5 Life Lessons from Surfing in Siargao, Philippines

by michgraune

“Okay, ready? Paddle, paddle, paddle! Stand!”, My surfing instructor shouted. As he was pushing the board forward, I positioned myself automatically to synchronize with the wave, eager to reach the shore. I rode it beaming gloriously with pride. It is always a fulfilling moment whenever I get to ride the waves. The more time that I try it, the more it’s easier to ride the board. I paddled back to join the group and waited for that marvelous ride again. We felt the pain on our chest by paddling on the first day and scorching sunburnt pain on the back of my friend’s leg because of too much sun.

Four days straight we have been waking up early not missing breakfast before we surf. Although we have been warned to eat light, so it’s easy to stand on the board, we still do it anyway. Four freaking straight days, we have been surfing almost the entire day. If you asked a random tourist for how often they would do it, they would reply to you for just a day for trying it out. But there is something in the water and with the waves that kept me coming back.

The famous Cloud 9 Boardwalk

I occasionally wonder about the lifestyle of a surfer. They travel the world to find and wait for the perfect legendary ride. That bright beach hair, tanned skin and wide stretched smiles. There’s something with this lifestyle that makes me curious until I jumped on my board


These days, we often forget to enjoy the present because we usually think of future’s fickleness and we regret the past for the things we have failed to do. Sometimes, we tend to get distracted because we are busy attending something else or not being focus on the task. Have you tried living in the present?  If not, surfing is for you. Surfing teaches you to be mindful – to live in the present and to enjoy life to its fullest. You get to enjoy the wave, the moment, friends cheering on you and the ride.


We frequently take control of our lives, by planning how exactly what the future holds. We often want it badly, and this leaves us frustrated. In this fast pace life; we over think, expecting,  worrying and doubting before it unfolds in front of us. Instead, we let life evolve naturally and grow from it. I consider life as the waves, and we should be willing to surrender and let go of the plans we have in life. Alternately, let the flow of nature cradle us.

©WSL, Siargao Surfing Cup


Funny though it may seem, I often ask the depth of the water before engaging in any water sports. I remember, panicking when my surfing instructor would joke about the extent. But after managing the first wave, holding on to the board and paddling back, I realized that it was possible. Surfing teaches you to push yourself, taking a risk and discovering yourself. I remember that I was able to stand on the second attempt and discover that I’m powerful than I could imagine.

Accomplishment photo after a day long of surfing. WOOHOO!


Many times, I don’t understand why my surfing instructor would keep insisting for me to take the wave when I was exhausted paddling back to join the group. “Here, here. You should take this!”, He mumbled. And I would do it, as I was told.  But then I realized that every wave is different. There’s a reason why we have to wait on the water and waiting for that perfect wave. And once, we saw a good one we have to go for it. Just like opportunity, take it and take actions.


I love the energy in surfing. Everyone cheering you on, the moment you take a good wave. It doesn’t matter if you can ride it for longer, you still get in any form of recognition. Laird Hamilton once said, “We are all equal before waves.” When you’re in the water, you are stripped of all of your identity. There’s no question about your background, race, and sex. The waves are a great equalizer, and we bonded through this unforgettable experience.

It’s always fun riding with friends.

This place I called HOME.

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Elmer Nev Valenzuela November 17, 2017 - 10:06 am

I never thought surfing wasnt so easy. But im sure its hooking just by looking at how burnt surfer’s skin. Enjoy you oceanholic. Seas the day!

michgraune November 17, 2017 - 10:09 am

I love it! I knew I get hooked after standing on the board on the first try. I’m definitely a child of the sea. Thanks Elmer! 🙂


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