March 2013 Surfista Trip to Baler Highlights


CONGRATULATIONS to the Surfistas during our trip to BALER, Aurora last March 22 – 24, 2013. It was a rainy weekend but we still managed to have fun with an awesome group of people AND we were blessed with beautiful peeling waves and sunshine on our last day. Awesomeness. It was amazing to meet you all! Until the next Surfista trip!

Here are some photo higlights!

Happy group (as you can tell with our smiles) photo for our Surfistas to Baler last March 22 – 24, 2013! :)

We soaked up a little bit of culture by going to the Baler Museum for the rainy weekend.

With our awesome videographer Marc from Canadia and JK when we rented ATV’s to drive on the beach :)

Marc Labrie from Canada was awesome enough to offer his services and help spread the Surfista love!

Francis Arellano surfing!! Yewwww! Good job dude!

Rusty Jorbina flew in all the way from Cebu just to join our trip to Baler! Sweet!


Loyal Surfista Frances on her 4th Surfista trip!! We’ll make sure she waxes her own board next time ;)

They key to surfing is to keep on doing it! Proud of these Surfista chicks carrying their own boards and smiling while they’re at it!

Arthur from CHINA was a man of few words but we heard that he had such a great time! He’s also joining us for our Surfista trip to Siargao! ;)

Baler, March 2013

We adopted an American and another Canadian during the trip and was helping spread the Surfista love around the world!

Aliya Surf Camp in Baler with our sponsors’ banners

We were so thankful that the sun came out on our last day. It was the BEST surf session for Surfista to date! It pays to wake up at 6 AM!

Surfista looking schnazzy before their surf lessons and sessions with their Hurley – Surfista rashguards

Beautiful Surfista chicks looking classy with their rashguards!


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Surf Instructors are My Surf Heroes by Elaine Abonal

I just want to say that the real HEROES are the SURF INSTRUCTORS. I’ve seen some of them grow from surf bum kids to responsible hard working men and women who really LOVE their job, their students, and the ocean. They SMILE and push – not only themselves but their students – to stand up, SURF, and HAVE FUN – despite being tired or hungry because of many eager students, despite being under the hot blazing sun, despite being stung by jellyfish, despite shaking in the cold during sunset surf lessons, and despite watching beautiful waves break as they teach. I know many of them have SAVED SO MANY LIVES – children being caught in currents, panic-stricken surfers who lose their boards (like me), non-thinking drunk men who think swimming in their jeans would be cool. They are my heroes.


Me (Elaine) in the white Hurley shirt with the instructors of the San Juan Surf School in La Union, Philippines

“One more, one more.” It takes a lot of encouragement and patience to be an instructor in the water.


When you go take your surf lesson, please know the name of your surf instructor, talk to them, and thank them. They are people with names, lives, and surf dreams – just like you. Be thankful to the person who pushed you into your very first wave because you never know – they could already be changing your life.


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I feel honored to be working with you guys and see how professional – in surfing and in instructing – so many of you have become. Let’s keep it up, we’re changing the Philippine surf world. ♥ – Elaine Abonal


All photos by Nikka Corsino and Owen Ballesteros of

Special Christmas with Special Kids :) December 2012

Elaine Abonal of Surfista Travels Philippines spent December 12, 2012 helping Luke Landrigan, Billabong San Juan Surf School and some members of the La Union Surf Club teach special kids (deaf, with developmental or mental disabilities, etc.) how to surf as a special Christmas celebration.  The first one was done last year and was a success. The kids had fun so this year the number of kids – and smiles – doubled. This event is usually one of the most quiet surf events we’ve experienced but also one of the most touching and rewarding.

Check out the photos!


Words aren’t needed to know how much FUN this kid is having!!

Anyone and everyone can surf. We shouldn’t be hindered by our disabilities.

This little girl was so brave despite the big waves. Her dad was watching and was so proud of her!

Elaine Abonal of Surfista Travels Philippines getting to join the crew of the San Juan Surf School of La Union

Head Coach Luke Landrigan explaining the basics of surfing (with a translator at his side) to the eager kids.

What a great day for all the instructors, teachers and of course – the students!

Awardings and photo ops with Elaine Abonal, Luke Landrigan, each child’s surf instructor and Mickey Galang of the San Fernando office.

Each child was given a gift bag with Christmas presents from different sponsors. Each one was able to choose a pair of shoes from Sanuk or Native! Merry Christmas indeed!

This wouldn’t have happened without Mickey Galang, Menchie Par, the instructors of Billabong San Juan Surf School, Mark Dimalanta, Lui Tortuya, Don Cui, Mayor Ortega & the different sponsors! Thanks so much for everyone’s help and participation. We are honored to be part of this simple but memorable event. :) also covered the event. Read their short article and watch their video coverage by clicking  HERE.


1st Baler Surfista Trip Comments

What did the first batch of Surfistas have to say about their trip to Baler??  Here are their comments!

Baler, Aurora – November 30 – December 2, 201277072_10151552424503986_864117321_n

“Going with Surfista Travels is one of the best decisions I’ve made.” ~ Lottie Hablado

“Aliya Resort is beautiful! The rooms are nice. It took a while to get here but it was worth the trip! Surf instructors are fun and Surfistas are redonkulous!” ~ Kevin Mayuga

“What did I enjoy the most?? The waterfalls, the surf lessons, the night swimming, friendly people, not having to worry too much – I can’t pick! Surfista Travels definitely gives you a life-changing experience. All the new people you meet, the good food, the fun adventures and other wonderful things all boil right down to when you catch a wave. I’d catch myself smiling non-stop from the whole experience!” ~ Kevin Mayuga


“I have no complaints. The trip was pretty EPIC.” ~ Priti Sujanani

“The place was amazing! Surfing with your friends will always be the best. Going to the Mother Falls was the special part of the trip. Getting freebies from the sponsors was a blessing! I LOVE Surfista Travels and I will always be a Surfista!” ~ Mila Gulfan

“This is my 2nd time with Surfista Travels and it was another fun and memorable trip. Thanks Elaine!” ~ Madeleine Singson

“I love d the surf, the location and the company. It is like you are hanging out with friends and not strangers. You do a great job of being a “friend” and not just the coordinator. I had an AMAZING time – everything is so well organized and you have created the perfect formula for a weekend away with “new friends.” Keep up the sweet work… a truly unique trip!” ~ Kerry Lomas, Australia


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

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