Top 10 Reasons why Surfista Travels is the BEST!

by Moireen Espinosa

I’m a late bloomer when it comes to surfing, but I’ve been meaning to try surfing for ages. When I started learning how to surf and did my share of research, I stumbled upon Surfista Travels Philippines.  Here are the top 10 reasons (because I could list a whole lot more) why for me, Surfista Travels is THE BEST!

Moi has always been a fan of Surfista Travels and last year, she finally made her dreams come true and joined a Surfista trip! ;)


Surfista Travels makes sure that each trip has a touch of love and care! Aside from the surfing itself, each trip is filled with activities suited to maximize the trip where the group is in. For example, if the trip is in Baler, the group gets to visit the Oldest Balete Tree and the Mother Falls. If it’s in La Union, there are waterfalls called Tangadan Falls.  There are mini-ice breaker activities per trip that will be conducted such as a kris-kringle which I experienced during the La Union Surf Trip I attended last December 2013. Elaine Abonal of Surfista Travels keeps everyone involved and excited, which I love.

Island hopping with the Surfistas who went to Siargao! Every trip and group is PERSONALIZED, which makes every Surfista experience memorable!

 2. They make sure of the QUALITY of everything.

Surfista Travels works with surf schools that have certified instructors, resorts with quality service and amenities, and sponsors that provide products geared towards a safer surf environment. All these are important because the aim of Surfista Travels is to help groups of people to get to the best surf spots, surf resorts and surf schools while making it easy, convenient, and fun!

Surfista Travels only works with the BEST. Here is pro surfer Luke Landrigan personally giving surfing basics to Surfistas.

 3. They’re actually LEGIT!

Elaine Abonal of Surfista Travels is based in Manila and has been surfing, traveling around the Philippines and bringing friends to different surf spots for the past 10 years. She is currently a brand ambassador for GoPro Philippines, Hurley Philippines, VMV Hypoallergenics Philippines, Breo, Lightwater, Vitaminboost,  Nalgene Philippines, Sea To Summit Philippines, Zem Gear Philippines and Agos Pilipinas  and has also recently received her First Aid Certification from Philippine First Aid. How’s that for being legit?

Surfista Travels Founder Elaine Abonal with Moireen Espinosa

 4. COMMUNICATION is the key for Surfista Travels.

From pre to post surf trip, all you’d worry about is the #SEApanx and you’d be eager to join the next Surfista Trip. Elaine Abonal, the owner and founder of Surfista Travels, always makes sure that every detail of each trip is well-coordinated.  Surfista Travels has a website and social media accounts where Elaine posts updates about trips, deadlines, merchandise and such. She also makes a point to send reminders via email and SMS to participants regarding the trip they signed up for.

Elaine Abonal is known for and remembered by Surfistas as very organized and friendly – it’s as if you’ve known each other for a long time and are hanging out with an old friend.


People from different parts of the Philippines and other countries book with Surfista Travels because the process is simple and is hassle free! Surfista Travels takes the on the “spirit of surf travel” and makes it just pure FUN and STRESS FREE for ALL participants – from finding a place to stay, transportation to and from the surf spot; Surfista Travels takes care of everything!

No worries. Just join a Surfista trip and your main job is to HAVE FUN!

 6. They’ve got PASSION: Commitment to the Environment.

Elaine, through Surfista Travels, spreads her love of surfing. Surfista Travels is not just a surf tour company but it is also focused on the promotion of eco-surf / sustainable tourism . Surfista Travels has been an inspiration and a way for participants to reachout through activities such as Beach Cleanups to keep the environment safe and clean for both humans and mother nature.

Surfista Travels makes sure that we never leave any of our trash whenever we go on surf spots. We also heave beach clean ups to teach Surfistas the importance of showing the locals that we care for and respect their beaches.

 7. You’ll always be with GOOD COMPANY.

Being part of Surfista Travels is more than just the surfing experience per se, but being around people who you would share the same stoked feeling –regardless of the skill level in surfing. You’d likely meet people from different walks of life but at the end of the trip, you’d find yourself with a bunch of new found bffs.

Moireen Espinosa with her Surfista Travels group to La Union

 8. TRAVEL – what else!?

Surfing here would need to take hours of travel time – so this would also feed you’re your craving to travel! Surfista Travels offer different packages to different awesome surf spots such as La Union, Baler, and Siargao. Surfista Travels will surely bring you to the best surf spots at the right time for both beginners and intermediate surfers.

From beginners to advanced surfers – such as this TV crew from Montreal Canada who did a TV show called OuiSurf – Surfista Travels can provide you the service and information you need – especially when it comes to surf travel.

 9. Surfista Travels really live the SURFING LIFESTYLE.

Unlike what other people think, surfing isn’t a cliquish sport. Since you spend time with people and met new people at the same time, in the long run it’s a very welcoming community – and Surfista Travels takes this into account. But surfing is not just about getting in the water and riding waves, but it’s about relationships with Surfista Participants, the locals, and the environment.


10. Last but not the least – SURFING!

Of course! Why join Surfista Travels if surfing isn’t in the list? Add to it the stoked feeling after you ride your first wave. Oh! And those muscles you didn’t know existed? They will surely ache but it’s worth it! Sooner you’d be ripped in no time! Once you start have that first ride on a wave, it is feels awesome! And since every wave is different, you’d get addicted to it!

Moi’s game face is ON! Learning how to surf with Surfista Travels is one of the best experiences you can give to your family, friends, and especially yourself.


Check out our TOURS & PACKAGES.

twitter: @SurfistaTravels     instagram: @SurfistaTravels



by Elaine Abonal

The FIRST time I ever went surfing in La Union in 2002 – and yup, I was the only chick!

         You’ve always wanted to learn how to surf and watching those movies or photos of those carefree-always-happy-ocean-lovers has once made you say, “Someday I’m going to try that. I’m gonna surf.” So why haven’t you? What is stopping YOU from going on that first surf trip, first surf ride or first surf experience?

          You may say you’re shy, scared, or are just hesitant to try it. I get it. I was in your position once upon a time but after a lot of surf trips, wipe outs and islands visited, I guess I could say I’ve learned a thing or two about the truths and fallacies when it comes to this whole world of surfing. Here are some statements – mostly fallacies – broken down and explained to tell you what it’s REALLY like – and hopefully will give you a better picture and make you actually GET OUT THERE and SURF with us!


1.      I need to have 6 pack abs, beautiful tanned skin and sun-kissed golden hair before I can start surfing.

 NO you don’t. You don’t HAVE TO be anything but YOURSELF. There is no weight, body type nor age requirement before you could start surfing. The beauty in surfing is that you get to meet so many DIFFERENT kinds of people from all over the world in ALL shapes, sizes, colors, styles, nationalities and ages. All you really need is a positive attitude, good vibes and a hunger to learn.

Bikini bodies and six-pack abs – don’t worry those are just photoshopped! ;) Haha

 But I have to say – because surfing is really good exercise for your body and you ARE exposed to a beautiful amount of sunshine, you may eventually end up being more fit, ending up with sun-kissed hair and skin and looking and feeling better both on the inside and out. Just BE YOURSELF and have fun! I heard the happier and more fun you’re having, the HOTTER you actually end up being!! ;)

SURFERS come in all shapes, sizes, nationalities, colors and ages. Don’t let the physical stuff prevent you from living your dream!

 2.      Surfers are scary and cliquish!

 Yup, surfers bite. Haha kidding, it MAY seem that way in the beginning. Because of all the time surfers spend together in AND out of the water,  we end up becoming really good friends.  That should ENCOURAGE you because you know that you’ll be making a new set of buddies (even a crush or a boyfriend / girlfriend oooh la la!! ;) once you start surfing or join a Surfista group.

Anni from Thailand, Michaela from USA, Kage & me from the Philippines & Philippa from Australia / South Africa – a mix of girls turned friends during a surf event in Siargao. We didn’t care if we were competitors, pros or contest coordinators – we were just surf chicks united by our love for the ocean :)

 You’ll see – once you’ve laughed about each other’s wipeouts, accidental wardrobe malfunction anecdotes, and shared more than a couple of hours in a van, plane or boat together, you’ll be forging bonds and making new sets of friends. Plus, being in a Surfista group feels like being in a family or a barkada each time. Ask the past Surfistas! ;)

 3.      I’ve never tried a sport before.

 Well then, NOW is the perfect time to start! Remember, surfing isn’t just a sport. It’s a LIFESTYLE. It’s the road trip, hanging out with friends, getting in the water, sharing stories on the beach with a beer or two and doing that every single time you go on a trip. It’s not just a “scary” sport, it’s also a FUN and life-changing (should we say enhancing?) lifestyle!

Time to get fit!! Stretching during before surf lessons during a Surfista tour in La Union.

Surfing can be tiring and requires a lot of energy. It helps a lot to be fit and to be a good swimmer especially when you’re taking on the big waves. But if we’re talking about just TRYING it and getting started, then I promise that it won’t feel like those boring treadmill walks at the gym. Standing up for the first few times and riding your own waves is going to be SO MUCH fun, you’ll forget about the jelly arms that you’ll feel at night.

John’s first time to go surfing – he was a longboarder on the street and now on the water too!

 4.      There are sharks and monsters in the water.

 There ARE creatures in the ocean (besides that freaky guy who keeps dropping in on you or staring at your bikini bottom). Remember, WE are the ones who borrowing water space from other ocean creatures so we should respect them. Being in the water a lot exposes you to Mother Nature and it’s a beautiful thing! There’s nothing more peaceful than seeing fish, sea turtles, dolphins, birds and even butterflies (yep I have proof!) out there while you’re on your board.

Nasty jellyfish… I’ve been stung and it HURT. Be careful! Didn’t stop me from surfing though ;)

There are NO recorded shark attacks in the Philippines (that I know of!!) and we don’t have Great White Sharks like in other colder countries. There ARE definitely jellyfish, nikniks, sea urchins, etc. once in a while – some that sting a bit, some that sting a LOT, so it’s best be aware of the conditions and always ask the locals what’s out there. Nothing someone’s pee can’t handle. (Just kidding.)

 It’s normal – we have to deal with these things as surfers!

 5.      I’m going to look stupid and look like a beginner!

OF COURSE you’re going to look like a beginner because you ARE one! Everyone starts somewhere and there’s no shame in that. It’s actually the most exciting part because you’ll be going from having no surf experience at all to riding waves in no time. And who cares about you looking stupid? The best surfers are the ones having the biggest smiles and having the most fun!

Best look!? Big smile!

Everyone starts as a beginner. This is Maddy getting pointers in Baler. There’s something new to learn in every surf session.

Surfista Roma claiming her wave!! Doesn’t matter how big or small those waves are – as long as you’re having FUN!

Those graceful and kickass photos you see of surfers from all over the country and the world are just a split second glance of what they really look like out in the water. Our hair gets all over our faces, our tongues are out when we paddle for a wave, our wipeouts are hilarious – and that’s what makes it all fun!

  6.      I have no time, no money and no permission from my parents.

I believe that if there’s a WILL, there’s always a WAY. If there’s something you REALLY want to do in this life, you’ll work harder to earn that extra cash so you can do it. When I will still studying in university, I saved allowance money and studied for my Philosophy classes at the beach  just so I could surf as much as I wanted to. And not only did I pass, I aced those tests if you were wondering. Must’ve been all the adrenaline and stoke in my brain! And as for parents (which is a common concern I get from students) – well why don’t you bring your mom and dad with you on a surf trip and see how happy it makes you and how fun it actually is? That’s what I did with my family and as soon as they saw that it was a beautiful surf world and my Surf Camp family kept me safe, they were less worried. Who knows? Your mom or dad might even want to try it!

Check out the Thomas family from France surfing together during a private Surfista tour to La Union. A family that surfs together stays together, they say! ;)

 7.      The water is cold and I need a wetsuit. 

Are you sure you’re in the beautiful warm tropical archipelago called the PHILIPPINES? ;) 

We are sooooooo LUCKY and BLESSED to be live in this beautiful country!! Get out there and explore it, please!

8.      I need to be with my entire group of friends or family. 

No, you don’t. The only thing you need to start surfing is the ocean, waves, a surfboard and your COURAGEOUS SELF. Not everyone wants to try the same thing or people have conflicting schedules. Fortunately for you, groups were created like SURFISTA TRAVELS PHILIPPINES so that you can try surfing with other lone travellers/adventurers so that you can still be independent but have fun with other people. The surf barkadas (group of friends in Tagalog) you see on Facebook are actually composed of different individuals united by their new love – surfing! You’ll make your own new surf family (I love mine a lot – and it keeps growing) soon enough.

One of the most memorable Surfista groups because these Surfistas stayed friends and now go on their own surf trips. They’ve formed their own little surf family and that makes me totally happy :)

 9.      I have no way to do it and nobody is going to help me!

 What are you talking about!? This is why I started Surfista Travels Philippines!!

SURFISTA TRAVELS PHILIPPINES offers surf tour groups and packages which include transportation, accommodation, surf lessons, and board rentals. It is perfect for people who live in Manila who would like to get away and try something new for the weekend or for tourists who want to explore and see the Philippines in a different way! We work with the best surf resorts and surf schools so that you will have the most amazing experience.

We make the surf lifestyle EASY, FUN and CONVENIENT for YOU at Surfista Travels. :) Ask the past Surfistas!

 So what are you waiting for? Get rid of your doubts, let your experience speak for itself and just HAVE FUN, make new friends, explore the Philippines and SURF with us. If you have other questions or concerns, you may check out our FAQ page or e-mail me at



twitter: @SurfistaTravels     instagram: @SurfistaTravels

We did it! First group to La Union was a SUCCESS :)

Surfista Travels Philippines had our first group and surf trip to San Juan, La Union last February 11 & 12. We had a little more than 10 participants, the ThirtySix-O film crew sponsored by GoPro Philippines, and a lot of excited smiles. We left Manila at 5 am and arrived at the San Juan Surf Resort just in time for lunch. The weather and wave conditions were perfect for beginners on Saturday when we had lessons with San Juan Surf Resort. Each person had a surf instructor and everyone was stoked as soon as they stood on their FIRST WAVE! And we must say, everyone was able to stand on their first try! :)

All set on a beautiful day! Surfboards, surf instructors, surf lessons

Each student had their own surf instructor

Already SURFING on the first day!!

Home base: San Juan Surf Resort

After taking a break in the afternoon and while waiting for sunset, we had a beach clean up. We want to emphasize the importance of keeping our beaches and oceans clean. After all, it IS our playground right?  The beach of San Juan is pretty clean and we thought we wouldn’t have to pick anything up, but we realized that there were literally hundreds, if not thousands, of cigarette butts on the sand. Some local surfer girls helped us pick them up and put all the trash we collected in biodegradable plastic bags.

After picking up trash at the beach, we were blessed with THIS BEAUTIFUL VIEW!

At night we had dinner, chilled, hung out at the beach and played models/actors/actresses while the film crew were filming. These Surfistas are artistas!

Hanging out at the beach

The next day, everyone was up and ready for their next surf lessons. The waves were bigger and more intense this time but the instructors from the surf school were very good in making sure that we had fun and stayed safe. Everyone really wanted to improve their surfing. Thankfully we had a lot of supply of Lightwater and Vitaminboost to keep us hydrated!

Lightwater & Vitaminboost kept us hydrated!

The crew of ThirtySix-O hard at work but still having fun!

With all the filming involved, the first group of Surfistas felt like super artistas!

The weekend went by really fast – time flies when you’re having fun they say – and at the end of the trip, everyone wore their Surfista Travels T-shirts sponsored by Agos Pilipinas. The quality of the shirt was very comfortable and the design was classy, colorful and fun – both boys and girls loved it! Then we had our group photo taken, got our certificates and said our well wishes and goodbyes to each other before our trip back to Manila. We didn’t want to leave and wished the experience was longer.

One of the best things about surf trips is making NEW FRIENDS. Laura (on the left) flew all the way to the Philippines from Thailand to join us on this trip!

Surfista Girls

Surfista Boys with Surfista Travels founder & coordinator Elaine Abonal

This is just a short jist of our pioneer group’s experience on our surf trip but to sum it all up, we were blessed with sunshine, waves, the gift of surfing and new friends, a lot of smiles and new memories. THAT is how we can say the trip was a SUCCESS. :)

Want to see more photos? Check out the Surfista Travels Facebook page!

Want to read what our participants had to say? Check out our Testimonials page!

The first EVER group of Surfista Travelers! So proud!!!

Want to join the next trip? MARCH 24 & 25, 2012 to LA UNION. Save the dates to make sure you have a spot! Details at the Tours & Packages page.

We would like to THANK our participants, our friends & families, Luke Landrigan & his instructors from the San Juan Surf School, the awesome film crew of ThirtySix-O media, the ocean for giving us the gift of sea, waves & sunshine & our sponsors GoPro Philippines, Lightwater, VitaminBoost, Agos Pilipinas, 7107 Island Travel Magazine, Yabang Pinoy, Philippine First Aid and My Life on Board.

Photos by Andrea Roxas, Mica Ferrer, Mike Nagrampa, Diego Virata

Surfista Travels Philippines Interview by 558AM Radio

Surfista Travels Philippines owner and founder Elaine Abonal was interviewed last January 20, 2012 on a local radio station 558 AM on the show “Bisnis ni Juan.” The show talks about different businesses in the Philippines – both small and big businesses. Here is an edited transcript of her interview translated into English. If you would like to listen to parts of it, we recorded the webcast and you can watch it here on


Our guest for tonight is the woman behind Surfista Travels Elaine Abonal. Good evening Elaine.

Elaine Abonal: Hello and good evening Mr. Raffy & Ms. Leo, thanks for inviting me to your show.

So tell us about Surfista Travels. What services do you offer?

Elaine: I just launched the existence of my surf tour company called Surfista Travels. What we’re going to do is we’re going to make packages for people who want to learn to surf or for those who want to go on a surf trip to La Union, Baler, or other spots in the Philippines. Surfing is getting more popular here in the Philippines but a lot of people don’t know where to go, where to stay, where to take lessons, and who to contact. I’ve been surfing for a while now and a lot of people have always asked me for help and I’ve brought so many friends on surf trips. So I was encouraged by my friends and my family to start this. If I know how to do it and I can help others, I should start my own company. And here it is.

Does Surfista Travels only have surfing in La Union?

Elaine: We’re going to start with La Union because that’s where we know a lot of people and have a lot of contacts. That’s where the pilot project is. The first tour is on February 11 and 12 this year. Then from there we can make other packages for other groups of people, for companies, and whoever else needs help and wants to go on a surf trip. That’s the plan for now.

Are you from La Union?

Elaine: I’m from Manila but I feel like I’m a local there because I’m always there. I even learned how to speak a little bit of Ilocano!

So this is your chance to greet people in Ilocos and La Union!

Elaine: Good evening to everyone listening from the North! Naimbag na rabii.

What inspired you and motivated you to start Surfista Travels?

Elaine: I’ve always loved surfing and traveling. It started as a hobby and I would surf on weekends as a student. Now I teach languages (I speak English, French, Spanish and Tagalog) so I always meet a lot of people who like to explore and who like to travel. Some of them are not really good with English and usually need someone who will help them coordinate and bring them to the place. I would do it just because I loved meeting new people and helping them out.

The idea of having my own company occurred when I went on an international trip with my good friend Luke Landrigan, a pro surfer who is sponsored by Billabong and owns San Juan Surf School and his dad, Brian Landrigan, owner of San Juan Surf Resort. We’ve all known each other for a while and they encouraged me to do it and even said, “If that’s what you like and if that’s what you’re good at (being around people), why don’t you make something out of it?”

So I thought about it and prayed very hard and with a lot of thinking and help from others, Surfista Travels was born.

Where do you surf?

Elaine: In the Philippines I’ve been to La Union, Baler, Siargao, Daet, Zambales… Have you tried surfing, sir?

Yeah I’ve gone surfing in the bathroom, on the internet. Haha. What are your other hobbies? Are you a student/employed?

I freelance and work as a language instructor for Berlitz Language Center and I teach English, French and Spanish. I also write and take photos for magazines.

So people can contact you just in case they want to learn those languages?

Sure they can!

So Surfista Travels is something that you really want to explore and do. When did you start?

The idea came last year but I just launched it this month and this year. Kind of like a Happy New Year kind of thing, let’s try something new, new year’s resolution kind of thing.

How do you see yourself five years from now with Surfista Travels?

This is my dream. This is my new dream. So hopefully I would already be going to different places around the Philippines. I’m not sure if in five years we would already be going outside of the Philippines and have international destinations but hopefully we’ve already gone to many places and have had a lot more tours. I would still be enjoying. In five years I want this to still be my passion and something that I will be doing for other people.

Are you not thinking of planning or organizing a surfing competition with Surfista Travels?

Eventually and hopefully in the future. We’re still a small company. Our target for now is to have smaller groups so that it’s personalized and I can see what my customers want, don’t want, what market I have, etc. I have friends who are in the Manila Surfers Association and other surfing associations who hold surf competitions in different surf spots in the Philippines. Hopefully in the future we can work with them and have events, outreach programs, or competitions.

So what you’re doing now is you’re networking and marketing your services?

Yes. We’re trying to get the word out there that we exist. I think what is helping me the most is that I already know a lot of people in the industry and I have the support of my sponsors. I am sponsored personally and as a company by GoPro Philippines (a camera that you can use for surfing), Lightwater & Vitaminboost, Agos Pilipinas, Yabang Pinoy, Philippine First Aid. So I think with my friends and my sponsors, we help each other get the word out on our products/services.

With that we can see that in doing business, we can’t do everything alone. We see that we definitely need support.

Totally. I wouldn’t be able to start this if it weren’t for the help of my friends, my family, and all the people that I know so I am VERY thankful for the people who support me and my new company. I see who my real friends are. It’s really cool. It’s amazing how God has given me so many blessings so I am very thankful for those who have been helping me.

I see that you have a very good asset – you are very positive and you’ve made your hobby into a more enthusiast project or a passion.

Yeah, you gotta love what you do!

How else are you marketing besides the help of your sponsors?

I think Facebook and Twitter helps a lot. People like interaction. You can’t just tell people to join your tour and give you their money. You have to show that surfing is beneficial to you and your life, that it’s a good way to make new friends, and all the other good things about it. There needs to be a personal touch – which is what I want to do anyway. I like getting to know my clients.

So you’re saying it’s not just about the money, but it’s about making new friendships and doing something good in life.

Yes and taking care of the ocean and keeping our beaches clean. It’s actually one of our advocacies. You can’t go on a Surfista Travels trip without going on a Beach Cleanup. It’s part of our itinerary to pick up trash on the beach.

Wow so with your passion with surfing and the environment and with your tours, you are offering your services as your product. What challenges are you facing now?

I just started so it’s at this time it’s getting the word out there. Surfing is not very popular in the Philippines yet and even if we’re a country surrounded by so many islands, a lot of Filipinos are scared to swim or of big waves. People need to be encouraged to try something new in the water like surfing.

So it’s like saying that it’s more fun…

Yeah, it’s more fun when you’re surfing!

Yeah people say, “Surfing? There’s no surf here.” People don’t realize that more and more people surf and foreigners even come all the way here just to surf.

So I guess this is what you’re saying: you should be where your heart is and where your passion is. Even in business, it all starts with your passion and then everything follows.

Yes. That’s something I should remember and I’m very thankful to hear that from you, sir.

Do you have an inspirational message or business statement to share with our listeners? You sound like you’re young.

I think my voice sounds young!

Young at heart but rich in the mind. Maybe you can give an inspirational message?

I’ll just repeat what my friends and other people have been telling me – Just do what you love. If you’re happy with what you’re doing and when you wake up in the morning and think, “I’m excited, this is what I’m going to do today,” then you’re good. Even if you’re tired or spending a bit of money, it’s okay if you love what you’re doing. That’s how it should be. If you believe in yourself and that what you are doing is for you, just do it. Just go.

So since you’ve tickled the interest of our listeners, maybe you could announce your contact numbers so people can reach you if they’re interested?

If you’d like to join our first tour this Feb 11 & 12, you can go to the Surfista Travels website or check out the facebook page We’re looking forward to surfing with you and going on a Surfista Travels trip with you soon!

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