Surf the web and the waves at an oceanside coworking space in La Union

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Situated above a coffee shop, Beach Hub innovates coworking culture even further with the combined perks of fast Wi-Fi, good coffee, scenic ocean views, and even yoga sessions. Photo by SAMANTHA LEE

Manila (CNN Philippines Life) — Imagine this: getting to work without traffic, having an office with a lush ocean view, and going surfing during your lunch breaks. At Beach Hub, you won’t have to.

Beach Hub was started by Raffy Castillo, Kiddo Cosio, and Mia Sebastian, former Manila residents who have all relocated to La Union to start their respective businesses.

beach hub Beach Hub offers both an air conditioned meeting room and an open-air coworking space, furnished with mats and books for browsing, available for rent. Photo by SAMANTHA LEE

Castillo is a businessman who was running a school and tutorial center in Laguna before moving to the northern Philippine province. He wanted to take a year off to spend more time surfing. Coincidentally, Sebastian, a Facebook friend with whom he had never had a proper conversation at the time, posted a status asking if anyone wanted to move to La Union to run a coworking space. Castillo recounts: “I sent her a private message, and that’s it. By August, I was here. It was supposed to be one year, but parang the seven months flew by really fast. So parang sabi ko, ‘Yeah, one more year.’”

The idea behind Beach Hub was to have a place to work that would be close to where they surf. “We just wanted to be closer to nature, to have a simpler life,” Castillo says. “We wanted a space where we could be laid-back, but still be productive.” For ₱400 pesos a day, Beach Hub provides customers with a place to work with high-speed Wi-Fi and good coffee.

beach hub Inside, Beach Hub is decorated sparsely: bean bags, mats, two tables, and a standing work station, leaving very little opportunity to distract from the ocean view. Photo by SAMANTHA LEE

Opened in February, the coworking space is still in the process of building a community. Its general demographic includes digital nomads who are afforded the luxury of being able to work from anywhere. Freelancers, social media managers, webpage translators, and backpackers make up its customer base.

Beach Hub is located right off the main highway, resting on top of a coffee shop called El Union, which Cosio owns. Having built the structure from scratch, its owners have been able to apply three principles to the layout and design. “It has to be community-centered, environment-conscious, and design-forward,” Castillo says. The structure was built from materials available in the area, like repurposed wood from Aringay and the dried anahaw leaves used for the roof. “As much as possible, we try to employ the local community,” Castillo adds. “Everything is really done by the locals.”

beach hub Beach Hub has both beachside and roadside access for pedestrians. Photo by SAMANTHA LEE  

The space is decorated sparsely: bean bags, mats, two tables, and a standing work station, leaving very little opportunity to distract from the ocean view. “It’s basically on instinct, eh,” Castillo says. “What we need, what will make it more conducive for us to work.”

Castillo describes the space as the “perfect place to be creative kasi you’re by the beach, you have a nice view.” Aside from being a coworking space, Beach Hub serves as a yoga studio and an events space for workshops. The daily morning and afternoon yoga sessions (the schedules of which depend on the wave conditions) are led by Lalah de Dios of Aquanimous Yoga, who moved to La Union in March. Beach Hub has also played host to the San Juan Film Camp and the Grid Photography Workshop. It is also the site for the monthly ridge-to-reef organic market, the goal of which is to give local farmers a place to sell their products, like organic vegetables, rice, honey, granola, and pastries.

beach hub Community Manager, Raffy Castillo says that the coworking space is the “perfect place to be creative" because of the nice view of the beach greeting you as you work." Photo by SAMANTHA LEE  

Beach Hub and the folks behind it place great emphasis on the importance of community — whether it’s building one of their own or contributing to one they’re already a part of, keeping people connected to one another and to the digital world.