There was a moment in Bangkok that I can’t forget. Resting on the foam mat I slept on, deep in thought, I questioned some of the life decisions I had made up until that point in time. If I had led an easier life, would I be lying on a floor in an unfurnished, sticky hot apartment in Bangkok? Would I be exposing myself to the trials of being a lone female in a gym of Thai fighters, some of which I suspected resented my presence? I realized that had my life been filled with less violence I’d probably be living beach side somewhere spending my days painting and surfing. Enter The Philippines.
There came a point, years later, living in Buriram that I knew I had to leave. I wasn’t happy, rather, I was miserable. Being a single, white female in Thailand long-term posed too much of a challenge – I could neither fight nor withstand my place in Thai society. I missed the freedom and respect, as I define them both, of my pre-Thailand days. Would The Philippines be different?
I formed an interest in The Philippines during childhood via my Filipina friends in Catholic school. I had wanted to travel there since that time and before I left Asia, I wanted to dip into The Philippines and determine if it was a country I could spend extended, possibly indefinite, time in.
I chose to fly solo from Bangkok to Manila to check out surfing in The Philippines.
The following is a result of nineteen days of beach life.
Notes From The Road
“Generally, tours initiate a sinking feeling in my core, I try to avoid them, however, something about Surfista Travels struck me. I came across them I believe a couple of days proceeding the release of the following two videos. It was these two babies that sold me. I’ve signed up for their first tour.”
“My personal space was definitely invaded, my patience tried. Annoying, but in retrospect not a big deal, other than the fact that I silently freaked out on the trip back with the Filipino (guy) that accompanied me. My reaction shocked me.”
A series of photographs captured in San Juan, La Union.
Manila born photographer Diego Virata shoots surf, sand and fun at Urbiztondo Beach.
“Had I been poisoned? Had I been drugged? I had never felt anything to this degree before, I wasn’t simply high. When Pacita and staff followed me to my room, I could barely move or speak once I collapsed on the bed. I just stared at that white circle. Was I going to die?”
A photo essay of the city of San Fernando, La Union.
Points Of Interest
The menu is varied, the food is fresh and if you’re in search of large portions of vegetables, which can be a challenge in The Philippines, this is your spot.
Of the more economical accommodations choices on Urbiztondo beach, Hacienda Peter isn’t a compromise for the budget minded traveler.
Located steps from the sea along Urbiztondo beach, Lola Nanny’s offers accommodation for the guest on a budget.
The San Juan Surf Resort was the first establishment that emerged on Urbiztondo Beach, in San Juan, La Union. Currently it stands as a fully functioning resort equipped with a wide selection of accommodations, free WiFi, a restaurant, a surf school and surf shop.
What initially struck me was the subtle beauty of the design. The bright colour combinations popped on land and in the sea and the placement of the typography accentuated and enhanced the physique of the wearer.
As a newcomer who needed a bit more attention getting her bearing in a new country, Elaine eased the transition.