What was the forecast again for Baler Holy Week? 5 star rating of 6 to 3,654 feet? For a moment Typhoon Chedeng did ruin our summer vibes for a bit. But trusting instinct, intuition and most importantly experience, none of our plans were foiled. In fact, my HOPES and DREAMS were fulfilled. Many spots were working beautifully last week, but my heart belongs to one. Secret. And for 2 full days I surfed my heart out in its knee, waist, chest, shoulder and head high glory.
Not so Secret spot
Maundy Thursday. The whole of Sabang beach break was a big menacing closeout when we arrived late in the morning. From Aliya Surf Resort I looked furthest right and saw white water breaking. That’s all I needed to know. My heart raced as I carried my single fin with me and hailed a tricycle. “Manong, sa may Iglesia, sa dulo ng Sabang!”
Upon reaching the end of the road, it seemed that Secret Spot wasn’t really working well. The swell had a long interval between waves. It looked flat. But again I went by intuition. I paddled out. There was no crowd at all, just a few locals on shortboards teaching beginners. As I reached the lineup I remembered what my local friend Mark “Aguiluz” Aguila taught me. I positioned further right and patiently waited and waited. Then it came. The swell picked up and it got consistent. It started out knee high then waist high. Occasionally there were chest high waves. I couldn’t be more happier. Secret all to myself!
Surfed 10am to 1pm. 4 hours of unbelievable fun. I went back home to Circle Hostel and rested. Then I surfed Secret again 5pm till 7pm. I was the last surfer out there by the moonshine. What a surreal experience for me. I will write about surfing between sunset and moonshine right after this post.
hanging 5: Aguiluz, keeper of Secret
Good Friday the next day. Since everybody knew by now that Secret was working, the place was crowded! Longboards, shortboards, Manila surfers, locals, beginners, etc. Everyone wanted to get some of the awesome fun. Drop ins were a common thing. I didn’t mind it though. As long as my board won’t get dinged, as long as I don’t get hurt, please do drop in and share this wave with me.
Got really stoked again. Also glad to surf with Aguiluz, one of the best longboarders in Baler. They are only a few and Aguiluz has the combination of classic style and modern skill and he’s amazing in the water. He lives near Secret and he knows the spot like no other. These pictures I took after my morning sesh, where it became windy already but the waves still surfable. Saw my old friend Dave Gaffud by the beach and I asked if I can take pictures. I really had good rides and it sucks that I have no photos! But it’s ok. I’ll change my profile pic some other day. At least I get to take photos of the spot I love.
Surfed again in the afternoon till early evening. Surfed between another sunset and moonrise. I got really emotional (only surfing does this to me). I’m not sure if I can describe well enough what I felt but I will definitely try on the next blog post. Hope you get to read that too.
local shortboarder hitting the lip
Black Saturday was really black. People were forced to evacuate and Baler looked like a ghost town. My friends who surfed early managed to score good waves at Secret but eventually they were forced out of the water. The “pulis” even went out in boats to the lineup and made surfers paddle in. The weather was fine and there wasn’t any sign of any danger or anything at all. But I guess we have to follow the rules. Better safe than sorry. Baler did a great job at that. But sorry I’m not sorry there wasn’t any real threat and I feel that surfers should’ve been allowed to surf. I mean I’ve seen Baler locals surf crazier waves in crazier conditions than what we had that day.
Holy Week was cut short for us but at least there were two days of beautiful surf. Some surfers even got barrelled in other spots. Holy Week 2015 was amazing to say the least. Stoked is a word too underwhelming. We should come up with another word for that. Also, we should come up with another name for Secret. Everybody knows where it is! Maybe I should ask Aguiluz about that.
Thank for reading. See you next year!
*many thanks Dave Gaffud for the photos