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Adios 2017, Aloha 2018!

Adios 2017, Aloha 2018!


It’s the start of a new year. We’ve just begun saying hello to 2018. There’s just something about beginnings that I really love. In lieu of the season, I’ll continue the stories about my recent trip to La Union next week. For now, it’s only right that 2017 gets a proper farewell.

Looking back at the 12 months that passed, I realized the emerging theme that dominated the year. 2017 was the year of chasing dreams. There were so many firsts for this year! First time to actually live the lifestyle of surfing. To chase the waves (literally) wherever they may be. And a lot of firsts in surfing new spots. 

 Real struggles of traveling with your surfboard. Taken in Siargao, September 2017.

Real struggles of traveling with your surfboard. Taken in Siargao, September 2017.

New Year, New Adventures

Beginning January 2017, I found myself in my first ever surf trip around Mindanao. I’ll always be grateful to the crew I was with (shout outs to Joven, Alex, Lisa, Bhrett, and Sandy – you guys are awesome!). This first surf trip definitely created a lot of chapters in my book. 

It was my first time to venture outside of my home break, Dahican, in Davao Oriental. Starting from Dahican in Mati City, we drove upwards towards the northern municipalities in Davao Oriental, stopping by in Caraga, Baganga, and Cateel. I will never forget the endless possible surf spots that I saw along this east coast drive or the beautiful natural attractions of each municipality.

The goal was to drive up north and go to the major surf spots along the east coast of Mindanao. We weren’t able to visit all of them but the usual spots (that I haven’t been to prior to this trip) were Lianga and Lanuza in Surigao del Sur, and finally, Siargao up in Surigao del Norte. 

 One of the upsides of remote work is that you can work anywhere. Taken in Siargao September 2017.

One of the upsides of remote work is that you can work anywhere. Taken in Siargao September 2017.

A Year of Firsts: Hello, Surigao del Surf!

It was my first time both in Lanuza and Lianga. It was love at first surf. I realized from this trip, as I write this here in Lianga; I’ve always been coming back to these places. This year alone, I’ve been to Lanuza thrice and Lianga, five times! I had to keep checking back the dates on the photos I took because it seemed so long ago, I actually thought that I visited Lianga first last year!

Siargao Island was the last stop of the trip. Though it wasn’t my first time there, it was my first time to go there just purely for surf and with a group of surfers (who were so much better than I was at surfing). 

I got to the taste the lifestyle that accompanied the surf culture in Siargao Island and I was quite taken aback that the island was almost about half partying and half surfing. Oh, and eating in between since there were just so many restaurants, cafes and food holes that sprouted in the last years. Siargao Island then made it on my list of foodie places.

 At the end of the day, it's always the people (and the waves) that make the trip better. My Dahican boys being wacky. Taken July 2017.

At the end of the day, it's always the people (and the waves) that make the trip better. My Dahican boys being wacky. Taken July 2017.

When Flatness Strikes and PSCT

My surfing tapered down with the onset of the flat season where I realized I really have to look for places with waves. I lost the muscle and stamina that I built by surfing almost every day for the first three to four months of the year. This is one of my goals for 2018, to never commit the same mistake by being idle during the offseason in the usual breaks that I surf in.

The onset of Amihan season was met not only with waves but with a lot of trips and first-time experiences. My favorite was being part of the Philippine Surfing Championship Tour (PSCT), albeit a very small role in writing about the tour and the happenings around it. 

The PSCT brought me back to a few of my favorite surf spots as well as new spots that I would never have thought I would be able to visit this year (hello, Elyu). I didn’t make it to the full four stops of the tour since I had a prior travel commitment during the stop in Baler, Aurora. Next year, I’m planning to go experience more surf spots in Luzon as well in the Visayas. I’m crossing my fingers that PSCT adds more surf spots this 2018.

 This is with my Dahican crew, Dahicabebes. One of our favorite photos taken after surfing and freediving. July 2017.

This is with my Dahican crew, Dahicabebes. One of our favorite photos taken after surfing and freediving. July 2017.

Realizations of Remote Work

I love how unintentionally surfing started and ended 2017. On the last day of 2017, I was able to surf one newer spot in Lianga and I was blown away by the quality of waves found here. I didn’t expect to surf lefthander waves since most of these were right-handers. 

I was blown away. The last day of 2017 was ending perfectly as I wrapped up the day’s surf session with shoulder to head high waves that gave you enough speed and face to play around with. Despite the rain and gloomy weather, the sun came out at just the right time to warm us up when it was starting to get really cold. Add a hundred of fishes, a dozen seagulls and two arching rainbows, my companions (Joey, Toto and Uncle Bob) paddled back to the shore. 

When new and old friends exclaim about how I’m ‘living the life’, I noticed (this is a late realization for the year though) how I always downplay these remarks. It dawned me that two years ago, I would have died to live this kind of life where I could bring my work anywhere (as long as there’s internet) and ergo, surf as much as I can.

 Throwing shakas for my constant Lianga crew, local surfers Joey and Wang! Taken December 2017, photo by Mottie Santos.

Throwing shakas for my constant Lianga crew, local surfers Joey and Wang! Taken December 2017, photo by Mottie Santos.

You Choose the Life You Want

This is not to brag or create a rift that this kind of lifestyle is better than corporate or better than other alternative lifestyles but this is to make the point that dreams can come true. We can chase our dreams and turn them into reality yet once we’re there, it’s hard to realize that it’s actually true at the moment. I have this gut feeling that it’s still a long way to go for me, there’s still so much to write about, to discover and experience in the journey of searching for the elusive (and hopefully) never-ending stoke.

The doors are wide open and the pages are blank. 2018 is going to be an awesome year, I can feel it. Happy new year to everyone and cheers to new beginnings! 

 Another first for me! My first professionally taken photo in surf action. (I know a ride would have been better but I don't have copies). Photo by Gringgo Urbiztondo.

Another first for me! My first professionally taken photo in surf action. (I know a ride would have been better but I don't have copies). Photo by Gringgo Urbiztondo.

Your Quick Guide to Lanuza

Your Quick Guide to Lanuza

Breaking Down the 15th Lanuza Surfing Festival

Breaking Down the 15th Lanuza Surfing Festival