Note to self? Life shouldn’t be a routine. Yup! I tell myself this every day I wake up and work. You don’t live to make a living; you make a living to live! The truth is, dramanila can drain you. So when life makes you doubt, I say the only way is out! Well, temporarily. And what better way to hit refresh than to dive directly into the seas outside the city?
In my case, it was Quezon Province. I found myself off the sack to pack during one long weekend last November. A planned trip to La Union turned a complete 180º last minute, and led me to an escape of polar opposites. Imagine! I had gone from heading northbound to southbound spontaneously overnight. And while my sudden change in direction was caused by my curiosity, nothing made me more excited than the fact that:
- I would be exploring uncharted waters,
- I was going on a random trip with a friend I had just literally met, and
- people I have never met before.
Sure, call me crazy! But there is something about the beach. People talk, people mingle, and strangers instantly turn into friends. Life is simpler at shore, and it’s always good vibes and good times up ahead. So like I always try do, I said goodbye to routine and said hello to the new adventure. And surprisingly enough this time, I also said hello to a new spot I can call my home away from home.
Along the sea of the remote barangay Malapad of Reál Quezon, you’ll find the spot in all of its creative glory. Reál Surf is really not hard to miss! Crafty signs will greet you, and colorful murals will catch your eye from left to right. It’s picture perfect, and what people might call as “Instagram-worthy.” No Kidding!
Surf, swim, skim or lounge on multicolored beanbags during the day. By night, stargaze or indulge in constant conversations under twinkling lights. It’s the perfect place to take a break from all the hustle and bustle of the city life. It’s an ideal go-to, where you can recharge under the sun and go offline. And when I say offline, I mean it literally! Say farewell to all those stressful texts and calls, Reál Surf is a dead spot that will reward you some well-deserved rest and relaxation. And the best part? It won’t at all burn your pocket.
Reál Surf isn’t typically a hostel, but like it, it is priced quite affordably and fosters the same friendly and creative vibe. “It’s more of a hangout place,” said Sarah Napala, one of my companions at the trip who I discovered later on to be the owner. Imagine my surprise when I found this out. We ended up talking all night long about how she and her family built the new spot from the ground up. It all started when she was in the states and got a phone call from her mother who had moved to the humble and quiet Quezon. “Gawa tayo ng resort” her mom said, and the rest is history! Sarah flew back and got relatives and friends to hang out and help make the dream a reality. It was tough though, she shared. It involved a lot of manual work. From titas painting the cabanas, to friends joining forces to finish the signs and murals, everyone got crafty and creative. “It was really a joint effort,” Sarah said. And Mara Manalo, her friend and interior designer, shared the same sentiment. A whole lot of people were willingly involved to make the vision come to life. At the end it all felt like a big perfect hang out for everyone. And to people who continue or plan to visit, it will always be one.
Looking back at the trip, I’m happy to say that my random drive out from dramanila was well worth it. I discovered new place, made new friends and had one hell of a time. So once in a while, press pause. Nothing can be as refreshing as going off the grid and getting lost in the right direction.