything, most importantly the financial side.  “Moving to any place and being irresponsible with finances might push you to move right back to where you came from,” she says. “Make sure you have the money to pay for all your essentials, plus for all the fun stuff too! I’ve found that the cost of living in the province is cheaper as long as you don’t live like a tourist.”

Commit to beach life once you’re decided on it. Hopefully, like Nicole, you’ll love it better.

Photos and Featured Image: NICOLE DE LEON

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