Thursday, November 30, 2006

Surfing in L.U.!

November 2006

I have learned a new sport... surfing! Thanks to my sis Dada who invited me to have my first surfing lessons in San Juan, La Union, Philippines!

Why surfing? Why not!

It was the first weekend after I arrived from Sri Lanka and as if my holiday wasn't enough, I went back on a holiday mode after a week-long work mode, and packed my beach garb (har har which proved useless to surfing and I will tell you later why), hitched a ride to Dagupan with our dear friend Bulgee and whisked off to San Juan!

Of course, this story won't go straight to surfing but will tell you that I got a gorgeous hunk for a surfing instructor. Ah well, I guess the motivation to learn surfing got more exciting at that point! My instructor Anthony (yes gals, you can find him at the______, I'm not telling! hehe) proved his worth when I realized he was as good as an instructor as his looks! During my first lesson, he taught me how to stand up on my board, paddle with my board, and finally ride my first wave! The moment I got on my first wave, I never really wanted to stop! So on a pleasant afternoon with the sun setting and red and orange skies were bursting on the background, my friends and I were enjoying lapping with the waves, getting turned over by waves and riding the waves - more appropriately called as SURFING!

The following day, my surfing instructor taught me a new skill, and that is, how to catch my own wave! Wow, I'm getting there! After my first weekend of surfing lessons, Dada and I were already planning to go back the following weekend. Yes, surfing is cool and here are some things you may want to know before heading off to San Juan:

1. Basic requirement. You should at least be confident in the water, i.e. that you should know how to swim or that when you fall in the water, don't go on a panic!

2. Wear tight-fitting tops otherwise subject yourself to become a flasher when you get rolled over by waves! I don't have my own rash guard, but thanks to Dada who lends me her rash guard everytime we go surfing. Rash guards are expensive (Php1,800++), so if you don't have one, wear something on top of your bikini top that is really tight enough to lock your top! I got another tip from a dorm-mate wayback in college and she said she wears knitted tops coz they hung tight to your body.

3. Choose an instructor who knows how to communicate. During my second weekend of lessons, my surfing instructor wasn't there, so I got a new one (who unfortunately was just pushing me towards the waves and didn't seem to teach me anything at all).

4. Meet and hang out with the local surfers. Yes dude, so that you get more tips even after you're out of the water!

5. Budget: 1 hour of surfing lesson (with surf board rental) is Php350. Accommodations range between Php150 (dorm) to Php800 (fan room) to Php1000++ (aircon room). Decent meals cost at least Php50.00. Drinks around Php 20.00. Beer Php25.00 up.

6. Where to stay. I've been to San Juan twice and stayed in both occasion at Mona Liza Resort (Php500 up depending on the number of occupants per room). Choose a beach-front room and you wake up to a view of pro-surfers riding the waves at the POINT!

7. Where to hang out. Surfers' Retreat. A bar on the highway fronting SeBay where you find all the surfing instructors mingling with old and new surfers as they burn their hard-earned cash over bottles of beer. Cool dude!

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