The Impact Zone: A Pundaquit Photo Series


"This is the fault of the Internet," says the foreigner beside me in the lineup. "Back in the day, you had to call your mate to let him know this spot was firing and it would take him two hours to get here, and the conditions would have already changed then."

We both stared at what Magic Left offered us that day: a light offshore wind, a dewy mountain view, and some 40-50 surfers of all skill levels dotting the lineup. We were all here for the beautiful lefts that made you want to write poems and cry.

Okay, maybe it's exactly exaggerations like that last line that wrought out this crowd problem in Pundaquit. Many secret gems have undergone the same fate through word of mouth, packaged surf trips, and now, Instagram. My new friend and I spotted a set coming and we watched as almost everyone started paddling for the first wave. He let out half a chuckle and half a sigh, and with hands up, he said: "I'll try again next time."

But I stayed behind.

There are many others before me who have proclaimed this spot to be their favorite, and there will be more to follow the same path. What can be done? Or what should be done? I'll leave that debate to the hands of more capable people. All I know is that crowd or no crowd, Magic Left will wring my heart anyway. And this is a feeling I share with those who know how to wait, where to stay, and give way.

And on any given day, Magic Left is home to A+ high performance local surfing. Harold took the opportunity to shoot some stills and he chose the best seats in the house-- the impact zone.

Ding is all smiles as he sets up some major spray. Click on the arrows and slide the photos to see.

How'd you like that, Harold? Haha. :)

Here's John Louie "Pogi," Ding's older brother, ready to rad it up. 

Wham, bam, thank you ma'am.

Vester setting up some spray action of his own.

Here's more!

Now that's a name you won't forget. 

John Louie getting showered.

Can you duck face when you duck dive?

The Fariñas brothers, back to back.

Of course, we weren't about to let the boys have all the fun. Here's Marie and me sharing a nice leftie.

Homebreak + Anniversary + Her Fish = Marie's definition of delight.

Femme floater fatale! Ate Lallaih shows us how it's done. Slide! :)

Miccah sliding on glass.

The only surf photo of me for now. :)

Tagadagat is the name of one of the prominent surf groups in Pundaquit, Zambales. Vester, John Louie, Pareng Kulot and Balong, whom we all look up to, are some of its members. There are other surf crews in the area: the Nature Boys, the Smalltownboyz, Team Baktin, and the usual bunch of Manila weekend warriors-- but we are all "taga-dagat" in the end. We are brothers and sisters bound by a common love for the sea. I don't know if Neruda ever tried surfing but he was absolutely right when he said:

And thus I let the sea teach me. Of finding new family in friendships forged in saltwater. Of mastering patience in crowded lineups. And then relearning it again when you have to be patient not with others but with yourself. Of discovering beauty again, and again, and again. 

I need the sea because it teaches me to love this otherwise old life anew. Let the sea teach you too.

Photos: Harold Crisostomo
Editing: Camille Pilar

Stay tuned for part two!