FCD in the Philippines: Crocodile Avoiding & Unicorn Hunting

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Photos by Scott Soens.  Drone shots by Reo Stevens.


We're back from the Philippines and we are fried.  Cooked from the scorching Philippine sun, whose ferocity we hadn't predicted. Shoulda brought that extra sun shirt..

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Since the last update, we spent the remainder of the trip exploring nearby islands and venturing out to see what the coast had to offer, welcoming the break in weather.  With a dropping swell and clean conditions, we rounded the top of the island to find a few setups that were all time.  


"Shoulda been here earlier today," was what we heard, but with a wave-starved, frothing, Californian grom (Quinten) already jumping off the boat as we pulled up and clean, head high waves with the occasional larger set, we were out there.  For hours.  

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At our next stop, we lucked into a foil wave and 3 right-handers to ourselves for a few more hours of blistering Philippine sun exposure and intimate encounters with the shallow reef.  The waves came out of 60 feet of water to a shallow shelf, which made for some fun, racy, hollow sections in spite of the small swell.  We all said hello to the bottom on occasion, but Quinten just punted over the sections with the least water, because that's what made the most sense to him.


Our Captain, Tom, likes to keep moving, and we were keen to explore as much as we could since we may never get the chance to see this place again.  Around every corner, we found potentially epic setup after setup and discussed swell angles and wind directions, envisioning the barrels and kite sessions we could have.  

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On a small sand island, which had just been deposited 100 feet away from its original location by a storm, we met a crew of super friendly local guys patrolling to stop the illegal fishing that has rum rampant in this area.  We exchanged stories and they wished us good luck in the water, since we were just about a half mile away from some 15 - 20ft. crocs who called this area home.  

Crocs?!  We had been jumping off the boat for late night, full-moon swims to cool off, and not thinkining twice about stepping onto the soft grass that covered the bottom when we surfed.  Suddenly, that 2 foot thick grass carpeting the bottom seemed like camoflage for dinosaurs, and we had to say goodbye to our night swims. 

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Our final stop involved another epic setup with a right and a left, and a great anchorage for the boat.  We'll be keeping an eye on this come August / September.  That night, we bonfired at an empty island, had a few beers, and laughed about how we "didn't score," in spite of us actually scoring.  All we had to do was look around. And come back.


On the right swell, with the right wind, this place has the potential to deliver some really good waves, especially with access to a boat.  Conditions here are a bit like unicorn hunting - for those who have it dialed, though, we will withhold the places and names to protect the guilty.


Jessica Salcido