Siargao, Philippines: Young, Wild, and Free.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

I went to an island in the Philippines called Siargao for a few weeks:

I had no expectations going into the Philippines. It was kind of random, when I was going out of my mind in Bangkok, I was looking at this and was like oh the Philippines could be cool. And a really good friend had loved the Philippines too. I also went to this island right after Thailand, so there was really no time to process (aka over-think and build-up expectations about) where I was going. 

I had no idea how beautiful it was there. 

I've never seen such vibrant clear water that comes in so many shades of blues and greens. 

I chose to go to this island mainly to surf. It's all reef breaks here. I had no idea what that meant. The first day I went out, I went with an instructor - a 20 year old boy nicknamed Doy Doy, who was endearing with his big eyes and bird-like sounds calling me (he would continue to be my instructor for the rest of time I was there, he was my babysitter of the sea). It was a 45 minute motorbike ride to the water, then a 10 minute boat ride out to the middle of the water. We were out in the middle of what felt like nowhere (the spot funnily enough is called Salvacion) and the waves (after not surfing for a few months) were massive and terrifying. A guy that was with us that day described it well, "I would kind of catch a wave, nearly drown, get washed out, nearly drown again, and maybe catch a wave."

But man it's pretty. You always take a boat out to the waves and that was one of my favorite parts about surfing there. 

I had so many nice meals. People would just get fresh fish from the market, eggplants, and they would all be grilled and served with rice and we would eat it with our hands off of banana leaves. 

A 300 peso chicken for a cock fight. 

What's an Ellen travel blog entry without pictures of dogs:

This guy was the best. A lot of the dogs just start following you, and I couldn't shake this one. I found him cute, the person I was with did not because our fine bulldog friend kept trying to hump him. 

I tried to take a selfie with this dog (but wasn't very successful):

I love his expression and thought you should see it. Cool guy.

The apple of everyone's eye at the place I was staying at. She is the daughter of the owners of the place and whenever she enters a room, people immediately flock to her. You can see why right? So cute. 

Cock fight. This chicken didn't win. It was surreal to watch a cock fight, it takes what feels like forever between cockfights. Once they finally do have one, the fight is over pretty fast and you don't quite see what happens, sometimes it just takes one jab and all of the sudden the chicken is dead. And then you wait a long time again and then another fight comes and goes and it goes on and on until there's no more chickens left to fight. 

Balong - one of the funniest guys I met on the island. He had the best one liners (or not even lines, he could say two words and it be hilarious) and he would say it in the most perfect accent. Here he is with his chicken for a cock fight. This chicken didn't win.  

The island is incredibly laid back. The days revolved around the waves. Every time I asked people what they were doing that day, the answer was: surfing, take a nap, maybe watch some TV and maybe go out at night and sing some songs. Not said but should have been said: make babies. Lots of babies. The families there were massive! The husband that owns the place I stayed at comes from a family of 9. I'm told there's families on the island with 14 kids! WHAT! 

Someone was describing a surfer on the island as "young, wild, and free" and I keep thinking this over and over when I think about the island. It's still pretty untouched with not a lot of people and you see stuff like pigs, water buffalo, and chickens tied to trees. Dogs sleeping on streets while motorbikes speed by. Kids running from trees, waving hello to you. Driving through thick mud and puddles in palm tree ridden forests. And waves, so blue and clear, coming at you so huge. 

I was absolutely gutted when I left Mexico. I didn't think I'd find another place that would make me feel so much and feel so at place like it did. I had such a great time on this island and it showed me that I could feel what I felt in Mexico again (which was a relief). 

xo, Siargao, twas sweet.  

Koh Phayam Paintings

Saturday, March 1, 2014

I got some painting done while I was in Koh Phayam. Here was my setup:

What I painted:

Got kind of obsessed with the foliage that was surrounding me.