Thursday, March 29, 2007

Batanes In Photos.

Take the English countryside, add a Palawan coastline, throw in a culture completely all its own and you sort of have Batanes. But it doesn't stop there. Most of the island's charm is experienced in the hour-to-hour interaction with its people and environment. Oh and lobsters everywhere... lobsters you can dip in the fat of coconut crabs and eat with rice. Yummy.

Until I get the words sorted out in my head, I'll leave you to browse the photos through these links: Sabtang Island and Basco Island

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Monday, March 26, 2007

So, I'm in Batanes!

I've always wanted to say those words and not be lying... and now I can! I am actually in what my friend Drew calls "my favorite place that I've never been to." I'm traveling with Erik Liongoren, friend and kick-ass photographer, and his asisstant Jong for a project. We arrived Sunday morning and have been making our way through Basco (the main municipality) and Sabtang which is another island municipality.

There is definitely a tranquil, almost sleepy, air here. People are in bed right after dinner and are up with the sun. No bars, no discos. It's a great change of pace although I wont lie... I am very happy I have my laptop and a stack of dvds with me.

For the surf rats out there -- yes, there are waves!!! Mostly right-handers. But no, I havent been able to surf yet. Mainly because we've been working and also cos it's been really low tide, even at high tide. I think that's due to the moon being en route pa lang to fullness. The re are a few spots I've seen that look really rideable if the wave was bigger or the tide was higher. Then again, what do I know? Maybe a higher tide will change the shape of the wave? In any case, I am definitely sure on this one spot we saw yesterday.

We have one more full day here and then back to Manila on Thursday. So who knows? Maybe tomorrow I will get my chance to paddle out and catch a few waves. Or maybe I wont and I'll come back to Manila without even taking my board out of its bag. Whatever the case, I'm sure I'll be blogging about it.

Anyhoo, to the people that I miss, wish you were here with me. Sobrang fun siguro nun! To the people that have been here -- I am sooo glad I got the chance to finally experience what you guys did. To the people planning a trip naman, you should. Just dont forget to bring a laptop and some dvds. ;-)

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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Back in Baler for a weekend of pure stoke

March 10-11. Back in, you guessed it, Baler for another weekend of stoke. The waves may not have been epic but the stoke sure was. Saturday was a bit windy come 10am so we surfed til about then (got super fun rides) and then everybody crashed 'til just past lunch. (Surfers, today we will dine at Gerry Shan's!).

In the afternoon at Cemento was hella low tide so Dom, Aya and I strung up the hammock and enjoyed watching the tide pools for reef fish, octopus and herons. Woot, woot. The boys, by the way, had a good sesh.

Sunday morning and it was all sunshine, waist to head high glassy waves at the beach break. Moro surfed with the big boys down near the lifeguard tower. The girls had our own patch of ocean that we to ourselves (after Okoy left, that is) in between Bay's Inn and Surfer's Inn. The band of brothers and Del staked out their own portion a little bit away. But not too far that we couldnt clearly see the fun waves they were getting.

Speaking of fun, Aya and I party waved once and it was so long we were able to actually have a conversation while we rode it. Haha. Love it. But that was only one of many super fun waves that morning. I kept waiting to the wind to pick up, as it normally does come mid-morning. But it didn't appear until nearly 11am. Good deal.

We all finally came out only when it was obvious that we had to come up for food and water. Lunch at Bay's Inn.

Packed up and loaded the cars afterwards. A scenic ride back down past the two mountains. Three stops for snacks, pre-dinner and actual dinner. We were back home by 9pm. Good weekend.

There are almost no photos of waves or people one them because we were in the water like... all the time. But if you'd still like to see what we got up to you can click this link .

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Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Epic Weekend in Baler

March 3 to 4, 2007 What: Two days in Baler. Epic swell. Epic food. Epic room. Epic-ness all around. With: The Band of Brothers (Sarmiento and Gamboa), Moro, Raf, Marky and Olracs plus Team Dakine, Papajovs, Annie C, Vince "ST" Liwanag, Lets Get Piskal and Earlmoticon Noche.

What an insanely great weekend. We used the epic shortcut and took two hours off our travel time. We booked the epic room at Bay's Inn. The boys got epic rides at Cemento and then the rest of us got jealous so we left them there so we could surf the beach break and, later on, the rivermouth. (Na linakad namin at binato pa kami ng buhangin nung mga bata!) Di bale na na 36 hours yata akong gising at walang tulog... sobrang worth it yung puyat.

We ended that first day with an epic dinner at Gerry Shan's. We had 11 different viands, five big bowls of garlic rice and it only cost us Php105 each! Wild. With an H. Whild. And then a few rounds of Red Horse just to hurry us along to bed.

Oh and Olracs got barrelled at Cemento but we have no photos cos that's when I was back at the beach break. There are, however, many eyewitnesses. So big ups to baby boy Olracs. ;)


We set the alarm for 5am... we eventually wake up at 5:30am... Olracs and Vic had a look and came back into the epic room to say it was hella raining and we could afford to sleep for another hour. By 8pm we were all mostly awake. Earl was already out there, the only longboard on a glassy (albeit rainy) morning. And Jovin paddled out to enjoy the inside section.

The Cemento Crew headed off for another epic session while Aston, Raf, JB and I decided to risk hypothermia and surf the beach break first. THATS WHY THERE ARE NO PHOTOS OF THE MORNING. WE WERE SURFING. ALL OF US. And despite the dumpy conditions later in the morning, stoked pa rin kaming lahat. No one though could possibly have been more stoked than Jovin.

Four hours later, it was time for lunch... and then a quick pack up and check out so we could go back to Cemento for one last shoot and surf session. Super high tide (Aston and I should've brought our boards). Super drop in sessions. Super super stoked.
Ahon nung madilim na with matching walk through the mangroves and almost getting lost. Dinner at Gerry Shan's with matching internet checking the forecast for next weekend. Back in Manila by 2am. Stoke all around I tell you.

It totally encapsulated what Corey was telling me about during the MSA auction... about how it isnt the shape of the wave or the size of it that counts... but how much fun you have. And from overhead waves that broke over sharp reef to tiny walls of white water that reformed on the inside to a rivermouth that was paddled for the first time... it was the same amount of epic stoke.

For Saturday photos click this.
For more photos click this.

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