Endless Summer, Endless Surf

DSC-0660Happy New Year to the readers of my blog! I’m sorry I have been a delinquent blogger, for I’ve been busy since my last post.

For you out there who’s wondering what I have been doing with my life.. well.. I have been doing an Endless Summer, Endless Surf lifestyle. For you see, the Philippines has been blessed with good surf weather for the past 2 months which means waves are glassy, shoulder to head high and sometimes perfect for beginners (like me!) or for pro surfers (like a couple of my friends!) So, for the past 2 months I’ve been going to Baler, Pundaquit (I finally got to surf Magic Left which made me very happy because I’m a goofy rider–which means my right foot is in front of my left foot–, wherein I ended up getting cuts under my foot because I stepped on a dead coral!) Bacnotan, La Union and of course, my home away from home, San Juan, La Union.

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Through my surf trips, I was able to meet new people who share a common love for the beach,surf, board shorts and bikinis (and Beer!) It has been an awesome experience because as I have said, I have been a lost soul for the past year and being at the beach somehow cured the loneliness that I felt. It calmed me down and managed to control the dramanila that consumed me. I felt like I was back to being my old self who just loved life and was optimistic about things regardless of the situation.DSC_0582

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In my trips, I was able to see and experience things that I haven’t tried before: Climbing the 500 year old Balete tree, enjoying walking barefoot on the hot sand, running under the rain in a bikini, listening to the sound of the pounding waves, listening to the reggae beats of Indio-i, sleeping in a hammock at The Circle Hostel (both in La Union and Zambales), inhaling the smell of a newly waxed board, squeezing in a jeepney full of surfboards, going to the local market to buy a 6 kilo Dorado, chatting with the locals over (a few?) bottles of beer, gazing at the awesome sunset (over a couple of beers!) and getting stuck in the sand in Liw-liwa and managed to get the car out of the quick sand.

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The people were more wonderful than the adventures. The locals are down-to-earth, funny, simple, humble, would teach you what to do and what not to do. They are relaxed and calm. From them, I learned to leave dramanila  where it belongs (in Manila!) and to not get affected with the crap other people have (because of this, a friend of mine told me I was more chill and relaxed.) I learned that it’s okay to follow your bliss but to not hurt anyone in the process. From them, I learned that life is simple, it’s only others who make it complicated.

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Kuya Floro with Troy

People may not agree of the lifestyle and the choices I make which means experiencing an endless summer for the past two months. But for me, it’s not about getting the golden tan that every one wants to achieve. It’s all about regaining the focus I once lost and throwing everything in the ocean. The smell and the sound of the ocean calms me down and it reminds me to keep my feet on the ground. It reminds me that I have to conquer this world on my own and the ocean is a good place to start.

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While I’m writing this entry, my mind is fluttering to the place I started calling home. I am taking note of the wave forecast while I silently nurse my health back to normal. I cannot go back to my “home” till next week since I am on self imposed hibernation but my feet is itching to go back in the water.

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Wherever you are, or whoever is reading this entry.. I wish you can also experience my Endless Summer. The calming feeling that overtakes you when you hear the pounding waves and when the cool water touches you hot skin. I wish you can see what my eyes can see. But right now, the only way I can share to you what I learn, see and experience is through this blog.

So till the next adventure. Drive through the unknown and discover the feeling of the simple life. Live. Love. Surf. HAPPY NEW YEAR! MORE SURF FOR 2013!!!

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Surf and Music Festival 2012

Surfing and Music. Two of my interests in life. And combining them both in one looooong weekend in La Union was definitely a good idea.

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The festival celebration started for me and Kash when we saw my good fried JP at Prive last Oct 31st. I informed him that we wanted to head to La Union for the festival but did not have any plans on how to get there. He invited us to ride with him on Nov 1st for he was leaving at 4pm in order to get to the festival just in time. Without any reservations for a place to stay in for the festival, Kash and I packed our bags and went to Jp’s house and the 3 of us headed to La Union saying adieu to the majestic sunset of Manila visible on the horizon.

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heading to JP’s house with Berto

 Day 1: A flat tire, High-end Petron, Meeting Bogart D Explorer and Dancing the Night Away.

Around 8:30 pm, when we were in Urdaneta, Pangasinan, we hit a bump on the road. This did not however dampen our mood. It even pumped up our energy because we can see that the moon was bright and heard that the surf was good and people were starting to party. After hitting the High-end Petron to grab a few bites to eat for me and an imported beer for JP, we finally got to La Union at 12 midnight.

Imagethe conyo Petron gas station filled with imported goodies

As soon as we got to the Surfer’s Inn (where JP was staying), we were introduced to the people in the apartment. He then introduced us to this guy with a straw fedora and he said “that’s Bogart D Explorer.” We then headed to the beach where JP introduced us to a few of his friends (including the owner of the Bamboo bikes that you see at the Fort) then Kash and I became “part of the band.” The bands that we were able to watch was 6 Cycle Mind but everyone started to party when Sandwich went on stage. The ones that we met who came from Legazpi, Albay dance the night away. Tanduay Ice and Manila Beer became the booze of choice inside the concert grounds. A beachball was thrown around in the crowd. Every one was wild until the DJ finished playing his set. At 3am, my last dose of energy slipped away and we crashed on the sofa of JP’s apartment for the night. Crashed to recharge after a long drive and a very loooong weekend.

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Day 2: Welcome to the Circle Hostel. Kash’s Surf lesson on Berto, Reggae night, The Captain and Endless Tanduay.

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Day 2 started when we transferred to The Circle Hostel, a lodge which is a 5 minute walk from the beach front. After settling down at the Circle and having a hearty breakfast at San Juan Surf Resort, Kash and I decided to just stare at the ocean with a few couple bottles of beer and buko juice for her. I saw a few friends who just arrived that morning and invited them for a few drinks. When the sun stopped beating down on our necks, Kash decided to change into her surf gear, I got my surfboard at JP’s, rented a leash from Lemon (one of the Local surfers in La Union) and hired a surf instructor for Kash.

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I met up with my friend Maita, whom I agreed to meet up with during the festival while Kash was out learning how to surf. After a few wipeouts, photographs of the sunset and introducing ourselves to some of the locals in La Union, we headed back to the Hostel to change for the music fest.

trying to take a siesta at the hostel

After dinner and a quick siesta, we texted one of our new found friends from the US, Jay Bird, to meet up with us outside the concert grounds. We weren’t allowed to enter since we didn’t want to purchase a ticket anymore so we decided to stay outside, finished the bottle of Captain Morgan and bought a bottle of Tanduay, Red Horse, Coke and eat at the ihaw-ihaw stand located near the entrance. Feasting on grilled dried squid, isaw, hotdog, kilawin and bbq and drinking the mixed Tanduay and Coke in liter bottles, we listened and danced to the music of Indio-ITaken by Cars and Tropical Depression with our new found friends: Francis, Rafu, Erik, Leo, Jay Bird, Mitch, Megan and Kaylee.

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Day 3: Beginner’s Longboard Surfing Competition, Body surfing and the Project X House party.

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watching the Beginner’s Longboard Competition

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Kiddo and his family being interviewed by GMA

Kash and I woke up at around 7 am because I overheard that the Beginner’s Longboard Competition was about to start at the beach. Even though hung over from the partying the night before, Kash and I headed to the beach front to watch the first round of the competition. We cheered for the one’s who were competing. At lunch time, we headed to the Sea Nymph Cafe to have lunch because we hear the service time would take up to an hour. JP met with us for lunch and we talked about what happened the night before. After lunch, we headed back to the hostel so that I can take a nap before surfing and for JP to chat with the people there.

At 3 pm, Kash and I decided to go back to the beach to surf. Again, I had to borrow a leash for my board from one of the locals that we met from the night before. I saw Megan who was heading up to The Point and she invited me to surf with them, but I was too intimidated by the waves and just decided to just stay at the beach front.

Because we decided to stay at the beach, Kash expressed her interest to try surfing without an instructor. So I took off the leash and acted out as a coach for her, telling her when to paddle and when to stand up. How to hold the board properly against the crash of the white water and how to start paddling out. While watching her (and deciding that she can fend for herself) I saw Vic and we decided to just body surf in an area where there were no surfers (but still keeping Kash in our sight, just in case she needed help) While we were out in the open, we can hear Franco and Wolfgang sound checking for the night’s concert. Their voices were a good backdrop to the waves crashing and to the sun setting in the horizon. Time to bid good bye to the day and hello to one hell of a crazy night.

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Wolfgang

Around 9pm, I left Kash sleeping at the hostel and I headed back to the beach to watch the concert. I met Jay to get my tickets from him and I was just there in time to hear Wolfgang perform. I was so pumped up to hear them perform again and I was looking forward to hearing Franco and Urbandub as well. With beer in hand, I swayed to their music and rocked out through out the concert.

Franco, doing his thing

After the concert, I met up with Kash at Kahuna to have the most amazing time during the festival. All of the people that we met were there. When I mean everyone, I mean EVERYONE. (yes, I even shook the hand of Franco) The house party was fun for it became the place of the after party for the end of the festival. Everyone talked to everyone, pushing people in the pool.. Everyone were just having fun.

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at Kahuna, with everyone ( I was thrown in the pool twice, I think)

That night at Kahuna was definitely the icing on cake.

Day 4: Last Day at La Union

After partying for 4 straight days, we decided to be mellow during our last day at the beach. We woke up at 8 am and headed to drop off some of JP’s stuff and to look for my cellphone (which was with Jay) and the hat that I was wearing the night before (which luckily was still in Kahuna)

We decided to mellow out at Sea Nymph to nurse my major hangover with hot noodles (whoever invented noodles should be given an award) and to chat with a few friends we made at the hostel. Before the afternoon ended, we again bumped into Vic and he decided to join us. We talked about their music and other things under the sun.

By 6 pm, I was dreading to pack my bags and to go back to Manila. I was hesitant to leave the sound of the crashing waves behind and to go back to the crazy stir of things in the city. But the fantasy had to end. We bid good bye to La Union at 8pm, full of memories with new found friends.

True enough, the sun, the sea and the surf bring people closer together. Imagine, the trip started with just Kash and I formulating an idea to head to La Union for the festival and then we met JP in Prive and we ended up in La Union and meeting a lot of new people. That 4 day trip was a refresher from the hustle and bustle of the city and it sent positive vibrations to every bone in my body that until now, I am still having a major withdrawal from this event.

Who would’ve think to mix Surf and Music together? Kudos to the people of Aloha Boardsports and Manila Surfer’s Association for pulling this massive event and brought people together. Surfer or not, it gave everyone a vacation/halloween party to remember. 🙂

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with our new found friend, Megan

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**Again, Kash, thank you for letting me grab most of your photos for this blog. hope you enjoyed the trip. Let’s do Zambapalooza this December. And thanks to JP, Jay Bird, Mitch, Megan, Kaylee, Francis, Leo, Erik, Rafu, Vic, Paw, Kat, Peds, Jay, JM, Kiddo, Ziggie, Raf, Stef, Christian… and to anyone I forgot to mention, for letting us hang out with you and enjoy this vacation* 🙂

The Circle Hostel, La Union

I am not the backpacker type of person. I usually make sure that before a trip, everything is laid out properly: the accommodations, the flight, where to eat … etc. You know the drill. But last week, I dragged my friend along to attended the Surf and Music Festival in La Union just to give her an a new experience.

When we reached La Union, the first place I thought of to stay in was at The Circle Hostel. I saw it on Facebook and it looked like it was a cool place to stay in, but I was informed  that they were fully booked for the weekend. but we tried our luck. Luckily, there were two hammocks still available so we took the chance and decided to stay here for the next 3 days.

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The Circle Hostel’s idea is to provide affordable lodging to a solo traveller or to someone who wants to make new friends. It is a place where positive vibes lingers the area because every one will try to get to know anyone and where they came from. Their motto: THERE ARE NO STRANGERS HERE.

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True enough. Since I’m new to travelling alone and my companion, Kash, is no expert either, we felt welcome in this place. We were greeted with warm smiles by everyone. When you sit in the common area, someone will talk to you and ask for your name and offer you the available breakfast on the table. The hot shower was a welcoming feeling as well. You can order FRESHLY BREWED Coffee every morning  and just observe people who came from their morning surf.

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Their accommodations are as simple as possible. Everything made out of bamboo and local wood, there are customized hammocks (with mosquito nets) located below the Big House. The Hammocks are very comfortable to sleep in because even though you are zipped in, you can still feel the cool breeze inside.Image

The Big House where the bunk beds are located are separated into the Female Bunks and the Co-ed Bunks. Each bunk bed has a mosquito net, mattress, pillow and bed sheets to provide the traveller a good night’s rest after a whole day of surfing.

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The common area is where everyone can congregate and mingle. It has hammocks and throw pillows on the floor. You can charge your cellphone or laptops or any other electronic device there. It’s for free to anyone who wants to jam, play the guitar, mingle with other people, or to just simple sit back and relax.  In fact, I was informed that the night before we arrived, one of my favorite bands, Indio-I played in the hostel for the guests of the place (for free!)

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Lockers are also found at the Circle to ensure the safety of the items that the traveller has. You just have to bring your own padlock and key (or they also sell it for Php100.) You can also rent a newly-laundered towel for only Php 20.00. You are also free to express yourself by painting on the surface walls and floors.

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This place is a budget traveller’s dream come true. It’s not a backpacker’s nightmare because you will feel safe in this environment. People are friendly and warm but they will still give you your space and privacy. As I have said, I am new to travelling alone and when I set foot in the Hostel, I felt very much at home.

Thank you THE CIRCLE HOSTEL for accommodating us for 3 days. 🙂

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HOW TO GET THERE:

— So you’re already at La Union and you don’t know where to stay? Just hop off the bus along the highway. On your right is the San Juan Surf Resort and on your left you will see the sign Oracinek Realty (It’s written in blue). Underneath that signage is the Tarpaulin of The Circle Hostel. You need to walk for like 2 minutes and lo and behold, there’s the Hostel already.. ready to welcome you with open arms!

Few details about the place:

1. HAMMOCKS  (with built in mosquito net) can be rented out for PHP 300/a night per person. The Hammocks are comfortable enough to give you a good night’s sleep. The BUNK BEDS are Php 400/a night. Mosquito nets, as well as a pillow, mattress, sheets are available for the bunk beds.

2. You can rent your Towel here for Php20.00

3. Breakfast (bread and fruit) are available for free.

4. Freshly Brewed Coffee is also served here for Php 50.00

5. You can refill your water bottles here and leave it in their fridge

6. WIFI is free for those who are in need to use their laptops/gadgets (but who need’s wifi at the beach?!)

7. You can charge your phone at the common room area while relaxing or maybe sleeping.

8. Warm water is also available for around Php 20.00

9. Just feel free to relax and be yourself. But of course, keep in mind that there are other people there so be polite and respect them as well by not shouting or parading in your knickers. 🙂

You can email/reserve a slot in the Hostel through these details.

ZAMBALES:

Zambales in the subject head for reservations and availability.
Cell Number: +63917 8611929

LA UNION:
La Union in the subject head for reservations and availability.
Cell Number: +63917.832.62.53

for other information email thecirclehostel@gmail.com or thecirclereservations@gmail.com

Do also check out and LIKE their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/thecirclehostel to know more about them. Check out their photos and their house rules so you’ll know what to do when you get there. 🙂

Enjoy your stay at The Circle Hostel. Happy travels!

**photo credits to Kash Zabala. My travel buddy for this trip. Hope you enjoyed your stay as well as I did.:) **

Head held up high

Believing that things will be okay as long as I keep my head held up high. Yes, I am still haunted by a ghost of a good thing. But I’m okay now, or at least its what I believe in. I just have to start believing in me now and what I am capable of doing.

Most nights I do not know my purpose or what I am placed on this earth for, but this is what I know..Throw dirt at me, throw every shit at me… but this time, I can fight now. and even if the fight is dirty, I will no longer raise the white flag and let people say bad things at me.

If people can’t accept that I am in the verge of changing, shit happens. And I am being the changed woman I always wanted to be. No more one night stands, no more crazy drunk driving, no more. No more tolerating shit from people that I can’t even fight for myself.

So here is my anthem now.

To my future son. :)

This is just a random thought. A thought that has bothering me for the longest time. Maybe because this was in my plan a year ago, when everything was peachy and happy. A plan molded out of love, dreams, future hopes and aspiration: Full of curly haired babies running around, laughing.

or maybe this is just a random thought because I keep on seeing babies everywhere and I sometimes think: what will I tell my kids about me?

I planned to name my little boy Ocean. and this is a letter for him.

Dear Ocean,

Hello my darling. I have highly anticipated for your arrival.It has been a tough couple of years for me, but I waited patiently for you to come along. I have wanted you for so long. I knew that if you would come, I would fix my broken life and keep myself in check. I wanted you for the wrong reasons before, to make someone stay in my life, But you came at the right place at the right time when your dad and myself is already complete and self-fulfilled. And I feel so blessed that you finally came.

You were born in the generation where everything and every information can be given and taken away from you with a snap of a finger. I wish you lived in my time, a time where gazing at the stars and making a wish was important. A time when every one will go out and talk to their neighbors, a time where real relationships are made through talking and interaction. Now, you have gadgets to do all the talking for you. A time where a relationship is no longer important and where everything and anyone can be taken for granted.

That is why I left the city. I wanted to save the little sanity that I have left. For you see, I was a wreck a couple of years before you were born. I did things I wasn’t proud of, pretended to live a life that I truly did not belong in. In the future, if you meet some of mommy’s friends, you might hear funny stories. Listen to them, and tell me what you heard so that I can be open to you about what happened. This is not the appropriate time for you to know, but at least I am giving you a heads up.

I always envisioned you to be perfect, like a little cherub sucking in the beauty and serenity of the place you grew up in. A curly haired, doe eyed little kid running around the lawn or at the beach with our choco Lab, catching waves with me, living a simple life away from the chaotic city where I grew up. Living in the house that I dreamed of for the longest time. Our house and our lives are so simple yet it means so much to me. I worked hard for this to materialize, worked hard to save my future family from all the drama that the city can bring. I want our lives to be simple and free and happy.

By the time you are reading this, you are probably on your way to being a teenager. and I want to give you a piece of advice:

 I want you to be a true gentleman. A person with a good heart, a person like the love of my life. You are like his carbon copy, with his curly hair and doe eyes, but at least you have my nose. Always remember, you are good in what you do and I support you all the way. Take time to talk to me, ask me stuff that you do not know. We may have a big age gap but I am your friend. I will not spoil you but I will not be too strict. I will not tolerate you getting home at an ungodly hour, but I will tolerate you committing mistakes. You can try to drink, smoke and other things but do not get addicted to it. We can do these things together.  Know your limits,for it is where you will learn.

Do not hesitate to cry, for real men do cry their hearts out. But be strong and tough. It’s okay to fail sometimes. Do not be cocky, be humble in victory or in defeat. Always grab an opportunity knocking on your door and always thank those who gave you an opportunity and a second chance. Do not hate me for not providing you with nice material things. Be thank that I provided you with a roof on your head and the best education that money can buy, it will be your saving grace. Do not hate me for leaving the city behind, for deciding to live by the beach. I chose this to save my sanity and yours as well. Trust me, it is only full of drama. You have to learn from nothing to gain something.

I want you not to be insecure of what you do not have, but instead, be proud of what you have. I want you to have a childhood that you will not be able to fully experience in the city. I want you to not experience what I went through, not knowing where her happiness lies. I ALWAYS WANT YOU TO BE HAPPY, FOR THAT’S WHERE MY HAPPINESS LIE, IN SEEING YOU SMILE AND LAUGH AND BE A KID.

As I have said, if ever you hear any bad things about me or about anyone, just listen but do not judge. Talk to me and ask me questions. Being curious is not a bad thing, it gives us a chance to bond and to have a real relationship. I want you to learn how to trust and who not to trust. I want you to have a meaningful relationship in the future.

And lastly, I want you to have a good heart. Always remember that women are not playthings. They are meant to be loved and taken good care of. I want you to respect all the women that you meet. Do not treat them as playthings, do not toy with their hearts, do not make them cry. If ever they are the ones who make you cry, accept and learn from it. Do not use past heartbreaks as revenge. Revenge is not good. Always be the better person in the relationship. Be honest, be courteous and be respectful. respect women with your words and your actions. Just because a woman doesn’t say anything it doesn’t mean she is not hurting inside. Talk to your woman of your dreams, worries, hopes and fears. If she is the one for you, you will know because she will listen to you and support you all the way. And when you find that girl, do not let her go just because you feel like it or your career is getting in the way. The right woman is like a precious jewel, she is rare to find. So hold on to her. Maybe you are wondering how will you know if she’s the one? You will know. You will just feel it in your heart. So right now, just enjoy meeting other people and prepare yourself for that particular person.

As for other boy stuff, talk to your dad. He will share it to you.

I will guide you to the best of my knowledge. I wasn’t a perfect daughter to my parents but I learned from my mistakes and I want to share to you the things I learned from these mistakes. Your dad and I may not be the best parents in the world, but we try to be. Always remember that I want you to decide what is best for you. I want you to follow your passion and your dreams. Remember that the road to your dreams are rough but I am always here to support you no matter the outcome because I love you.

Take this by heart. You are a good son, brother, friend and future husband.

xoxo Mom.

Imagedreamboard for 2012: a view from my future house. 🙂