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The Smiling Surfista

The Smiling Surfista

Surfista Smile

Elaine riding a karabaw

Elaine Abonal Surfing Philippines

Elaine Abonal - mermaid right


Elaine Abonal
Surfista Travels Owner
English Teacher

Elaine’s one of those sweet souls you don’t meet everyday, an english teacher by profession and surf ambassador by advocacy. Surfing Philippines world meet one of our friends who is kicking ass with her company Surfista Travels.

“I grew up in Manila, the Philippines and I had a pretty awesome childhood.”

“Personally, one of things I’m grateful for and lucky about being a female surfer in the Philippines is that I live in a society where women are respected”

“Life is short and that we should enjoy it and live right. I believe that everything happens for a reason and that God has put as all here on earth to make a difference and to do something to make the world better in our own little way.”

Follow her on twitter at

Check out her website.


Surf Omawas review in “The Best of Eastern Samar”

Skimboarding, surfing, snorkeling and so much more!

The Coasts

Experience divinity at Divinubo Island…In just a 30 minute-banca ride from the town of Lalawigan, roughly a 20-25 minute drive from Borongan City proper.  If it is a full moon or a new moon, at either noon or midnight, the island could be crossed by foot, which would take about an hour.


The Guiporo-e Natural Pool, located after a five-minute hike through brush, sand and mangrove saplings, springs like a surprise from beyond a rocky bend – a horizontal clump of rocks festooned with mangroves in the near distance, cupping a placid pool.  If you fancy a dip, the water is nicely warm.


The Divinubo Eco-Tour Park Resort is also a good place to stop by for a relaxing few hours.  You can rent a string hammock (P25) and snooze under the leafy talisay trees.  The broad-leafed talisay tree bears creamy nuts.  Pecked by birds, the talisay nuts grow three times a year and turn yellow when ripe.  Entrance is P5 per person.  You can rent picnic huts at P200 a day or P250 if you want to stay overnight.


The Boronganparola (lighthouse), built by the Americans in 1906, looks out to the Pacific Ocean and the view is well worth the effort.  One had to walk up more than a hundred steps built on the side of a mountain, and take the rocky, muddy, potholed and spindly path with weeds to reach the slender lighthouse.  Narrow outside stairs with rusty crumbling handrails curve up the parola, on top of which are solar panels.  A flat-roofed structure in front of the lighthouse provides a great view of the island, the Pacific ocean and the sunrise.



Photo and Article Source: Inflight (Seair)

PIRATES COVE Beach and Surf Resort

is situated on a two-hectare private reef, marine sanctuary and water sports recreation area fronting the Pacific Ocean, all within five minutes of downtown Borongan. See more details…

 MINASANGAY ISLAND Eco Park and Resort

offers activities that could be as simple as basking under the sun and chilling out with friends by the Pacific view, or as daring as snorkeling, scuba diving and cliff diving! There are around 6 diving boards of different heights, so you can try out the lower ones before venturing out into the board simply called “6” and is the highest cliff out there.You only need to take a 40-minute multicab ride from Borongan for P30 to reach the drop-off point and another 10 minute hike towards the Resort’s entrance.

SURF OMAWAS Hotel and Resort

blessed with a beautiful coastline right in front of the great Pacific Ocean, is the right place for every surfer – whether you are a beginner or average surfer, or just really, really good at surfing! See more details…



Is now poised to bring visitors into a breathtaking ride on its pristine waters while experiencing a treat of exotic foods and native delicacies prepared by the townsfolk themselves!



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Eastern Samar: Surfing’s last frontier

Eastern Samar has undiscovered surfing spots


John Adrian B. Ang

Photo by Abdel ElechoPhoto by Abdel Elecho

EASTERN SAMAR, Philippines – When surfing in the Philippines was in its infancy in the 1990s, local and foreign surfing aficionados descended on prominent destinations such as Siargao Island in Mindanao, La Union in Luzon, Baler in Quezon and Daet in Camarines Norte.

In fact, some of Eastern Samar’s surfing pioneers, Carlos Aga Jr., Abdel Elecho and Bryan Lassiter, learned the sport in one of the surfing spots in Luzon. I met Abdel and Bryan during a vacation in the 1990’s in Eastern Samar when 12 of us surfers had only one surfboard to spare.


Photo by Abdel ElechoPhoto by Abdel Elecho

We then explored the rest of the coast of Eastern Samar for waves, and the rest is history.

Most of Eastern Samar’s 100 kilometers of coastline are unexplored. Its waves are as unique as those in the world’s famous surfing destinations. We discovered waves so good that we called them our own secret spots. At the time, however, with no known surfboard manufacturer in the Philippines it was difficult to own or buy a surfboard.

Over the years we made friends with other locals and foreigners with whom we gladly shared our “secret spots.” They ended up enjoying the adventure, because they would name the spots that they themselves discovered.


Since then, friends from Luzon, Mindanao, California, Australia, and New Zealand have been visiting us regularly. We would give our favorite surfing spots names such as “FCS,” “the membrane,” “lighthouse,” “cupcake,” and “pasikat break.”


These Eastern Samar waves range from river mouths, to point breaks, to outer island breaks – spots that will attract beginners, professionals and hardcore surfers alike.

A hundred more are waiting to be discovered. And we’d like to discover them with you. –

Photo by Abdel ElechoPhoto by Abdel Elecho
(The author is co-founder of the Eastern Samar Surfing Association, an affiliate of the Borongan Awareness On Nature and Outdoor Group (BANOG). Accredited by the Department of Tourism, the group is based in Borongan City and conducts guiding tours, surfing competitions and surfing clinics. For inquiries, call Carlos Aga at 09272986245 or call Cora Basada of the Borongan tourism office at 09173258563.)

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PAL to fly to NY, major US cities

MANILA, Philippines—Philippine Airlines (PAL) will open services to New York, Chicago, Florida and other major cities in the United States within a year following the removal of the Philippines from the air safety blacklist of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on Thursday.

Other Philippine carriers may now also fly to the United States with the restoration of the country’s Category 1 rating.

US Ambassador to the Philippines Philip Goldberg announced Thursday the FAA’s restoration of the Philippines to Category 1 rating on Twitter.

“Good news! Philippines compliance with international aviation safety oversight standards earns Category 1 Safety Rating,” Goldberg said.

PAL hailed the FAA decision, which will enable the flag carrier to resume services on its Manila-New York route and expand to other destinations in the United States.

“Your flag carrier welcomes the return of the country’s aviation rating to Category 1,” PAL president and CEO Ramon Ang said.

“This is a culmination of the government’s hard work, as exemplified by the efforts of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) to upgrade the country’s international aviation safety standards,” he said.

“With the upgrade, the Philippines now rejoins the ranks of the most important aviation nations in the world, made up of select countries that meet the [United States’] strict standards of aviation safety,” Ang said.

Although widely expected, Thursday’s FAA decision came as a surprise, as it had been expected to be announced by US President Barack Obama during his visit to the Philippines later this month.

The FAA decision, based on a March review of the CAAP, came after the European Union in July 2013 lifted its own ban on Philippine Airlines after they upgraded their aviation safety standards.

Expansion plan

Ang said PAL was ready with an expansion plan for its US services following the upgrade.

He said PAL would open services to New York, Chicago, Florida and other cities on the US East Coast within a year.

PAL used to fly to New York, operating services there from 1996 to 1997. It stopped the services due to financial constraints and as the Asian financial crisis forced businesses to review aggressive expansion plans.

The airline stopped flights to Europe a year later.

Meeting int’l standards

Category 1 rating means the CAAP complies with safety standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organization, a United Nations agency that lays down international standards and recommended aviation practices, including aircraft operation and maintenance, the US Embassy in Manila said.

The FAA downgraded the Philippines to Category 2 rating in January 2008 for failure to meet international safety standards.

Category 2 rating “means a country either lacks laws or regulations necessary to oversee air carriers in accordance with minimum international standards, or that its civil aviation authority—equivalent to the FAA for aviation safety matters—is deficient in one or more areas, such as technical expertise, trained personnel, record keeping or inspection procedures,” the embassy said.

The 2008 downgrade of the Philippines to Category 2 status due to US concerns over the quality of Philippine aviation standards froze the local aviation industry in a status quo, preventing Philippine carriers from expanding their US operations or even replacing their gas-guzzling aircraft with newer and fuel-efficient airplanes.

Thursday’s reinstatement to Category 1 rating will not only allow Philippine airlines to add more flights between the Philippines and the United States, but also replace older aircraft with more fuel-efficient planes and, subject to bilateral negotiations, open up routes to new destinations like the US East Coast.

Goldberg’s good news

Goldberg spoke at a luncheon meeting of the Rotary Club of Manila, where he gave more details of the Philippine upgrade.

“The first thing I did this morning is I went to see the Civil Aviation Administration [of the Philippines] to give them a letter from the FAA in Washington to tell the [Philippines] that it now has Category 1 status,” Goldberg said, drawing applause from the Rotarians.

“This will open up all kinds of opportunities,” he said. “It will help the Philippine airline industry do several things, including create more opportunities for US routes, and to use new aircraft.”

Goldberg said the United States would “continue to work with the Philippines so that the safety adjustments and safety improvements under way, specifically related to certain issues, will continue through technical consultations.”

He described the US assistance to the Philippine civil aviation industry as “a continuing process” with the goal of making the local improvement “stick,” making the Category 1 status “a permanent condition.”

“This is good news for the Philippines and for the Filipino people,” Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario said, as he commended the CAAP for dealing with the FAA’s concerns about aviation safety in the Philippines and the Philippine mission in Washington for its efforts to get the upgrade.

Lone PH carrier to US

At present, PAL is the only local carrier that has flights to the United States.

PAL uses 1990s Boeing 747-400 and Airbus A340-300 aircraft, designed and built long before the recent spike in fuel prices made them less attractive to cost-saving airlines.

The upgrade to Category 1 status will allow PAL to use newer and more fuel-efficient Boeing 777-300ER twin-engine jets on its trans-Pacific routes.

PAL’s Ang said using those aircraft would result in “big fuel savings” for the flag carrier.

Currently, PAL operates 26 weekly flights to the United States, with services to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Honoluly and Guam.

Bigger aircraft, lie-flat beds

PAL said in a statement that it would deploy six Boeing 777-300ERs, acquired in recent years for $1.2 billion, for US flights “within a month’s time.”

“With this, passengers can now enjoy nonstop flights to Los Angeles and San Francisco aboard new aircraft equipped with the most modern cabin and state-of-the-art amenities, including lie-flat beds in business class,” the airline said.

For its flights to Honolulu and Guam, PAL will continue to use new wide-body Airbus A330-300s and single-aisle A320-200s.

Shares of local airlines rose following Goldberg’s announcement.

Tourism officials, travel agents and tour operators welcomed the upgrade as a boost to tourism and the economy.

Presidential deputy spokesperson Abigail Valte said the US decision signaled “enhanced tourism and economic activity between the Philippines and the US.”

Valte lauded Philippine transportation and civil aviation officials for rectifying lapses in the past and for ensuring that the country’s aviation industry meets international standards.

Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) Executive Director Carmelo Arcilla said the upgrade presented Philippine carriers with an opportunity to tap the broader US travel market.

“The US market is our number two source of traffic, with 3 million Filipinos [living] in the US. [The] bulk of that is Filipino-Americans,” Arcilla said. “[Philippine] airlines do not even operate to the US East Coast. It’s a center for Filipino communities as well.”

“For us travel agents and tour operators, it’s a welcome development in terms of creating more package tours,” said JP Cabalza, president of the Philippine Travel Agencies Association (PTAA).—With reports from Tarra Quismundo, AFP and AP