Gubat, Sorsogon: Paddle Hard, Party Harder at Gubat October Swellfest
Three days of heart-stopping wave riding action, two nights of celebrating camaraderie and friendship, one fun-filled and action-packed event held by a team of proud Gubatnons called Gubat Inc. to promote the local surfing scene, and to support their homegrown surf aspirants. But don’t be mislead – surfing was only half the story, for during the 3-day endeavor in Gubat, Sorsogon, we didn’t only paddled hard, but party-ed even harder. This is the Gubat October Swellfest.
Beach front cottages of Lacsa Hilton Resort.
Lovely weather in Gubat, Sorsogon.
Lacsa Hilton Resort served as the epicenter of the festival where most the activities were held. Organizers, participants, spectators and surfers hailing from neighboring towns and nearby provinces, stretching as far as Zambales, represented by Tagadagat Surfers of San Antonio, arrived one by one. Shortly after, competition kicks off with participants paddling out towards the line up while families, friends, and fans stormed Baranggay Buenavista’s long beach to cheer and support.
(The October Swellfest is now held in Lola Sayong Surf Camp)
Local Longboard Competition
Tension, excitement, and thrill filled the atmosphere as the young guns of the local surfing battle out to catch their perfect waves and nail their stunts. Each were given 15-20 minutes to put up a show, and everybody did. The local longboard competition was tough from qualifying rounds all the way to the finals. It was a fierce head-to-head, neck-to-neck battle to rise above the rest. Out there, it was every man for himself, but in the end, participants congratulated winners, while the victors extended gratitude to fellow competitors for giving out a good fight – concrete display of sportsmanship and honor.
Tagadagat Surfers and Gubat Bay Surfers on the judges tables.
Longboard competition champion Mark Ranier “Danu” Fresnoza enjoying his ride.
Free Surf & Surf Clinics
Before, in between, and after the competition rounds, everyone headed out to open water to get a fair share of the thrill. Advanced and pro-surfers put on an exhibition, while we, the beginners, students and enthusiasts learn the fundamentals from our patient instructors who pushed our boards until we could complete, even at least, one ride. Take note, board rentals and surf lessons were free during the event. Indeed, the surf clinic was a labor of love. Salamatonon.
Selvester Bactad of Tagadagat
Juvecris “Ewoks” Lavesoria of Tagadagat.
CJ Gallardo and Fernan Forteo of Team Busugon from Bulusan.
When Night Falls
Energy didn’t died down with the sun, in fact, everyone was only warming up. Commencing the activities for the long evening was a spectacular parade of sky lanterns brightening the moonlit skies of Gubat like huge fireflies floating in the air. It was my first time to witness such event, my jaw just dropped wide open in awe.
Sky lanterns during Gubat October Swellfest.
Not long after we bid goodbye to our lanterns, the much awaited awarding ceremonies began hosted by Gubat’s homegrown blogger, Emm Balabat of Emm The Pinay Trekker. Prizes from kind sponsors were given to event participants who top-notched the locals longboard surfing competition and the fun run held earlier. Congratulations to all the winners.
Gubat Inc. Noli Mercader awards Longboard champ, Mark Ranier “Danu” Fresnoza.
Tonight, We Feast
Who wouldn’t love cocktails and shooters at bargain prices? Yes, my friend, you heard it right and when I mean bargain, I mean 20-peso-shooters bargain. Mix And Fun Cocktail Mobile Bar were the night’s mixmasters of flavorful concoctions which definitely spiced up the party, followed by a viral outbreak of reggae fever that got the crowd dancing on their toes. It was unstoppable, it was fun, it was one heck of a beach party.
Bartender for the night: Pareeeeng Miiiike in the house.
Choose your poison
On A Personal Note
There are two things I value most when I travel: one, the photos I took, two (and probably the most important), the people who tagged or came along the way. I came down to Gubat, Sorsogon alone, knowing only a handful of people whom I met during my first Gubat visit two months prior to Gubat October Swellfest, and an old friend from my previous travels in Zambales. Three days after, I went home with a treasure trove of new friends – the priceless bonds, the unforgettable moments, and the wonderful experiences you cherish and cherish with when you travel, no photo nor any souvenir could replace. To each and everyone (including those not present in the following photographs), I am deeply honored to meet you all.
A photograph with Gubat Inc. during my first visit together with some friends.
Campsite neighbors Diane, Julie Ann, Eya, and Chase.
With Tagadagat surfers of Pundakit, San Antonio, Zambales.
(Dahil binigyan mo ko ng solo pic, ito ang solo pic mo) Coach Christian, ang instructor na walang pahinga
Tagadagat of Zambales, Camarines Sur & Legaspi surfers during the awardings. Mag-reggae tayo, mga padi!
Team Busugon of Bulusan during the awardings.
I’m no surfer, nor some of the participants present during the Gubat October Swellfest but a common interest shared by everyone brought all of us together to the shores of Gubat, Sorsogon – the good vibrations and the love for beaches. The festival was held to promote the local surfing scene of Sorsogon, but most importantly, the event’s intimacy made it a celebration of sportsmanship, camaraderie, friendship, and family ties. Whether there’s an event or just another regular day, surfer or non-surfer, travel either alone or in a group, you won’t be a stranger in Gubat, so do drop by.
Congratulations Gubat Inc., the participants of the longboard competitions, and all the kind sponsors who made Gubat October Swellfest very successful. Thanks to the unparalleled efforts of the people behind this wonderful event. Much love and good vibrations to everyone who attended. It was also nice to meet in person travel bloggers James Betia, the man behind Journeying James, traveler and astronomy enthusiast Rome Candaza of Roaming Rome and Emm Balabat, the lady behind Emmthepinaytrekker.
Cheers to us all.
Some fast facts that may help you on the road trip:
1. Commuting directions to Gubat, Sorsogon: RSL Bus Lines, Raymond Transit, ALPS Bus, DLTB, and Elavil have direct trips from Cubao to Gubat Bay. Most of them, I saw in Alimall Terminal. Buses leave Cubao around 4:00 to 5:00 PM and arrives in Gubat around 5:00 – 6:00 AM. Alternatively, you could fly from Manila to Legaspi, the nearest airport to Sorsogon, and take a bus or a van.
2. To get in touch with Gubat Inc., contact Noli Mercader (0947 882 0191 or 0905 242 1693). Like Gubat Inc. Gubatnon For Adventourism on Facebook for updates, rates, and inquiries.
3. The sunrise fun run, film showing and a stargazing c/o astronomy enthusiast Roaming Rome were also parts of the event but I wasn’t able to get photos. Why? That I leave for Blog B (inside joke).
4. If you’re looking for a place to stay while in Gubat, Sorsogon, you might want to check out Lola Sayong Surf Camp. Just one tricycle away from Gubat Town Proper.
5. I just wanted to add that P350.00 was the registration fee of the Gubat October Swellfest. That includes an event shirt, a sky lantern, fun run, stargazing, surf board rentals and surf lessons. You get all that for P350.00.
6. More surfing and event photos to be posted on Biyaherong Barat Facebook page.
7. More Sorsogon destinations in Biyaheng Sorsogon
8. Please Like Biyaherong Barat on Facebook.
9. Follow @BiyaherongBarat on Twitter.
10. Happy travels and be safe.