THE SIARGAO EXPERIENCE, SURFISTA TRAVELS STYLE!

By JJ Ferrer

The day before my flight to Siargao, I spent an entire afternoon at work deciding how I would write my out-of-office email message. I considerately decided that Thank you for your email, I will be out of office to go surfing on a beautiful island for six glorious days and do awesome things that awesome people do on an awesome vacation with my fellow Surfistas would be a ruthless thing to send to anyone who would read it while they’re at work. I leaned towards simplicity and just wrote that I’ll be out of office and will respond to their mail when I get back.

Dreaming of Siargao even before getting there!

By midnight, sheer excitement has prompted me that I will not get any sleep. I’ve already checked my bags twice. I’ve went over my Surfista goodies and tried to fit all the shirts, accessories and baller bands to pass time. Hmmm… maybe I’ll just drink one of those hot chocolate freebies while I do swimsuit inventory.

SURF, SURF, SURF.

Our Surfista group for August 2013 and our local instructors – who are also the best surfers in the country!

The major element of the Surfista Siargao trip would definitely be the everyday surf. That’s good vibes on a daily basis! And if that’s not cool enough, we got partnered with super-skilled instructors who were as pleasant to surf with as they are to watch while they do surf tricks. (Note to self:  Learn the specific names of those surf tricks so I wouldn’t be mentioning “tricks” repeatedly!) They were also such warm and fun people who were so helpful in sharing their expertise. It feels so unreal to have surfed at Siargao with those legends.

with my instructor Eloy – big wave surfer, boat man, kinilaw chef, super awesome surf instructor and all around nice guy!

We’ve also explored other nearby surf spots and it was a quite an excitement. But I’d say it was pretty intimidating, too. For someone who just started surfing early this year, I’ve never really had that much experience on varying waves. Add to that the fact that I’ve never surfed on a reef break before. (Thank goodness for reef shoes!)  There were spots where the waves are bigger than what I am used to. Frankly, I think I grew solid guts because of this entire surf experience.

Surfing in paradise!!!!!

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ROCK POOLS, CARABAO RIDES, ISLAND HOPPING.

Siargao is well-known for surfing but there are other cool things to do there. One of our sunny mornings was spent jumping off rocks and dipping in the clear waters at Magpupungko Rock Pools. That one’s rather memorable because I somehow confounded my height fright that day. Awesome feeling.

Siargao is beautiful and there are so many places to visit!

Heading to the Magpupungko rock pools with fellow Surfistas

Jumping into the rock pool!! We all did it and dedicated to something we all needed to let go of! ;)

We also had a free day so we decided to use up a couple of hours to go carabao-riding. Chelle, one of the Surfistas, and I decided to add a dash of fun by wearing our dresses to this happy occasion. If you’re gonna do it, do it with flair, right? I consider this one of the many amusing highlights of the trip.

Carabao riding in style!

Kevin riding the carabao like a boss!

And how could I forget the trip to three islands in one day? We started the island hopping in the morning and as we walk through the woodlands to get to the dock where our boat was waiting for us, one of our local guides casually instructed us to watch out for snakes. Uhm, what?!? Did she say snakes? I thought that was a fairly good reason to faint out of terror but then I also thought it would be a good story to tell if we did encounter snakes. We didn’t. But there’s still the interesting story about the three islands we went to, the hearty lunch we enjoyed together, the glorious nap underneath a tree, the ukulele jam session, the good swim we had, and the golden tan that I’m too happy to have gotten so I cannot stop boasting about it up until the present time. (Sorry, jealous friends. #sorrynotsorry)

Freshly grilled seafood, mangoes and banana, rice for our simple island hopping lunch – it was SO GOOD.

More tropical fruits for dessert – watermelon for a hot hot day.

Chill lunch!

Of course we had to have that jump shot in Guyam Island.

JUNGLE JUICE, STARGAZING, GAME NIGHTS.

I’m just so glad to have met people who were as ready as I was for whatever the island had to give. The very first night at the place, we heard about Jungle Disco (aka Jangol Deesco). It wasn’t part of the trip’s itinerary but we were so game for the island life and we were ready to roll! So what if we haven’t slept the night before? We excitedly waited for midnight and went to the disco! I actually pictured it to be in the middle of the jungle because it was called Jungle Disco, right? But no, it’s not literally on a jungle, but yes, there was dancing. And the finest part — Jungle Juice — the yummy drink that established the birth of our group’s name the Nutty Jangol Juice Surfistas.

My awesome group the Nutty Jangol Surfistas (missing Niko in the photo!)

 Some nights we spent looking up at the sky and watching countless stars. It was beautiful and that’s definitely something you can’t do in the city. On starless nights because of rain, our group always found a way to do something fun and hilarious.  We had game nights and some nights were just spent talking — one minute were talking about our odd future plans (keyword: mermaid), next minute we were discussing books and another minute were singing Saging lang ang may Puso remix version. We were nuts!

HI, BYE, HI AGAIN.

 The skies were dark on the day we were leaving. All of us Surfistas were just silently sitting on Siargao Airport’s waiting area, bracing ourselves for our normal city lives. We were waiting for quite a while when someone announced that our flights got cancelled because of the weather. We all looked at each other, wordless, emotionless. (Another version of this story is that there was a resounding YAY heard in the entire airport but this has yet to be confirmed).  There was so much work to do in the city but who are we to fight the forces of nature, right?? ;) Maybe the island wasn’t ready to see us leave.

One of our extra days was spent going to Sohoton to check out the caves and lagoons. It took hours to get there but the view, the encounter with stingless jellyfish, the caving experience and the chance to jump off a cliff again were definitely worth the time. The rest of the days were dedicated to added crazy talks, even more food and of course, more surf time.

with Gianni of Kermit Surf & Dive EcoCamp and Elaine Abonal of Surfista Travels

On the whole, I can absolutely say that the SURFISTA SIARGAO trip I signed up for falls under the Awesome Surf Trip category. Every aspect of the surf experience was terrific, the other activities were fun, the people I’ve met were amazing, the resort (Kermit Surf & Dive Resort, check them out!) and the folks there were so cool and Elaine did a lot of awesome work to make sure that our trip goes smoothly. I would definitely do it again. Definitely.

I would totally go back. I’ll never forget this Surfista in Siargao experience!!

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