Beneath an Orange Sky

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after surf, having beer by the shore, admiring what’s unfolding before us…

“It was one of those sunsets that was beautiful beyond belief. And it was not even that cliche beautiful sunset by the beach. It was surreal, encompassing, and possibly quite as magical as the waves of Magic Left. As the sky turned into a circus of colors, we could not help but close our eyes and take a mental picture of that visual spectacle. Thank you universe. Thank you for letting us take a peek into your endless wonders.”

*timeless Pundaquit, Zambales. words and photos by Miccah Doctolero. 

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A Second Time Around: Liwa in San Felipe, Zambales

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It has been over a year ago when I went to Liw-Liwa to surf as an eager beginner. Until now it still is what I consider to be one of the best days I ever had. I think it’s probably the session after which I decided that I’m going to surf for the rest of my life.

Never been back to Liwa since. I’ve been around a lot. Gone for most weekends. Some trips I just go where the waves are and some trips I really have to be there, for events or competitions.  It was always on my mind to go back to that special place but the surf compass always pointed somewhere else.

Somehow the stars have aligned and I was destined to Liwa for this particular weekend (this was two weeks ago). During the trip I was holding on to a FAITH – the idea of getting stoked the way I got the first time I was there. And like a promise fulfilled, I totally got more than that.

Liw-liwa in San Felipe, Zambales

San Felipe is the town right after San Narciso. If you turn left just before Bobulon Elementary School you will find the road that leads to Liwa. Just keep on heading that road – houses, empty lots, grass, pine trees – until you reach the end of it. What will you see is the photo above.

Much has developed since I was here. Before there weren’t a lot of places to stay for the night except for the S.A.S. huts and their tent pitching areas. Most who go there are beginners out on a day trip and those who do stay are the committed surfers with their tents and sleeping bags.

Today one can find the Circle Hostel. The Circle Hostel is a two story surfer inn that was constructed in a way that conversation and camaraderie between guests are encouraged. The upper floor provides comfortable lodging and a good view of the nature that surrounds. Below are personal lockers for safekeeping. And with colorful and meaningful artwork made by artists and surfers, the Circle Hostel sure is an inviting place to stay.

Another awesome thing at Liwa is the skate bowl. It’s been painted with graffiti too. It’s located at the end of the road where a surfer/skater name DK has settled in. Beside the bowl are huts good for 4 persons. This is where we stayed for the night.

After some time when all this observation of all things new have settled in, the Liwa I knew slowly comes back to me. There may be lots of things happening – skaters carving the bowl, surfers from Manila parking their SUVs – but there’s one thing that didn’t change in this place. It is the PEACE.

Walking around Liwa is zen-like in silence, save from the sound of trick boards landing on concrete and the faint rasta music coming from mini-speakers. But there is peace in that too. The only noise, which is a good noise, are the kamustahan from fellow surfers  mostly comprised of surf talk. Aside from that, the only sound consistently on your ears is the whistling wind brushing against the lush pine trees. Peace indeed.

Lui is a radio talk show personality. But a few words, smiles and nods assures everything is good.

from S.A.S. to the beach

S.A.S. is one of the earliest places who nurtured San Felipe surfing. Everybody went to stay here. Some slept in the huts, some pitched tents and some slept in their cars. It still is the same save from the basketball ring. No surprise there. You don’t need Shaq to bring down a court. A few tomahawk slams from stoked surfers will eventually do the trick.

good for the arms, good for paddling

Carlos and his friends, 3 shakas up

siesta for the oversurfed

accommodation for the stoked

they got boards too

kickin it laid back

and of course we get to the surf

The surf in Liwa works best with swells coming from the North. And the sure fire months would probably during late November to March, as  based on the glassy drool inducing session here.

just this month a glassy left.. and right. photo by the Circle Hostel

and the mountains watch you surf

and Liwa has a beginner spot too. the sandy bottom won’t hurt.

others opt to go lifestylin’

fresh out of Med school, Dra. Julia Pangasinan enjoys Liwa and everything it offers

and here’s Ping. one of the best surfer and friendliest local of Liw-Liwa.

yours truly and my friend Ced back from fishing.

Liwliwa, a lesser known path

The best description of Liwa was told to me by a guy named Paco. While we are at the lineup as the sun sets, he told me this: “Liwa is your surf getaway from the surf scene.” Funny but I totally got what he said. Liwa is so raw and innocent and everything you need is just there. Even amidst the developent the core of Liwa is still the same. It is about the surf, the friendship, the bond, the laughter and the good times that culminates in this little corner of Zambales.

I’ve been around a lot. Been very active in the surfing scene. Or at least I try to. I love what I do to bits and pieces but we all do need a break sometimes. Liwa, for the second time around, gave me more than what I came for and I am so glad I came back.

Looking forward to the 3rd time and I know I’ll see you there.

Liwa like a child. 

*thanks to JC Cui for the photos. Check out the Circle Hostel on Facebook here. They are formally opening this weekend.

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The Big Z Surf Competition Reloaded: Ending with a Bang

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“The event was a success. The men’s finals was insane. Pro moves and anyone could’ve won it. It was one of the best finals I have seen and I have seen and judged alot.”

-Tony Sutton Sr – Big Z Head Judge, ASP Member for 37 years, Pro Amateur Head Judge

“Ang galing ng mga surfers sarap panuorin. Lalo na ang mga finalists. Parang surf movie. Nagliliparan.” (The surfers were great and amazing to watch. More so the finalists. It’s just like what you see in surf movies – there were big airs all around)

- Rizaldo Quintos – Competition Judge, long time Zambales surfer


August 28- 29. It was during the long weekend where the swell came to Zambales and fired the start of what everyone was waiting for – the actual Big Z Surf Competition where big name surfers were expected to put on a fantastic show. The event did experience a a week-long lay day because of the lack of swell coming from the West Philippine sea. But August is the season of Zambales surfing and surely enough the waves came at the right moment.

the famous lefthander that is Magic Left

waves at last

the makeshift judges tower at the Left. ZBA President Mac Ramos calling the shots.

and the competitors waste no time working the waves

wahine divison

Pundakit is a great spot for competitions. and oh, that’s Capones Island at the background.

Eliminations happened on Sunday the first day at Magic Left. The competitors showed great surfing and they gave the judges a tough time scoring with their spectacular heats. The next day saw the Rivermouth break as a more favorable spot to continue the elims. Eventually the top surfers made their way to the Finals on Monday.

second day at the Rivermouth

judge’s table

Mocha of Daet going all out. She eventually wins the Wahine division.

and then the Men’s Finals

Argie Hugo aka “Bad Boy”

Air Saddam

Jeff de la Torre

the young phenom JR

And the results were in. Here are the winners of the Big Z Surf Competition:

Men’s Division

Champion – JR Esquivel
1st runner up – Jeff Dela Torre
2nd runner up – Saddam Faraon
3rd runner up – Argie Hugo

Wahine Division

Champion – Lolita “Mocha” Edusma
1st runner up – Daisy Valdes
2nd runner up – Josiela “Lilay” Delos Santos
3rd runner up – Czarina Karen P. Betsayda

What looked bleak at first became a momentous event at the end. The success of the Big Z Event resonates within the Philippine surfing community and there is already a buzz about the next Zambales Boardriding Association event which is said to be a revitalized Zambapalooza 2011. As surfing in the Philippines progresses the province of Zambales is poised to establish a stronghold in the competitive surfing circuit.

*photo credits:

Theresa Arigo of and Michael del Rosario for the action shots

Gab Sarmiento on Blunt Magazine for the awarding photos

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Too Much Water in Liwa

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Zambales was on fire during the last days of March. Just go ask the Crystal boys and their action shots at Crystal Beach. In San Felipe, it was pretty much the same thing. When Z-land is on, it’s on. These maybe the last few swells hitting up Zamba but luckily for us Ping Danila took pictures of the waves and the action that went on, so that those of us who are at home can look at them before we play poker at or eat dinner. Taken in Liwa on March 26 and 27, the following photos posted are specially dedicated for the wave thirsty.

so gorgeous

sweet ride on the wall

cut back

ang haba



staying low

for this

great shot angle

the Liwa playground

JP on a glassy one

Many thanks to JP de Guzman for sharing the pictures. Huge credits to Ping Danila for the photos. Awesome shots man!

*here at LokalSoul. we love writing about surfing and we love seeing pictures of surfing. basically we love Philippine surfing. please contribute and let’s all share the stoke! ain’t it better this way?

and here’s our Facebook, let’s be friends.

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Crystal Beach is Crystal Clear

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Mark Ramos of the Crystal Beach Resort in Zambales published photos of what was happening in Zambales today and yesterday. And wow. Crystal beach is being itself, crystal clear. The Crystal boys couldn’t be more stoked.

Chad says aloha


Mark’s turn, back side.

water is turquoise

lip skills


July on the other hand

has a few tricks in mind

see what I mean?

Adonis with the coolest shaka

he goes on to trim

and makes the ride more memorable

Virgel now going for the wall

cross steppin’

and loving it

Whew. Those shots just makes you wanna go pack your bags right now and head down to San Narciso. Hey, if you do wanna surf Crystal Beach, check out their Facebook page here and our how to get to Zambales guide here. Thanks to Mark for all the photos. Zambales is awesome so please spread the love!

*btw, the Crystal Boys have a Facebook fan page. haha.

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