Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Meet the Wandering Surf Travel Junkies

One of the great things about traveling - whether it is with your family, your friends, for business or for vacation - is that you get to meet new people. Granted, not all of them are nice and some of them you wish to never see again (the lamest ones I like to call speed bumps)... but the ones that you do end up getting along with... the ones that happen to share that sameness in spirit... they often more than make up for the speed bumps and pot holes.

All of them have been bitten by the same bug as I have. We all tend to suffer from severe personality disorders when we are kept trapped in one place for too long. Our feet are always itching to get on the move... to return not only to familiar haunts but also to experience new places. While quite different from each other, we are kindred in our desire to constantly see the world beyond the horizon... Tolkien has been quoted as writing that not everyone who wanders is truly lost... well... not everyone who travels is truly a traveler... but I have been fortunate to have met the follwing people on the paths that I have found myself on.

Zeny, Tals, Man Man, myself and Pao in Siargao 2003.
Meet some of the more regular people on my travel map. If you click on most of their names, it'll take you to photos of these lovely folk. Just promise me you wont stalk them! ;)

KAZ I have known for a little over five years. To be fair we didn't meet while traveling although she was kind of traveling at that time - making the move from California to Manila. We technically first met through work (as editors for The Cutting Edge Magazine) and fairly soon after that started hanging out together. Kaz is a poet, a word-smith, and a dreamer. Our biggest trip together to date was Siargao 2002.

Another merry wanderer that I love to travel with is TALS. She is a kick-ass writer, fellow capoeirista and surf addict. I'd known of her for years but we only met when we both went up to La Union together. Tals is currently livin' the dream for all of us -- taking 6 weeks off from Manila to travel through Mexico. Her last email was all about surfing Puerto Escondido and working at a reggae bar owned by two Italian hippies.

Tals' brother DINO is off the travel map at the moment, getting his pilot's license. So we dont see him as often anymore. He's like our leader (Leader Dino) - always on top of things, very organized and never ever in panic mode. Even when we got stuck behind a landslide in the Sierra Madres and had to drive home in total darkness. It was Dino who talked to the construction crew guys to find out how long it would take. It was Dino who was calm the entire time. Plus, Leader Dino is an all-around nice guy.

Someone else that I'd known of for a bit before we met is ALEX The world is a small small place... Alex and my friend Jenina have been friends since they were children. I'd been friends with Jenina all throughout college. And yet, it took a surf trip to bring me and Alex together. He is one of the most respected Manila surfers that I know of... funny, bald and one of the people who helped open the surfing door to me. I've not traveled with him in a while now but we keep each other posted through text and email.

Next up is ANA whom we all lovingly call Ana Bear or Ana Banana is another person that I met about a year before we actually began hanging out in earnest. I met her through surfing. Up in La Union. Then we'd run into each other in all these places but it wasn't til my Siargao trip with Kaz that we started for real traveling together and then hanging out in Manila. Her line of jewelry BOHEMIANA is not only gorgeous but is also a reflection of her personality. One thing about Ana Bear that I can claim as true: she has Jedi Powers!

ALLAN aka Man Man hails from Davao. He's steady... a true blue nomad who followed the surf for about two years. He's got all this Red Cross training background so he's usually the one who ends up bandaging my wrist or checking out my cuts. Heehee. He and Paolo (see below) kind of coach me in the water. Sometimes he rags on me hard but that's generally for my good anyway. He's back in Davao right now -- havent seen him since our Siargao trip. I think he's decided it's time to settle down and do the wandering the 'normal' way from now on.

Then there's PAOLO, entrepreneur, surfer boy and (now) tv host for TxTube on channel 7. We actually met in 2001 while I was in Siargao (notice how that island seems to play a significant role in the people I've met?) but we didn't really bother to hang out or keep in touch until the year after. He's kind of my 'little brother' on land and my 'coach' in the line-up. I know a lot of people tend to think that Pao Pao is nuts but really, in the water, he always makes sure that I am safe. Sorry Pao, I'm blowing your cover now. Oh and now we're working together on that show he's hosting... so it's a lot of fun to be able to see him even when we're at work.

Meanwhile CAT fell into my life by way of Pao. And having her in it has truly enriched my life. A writer, blogger and model, she is both beautiful inside and out. A truly free spirit, Cat is the original wandering gypsy. She and Ana actually have a cool business now. They co-own Planet Zips-- zips are a lot of fun and a great way to exercise without knowing it.

Now ZENY works for the DOT and is good friend of Olin's. I met her because she was my liason for a travel piece I was doing years ago. We kept in touch and now that she is based in Manila, I get to see her more often. Yay! She's one of the sweetest people on earth... but watch out! This swan has teeth. Definitely not a push-over. I love that Zeny is even more compulsive and organized about travel than I am. When in doubt about anything involving the Caraga Region, Zeny comes to the rescue.

Then there are the local surfers...
Olin circa 2002.

MAKO & OLIN are from Baler, Aurora so we don't always see each other either. Olin was one of the very first friends I made on my first surf trip. He and Mako can be extremely mischievous but when push comes to shove, they've always taken care of me and helped me sort myself out in the water. Oh and don't try to outdrink either one of them... it just wont happen. Other Baler Boys include: Bad Boy, Smelly Cat, Noel, Kuya Mack, Kidlat... you know what? Just go and get to know them... you wont regret it.

The LA UNION boys are another group of local surfers who are fun to chill with. The Kubo Boys recently added another past time to their repertoire -- Scrabble. They're a big bunch who live to surf and surf to... well ... to surf. If you ever head up there, look for Lemon, Angel, Kali, Luke, Moro, Micky Boy, Mickey G, Valdez and the rest of them. They'll hook you up... if they like you that is. Haha. Kiddin'.

And while I only see them maybe twice a year if I'm lucky the local SIARGAO SURF GANG are in my life as well. These guys have one of the most famous Philippine breaks right at their doorstep. It's like living on the North Shore and waking up to see the Pipe. Kind of. They're what I like to call the "Repeats" -- Yok Yok, Den Den, Dodo, Al-Al ... haha. And there's Intsik, Manet, Nilde, Usot. All of them rip in the water... and know how to have a good time on land. They always take the best care of us when we're visiting them and are so sweet. One of the younger surfers, Zaldy, has kind of been adopted by pretty much most of the regular visitors. He is going to go big when he gets older. Just you wait and see.

MILLIE I dont know how to classify. She's part-Oz, part-Fil and lives on and off in both places. She is both balikbayan and tourist at the same time. We started corresponding through YM and email almost three years ago but didn't really get to spend much time with each other 'til September this year. We spent nine days in Siargao just terrorizing the island and having fun. Millie is hella talented. She creates her own line of clothing called Eillim. There's a link to her site over on the right side. On top of that, she is also an aspiring Pirate and a maker of Strange Sounds.

There isn't enough space on this one blog to talk about all the wonderful people I've met... so, there's going to have to be another entry about everyone else.


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