Learn to surf this Summer with TropicalSwells Surf Camp!

Summer is just around the corner! And, what does that mean? Sun. Sand. And SURF! Why not?

All of us already know that surfing is an exhilarating extreme sport. Immersing yourself into a surfer’s culture brings benefits that make it one of the most unique and fulfilling experiences of your life.

Fitness. Build your more than usual dream “beach bod.” Surfing a physically demanding activity, but a fun one at that. You engage your entire body when you start to surf. The more you surf, the more motivated you become to becoming fit and healthy. When you’re healthy, you give instantly give yourself a confidence boost.

Now, imagine yourself in an amazingly ripped physique while you’re ripping those waves.

Travel. If you need to get away, you’ll find a perfectly good form of release through this activity. You’ll find solitude. You’ll make new friends. And, I’ve got to admit, being on those waves gives one a sense of oneness and respect for nature. There’s really always something therapeutic in whisking yourself for a while.


Now, take a hold of life by getting on that board and enjoying every bit of surf time on the water.

TropicalSwells has found a way to merge both benefits in a safe and fun way through their Surf School at White Rock Beach Hotel + Waterpark in Matain, Subic.

Wavepool. Beginners get the chance to perfect their stance and balance on the surfboard, learn and improve their paddling, and catch a few surfing tricks on their own. For those who aren’t really amateurs in surfing, it’s a good avenue to find a consistent rhythm of waves and a spot with the ability to practice “crowd control” at the lineup.


Age. Jim Moriarty of SurfRider Foundation says, “As soon as they express an interest.” Nan Waldman of Education + Parenting in Quoradinating adds, “Whenever the child herself or himself feels ready and WANTS to.” SurfSimply’s Harry Knight caps it well, “In my experance over the years, there is no correct age to teach someone, and I have taught children as young as 2, and adults in their 70’s.”


TropicalSwells is excited to teach anyone interested, starting from 4 years old and up. Equipped with life-saving skills, our instructors are ASI-certified.

IntroSurf. Want to surf? We guarantee you’ll learn the basics of surfing and surf waves on the wave pool in 2 hours.

SurfCamp. Serious about the sport? From level zero, you’ll be surfing ocean waves in only six 2-hour sessions.

Supercharge your summer with the coolest ‘swells’ coaches in our tropical country. Whether you’re looking just a day-trip, or you want to pack a couple days in, TropicalSwells offers a great package for you!


For inquires, please contact surfsup@tropicalswells.com.


Nurtured by Nature: A Mountain Adventure

Mt. Maranat Day Hike

On August 31, 2013, I prepared my things for my 2nd climb for this year. A friend of mine, Richard, tagged along with me on his first hike. The next day, September 1, because of excitement that I lacked time for sleep, I woke up at 4am when the meeting time at Jolibee, Tungko was supposedly at 5am. Since I live in Pasig, it would take me around 1 and a half to 2 hours since I’ll be meeting with Richard in Cubao before we go to Bulacan together. So much for the excitement! Anyway, from Cubao, we rode an ordinary bus (without the aircon) going to Tungko. It costs around 40 pesos and the trip lasted for around 45minutes since it was pre-dawn and a weekend. Imagine the trip going to Bulacan from Manila during weekdays! It would take you 2-3hours. Upon arriving in Jolibee, Richard and I just bought our trail food and breakfast then we went to the terminal of jeeps going to Licao-Licao (which will be our jump off). The fare is 27 pesos per person and the trip took us around 30 minutes. At the jump off, some bought their water supply while the others are preparing their gears for the hike. Upon our departure, we were already greeted by approximately 45-50˚ angle uphill ascent. We’re not even starting with the trails yet, if I may add. Reaching our 1st stop, the rest of the sabit-sabit mountaineers socialized with each other while our hosts negotiated for our guides.


At the Jump off from our guide’s house

We had 2 guides and a girl named Julienne. While I was having a little slippery trouble on our way to the last store on the trails, I was really curious of our guides, especially the girl because they manage the terrain wearing slippery slippers. Just, WOW! I experienced unlimited sets of steep ascents and descents and get breathless at some points of the 1st 2 hours of hiking.


Going down a steep part in the mountains. With Ms. Yuri Ishida (Bottom most right), Ms. Carlene Fabros (girl in Pink), Me, Sir Richard (guy at my back), Sir Mon (covered by the tall grass), Sir Al Veloria (2nd to the top left) and our guide (top most left)


On our way… Pose on a take 5. 🙂 From left: Sir John, Ms. Carlene, Julienne, Ms. Yuri, Me, Sir Richard, and Sir Mon


Enjoying our take 5! From Left: Sir Mon, Ms. Carlene, Julienne, Sir Richard, Sir Daryl, Me, Sir Al, Ms. Grace, our guide and Sir John


The weather’s so hot! With Ms. Yuri (Left), sir Richard (Right) and sir Al (Top)

And for one thing, I was the only brave one and out of place for wearing shorts on a hike. There are tall bushes and the plants that brush off on my exposed skin leaves their mark… yes, I got unlimited scratches on my legs and since I love holding on to the tall grass and branches, my hands and fingers got their share of cuts and bruises. Along the way, we encountered muddy paths, endless streams, boulders and bamboo bridges.


Crossing a bamboo bridge over a stream

Some of which we had to “take 5” because of what seems like a very long walk for us. I personally got my Vibrams shoes submerged in mud and water a lot of times and I keep on sliding off the mud and rocks trying to descend.


You’ve got two options: wet or wet! :)) (crossing the 1st stream)

Mud Trap. Nowhere to go but forward (getting muddy)

Ms. Analene on a Mud Trap. Nowhere to go but forward (getting muddy)

The first attraction we passed by is the plant nursery. It’s just a simple place with a “bahay kubo” and surrounding it are various plants in a nursery. Then we went past some streams and steep and narrow trails.


In the middle of a trail of tall grass and plants with (from the left): Me, Sir Richard, Sir Ronnie and Sir Erwin

At some point, Carlene played some music to cure our endless assault. Mind you, it was really hard talking while hiking because we were going on a fast pace. We reached our first destination, the first falls.


The 1st river with sir Richard… still on the other side, just arrived.

It has a somewhat mossy color, not as clear but it was, at some point, 12 feet deep. The current was fast but it was manageable. Oh, and the main attraction was to either cross the river by swimming or take the rope challenge. Actually, you can opt to be pulled to the other side with the harness but there won’t be any thrill to it because you didn’t cross it using your own core strength. We met sir Ace Modar there and he offered to take us to some of the parts of the falls after this one.


Ms. Analene on the ropes. 1st to try it out.

The first one to try was Ms. Analene Grace who was so excited. Next in line was sir Mon Quinsai. He crossed the other side without the harness and made it there in about a minute. Some of our group opted to dive in and enjoy the coldness of the river.


Me, Richard, John and Ronnie in the middle of the raging river 😀

Sir Erwin Sy, Sir John Sotto, Sir Al Veloria, Sir Robbie, Sir Daryl Bulos and Ms. Grace Olayao decided to stay in the river for a while taking pictures and swimming and watching some of us take the rope challenge.


Me, Trying to cross the river through the rope. Halfway there! Come on!

It’s my turn on the rope challenge! I’m so nervous… It took me almost 5 minutes just trying to cross it and finish the challenge. In the middle of rope challenge, I got so scared and intimidated by the fact that I feel like I’m so heavy, my hands and legs got so tired because my core was too weak, the water below me was 12 feet deep and the gap between the water and I was about 15-20 ft. deep. Nonetheless, I still finished the challenge. Ms. Analene, went back to try again for a couple of times but when seeing us enjoying our swim and picture galore, she decided to follow us and mingle with us. Ms. Carlene Fabros patiently waited for her turn and wowed us with her sweet finish as well. Sir Richard Akol went for the ropes and tried out crossing it with his hands alone instead of the crawling position. He followed us to take a dip in the river and have photo ops with me and Ms. Analene near the falls. Risky thing we did but it’s all worth it.


Finally got to dip on the 1st river after my turn on the ropes.

After a little over 2 hours on our 1st destination, we braved the next few hundred meters to a local’s “bahay kubo”. We were greeted by unlimited 50-75˚ angle trails and only a few flat terrains. This is the reason why after a few meters of uphill, looking down on where we’ve gone through, we couldn’t anymore see the falls or the river below us. But wait! Pause for a photo ops on this beautiful view of the falls on the other side!

The falls on the baclground is our next destination.

The falls on the background is our next destination.


Steep ascent, on our way to the falls with Ms. Yuri (front left), me, Sir Richard (tailing behind me), and Sir Mon behind

We stayed at the local’s humble abode for lunch. We were offered “kamoteng kahoy” by the locals in turn we offered them our packed lunch. I brought a whole loaf of bread and bottles of chocolate peanut butter and the original lily’s peanut butter. But wait! Before we eat, photo ops first with this tree trunk. And rested on a hammock.

A wrong move and I fall to the "bangin"

A wrong move and I fall to the “bangin”

Eating time! lunch while resting on a hammock

Eating time! lunch while resting on a hammock

We were made to choose. Originally, on our itinerary, we were supposed to go to Mt. Maranat then to the Helipad aka Mt. Balagbag but because we enjoyed the first few parts of the falls, we stayed longer and found more promising sites.


2nd falls. Nope! We’re not trying to kill her (Ms. Analene) She doesn’t want to get her hair wet :))

We experienced bouldering where we had to go up or down the big rocks to get to the falls. One of the highlights of our 2nd destination was the natural rappelling rope. The branch of a tree was sturdy enough to carry our weight one by one down the big rock.


The natural Rappelling rope on one of the big rocks on our way to the falls

Playing hide and seek! on the other side of the trail.

Playing hide and seek! on the other side of the trail.


We were waiting for the 1st brave soul to jump off that height

Jumping for the 2nd time. It feels great!

Jumping for the 2nd time. It feels great!

Then we went to this part of the falls where the challenge was to jump off to the water below us which is around 12 ft. deep as well and the height of the jump off to the surface of the water was a little over 15-20 ft. I enjoyed the jump because the few seconds delay made the anticipation grew stronger and the water consumed me like I was some kind of food, I managed to swim right back up anyway.


trying out the underwater camera of sir Daryl and Ms. Grace near the jacuzzi part of the falls


Risky.. Needed balance for this 🙂

We encountered this part of the falls where it’s like a mini Jacuzzi and the part where we could stay inside the water for a long time but could still breathe. We went up some more and found a perfect spot for picture taking. Our guide/photographer even has her own selfie! Ha ha!

One of our guides, Julienne, pose for a selfie


View from the top.. a few steps away, it’s a death trap. From Left: Sir Ronnie, Sir Richard, Sir Al, me (in front), Sir Ace, Sir Erwin, Ms. Carlene (girl in pink) and Ms. Yuri


Our last attraction, the mini falls with a breath-taking view to the other side


Enjoying our time here, risky but fun!

Almost Death Defying, "Pasaway" mode

Almost Death Defying, “Pasaway” mode

The Bouldering part of the trail on our way to the falls

The Bouldering part of the trail on our way to the falls with sir Richard

After a very long day, we went back to where we came from and got the rest of our stuff from the local’s house. I think his name was Mang Nestor? Anyway, we had to hurry back so the storm/rain or the dark wouldn’t catch us. We came across the ropes for the last time and this time Sir Al tried to cross the ropes without the harness. He lost his grip from the rope and fell to the waters. They said he lost himself after falling from the river, he didn’t swim right back up. He was hauled to the surface first before he found himself again.

Catching a streat on our way back

Catching a stream on our way back

photo ops wit the group on a take 5

photo ops wit the group on a take 5

We anticipated that we’d reach the last store at the trails so soon but the rain caught us upon reaching the nursery. Upon reaching the store at last, we stopped for a short break to eat some more of our trail food and buy some soda. We continued our trail after a short break and some of us got lost but got back to us after a little over 10-15 minutes. On the trails, since it’s so wet and muddy, I slipped and hurt my left ankle but I’m alright. We finally reached the jump off around 5:45-6pm. Upon reaching the guide’s backyard, we waited for the rest but we were told to go ahead to the terminal and wash off so that we wouldn’t be waiting too long for our turn to wash up. By 8pm we were all done washing up and we chanced upon some of our host’s friends from Sabit-Sabit Mountaineers family. The guides we hired cost us 1000 pesos minus the food expenses. So dividing it by 12 it’s around 80 pesos per person and washing up costs 15 pesos.

Our last jeepney ride from Licao-Licao to Tungko with the other group

Our last jeepney ride from Licao-Licao to Tungko with the other group

We rode the last jeep returning to Tungko with the other group and after a 30-minute ride, we were all so hungry we ate our late dinner at Jolibee. Almost all of us ordered “the Ultimate Burger Steak” and had a couple or more extra rice. We’re all like PG’s (patay gutom) after a draining day hike at Mt. Maranat. It was around 10pm by the time we were all done eating and we rode an aircon bus going home. The fare cost around 55 pesos going to Cubao. It was an amazing experience with new friends! We didn’t reach the summit because as of now there isn’t a trail to the summit because it’s still a virgin mountain. It’s not been commercialized yet and only a handful of mountaineers have gone to it. It’s an unrated mountain in terms of difficulty and trail. Hoping to explore it more soon! I will be back again one of these days.

Meet the Conquerors of Mt. Maranat, Sabit-Sabit Mountaineers

Meet the Conquerors of Mt. Maranat, Sabit-Sabit Mountaineers

Photo Credits to Ms. Analene Grace, Ms. Carlene Fabros, Sir John Sotto, Sir Daryl Bulos and Ms. Grace Olayao, Sir Richard Akol

Day hike budget:

Bus from Cubao to Tungko: (Aircon) P55 (Ordinary) P40

Jeep from Tungko to Licao-Licao: P 27

Guide/s: P1000 (depends on your guide but for this trip we had 2 and a girl who tagged along with us)

Wash up: P15 at the terminal of jeep (the jump off)

Jeep from Licao-Licao to Tungko: P27

Bus from Tungko to Cubao: (Aircon) P55 (Ordinary) P40

Estimated budget: if /12 persons= P260 per person

Safe budget: P1000 per person (with food allowance and other incidentals)