When I received an invite to go to Baler for Reef Philippines' annual coastal clean-up, I cannot say no. I cleared my schedule to go to one of my favorite places in the country. I also realized that it has been a year since I went to the beach! After my constant La Union trips last 2016 (I even joined Reef's first Free The Sea coastal clean-up), I think I had beach-fatigue.
But just 360 days passed by and my heart is already yearning for sand, sun, and sea. I am not really a beach person because I would rather be in negative zero climate than under the sun, but I love water sports. I am not the best at it, but it gives me a sense of focus and balance in life that I will eventually look for that thrill from time to time.
Anyway, so thank you very much Reef Philippines and Comco SEA for having me again in this wonderful travel! There's nothing like enjoying and at the same time contributing positively while you travel. Here's what happened during that 3D2N immersion.
Where We Stayed
The group traveled for more than 6 hours to reach Baler, but I just slept for the most part. We stayed in Nalu Surf Camp, with all the girls staying in one house as if we were in a summer surfing camp. Best part is waking up with a pretty view of the beach every day.
Reef products were on sale in Nalu Surf Camp. Next time I will get a new rashguard from Reef to replace my overused black one, hehe.
After having our breakfast and settling in our rooms, we immediately proceeded to our main agenda. The whole Reef Philippines, Surfari Philippines, WWF, and bloggers group gathered for the Free The Sea 2 coastal clean-up briefing. We learned about WWF Philippines' sustainable tourism and Reef's global humanitarian campaign "We Heart".
We then grouped ourselves for a little "friendly competition", and conquered the shores of Baler to pick-up trashes while segregating them into separate sacks imaginary labeled with non-biodegradable, biodegradable, and bottles. At the end of the coastal clean-up, we concluded that the most number of trash picked anywhere are CIGARETTE BUTTS.
We had an assigned person who tallied all the trash we picked up from our team:
With Kaycee, Mother Earth, and Mommy Myrns in our matching Reef caps and tees. One of the things that I love about this trip is getting to know more about them!!
Tallying time! Some teams won apparels for picking up planted bottles with REEF labels!
But in the end, we all won for being there! Congrats to everyone who participated!!!
After work, comes play! I relearned how to surf with the free classes by Nalu Surf Camp. I was assigned to Kuya Arnie, who was very patient with my surfing mistakes, haha! Enjoyed everything, thank you!
Waves were great!
It was Mother Earth's first time to surf, and she already nailed it!
Thanks Kaycee for taking my photos!! Told her this is my best surfing shots to date, haha!
The next day, they also hosted a Surfari Beginners' Competition for surfing enthusiasts. Sayang I should have joined just for the heck of it, but mas nag dominate ang hiya ko huhu!
Anyway, congrats to the winners! I learned later on that tandem category winner Shan Alejos' surfing instructor was also my instructor Kuya Arnie! Congrats po Kuya!
One of my favorite activities during beach trips is eating!! Thank God I was with foodies in Baler, Kaycee the perpetually hungry will not miss a single meal! Haha! We went back and forth Charlie Does (they serve all-vegetarian and all-yummy dishes) and Costa Pacifica's Beach House resto. Ang sarap lahat, walang talo! 😂
This pizza is so goood!
Our favorite, the unforgettable "Brownie Soup". 😋 We had this twice! Haha!
In the evening, we had laid-back beachside music on one night, then a DJ party mode on the following night! Reef also donated Php 30,000 to WWF which will go to their environmental programs, and awarded the surfing competition winners. I heard that after-parties were great, but I went to bed before 9pm on both days HAHA. No regrets though, enjoyed my restful, insomnia-free weekend! (I usually sleep at 3-5am)
We had lots of free time during this trip, which I happily spent with Mother Earth and Kaycee either by the beach or by Costa's poolside (again, eating😂). Enjoyed swimming / catching waves at the beach or just mindlessly lounging around, which I liked.
It was a restful weekend, so I am very very thankful to be there. I considered going there to recharge from stressful city living, but gaining new friends and being a part of a noble cause such as sustainable tourism -- I consider them double cherries on top of the whole cake (or in our case, Costa's Brownie Soup, hehehe). ❤