Written by Imi Garcia
In an attempt to come up with something original, Be Siargao partnered up with Havaianas Philippines to bring the first ever “Community Week” in the island. In line with the ideals of Be Siargao: respect and empower the community of Siargao, we conducted a week of events with the aim to showcase another side of Siargao to tourists, locals, and other participants.
The week started on a perfect sunny Saturday, well-spent at the Malijon Garden Cottages Market Day, which is a pop-up event, which takes place once a month and brings together artisans, local brands, and food lovers, with over 25 different stalls on offer.
On Sunday 6th October, we organised a tour at the Bayatakan Farm in San Isidro. The tour is a farm to table experience where over 25 guests joined for free. The participants harvested their own food, cooked it in a traditional way and after their meal, they replanted the leftovers to complete the full cycle. All of the food prepared was vegan and sourced from the farm.
The next day the team spent an afternoon with Jolan Saavedra, Barangay Catangnan Councilor, SEA Movement and a bunch of volunteers to conduct a beach clean up with kids from Catangnan. The cleanup started in Catangnan until Cloud 9 and back. That day, we collected around 10 sacks of garbage that was on the beach or the road. The kids were treated by Havaianas with a massive boodle fight prepared by Catangnan Fried Chicken, our local KFC!
That same day, we held a Surf Photography Talk at Fat Lips Surf Shop. We invited Tim Hain, an experienced surf photographer who has worked for the WSL, Asian Surf Co and other surf companies around the world, and John Vincent Camingue, Bryan Waverider and Gaps Sabuero, three famous local photographers.
They shared with us the risks and challenges of their profession, the accidents they have gone through, and what makes up a photo that is worthy of a cover on a magazine and much more.
On Tuesday, some tourists had the opportunity to have a free surf lesson with the legendary Carlito Nogalo and the Botiti Boys in Jacking Horse. In the afternoon, Greenhouse Cafe opened their doors to let us hold a Professional Surf Talk. Our guests explained to us what life is like while on tour as a professional surfer.
Will Hayden Smith, WSL Australasia Manager, hosted the session and we were also graced by the Philippine Surfing Team: Ana Mae Alipayo, Piso Alcala, John Mark Tokong and Eduardo Alciso. The group talked about their experience at the recent ISA World Surfing Games in Japan, which took place between 7th-15th September.
Last year’s International Cup Champion, Skip McCullough, explained his experience competing in Siargao and what his victory has contributed to his career. The Indonesian pro surfer, Oney Anwar was also invited to chat about the Indonesian surf culture and his experience on the island. It was indeed a beautiful and extraordinary evening filled with surf, laughs, and stoke.
As the week came to an end, a dozen participants joined the Bathala Tour. It started with a coffee and breakfast at MA+D Siargao. The guests then travelled up north, stopping along the way to take pictures of Burgos’ & Pacifico’s beautiful scenery. At Lokal Siargao, they participated in a banig workshop, which is a traditional weaving in the Philippines.
To cap a week that was filled with interesting ways to explore the island along with Havaianas Philippines, we held two parties: one at Zicatela, a new trendy “Mexican-feel” bar in General Luna and another one at Harana, the long time favourite Saturday night hang out.
What a fun and delightful week it was. We would like to extend our most sincere gratitude to all guests, partners, participants, media and management team who jumped on board the “Be Siargao Community Week” adventure and made it a success. All these activities were made possible thanks to the support of Havaianas Philippines, who’s focus for the island coincides with the Be Siargao Team spirit and commitment.
Obrigado and Salamat Karajaw everyone!