I’m a natural thrill-seeker. I just love that excitement, that feeling of something new, something a little dangerous, something a little cool and out of my usual reach. I love that. I love long ziplines, high wall climbs, rapelling. I love riding in planes. I would’ve jumped off that cliff in Malapascua and I promise to do it one day. I love all things exciting, even if I know this activity is something I have to challenge myself to do. One of the activities that I never anticipated in doing this year was surfing. It wasn’t even on my agenda. I had planned on wakeboarding in Batangas, yes, but never actual surfing. I hadn’t even planned on going to La Union or Baler.
When Ivan of Ivan Lakwatsero made up his mind about his birthday trip in January, I wanted my own birthday trip too.
While Robbie of the Travelling Dork and I contemplated on whether we would take on Ilocos or La Union, I suddenly thought of Baler, out of the blue. I didn’t even have any idea of what we’d be able to do there. After months of planning and the trip being canceled once, we ended up going to Baler anyway on March 16 – 18, just after my OJT in South East Asian Airlines had finished and I was about to start my full time work on the Monday after.
I was determined to surf, actually. I was so excited to do something new again.
Then we were there, facing our surfing instructors as they showed us how to stand. I was the last to head out, and I was already feeling like a sore loser.
Once we got out to the waters, it started to rain a little and I knew my friends wouldn’t be able to take any good shots anymore.
I thought: Darn, I wouldn’t be able to post any cool shots of myself on a surfboard.
My instructor told me to hop on the board and hold tight. I’m very small so every time there’s a big wave, I literally have to hang onto the board so that I don’t get thrown off.
The instructor would push me through the waves and get me far enough.
Then, when there was an incoming wave, he’d turn the surfboard around with me on it and on his count, I’d do the steps we’d practiced.
2 months later, while writing this (backlogs, sorry! lol), I can still remember clearly how I felt on the surfboard. That awesome feeling of being on top of the water, on making that wave. It’s true that when you surf, you can actually feel yourself connect with the water as you try to gain a balance while standing on the board. Despite having only an hour to surf, I remember every moment, as vividly as it was that day, because I remember the feelings of excitement, adventure and achievement. Dang, I was surfing. Maybe not as good as the ones I watch on television, nor the instructors I had that day. But I was riding a wave!
I was riding a wave!
I did feel a little nervous as we got out onto the waters, but by the time I made my first stand on my first try, the exhilaration at being able to ride a wave made me more excited and hungry for the next.
Every time I got to stand on that board, on a wave, I got even hungrier for the next wave. I forgot about everything, my friends who were waiting for us, the rain that had stopped, the time that we were losing to get back to Manila. For that brief moment that I was riding, the only thing that mattered was me, the board and the waves. It’s a feeling I know I’ll always look for. It’s a feeling I know I’ll want again.
Despite falling over on my second ride and practically grazing my knees on the shores, I got up, raced to the waters and quickly hopped on the board. I was ready to ride.
For everyone heading to Baler, never leave without an hour on the waves. Maybe it’s just me. But I think it’s definitely a different, worthy experience.
By the way, for those who want to surf in Baler can contact Baler Surf at 09393567103 or 09209829998
You can find them at Bay’s Inn Hotel and Restaurant, along Sabang Beach.
The private surfing lesson costs P350, surfboard and skateboard rental is at P200.
If you are coming with a group of 5, they have a package for P1500.
These rates are per hour, inclusive of instructor and drinks after the lesson.
Remember, your Baler experience would never be complete without surfing!
***Photos credited to Renz Bulseco of The Travelling Nomad***