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Born of the Sea: Island Life in Siargao

Born of the Sea: Island Life in Siargao

We’ve heard stories of people drawn to the ocean and island life.

Of those who’ve left their hometowns and corporate jobs in concrete cities to live a life engineered to perpetually chase waves.

This may be news to you or you’ve probably heard this too many times but it has been a reality for those who chose to brave the road less traveled.

The choice to leave everything you’re familiar with seems to baffle most people. The financial stability, your comfort zones of friends, family and career – these are things traded off for a life of probably lesser comfort or luxury. 

This, I think is something that probably only a handful will completely understand. Though sometimes, this is the only thing that would make sense to those who have taken the same path.

A few months ago, a dream of mine came true when I got to visit Siargao Island for the first time. I was charmed instantly by the soulful island vibe that emanated from the environment to its community. From barefoot tourists walking on the street to bikini-clad surfers with surfboard in tow walking barefoot towards Cloud 9, I immediately felt my soul give a sigh of relief. 

Clear blue skies and riding glassy waves make up the better part of living the island life in Siargao. Photo by Oli Bayer.

Clear blue skies and riding glassy waves make up the better part of living the island life in Siargao. Photo by Oli Bayer.

They say that the biggest factor that makes you fall in love with a place is its community. Since it was my first time in Siargao, I knew I had to get off the beaten track of tourist itineraries and dive into the island’s soulful culture.

“I just decided to leave everything and move here. I was tired of living in Manila” said 34 year-old Mac Lubaczewski, originally from Poland and now working as the manager of Siargao Bleu Resort. I had the pleasure of meeting Mac as he was quite hands-on taking care of guests at the Siargao Bleu, where we were staying.

Previously, he was the general manager of an advertising agency before he decided to leave Manila for good. “I started surfing 5 years ago and my friends have been telling me to try Siargao because it’s the nicest place to surf and there’s a specific type of wave here like Cloud 9 and Tuason and size-wise it’s bigger than most places here in the Philippines.”

Prior to moving to Siargao, Mac spent the last 5 years surfing different spots in Luzon. Photo by Allen Aligam.

Prior to moving to Siargao, Mac spent the last 5 years surfing different spots in Luzon. Photo by Allen Aligam.

When asked what prompted him to move to Siargao, Mac told me that he was supposed to buy an apartment in Manila but kept postponing it. “I asked myself what was I doing. So there, I sold everything and came here”.

Mac tells me an oddly familiar story of weekend surfers. City dwellers traveling out of the city during Friday nights just to be able to surf at first light on Saturdays and come back late night on Sundays. 

Doing all these for the love of surfing. It’s quite a familiar story considering I’ve done it myself the past years since I started learning to surf. Telling Mac that I knew exactly what he was talking about, he laughed and said that he doesn’t need to continue talking about it. Weekend surfers exactly know how this story goes on.

After living in Manila for 8 years, finally moving to Siargao with his surfboard and a few clothes. I asked Mac how the island life has been. “It’s the best decision I ever made. I’ve never been happier. I don’t see myself going anywhere. I could stay here forever.” 

The only photo that we had during my stay in Siargao Bleu Resort. This was taken in between their photoshoot. 

The only photo that we had during my stay in Siargao Bleu Resort. This was taken in between their photoshoot. 

*originally published in my column in EdgeDavao last December 27, 2016

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