My mom decided that we go on a spontaneous road trip after the 2016 Philippine Elections. Being a family of lagalags, we agreed. With the indelible mark of civic duty still on our forefingers and a sense of foreboding, off we went to frolic on the beaches of La Union and visit Bahay Na Bato.
Bahay na bato means “stone house” in English. This open art gallery is located in the municipality of Luna, The Pebble Capital of the North, in La Union. The house was built in 2000 and was opened to the public in 2014 at the urging of Luna Mayor Marvin Marron. Inside the two-storey stone house are various World War II items, carved stones, and wooden adornments. Stepping out onto the second-floor balcony offers you a panoramic view of the pebbled beach and uniquely-landscaped lawn.
Although the tourist attraction is named Bahay Na Bato, the many wood and stone art pieces of various shapes and sizes planted all over place are what caught my eye. They seemed bizarre and outrageous at first, but as we walked along the quirky trail and our eyes were assaulted with more deformed faces carved onto big and small stones, some obscene artwork, and beautifully-etched teeth on driftwood (my favorite!), I was fascinated. A Mr. Bong Kim is responsible for most of the stone carvings decking the lawn of the stone house. There are still various works in progress, so I’m so excited to visit again in a few months.
Although children (4 years old and below) may enter Bahay Na Bato Open Art Gallery for free, some of the artwork require parental supervision. The attraction is by the beach, but swimming is prohibited. Although it may be tempting, please do not take home any artwork, stones, etc. Additionally, let us help maintain the place’s beauty by disposing of our waste properly. Littering is not cool; responsible tourists are.