Friday, November 25, 2011

Learning to Surf in Baler, Aurora Province

I grew up in New Guinlo, Taytay, Palawan where I kiss the shallow, brackish water of Malampaya Sound good morning! 

Swimming from New Guinlo's shore to the little island back and forth was our daily routine.

Paddling while the sun sets at the back of Mount Kapoas was a splendid memory of my childhood.

'twas my recreational activities everyday rather than of surfing, kayaking, snorkeling, jet-skiing. These are rich kids activities, I thought.

The idea of surfing in my sports activities during my younger days was not in my sport category. I do not consider surfing as a sport rather than of a recreational activity. 

Paddling a surfboard, waiting for the perfect wave for 10 minutes and stand up and ride it for less than 1 minute. is the surfer's idea of "enjoyment" 

I didn't get it. It was boring...

until my cousin, Mike, invited us in Baler for a short vacation.....


I braved the waves of Pacific Ocean with my instructor.

Standing upright on a surfboard was my ultimate challenge.

Before jumping into surfing and get your feet wet, there are many things to learn starting out, like equipment,  terminology, safety precautions and surfing etiquette.

Essential equipment that you need are surfboard with surfboard leash, 

one piece suit or wet suit, surfing wetsuits are very important.


and the most important... perseverance.

Longboard is the ideal surfboard for beginners because it has more paddling speed and stability than shorter boards. 

Midsize or funboards are also a popular shape for beginners as they combine the volume and stability of the longboard with the manageable size of a smaller surfboard.

There are different types of surfboards for rent in Sabang Beach ranging from PhP 350/hour to PhP 1000/day including basic surfing instruction and a buddy surfer.

Surfing lessons started on the beach, like Make Up Tutorials it was really easy.

It can be broken into several skills: paddling, duck diving/eskimo roll, drop in positioning to catch the wave, the pop-up, and positioning on the wave.

Have you learned to ride a bicycle when you were a kid? 

If yes, you might understand a little bit about what it takes to learn to surf.

Biking involves an awkward combination of pushing off while trying to balance and steering wildly before falling over. 

Eventually, you will get it. 

Surfing is almost the same. It requires balance and coordination.

Like the first moment of balancing on two wheels after a series of falls,

maneuvering upright on a surfboard was incredible!

Just like applying Make Up through the guide of some  Cosmetics Tips. Below are the Surfing tips I've found online to help you out.

Surfing begins when the surfer paddles toward shore in an attempt to match the speed of the wave. Do not forget to put your leash on your back leg.

Paddling - requires strength but also the mastery of techniques to break through oncoming waves (duck diving, eskimo roll). Raise your chest up with your arms so that the water passes between you and the board.

Duck diving/eskimo roll - Just as the wave is about to hit you, roll over on your back (roll the board too), and pull the nose of the board down. Then roll back up. Duck-diving is a technique to allow you to pass under breaking waves when paddling out, rather than getting hammered by each breaking wave.  

Drop in positioning to catch the wave - Catching the wave, can be tricky, and it requires significant upper-body strength. Pick a wave that has not broken and be sure to sit far enough out among the sloping swells, not where the waves are standing up straight. 

Lean forward but raise your chest so that your weight is just above the centre of the board.   You should now be sliding down into the trough of the wave.  

 The first phase of surfing will entail that you wait until you are in the flat water in front of the wave before you stand up.   However, the ideal is to begin standing just as you feel the pull of the wave. 

Positioning on the wave - Paddle for a wave and just as you feel the momentum of the surfboard flow faster than your paddling speed, you are ready to hop up.

With your hands firmly grasping each rail push up quickly.

Simultaneously, extend your arms completely and pull your knees quickly up to your chest.   Be sure to keep your weight centred with just a little slant forward.

Place your feet firmly on your board, one foot near the tail and one foot just above the midpoint of the board.

Don't stand up completely erect.   Keep a low centre of gravity by crouching down and focusing your weight on the midpoint of the board.   Keep your arms out, your eyes looking forward and balance.

Surfing could be a little intimidating if you don't know important things about it. The local surfers out on the waves can lose their patience with newbies who don't know the rules and big surfing no-no's.

Surfing tends to be pretty free form but there are certain accepted rules, mostly based on safety and common sense.

Wave Ownership (The My Wave Rule)

The person closest to the breaking part of the wave has the right of way. Be aware of other surfers and water users, of the surf conditions, and of where you are surfing. Also, make sure you are not taking anyone else's wave. If someone is up and riding, paddling into the wave behind them does not give you the wave. In many low-key breaks, the first person paddling for the wave owns it. Do not expect this to apply in crowded conditions.

Dropping In (The Thou Shalt Not Rule)

Dropping in is taking off on a wave in front of someone who is already up and riding. Don't do this. Ever. No exceptions.

Paddling Out (The Eat It Rule)

When paddling out, if you must get over a wave that someone is riding, paddle behind them (On the white water side). This generally means getting stuffed for the sake of someone else's ride. Take comfort in the hope that they would do the same for you. Do not paddle in front of someone unless you are so sure that you will be 20 feet in front of them that you are willing to bet the well-being of your board/car/nose on it.


My impression about surfing totally changed with my challenging experience. 

Now I understands why surfers love this sport,

It was really addicting,

Reliever from stress somehow,

I will definitely try again in Baler,

where I learned,


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

For a Perfect Life, We Need...

more holidays,

more long walks,

more sunsets,

more rain,

more coffee,

more cake,

more sleep,

more dreaming,

more adventure,

more fun,

more love,

more hugs,

more conversation,

more laughter,

more sunsets,

more music,

more TIME to do all we want to do.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Sabang Beach, Baler, Aurora Province

'Twas a little bit gloomy when my cousins and I arrived at the sandy shoreline of  Sabang Beach in Baler, Aurora.

Y'all knew me, I escape beaches on summer days because I don't like hot weather and crowded beaches.

The weather was perfect for me to experience wave action, surfing.

The waves of the Pacific Ocean seems like cooperating with my plans, just right for a beginner surfer like me.

The dramatic, picturesque,  cloud-capped Sierra Madre mountain range was just simply amazing,

The sea breeze blowing against my face feels like hhhhhhmmmm....FREEDOM.

Although the sand is gray, it's texture is so fine that I can’t feel any grittiness when I walked barefoot along the Philippine surfer's beach.

I was told that the wave here is seasonal.

The waves arrive from the months of October to February and are good for first time surfers.

while waves from March through June are reserved for swimmers and an excellent challenge for expert windsurfers.

Sabang beach is perfect for beginning and novice surfers.

When I thought surfing is the only activity I could do on the beach, I was wrong.

I saw some tourist enjoying an all terrain vehicle ride from coast to coast,

couple spending quality time in the beach riding on a bike,

group of friends having fun at the sea,

and a loner wading through the shores of the beach.

Most accommodations are located in the shore of Sabang Beach.

but cheap accommodations are also available throughout the town proper.

This place is definitely worth a come back.

My brother and I had a great time bonding.

The people I've met in Baler were very hospitable.

I'd like to thank my cousins Mike, Amie, Phoeb and Rizza for accommodating us.

The food were great. Click here and here to check it out.

My visit to Baler never stops here.

I'll post more Baler Attractions next week.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Philippine Calendar of Festivities in November 2011

Below is the list of Philippine Calendar of Festivities for the month of November  2011. You might want to join the local celebration  while on 3 day holiday.  So, if you're planning to have a short beak this month, you have a lot of choices from November 1 to 30. Lets go!

Source: Department of Tourism

BANAAG FESTIVAL  |   Anilao, Iloilo  |  November 1
This “dance of lights” is the first of its kind in the region. Banaag is a celebration life and spirit; beauty and artistry using fire in tribal performances that mesmerize and enchant spectators. A dance-drama competition using light and all its forms as a medium .

BELEN SA MAKATI  |  Makati City  |  November 1- December 16
Façade of buildings along the City business district particularly Ayala and Buendia Avenue are decorated by crėches and complemented by locally made lanterns in celebration of Christmas on the birth of Jesus Christ.

PASKUHAN  |  Luneta Park & Surigao City  |  November 1- December 24
A month long Christmas bazaar display and activities which include: Light –up a tree, lanterns/Christmas tree making contest. Lantern parade, display of all winning entries of Lanterns and Chirstmas trees and Rondalla contest. Painit sa Pasko is also held during the Misa de Galleon on the 16th to 24th of dec. Mass goers converge at the park to buy and eat Surigaonon delicacies.

|  San Carlos City, Negros Occidental  |  November 4
A three-day religious festivity honoring the patron saint, San Carlos Borromeo, featuring Pintaflores Festival, fluvial parade, processions, sports exhibitions, body painting contest and concerts.

|  Negros Occidental  | November 5
A historical festival that commemorates the victory of the Negrenses’ bloodless revolt against the Spaniards in 1898 popularly known as Al Cinco de Noviembre or Negros Day

PINTAFLORES FESTIVAL  |  San Carlos City, Negros Occidental  |  November 5
The emerging festival of San Carlos City, highlighs the traditional fiesta celebration in honor of its patron Saint San Carlos Borromeo on the first week of November. It features street dancing by "tribes" dressed in colorful ethnic-inspired costumes, their bodies painted with flower designs reminiscent of the tattoed Visayans of the Pre Spanish Negros

ANGONO ARTS FESTIVAL  |  Angono, Rizal  |  November 5- November 25
The festival aims at creating awareness and appreciation of Philippine Art and Culture; and promoting arts and culture as vital attraction for local and foreign tourists. Rizal has the potential of becoming a tourist destination particularly in the field of arts and crafts. It is known as the home of various national artists, musicians, and other equally creative artists.

|  Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental  |  November 9-15
Is a joyful celebration of the people of Dumaguete, their innate hospitality, friendliness, and their propensity to live harmoniously with people of different race, religion, and cultural beliefs. Through the course of history and to the present time, the people of Dumaguete have always been known to welcome strangers from different shores and countries, and to live with them in complete peace and understanding.

HELOBONG FESTIVAL (T’BOLI)  |  Lake Sebu, South Cotabato  |  November 9-15
One of the prettiest places in the Philippines becomes even more attractive this month, as its native residents celebrate a week-long cultural fiesta.See the T''Boli culture in its colorful best through the natives'' traditional songs, dances and crafts. 

VISAYAS-MINDANAO DRUM AND BUGLE CORPS  |  Mindanao Area / Cagayan de Oro City  | November 9-15
Drum and bugle competition from different schools / civic organizations from the Visayas and Mindanao.   

TAW-ANAY GUGMA   |   Dumalag, Capiz   |  November 11
A cultural and fiesta celebration.

MARIKINA CHRISTMAS FESTIVAL  |  City Hall-Riverbanks Mall  |  November 15
One of the major events included in this years' Christmas Celebration.

LA UNION SURFING INVITATIONAL/SURFING FESTIVAL  |  Urbiztondo, San Juan, La Union  | November 17-19
An all Filipino managed surfing competition. A community based tourism activity where surfers from around the Philippines are invited to compete and have fun at one of the best surfing destinations in the country.

KAHILWAYAN FESTIVAL/CRY OF STA. BARBARA | Sta. Barbara, Iloilo | November 17
Anchored upon the Cry of Santa Barbara Celebration, Kahilwayan Festival is a cultural festival in a dance-drama form which is a reenactment of sort of the struggle for freedom by our very own local folks led by the heroic Gen. Martin G. Delgado. Aptly dubbed as Kahilwayan Festival, Kahilwayan being an Ilonggo/Hiligaynon word which means Freedom or Liberty, it highlights the quest of the Ilonggos to attain freedom through their fierce independent spirit.

URUKAY FESTIVAL  |  Anini-y, Antique  |  November 18- November 19
It is inspired by a local custom whereby a wedding feast is observed no matter how poor or humble the bride and groom are in this celebration, there is much fun and good nature teasing.

P’YAGSAWITAN FESTIVAL  |  Maragusan, Compostela Valley  |  November 18- November 25
The municipality of Maragusan, Compostela Valley celebrates its foundation day with a trip to the outdoors—quite literally—as its residents highlight their hometown’s ecotourism potential..   

BAGUIO ARTS FESTIVAL  |  Baguio City  |  November 18
An exhibit of the different artworks and art pieces of the various Cordillera artists in different art media.

INILUSAN  |  Mambusao, Capiz  |  November 20- November 25 
A cultural and fiesta celebration

LAPU-LAPU CITY FIESTA  |  Lapu-lapu City, Cebu  |  November 21- November 22
Join in colorful rites to honor the Virgin of the Rule, patron of Lapu-lapu City.

KALIMUDAN FESTIVAL   |  Isulan, Sultan Kudarat  |  November 21
It is another tribal fiesta down in Mindanao, with just about every major ethnic group joining in the fun. Cultural sharing is the theme here, its message clearly displayed in the timeless songs and dances of these native folks. One need not be a Manobo, Tiruray or T’boli to take part in the fun—all you need are the right clothes, the right moves, and a genuine desire to go totally tribal!

CORDILLERA FESTIVAL  |  Baguio City  |  November 22
A showcase of the various tribal dances, rituals and songs of the Cordilleras.

HIGANTES FESTIVAL  |  Angono, Rizal  |  November 22-23
Angono’s joyous fiesta in honor of San Clemente whose image, resplendent in papal investment, is borne by male devotees during a procession accompanied by parehadoras devotees dressed in colorful local costumes, wooden shoes and carrying boat paddles and higantes, giant paper mache effigies. The street event culminates in fluvial procession at the Laguna de Bay amidst revelry that continues until the image is brought back to its sanctuary.

BENGUET FOUNDATION DAY  |  Benguet  |  November 23
The Ethnic Igorots make their presence felt once again in Benguet as they hold a grand canao (the local word for “party”) at the Benguet provincial capital grounds. Ritual sacrifices are made, followed by a series of chants and prayers made in the native language. Tribal performances come next. No touristy stuff here, just a healthy dose of of traditional Cordillera culture.

KABKABAN FESTIVAL  |  Carcar, Cebu  |  November 23-29
The festival is not just a religious fanfare in honor of the town’s patroness, St. Catherine of Alexandria, but a cuLtural catalogue of the town’s historical periods and industry like shoemaking, as well as their arts that is showcased through street dancing and parade .

BAGUIO TOSSED SALAD FESTIVAL  |  Baguio City  |  November 26-28
A record breaking attempt to showcase the heaviest tossed salad and served to the public

FEAST OF SANTA CATALINA  |  Mansalay, Mindoro, Oriental  |  November 26
Palarong Lahi, an array of games very native to Mindoreños and Filipino, joined in by all games enthusiasts.   

PANANGEDAYEW  |  Dagupan City  |  November 27
Panangedayew, Pangasinan word meaning to uplift. Acitvites include garden show beside the Dagupan Astrodome, trade fair of Pangasinan’s pride like Bonuan bngus, bgoong, peanut brittle, quilted products housewares and locally made Christmas decors.

ANNUAL PINATUBO TREK  |  Brgy. Sta Juliana, Capas Tarlac  |  November 30
A annual event to commemorate the world-famous eruption of Mt. Pinatubo heralded the world over as the biggest and geologic uphearal of the20th century.

PANDAG-KITAB  |  Calapan City  |  November 14
Pandang-Gitab was coined from Pandanggo (Fandango) and Dagitab which is synonymous to “light”, adapting basic steps of Pandanggo sa Ilaw (Dance of Lights) which was told to have originated in Lubang, Mindoro Island. The style of Pandang-Gitab is the traditional “sway-and-balance”, with graceful shallow gyrating of hips and torso, complemented with a side-to-side gentle swing of hands, careful not to drop the candle-on-glass on both palms and on the head of the dancer.  Props and other materials are being utilized for added attraction and modifications are allowed but must not affect the fundamental pattern of the dance (pandanggo) itself.  The Pandang-Gitab Oriental Mindoro was launched as a street dancing competition and became a much applauded attraction as it was danced in Calapan City’s main avenue.