Imagine yourself on a crowded ferry boat with about 200 other people all on the same deck. It’s late at night and there are bunk beds stacked all around you. Very few of them are being used, however, because everyone is mingling and conversing; sharing names and sharing stories, making a speedy transition from stranger to friend.
A guitar is pulled out and songs and laughter are exchanged. Food is passed around as if this midnight ferry ride is a family picnic. By the end of the trip, it is basically true because you’ve been welcomed into the hearts of many Filipinos who will consider you family thereafter. Now, stop imagining and go experience this as reality.
The fourth annual surfing adventure tour to the Philippines is just around the corner! October 8 through November 1, you are invited to join STN Staff and volunteers as they travel to the islands of Siargao and Cebu (and take a ferry ride similar to the one above!), reaching out to impoverished youth, volunteering at orphanages, teaching at local schools and, of course, surfing with the Filipino community.
Brendon Johnson, on staff with STN, spent 17 years in the Philippines as a missionary kid, but didn’t realize it was a surf destination until after he had left for college. Years later, he returned to the islands on a surfing trip, and again in 2009 to help pioneer STN’s first outreach trip. Johnson will also be leading this year’s trip, marking the 4th annual of its kind. (Photo: Far Right – Brendon Johnson, STN Staff)
While in the Philippines, the team stays with a local couple, Jing and Jasmine. “We met Jing in the water (at Cloud 9 surf break) a couple days after first arriving in the Philippines,” said Johnson, “He told us we had to stay with him.” Jing and his wife were there at Cloud 9 when the first surfers arrived. Jing was one of the first to tame the faces of this epic break, and lives only a short five-minute motorcycle ride away from the famous surf break.
What is special about the Filipino culture is the purity of their hospitality in which they offer their very best with absolutely no strings attached. “You’ll go to their house for a ten-minute visit and they’ll just start cooking chicken for you,” Johnson said. “It’s not like here in America though, they only eat chicken about twice a month, but their value of hospitality is so high that they’ll pull out the best they have to offer you right away,” he said. (Photo: Dave Winters)
“The Filipinos warmth is contagious, the surf is amazing, and the travel is adventurous,” Johnson said, “If you go on this trip, you’ll immediately want to adopt a whole bunch of Filipinos into your extended family.”
To apply for the trip or get more information about it, go to: www.surfingthenations.com/philippines/
For more photos from our trips to The Philippines, check out our album on Flickr.