Behind the Scenes with Ouisurf & Surfista Travels by Elaine Abonal

October 15, 2012

A couple of weeks ago, someone sent a message on the Surfista Travels Facebook page saying that they were producing a French-Canadian TV show showing 2 surfers looking for great spots to surf around Asia. They wanted to meet different and interesting people and that it was off-the-beaten-path kind of travel show. The show was inspired by the awesome surf website and they were coming to the Philippines. They needed my/Surfista Travels’ help to go around Luzon, help with fixing accommodations and transportation, have the connections to meet the right people, go surf with and have fun.

Check out their website – it’s in French but there’s a lot of good surf action in there!

It was why I created Surfista Travels in the first place – to help surfers and travellers – beginner or advanced – get to where they want to go and be able to share what I know about the beautiful surf spots and culture of the Philippines. So I said YES.

Cockfighting “Training” with Ben and Jean Michel

We were lucky to be allowed IN the cockfighting pit & have real 1st hand experience!

We spent a week filming, surfing and travelling with the crew of Ouisurf to film episodes about surf, people and culture in La Union and Baler, north of the Philippines. The locals in both places were kind enough to give us a portion of their time to share about Filipino culture – from food, cockfighting, skateboarding, secret and private surf spots, and just the beauty of the Philippines and its people. It was an amazing adventure and experience with these hardworking guys. It was really interesting, not just for me but for the locals that we interacted with, how much passion they have for surf, travel and the goodness of the other people. It’s true that the cameras helped (which Filipino doesn’t want to be in front of the camera?) but it was the sincerity and smiles of the entire crew that made filming fun for everyone.

At San Juan Surf Resort – visiting the more popular beach for surfing in Luzon
Ben, Elaine (me), Jean Michel & Luke

Interviewing Philippine surf star & Surfista brother Luke Landrigan

The guys from Ouisurf had a fun skate session with the Baler locals.

I had to be one of the guys & get over being a “princess” to surf Cemento reef!! Good training though and the locals took care of me so well.

Thank you to Roy Angara of Aliya Surf Camp Baler for personally driving us, showing us around & bringing us to the most beautiful surf spots!

It’s been an awesome experience with Ouisurf – behind the camera, in front of the camera, and while we weren’t filming. One great thing about TRAVEL is that even if you go to the same place, it changes depending on the people you are with and how you’ve changed yourself. My boundaries were pushed, I surfed the biggest waves I ever dared to (but won’t have photos til they start editing) and connected with new spots, new locals, and new experiences. I wish I could keep every amazing person I’ve met with me and put them in my pocket but I know our lives will go on and we’ll only get to keep the smiles and the memories.

Behind the scenes in La Union with Benjamin Rochette, Elaine Abonal and Jean Michel Peloquin

I wish I could keep every amazing person I’ve met with me and put them in my pocket but I know our lives will go on and we’ll only get to keep the smiles and the memories. Bon voyage!!

Can’t wait for how it’s going to turn out and I have no doubt that it’ll be great! We wish them luck as they continue their adventure to Siargao and around the world. Check them out at :)

Check out more Behind The Scenes PHOTOS on the Surfista Facebook page or click HERE.

Want to travel with Surfista and have the same kind of arrangement? We offer private and customized group tours. Click HERE or e-mail

September 2012 Surfista Trip by Hanz Cubillan

It didn’t really occur to me to take up surfing. I’ve been watching surfers come and go in my hometown of Siargao, but never really thought of learning it. So how did this start?

I remember just staying at home recovering from a nasty flu. I was checking pictures in Instagram under the hashtag #siargaoisland and came across Elaine Abonal’s profile. Seeing the pictures of my hometown and her riding the waves of Cloud Nine made me realize that, “hey, I should be doing that!” I added her up in Instagram and Facebook. Luckily, an upcoming Surfista trip was scheduled (Sept. 22-23), and I decided to join.

Instagram makes connections! Follow us @SurfistaTravels

I was quite anxious on the day of the trip. I realized I was going alone with no idea if I could do this… Arriving at San Juan Surf School, I was immediately taken by the relaxed atmosphere. At once, the sight of the ocean was welcoming. The sunrise beckoned new beginnings…

Hanz with his instructor, Manong Abe of San Juan Surf School

The moment we started the lessons, all I could think of was “you better stand up on that board!” Luckily, my first instructor, Kuya Abe, was really patient with me. Somehow, his vibe rubbed off on me. The edginess was gone, and voila, I was able to catch a wave…

And I caught another one, and then another one and then another one…It was an incredible feeling!

Documented & dream come true!! Hanz’ first time to ride on a wave!!

Buoyed by the confidence I got from the first day, the lessons the following day were a breeze (hah! Still had some wipeouts!) This time, Kuya Bash was my instructor. He was really “chill” so to speak, and always told me to have proper timing so that I can catch a wave. And catch numerous waves I did!

Towards the end of the trip, I realized that I haven’t felt this happy in a long time : )  Is this what they call “stoked”? I think so, and since everyone was in this state, no one wanted to leave! The bonds that were formed were strong enough to form new friendships!

Zinka fun with Manong Abe

Surfista trips are about new friends and fun!

I highly recommend Surfista trips to those who want to learn surfing. Surfista really watches out for its participants, and it shows in how they arrange everything for you – the transpo, accommodation…and did I mention we had sponsors? Never got thirsty thanks to Lighwater, didn’t get sunburned thanks to VMV Hypoallergenics Armada Sun Screen, had a blast painting our faces with Zinka and filmed our stoked moments with GoPro cameras! I really gotta have those bags from Sea to Summit and water bottles from Nalgene in my next surf trip. Not to mention cool stuff to wear from Agos and Hurley!

New memories we’ll never forget

What else can I say? I loved the company I was with, the lessons, the instructors, the organizer (Elaine rocks!) and the whole trip itself.

Finally meeting and hanging out in person after being Instagram & Facebook friends, Hanz with Surfista owner Elaine Abonal

Most of all, I realized , I love surfing.

Thank you, Surfista Travels!

Officially completing a weekend of surf lessons with his fellow Surfistas

Hanz with his team of September 2012 Surfista participants!


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