Day 60 to Day 68: Of Mountain Cities, Small Surf and Growing Up

Lately, I've been in an extra contemplative mood and I've taken more time than necessary to think about what it means to become an adult. Or something like that. I do not have the energy to recount how difficult the past two months have been for us, life-wise. However, I will have to write about it one day or another, perhaps with a little time, a little distance, and a lot of surf. Meanwhile, here's what the past couple of weeks have been like: a trip to Baguio, community and coffee, steep drops when the surf is big, and longboarding ease when the surf is small. And to remind us that it isn't all just stormy weather, an abundance of rainbows. Cheers!


61/100 → When one leaves the city to live somewhere simpler, the pursuit of simplicity is just one side of the story. Learning to live with less does not immediately lead to contentment; in fact, it can very well achieve the opposite. I've learned that the most important part about a simple life is learning how to be conscientious. You've got to want to do good things-- the right things. You've got to help make other people's lives easier too, because community becomes more important than the self. You can't be humble, and you can't be kind, if you didn't care about doing what helps, what heals, what adds more to life.

So be careful with your words. Be thoughtful with your actions. And always be patient when others cannot do the same.


62/100 → We traded our flipflops and boardshorts for a day of long socks and jackets. The air smelled of pine and rain. We had thick hot chocolate and warm biscuit bread and wondered what life would have been if we lived here instead. My guess is something like this: we would be voracious book-readers or dirt bike daredevils, crafty cabin people with wood shops for handmade furniture and exemplary pine cone collections. We would light fires. We would spark conversations about how it takes a certain grit to live in a mountain city such as this.

We set Nica free to run across the dewy grass. She stopped at almost every tree and leapt over rocks and tiny creeks. For a brief moment, she was a free animal instead of house pet. And we were just like her in a way-- thrown off our comfort zones, challenged to thrive. Seeking anything at all to keep the chemicals in our brains firing so we'd feel alive.

And so we go seeking waves even when we are not at sea. A friend once told me that there is truth in waves, that all beauty and life can be found in the crests and troughs of color, light and sound. Amidst the pine and rain, between mountain and ocean, we rode those waves until it was time to drive home to surf town.


63/100 → When old friends ask me what I've been doing, I jokingly say: "Growing up!" But it's an answer that makes so much sense. I catch myself in retrospective moods: half in denial, half amused. I look at old keepsakes and feel almost nothing. And the longer I look back, the more foreign my old self becomes.

I say this without sadness because I know it is necessary. For years, we chase after a character or a concept of who we think we are most like. But we will only be living an idea, not an identity. And the time will come when life pushes you to drop all tricks and just be.

So I've let go of trying to live according to some fanciful whim or poetic template. I cannot control what will dare disrupt or delight my life. And the more I can accept what happens, who comes along, when and where and why, the easier it becomes to be satisfied.

Photo: @djmartsballesca

Photo: @djmartsballesca

64/100 → This is my salute to all adults who have become masters of keeping it together. No one really taught us how to do it, and who knows if we're the slightest bit good at it, but we hold on. We are calm. Or at least, we are calm now.

This is my tribute to all grown-ups dealing with grown-up bullshit, because man, grown-up bullshit is the worst. This is my ode to all of us who remember how it was to kick and cry and bang our fists as children wronged and denied, but we don't have that luxury anymore so we hum. Hum hum hum until our lungs are on the verge of collapse but when asked to smile, there we are smiling.

This is for the absolute worst days that all the absolute best people have to go through. This is that rainbow after a storm. And on some days, you get two.

Photo: @aj_aligam

Photo: @aj_aligam

65/100 → I am at a point where I no longer care what the forecast says. If we get peelers tomorrow, good. If we get crumbly waves, alright. If it gets too big for my own sake, fine. Life always loses a touch of substance when the in-betweens get too long, and I know I'm not the only one. So I'm counting down the hours until I get knocked back to my center; I'm drumming my fingers with the anticipation of water time. I'll surf anything out there as long as it's tomorrow and not another day later, or else I'll really lose my mind!


66/100 → This is our simple little coffee shelf at home. It's also a community shelf because everything on it was given to us by people we've shared good times with at the coffee shop. The mocca pot is from one of our favorite regulars who comes down from Baguio every week. The hand brew set is from a Korean barista who spent his winter vacation surfing with us here in LU. We got Kifle Ethiopia beans roasted by the guys at Verve from Megan, and cute coffee mugs from Kage. Even that blender was a raffle prize from a previous Rimat ti Amianan, a surfing festival here in the North.

Our lives here are constantly enriched by so many people, and meaningful relationships are truly at the heart of a rewarding life. While not every person we meet will do good or be good for us, at least we have friends like these who help us have faith. So here's to occupying more shelves, whether in our house or yours.


67/100 → More girls should write about their experiences in surfing so we could somehow take notes from each other. I find body language easier to understand when I watch another girl surf, and I know there's merit to reading about it from another girl's point of view. While our boy buds are busting out airs and getting out of barrels, let's take things at our own pace and talk about the finer attributes of, let's say, going down the line.

Right now, I am struggling with angled drops at times when it is critical or nothing. This particular wave is a thick, dumpy left that stretches out into a really smooth and powerful wall-- if you make it. But the problem is, it's hard to make. At least, it is for me. This type of wave is tricky because it forms a box or a pointed edge as soon as it breaks. The entire section you take off from crashes down, often taking you with it, so you can't pop-up with your board facing forward. The key is to be ultra quick and ultra angled, and it helps if you don't look straight down because the angled lip can look extremely intimidating. 

I made two waves in two hours in these conditions, and I learned that you really have to haul ass to battle through the flats and re-enter the pocket. And making just the drop is worth all the water time because it is insane! Your board will skid faster than you're used to, and it will feel like you only have one fin biting through the wall. It's that loose, that freaky, and that fulfilling.


68/100 → I guess it can't always be what you want to do to a wave; it's also what the wave wants to do with you. Coast, not charge. Slide, not slay. The calmer you are, the better control.

This isn't a post about surfing. This is about mending mistakes and moving forward. This is the prayer I say when I hold your hand. It can't always be what you want to do with life; it's also what life wants of you. Coast, not charge. Slide, not slay. The calmer you are, the better control.


More images:


New ink by @faustmarcelo!


LU <3

Camille PilarComment