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A Short Surfing Trip in Bacnotan, La Union

La Union By March 19, 2013 Tags: , , , , , No Comments

After the one-day Digital Influencers Marketing Summit in Thunderbird Resorts Poro Point, we headed to San Juan for a little bit of surfing. Surfing was no good in Urbiztondo that Sunday so we found ourselves boarding a jeep with our surf boards and instructors to Bacnotan. The sun was relentlessly hot but that did not stop us from surfing all day. 

Surfing in Bacnotan, La Union

Surfing in Bacnotan, La Union

I had just come from El Nido, and went straight to La Union. This sunburn was going to be, only, the start of a series of very bad sunburns. *Shakes head*

I strap my leash on my left leg, being goofy, so there goes the white patch where my leash was.

Surfing in Bacnotan, La Union


The Digital Influencers Marketing Summit 2013 Experience – Part 1: La Union

Entrepreneurship, La Union, Other Events By March 19, 2013 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , 4 Comments

Sometimes, fate has a way of allowing you to find the people you need the most. That is how I view my experience on those two fateful weekends that I spent in Thunderbird Resorts – Poro Point in La Union, and Binangonan, Rizal.

To be honest, I never thought I would find myself in such a summit – the Digital Influencers Marketing Summit – because for a time, I disliked the word “marketing” and everything associated with it. I felt that I did not have the required guts to be involved in anything related to “selling.”

But after years in theater and events, and a full year at a rock bar where I did pretty much everything myself, I realized I have been doing marketing without really knowing it.

When I needed customers to come to my bar and other events, I did marketing. When I needed sponsors for my events, I did marketing. When I met with my suppliers, I did marketing.

I have been doing marketing ever since I have been traveling, “marketing” the places I go to by posting my experiences, my photos and any information related to these places. I have been doing marketing since I put that online retail shop, Kikayism, with my good friend from graduate school PJ Valenciano, now designer and owner of Palamuti– a line of handmade accessories made for women. I have been doing a lot of marketing and I never actually realized it.

I found out about the summit from my friend Ana Locsin, the woman behind Pitaka Lifestyle Billfold, a line of tarpaulin wallets with adhoc Filipino designs, who shared the summit’s poster on her wall. At first I was really just interested in being able to come see Thunderbird Resorts.

There were two venues on two different weekends. One was for February 2, at Thunderbird Rizal, which was quite close to where I lived. Another was for January 26, at Thunderbird Poro Point in La Union – less than an hour away from the surfing capital that is San Juan. At first thought I decided I was going to the one in Rizal because of the proximity. On second thought, I thought going to La Union was also a good excuse to come out there to do some surfing.

I compared the two schedules, modules and speakers and found that they were not too similar, and that I could benefit from attending both. And so I did.


Part 1: DIM Thunderbird Poro Point

The Journey:
I took the 6-hr bus ride from El Nido to Puerto Princesa, flew in to Manila, and took the 5 hr-bus ride all the way to La Union, from Thursday til Saturday. I arrived in San Fernando very early in the morning, quite freezing and very sleepy, but very happy to be there. I got to see the sunrise and had delicious coffee with the view of the San Fernando sea.

I was the very first to arrive at the resort and was perhaps, the first one too to the coffee table. I needed it.

Digital Influencers Marketing Summit, Thunderbird Resorts Poro Point, La Union


The Speakers:
The speakers were varied, but I loved them all. From the honesty of Vanj Padilla of, admitting how she found it hard to switch from traditional to new media, and how difficult single motherhood was (and how I loved her in every way!)

Digital Influencers Marketing Summit, Thunderbird Resorts Poro Point, La Union

Digital Influencers Marketing Summit, Thunderbird Resorts Poro Point, La Union


A Look into: Thunderbird Resorts Poro Point, La Union

La Union, Photography By March 12, 2013 Tags: , , , , , No Comments

I am almost always obsessive-compulsive with the way I post my photos and blogs, making them as chronological as possible, but if I have to be such at this point, I believe I will never be able to get back on track on this blog. There are just too many photos to wade through and too many stories to process.

I was in Thunderbird Resorts Poro Point, La Union last January 26th to attend the Digital Influencers Marketing Summit organized and spearheaded by Janette Toral of Digital Filipino. As I am still writing the blog on it, yes I know, nearly two months later, I will post the photos of the resort first, because I, in my eagerness to use my new watermark, decided to spend hours picking up my post processing knowledge. Believe me, it had been all over the floor.

As participants of the summit, we were given the chance to tour the resort. And as one of the last participants to actually leave, and to be honest I suppose, the most persistent, I, together with my newfound friends from Team SpyderFrancis Romero and Aris Suarez, was given the chance to take a tour of one of the villas.

Thunderbird Resorts in Poro Point is beautiful and the photos speak for themselves. I was also at the same summit in Thunderbird Resorts in Binangonan, Rizal, a week later and I have to say that I found the mountain resort more breathtaking than the one in La Union. Sadly though, there would be no photos like these because I. forgot. my. camera. at. home that day.

Much thanks to Thunderbird Resorts, the staff, most especially Joma Giron, for the generous accommodations at the resort, and Digital Filipino, for holding the summit in La Union. This is just one of the reasons why I think the summit was awesome.


Overlooking the sea:

Thunderbird Resorts Poro Point, La Union

Thunderbird Resorts Poro Point, La Union In color, click here.

Thunderbird Resorts Poro Point, La Union

Thunderbird Resorts Poro Point, La Union

Thunderbird Resorts Poro Point, La Union

Thunderbird Resorts Poro Point, La Union


Surf and Music Festival 2012 Day 3 – San Juan, La Union

La Union, Music, Photography, Travel Factor By November 7, 2012 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , 6 Comments

Having surfed all day til sunset, I was absolutely exhausted! Spy was already playing by the time I got to our room in Sebay, and I desperately needed a nap. I set the alarm to 9pm thinking I wouldn’t miss Razorback and Wolfgang because they wouldn’t play that early BUT they did! I woke up and I could hear Wolfgang playing!

The lineup for this night was DJ Joey Santos and DJ Niki Rojas, Franco, Razorback, Urbandub, Wolfgang, Pupil, Spy and Kalayo (formerly Pinikpikan). I was only getting dressed while Wolfgang was playing and we were having dinner of chicken and pork barbecues and hotdogs outside the concert venue when Kalayo was onstage.

Apparently, Razorback and Wolfgang had to play early because they had to be somewhere else.

I got in just in time for Franco. I’ve missed Franco when he played at Avenue Square in Naga City for last year’s Penafrancia Festival and missed him too at the Roots Rock Reggae gig at Metro Bar last October 17th so I wasn’t going to miss him at this year’s Surf and Music Festival!

Franco - Surf and Music Festival 2012 Day 3

Surf and Music Festival 2012 Day 3

Surf and Music Festival 2012 Day 3

Surf and Music Festival 2012 Day 3


Franco, now a solo artist, used to be a band made up of Franco Reyes (Inyo) on vocals and guitars, Gabby Alipe (Urbandub) and Paolo 8 Toleran (Queso) on guitars, Buwi Meneses (Parokya ni Edgar) on bass and JanJan Mendoza (Urbandub) on drums. BUT earlier this year, the band members decided to go separate ways and Franco now goes as a solo artist playing with sessionists during live performances. Read all about the story HERE.

Franco - Surf and Music Festival 2012 Day 3


Surf All Day during the Surf and Music Festival 2012

La Union, Photography, Surfing, Travel Factor By November 7, 2012 Tags: , , , , , , , , 11 Comments

Day 3 of the Surf and Music Festival 2012 was spent surfing! My muscles were sore all over and bruises were starting to form on my left knee and here and there on my legs but aside from being there for the music and my friends, I was also there for the surf, so surf I did!

Preparing to Surf

I passed on the drinking til the wee hours of that Saturday morning so I could have enough rest and wake up early with enough energy to actually paddle but I still woke up at 10 AM! Nevertheless, after a cup of coffee and tapsilog I was out in the sun and sea. 

Welcome back to Surfing!

No matter how small the waves are, I never go out to surf without an instructor. I’ve learned it the hard way. I was once at Monaliza Point some years back, had a really long ride that brought me near the shore and the corals and rocks, and made the mistake of paddling out in the wrong direction when I was wiped out to the point of drowning. Good thing I had Anthony Valdez as my instructor then so he came out to help me. I haven’t been to the point since then. I’m building up some stamina and some courage for that. Also, there were so many people out during the festival that accidents were almost inevitable and H had broken a board in two the day before. My best friend on this trip was Tinay.

Welcome back to Surfing!

Welcome back to Surfing!

Welcome back to Surfing!

Welcome back to Surfing!

Welcome back to Surfing!

Welcome back to Surfing!


Surf and Music Festival 2012 Day 2 – San Juan, La Union

La Union, Music, Photography, Travel Factor By November 6, 2012 Tags: , , , , , , , , , 7 Comments

I and my friends went to sleep at four in the morning, promising each other to meet up at eleven thirty-two for brunch at Midway Grill in San Fernando, but I woke up at eleven thirty two and decided not to go. I got up, put on my gigantic bee-eyes sunglasses, had coffee, headed over to the Valdezes’ tent and went to surf instead. That’s where I was when they got back, with my lunch of baby back ribs from Midway Grill.

I’m just writing this down because actually, I’ve forgotten what I did all day on this day, and I was wondering why I have no pictures until the concert. 😛

The line-up for this night was: Kaya Green Band, Indio I, Milagros Dancehall Collective.. and so on and so forth, at least those are the bands that I missed.

Actually, I arrived right in the middle of Milagros Dancehall Collective’s set but I was hungry and was collecting myself, thus, no pictures. I was just standing there, staring, hungry and wide-eyed. 😛

So I started taking photos when Taken by Cars went onstage.


Sarah Marco – Vocals
Bryce Zialcita – Guitars
Isa Garcia – Bass/Synths/Vocals
Siopao Chua – Guitars/Synths/Vocals
Bryan Kong – Drums/Synths/Sampler

Taken by Cars - Surf and Music Festival 2012 Day 2

Taken by Cars - Surf and Music Festival 2012 Day 2

Taken by Cars - Surf and Music Festival 2012 Day 2

Taken by Cars - Surf and Music Festival 2012 Day 2


Surf & Music Festival 2012 Day 1 – San Juan, La Union

La Union, Music, Photography, Travel Factor By November 5, 2012 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , 11 Comments

Meet-up was at The Podium’s open parking lot at twelve midnight, so we were all hanging out at Starbucks as early as eleven o’clock. I haven’t been on a trip with my Travel Factor friends in quite a while, the last time we were together was the Tambaron Island trip in Bulalacao, Mindoro last May. (Click here for the blog on that.)

We left the parking lot a little after one in the morning and arrived at Sebay Surf Resort close to nine in the morning. It was a really long trip, especially since I’ve had experience with my surfer friends PJ and Gerard when we’d take Manila-San Juan in three hours, yes, 3 hours, because that’s how fast Gerard (de Sagun) drives! We didn’t mind though because our room was going to be available at noon and we spent the entire morning just hanging out, checking out the beach, the girls, the surf, the breeze, all from the comforts of the restaurant of Sebay.

photo by H from a Samsung Note phone

The last time I was in Urbiztondo for surfing was January 2011, and the last time I went on a decent surfing trip was in Baler, March 2011. I went a number of times to Bagasbas in Camarines Norte while I was based in Naga but I never did get to do any surfing there. I haven’t really surfed in almost two years – so, even though I tried to get ready for surfing a few days before this trip, I took it easy on Day 1. About an hour of riding some white water, and no paddling even. Soo…. lazy.

We spent more time hanging out with friends at San Juan Surf Resort, drinking Pinacoladas from Sunset Buckets (a cousin of the Boracay Bucket). The above photos are from my friend Ayie’s camera. Thanks Ayie!

I spent so much time hanging out with friends that I wasn’t dressed yet by the time Up Dharma Down came onstage. Never mind the bath, we quickly changed into shirts and shorts and headed to the concert area. We weren’t gonna miss Up Dharma Down!


Ean Mayor [drums and loops] 
Carlos Tanada [lead guitars] 
Armi Millare [keyboards, vocals] 
Paul Yap [bass]

UpDharmaDown - Surf and Music Festival 2012 Day 1

UpDharmaDown - Surf and Music Festival 2012 Day 1

UpDharmaDown - Surf and Music Festival 2012 Day 1

Up Dharma Down was the first band to come onstage after DJ David Ardiente‘s set and the crowd was just starting to trickle in.

Surf and Music Festival 2012 Day 1


The Surf and Music Festival 2012 has now moved to San Juan, La Union

Surfing, Travel Factor By October 5, 2012 Tags: , , , , , , , No Comments

For more updates, Like the Aloha Boardsports page on Facebook:

And the Surf and Music Festival 2012 official website for more information:


And if you are looking for packages, Travel Factor has it all:


Surfing La Union, December 27-29, 2010

La Union By January 4, 2011 Tags: , , , , , , No Comments

The little family drove to LU for a little surf break during the holidays. My usual surfing buddies, PJ, Gerard and Donna were already there. Some of my Travel Factor friends also took the bus on the same day and we were able to spend some time together in LU for the very first time. All the lodging houses and resorts were fully booked, even Surfer’s Inn where we usually stay. We did find a gem in Monaliza’s Resort right by the point. Wonderful wonderful weekend!

We spent a lot of time eating and hanging out at Little Surfmaid since it was just next door and I absolutely love their kilawin tanigue. They also have fast free wi-fi! We went there to hang out and ended up having a Facebook and Twitter party.

La Union December 2010

La Union December 2010


Lia in San Fernando, La Union

Family, La Union By November 8, 2010 Tags: , , , , No Comments

The waves were too strong when we got to Urbiztondo on our surfing weekend two weeks ago so we had to find other surf spots. The one we found was in San Fernando. I had a really long first ride but found that I couldn’t paddle back. I was that out of shape. So I spent the rest of the time hanging out with the little one while my muscles ached like mad.

Lia in Car-rille, San Fernando, La Union

Lia actually loved the beach so much. She loved chasing waves. She was on a break from swimming on these shots and was playing with seeds on


My Surfbum Fish

La Union, Travel, Travel Factor By April 14, 2010 Tags: , , , , , No Comments

Many of my Travel Factor friends were in Baler, Aurora this past weekend participating in the 2010 Surfvivor Beach Games and someone posted a blog about how great her Baler experience was.

This led to discussions on when we should come back to Baler and where to stay. At some point I said, “I wanna go back to Baler and bring my short board with me so I can maximize my use of it,” or something to that effect, and someone said, “So you’re using a short board now.. The shortest I’ve used is a 7’10.. Tyx [another friend who happens to be a managing partner of TF as well] has a 6 flat board. Bongga.”

I didn’t know what to reply to that, because to be honest, I bought this fish from my friend who did not want it anymore and did not bother to ask about the specs. I did not even know the brand. *laugh laugh laugh* And of course, in this photo, I do not see a brand name anywhere..


My board resting against the wall of “The Apartment” or “Surfer’s Inn” in San Juan, La Union

So the first thing I do when my friend from whom I got my board gets onto Yahoo Messenger is ask her the brand and the specs. And that led me to this:

And lo and behold, this specs (and original price):

2x 5’9 x 20 x 2 1/2
blue rail spray/blue rail & bottom spray
double wing swallow
Php 17,500.00

Holy crap, I have got a 5’9 board!! No wonder I had such a hard time staying on top of it as almost 1/3 of my body was off the board when I paddled out. I should work on staying on it, balancing it while waiting for a wave, on top of being on a wave itself. Damn! No wonder I almost wanted to give up! No wonder I got totally wiped out at the Point in L.U. and for the first time in my surfing life, actually thought I was gonna drown! Good thing my instructor (who goes by the name of Anthony Valdez by the way) was cool and always rushed to help me out. *straight face goes here, like really*

I distinctly remember crying out to him, “Help!” hahahaha.. and clinging to him for dear life when he got to me instead of clinging to board (for dear life) only because he was nearer hahahaha. Damn it.

That whole experience does not mean I am giving up on this board. It only means I have got to get to Baler soon so I can work on my fish board skills. 😉

By the way, here is where I got the info about my Surfbum board.


Surfing in San Juan (January 23-24, 2010)

La Union By January 27, 2010 Tags: , , 1 Comment


You don’t really have to surf. Hanging out and enjoying the action from the beach is perfectly fine.


The sand in this beach moves from one side to the other depending on the season. At this time of the year, the rocks over by Little Surfmaid are exposed while the sand is by the little pier on the other side.


Dad plays with the kids in the setting, warm, afternoon sun.


While PJ plays on the beach with her 4-month old handsome golden retriever, Fabio.


And this has got to be my favorite photo for this trip, how sweet! 😛

I take time to snap a photo of this pretty little boy with the golden hair. 🙂

I was not really taking a photo of this skinny girl, I was trying to take a photo of the point where I had surfed for the first time this weekend and had both a blast and a scary time BUT this girl was in the way. Might as well. 🙂

Just look at how far I had to paddle to get to the line-up, which isn’t even in that photo because it’s still farther to the left. I just wanted to show the kind of waves that pummeled me every time I paddled back to the line-up. 😐

I could’ve surfed on the beach break, just like this guy. No, not this on the right who is also in my photo’s way, but that one guy on the left making a pretty good job of paddling out.

If I got pummeled on my way out at least I had some sand to step on every now and then, instead of swimming my darnedest best, with the results of having to feel like my legs are made of lead afterwards. Ho-ho!

Yes, I wanna be cool like this guy. Or maybe I am already. Ho-ho! 😐

And this is my fish, that I can’t ride yet. Ho-ho! 😐

In time, my dear, in time….

Click here to view the entire La Union Flickr set.


Surfirsts: A History

Aurora, Camarines Norte, La Union, Travel By January 26, 2010 Tags: , , , , , , , , , No Comments

Baler, Aurora; April 2008

It was in Baler, Aurora that I learned to surf. I went with my grad school friend PJ and her boyfriend, Gerard. I met Daisy Valdez and Jefferson de la Torre for the first time. It was April of 2008.

Jason, also known as Balat and Jeff’s older brother, was the one who taught me how to surf – in Charlie’s Point. I was out there with them, trying to ride big waves for the first time with PJ’s flowered pink fun board. It was indeed, a lot of fun.

Charlie’s Point, Baler, Aurora

Girl determined not to surf that day

Girl determined not to surf that day

Champion surfer Daisy Valdez

Champion surfer Daisy Valdez

Hanging out in front of Surfers Inn, Sabang Beach, Baler, Aurora

Hanging out in front of Surfer’s Inn, Sabang Beach, Baler, Aurora

View the entire set on Flickr here.

More story on Multiply here.

Bagasbas Beach, Daet, Camarines Norte; May 2008

It was the first ever Bagasbas Summer Surf. It was my first time in Bagasbas. More importantly, it was my 26th birthday. This trip was a birthday gift to me.

It was also the first time Ryan drove the car all the way to Bicol and the very first time we took our dog, Ewok, with us on a long trip, or more specifically, a trip to Bicol.

waves at bagasbas beach on a sunny day

Bagasbas Beach in the early afternoon sun

Ryan and Ewok at the breakwater

Ryan and Ewok at the breakwater

skim boarding insructions

Ryan being taught how to skim board


Surfer (name unknown)


Accidentally found this on Flickr. A papparazzi shot. Interestingly, it was titled, “Inspired by Love”. Don’t ask me. I have no idea.

first ride of the day

And so this is me.. takin it easy with white water

View the entire set on Flickr here.

Clich here to view more photos of the Bagasbas Summer Surf event on Multiply.

Click here for [more narcissistic] touristy photos.

And click here to view the old blog.

Bacnotan, La Union; July 2008

In my first ever trip to La Union, I did not get to surf in San Juan. We were at Bacnotan for two days instead. First time in La Union, first time in Bacnotan.

Surfer in Bacnotan

Jeff feeling free in Bacnotan

jeff and daisy (surfer couple)

Jefferson dela Torre and Daisy Valdez

LUJuly2008 505

(Skinny, skinny me) After an hour or so of surfing in the hot scorching sun

We did stay at Hacienda Peter’s Resort in San Juan so I managed to take a few snapshots of the surf in front as well as the beautiful sunset.

surfer kid 2

Afternoon glow on a little surfing kid

Click here to view the entire set on Flickr.

Click here to view the story and photos on Multiply.

That surf trip would be the last one in one long year, as I learned I was three weeks pregnant in August of 2008, as I prayed and hoped I would be.

Urbiztondo, San Juan, La Union; July 2009

For this trip, the firsts were…

… first time for Ryan to go to L.U.
… first time to drive the car to L.U.
… Lia’s first time in L.U.
… first time surfing in San Juan

If it weren’t for this post, I would not have realized that I have not managed to upload the photos on Flickr. I did make a blog post of this trip here on this site and made a photo album through Smilebox.

Click to play this Smilebox scrapbook:

Create your own scrapbook - Powered by SmileboxMake a Smilebox scrapbook

Click here to go to old post.

I will work on posting the entire set for this trip to Flickr once I am done with this past weekend’s photos.

2008 was a great year for surfing. I went surfing thrice in three different locations.

2009 was dedicated to my daughter. We were literally inseparable for months.

Who knows what 2010 holds?