Home Away From Home - Falling In Love With Lola Sayong Eco-Surf Camp

by - Wednesday, June 21, 2017

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I can't believe I am publishing this just now given the love I have for this camp. I know, I have too many backlogs. I wrote this long before but haven't published yet and I really wanted to sum up my whole experience on this single post so pardon me if this will be more than a thousand words and there are loads to share plus I did add some new photos too. And seriously, I need to learn to come up with a shorter title. But this camp deserves more than that and I am struggling to come up with the best title (probably one of the main reason why I haven't published it yet before) but I think there is no better way to describe this place because really "home away from home" is the closest.

Have you ever had this feeling when you need to get away from something? (oh, no definitely not like you committed a crime or anything like that) That itchy feeling when you just want to distance yourself from the norms and just be succumbed in solidarity and still feels safe and secured but bad-ass and rawness is still present at the same time? Am I making sense? But actually I am. Because I found a place just exactly like that.

Last year, as I am determined to tick-off all the provinces in Bicol Region I came upon this eco-surf camp in Gubat, Sorsogon which I never imagined will be dear to me. The first visit came short because I had to stay overnight and need to head on to my next destination which is Masbate. That was the lamest move I did back then, but looking back, it made me realize that it just opens another possibility that I will be setting foot on that camp again.

I made a promise to myself that I will come back and experience more of what the camp has. My short visit of course did not stop me to know them and for them to make me feel wanted and at home.

This camp is far different to other beach I've been to. It's unspoiled, it's green, it's natural, it's as if you're in a place where everything feels so home and untouched. The place is clean, the foods are great, the people are all awesome, the beach is wide, the waves are so inviting, the dogs barks a little (sorry, funny memories from my first visit) it's a peaceful place where you can procrastinate and just succumb yourself to nature, really its a perfect getaway if you want to just forget about the busy metro and how suffocating living there is. The camp is a friendly and very welcoming and hospitable place, all the good traits Filipino has they have it. Trust me, for the last ten months that had passed, been there four times already and will keep going back there.

Kuya Noli, who’s the one consistently replying on my queries on their fb page is kind enough to fetch me from town proper to their camp. (I was exhausted from my trip from Catanduanes and just want to have enough sleep that day but since I have a list to visit and limited time on my end I did manage to visit some of the wonders of Sorsogon.)

I had a quick chitchat with Kuya Noli about the camp on our way there. That’s when I learned a brief account on how the camp was started and it’s really something inspirational.

Upon arrival at the camp, some surfers (I didn’t know back then) is kind enough to assist me and attending on my needs though I’m not accustomed to this kind of gestures because I clearly haven’t experienced much of this on my previous solo trip. But I am deeply grateful for that. My plan is to just sleep off the night in a tent for it is much cheaper, as you see, I travel on cheap budget only and stick on it. This is one of the first time that I cheat on my own plan HA! Reason is too personal :P

Anyway, as I came back from my quick exploration of Barcelona and Bulusan, I kind of feel tired and just want to sleep it off the whole night without engaging to any human species. There are times when I feel like that (most of the time actually). So, I grabbed my notebook and pen and proceed to the beach and sit on a spot far from anyone and continue my writing. But I was distracted by the waves and the beach and the dogs and the surfers and the locals and some other guests, distracted in a good way because it was a good sight. Really a good sight. Everything is just so alive. The last time I remember seeing something like this is my trip to Sagada which is of course far different from Sorsogon (except that they both start with letter S :P)

There are a lot of things going on inside my head that time like “Should I go surfing?” “Oh, there’s a skimboard, tatay bads would love it knowing I tried” “those couple surfers look so astonished riding the waves” “are these dogs mad for always following me?” “what am I writing anyway?” “what’s for dinner?” “should I eat now?” “I smell like a garbage who haven’t thrown in a week” “I should take a bath” “should I take a bath now?” “who are these people anyway?” “why there are a lot of men here?” “why I haven’t discovered this place long ago?” “I wanna live here” “can I live here?” “what time should I wake up tomorrow?” “Is Masbate safe?” “Should I continue my trip to Romblon after Masbate?“ “should I extend my trip?“ “are there beers in their kitchen?” “I wish there’s sisig” “I want to eat unli rice” “I’m so hungry and smells awful”

See? That’s loads and that’s all I can remember. So I close my notebook head back to my hut and prepare to take a shower and after that I immediately go straight on their kitchen and ask for food. Of course, sisig talaga una ko hinanap, and their menu did not disappoint me! Ha! Sisig, finally! And I did asked for beer, though and they do have. Yes!

The plan on not talking to any human species failed for this trip will never be memorable if that chitchats didn't happen. Ed was the one who cooked my meal that night. It was sumptuous! (Okay, I’m craving for sisig now) I never tried fish sisig before and that was the first. I am no fan of spicy food because my tolerance for that is too low, really too low, but the spiciness of their Sisig is tolerable, plus, I have a beer on my side so twice tolerable. (dance)

While waiting for my meal, Ed, make a little chitchat with me as Joey, one of their guest too, joined me. I learned how he got there, his work before, you know, the usual (I don’t know if that’s usual asking too personal question when you first met them, but in the camp it is definitely okay). Knowing how his life before makes me realize so many things that just magnified when I get to talked with other surfers too.

You see, I have this dilemma back then about my career, I’ve been struggling really hard about it and meeting this people makes me realize so many things and I know they don’t know this but they are one of those strangers you meet along the way that change your point of view (okay, not really change but pushed you and enlighten you because you already know what you want you are just too scared to do it feeling) and I am just glad to be on that  camp that night and to listen to their stories. But as I’ve said, I’m scared about jumping into unknown that time. So I keep in mind and in my heart their stories that is so inspirational and I know one day, I, too, can do that risk for myself.

Most of them, the surfers, has a regular work in Manila and all these they left and comes home and do the things they are passionate about which is surfing and they are wholeheartedly sharing it to everyone who visits the place. How beautiful it is knowing not just one but a couple of men pursuing their passion? And how most of us neglect the things we are most passionate about? I know most of you will not agree on me with this but this is what I believe in now. And that what makes me fall in love with this camp more. Not only they do what they are passionate about but they also help other people especially the young ones, the teens, to go to school and to study harder. They support the kids schooling by allowing them to teach surf lesson in the camp. And they nag them if they will not go to school. The community they have is a Family everyone of us should have. Supporting and encouraging each and every one to do not just the right thing but also humane.

The camp being as an eco-surf camp has rules and regulations they strictly implementing. These what comprises a good community, putting rules and strictly enforcing it. And I think we need more camp and resorts like this, after all, this rules they have are good to our environment.

Listening about their stories and how this camp was established and started is truly admirable. And I can’t believe I am just staying for a night! I really wanted to stay, I really do, but I already break some rules for myself on this trip and as hard as it feels I bid goodbye to them the next day and promise to come back and will stay for long.

Photo taken during my December visit

Learning about their yearly activity that took place every October: “Swellfest” I immediately asked my friends to accompany me back to the camp for I want to help the camp in any way possible and I want to share to my bestfriends the experience I had. Three of my friends accompanied me and I know they had a blast too. It was my first time to experience an event like that and it is overwhelming, really. I am no fan of crowd but despite that I enjoyed it and I met new sets of friends, that’s new to me. HA! But of course, when you want to enjoy and experience the camp I suggest on going on weekdays and without event, I don’t know, I am just not a fan of crowds, you get to enjoy the place, it’s like living there as a local. And I did come back again last December after their swellfest.

During swellfest

Again, I am having this dilemma at work and just need to get out and I don’t know its just that the camp gives me this sense of peacefulness for being alone but not literally. BASTA! Can’t explain, e. The camp has been my refuge everytime I feel uncertain on something and as their saying goes "if nothing is going well...run to granny's place" and that is exactly what I did. I run to the camp last December of 2017 and contemplate everything about what is going on with my life and where I want to be and what I really want to do.

I am grateful for the experience I had in the camp. My every visit is unique and unforgettable. It’s like experiencing the camp for the first time. Their hospitality and their community makes you really feel welcome and at home. No dull moments just pure fun and happiness. They know what they lacks of and they are trying to make up for it, they know we all have our struggles because they have too but they are all smiling it off and just live one day at a time without too much dwelling on the future and all the unknowns that hasn’t yet to come. Being there is like living to the fullest one day at a time.

I really wanted to share this to everyone but I’m kind of selfish to my favorite spots because people tend to visit it and more and more and it became crowded, I know, I am being selfish, but I know their camp will be known and I just hope as it gets popularity all over the world, the camp will remain as I’ve known them the rawness, the simplicity and the countryside vibe of the place that I fell in love with.

It is definitely a home away from home, from the camp itself, to the richness of their food, to the strong brave waves on their sea, to their dogs, and of course to the locals, the surfers and every one in their community making the camp feels home to every one who visits it and turns strangers into family.

I hope one day, our country will be filled with so much camp and resorts like this who are environmentally friendly and is not after your money because all they want is for you to have fun and enjoy the camp, the food, and most especially the wave.

Stay stoked!

Heavy photos below. Scroll at your own risk ^^

Siesta means beer time ^^

Old setup in the camp. Taken during my first visit.

Just the way I like it!

Old setup in the camp.

Old setup in the camp

With Kuya Noli!

With Anton and Javen ^^

My favorite in the camp: Ata ^^

During my organized outing at the camp with my friends and the locals and surfers 

Helping Tags/Links

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Thanks for the wonderful message!