Homeschooling, Local Travel

Live in a Nipa Hut, Learn to Surf, and Eat Fresh Farm Produce at Lola Sayong Eco-SurFarm

Lola Sayong Eco-SurFarm is a surf camp positioned along the coastline of Barangay Buenavista, Gubat, Province of Sorsogon, at the southeastern region of Luzon, Philippines. To reach the place if you’re taking public transport from Metro Manila is by taking a bus going to Gubat, Sorsogon and from the bus station, one can hire a tricycle to bring you to the spot. The surf camp is one of our favorite places to hang out and chill whenever we visit our folks in Bicol.

This blog will focus on the number of reason why we love Lola Sayong and things that we did there during the Christmas break. Before I forget to mention, please take note that I’m not writing this article because I was paid to do so. I support Lola Sayong’s advocacies because it is, first and foremost, a social enterprise dedicated in promoting indigenous materials (nipa huts) as well as providing scholarships for the young surfing instructors. They have been successful in sending youths to school that they’ve won awards for their advocacies. If you want to know more about Lola Sayong’s advocacies, I recommend that you watch the episode from I-Witness on the interview between Atom Araullo and the people behind Lola Sayong in the video below:

Lola Sayong would be a great place for you if you are looking to do some if not all of the following activities:

  • Chill in a hammock underneath the stars and coconut trees
  • Learn the basics of surfing
  • Workation – work away from home and chill at the same time
  • Experience living in a nipa hut
  • Put up a tent or sleep under the stars
  • Try local produce because Lola Sayong is also a farm
  • Surf
  • Hear the crashing waves against the shore
  • Study away from the noise of your home
  • Observe nature (in my case, coastal geologic processes – more on this later)
  • Support a local business and tourism
  • Display and sell your artworks
I took this photo of Ian right by the entrance of Lola Sayong.

Chill in a hammock underneath the stars and coconuts – just don’t let the coconuts fall on you

If you Google “tropical beach”, majority of the pictures you’d probably see are sandy beach with coconut trees. Lola Sayong has plenty of coconut trees and tropical plants around which gives their patrons shade during noon time. You won’t see lounge chairs in the resort – what you will find instead are woven hammocks tied around coconut trees or ones made of bamboo just like the ones in our photos below. The caveat is that you run the risk of coconuts falling on you. 😉

Learn the basics of surfing

Surfing sure is the main reason why you’d want to visit Lola Sayong as it is primarily a surf-camp. We learned to surf from their instructors, some of them as young as my eldest son. These kids earn from tips and surfing class fees and also receive stipends that they can spend for their school needs. So when you visit Lola Sayong, I hope you’d get a surfing lesson. You’d be helping kids earn money for their education.

I also love that the surf zone consists of fine sand rather than rocks – something that I had to consider prior to taking the lessons. If you surf in other parts of the Philippines like Baler, you would need to watch out for sharp rocks underneath the water. Lola Sayong, for this reason alone, is perfect site for surfing beginners.

Workation – work while on vacation

I found out during our visit last month that Lola Sayong struggled financially in this pandemic like most businesses. We all know that tourism sector was hit hard for the past two years. What the surf camp did to augment their income was to offer workation packages for people who chose to work away from home. You’d need to inquire at their Facebook page for the rate but last time I checked it was Php 10,000 per month per pax. The package includes a stay in a nipa hut for a month, food, and one of the crew will also do your laundry. There’s internet connection at their work station (video below) with decent speed. During our stay, my son and I were able to attend our Zoom classes with little issue. I think Lola Sayong’s is the cheapest workation package I’ve heard of so far.

This is the workstation beside Lola Sayong’s restaurant. As you can see, there are paintings on display here, majority of which have been sold already. I asked Noli (the guy interviewed by Atom) and he said that I can display my artworks here as well. Cool!

Experience living in a nipa hut

Living in a nipa hut isn’t new to me. When I was a kid, I would visit my grandparents in Bicol who live in nice nipa houses. It was during these visits that I learned to prepare fire using wood and matches and also experienced cooking in clay pots. I even know to this day how to use an old flat iron heated by burning charcoal. I laugh every time I remember those days that I accidently burnt my own uniform because of the charcoal fragments that ricocheted out of the iron. Those were the good old times for sure!

I digress. You won’t be using relicts from the past when you stay at Lola Sayong. You would have electricity and water running from faucets. There would be beddings as well for comfortable sleep, as well as woven mats locally called as “banig”.

Our favorite nipa hut or “bahay kubo” at Lola Sayong.

Try local produce as Lola Sayong is also a farm

Lola Sayong’s Grub restaurant offers a variety of dishes that has local ingredients such as coconut milk and smoked fish. I specially love their pasta with coconut milk and spicy tuna omelet. During our rendezvous with friends, Lola Sayong’s staff prepared the pancit below loaded with seafoods, fried chicken for the kids, and fragrant steamed rice. The eggs came from their farm and the seafood were bought from local fishermen. So everything’s fresh and yummy when you dine in!

Pancit canton loaded with freshly fished out seafood and farm-fresh eggs

Observe nature (in my case, coastal geologic processes)

I’m an earth science nut. While the kids were still sleeping, I got the chance to walk with my husband along the beach and captured the real-time migration of beach sand because of the strong wind (we call this in geology as sediment transport). This process is what usually brings about the formation of storm berm along the coast of Lola Sayong and the rest of the coast (video below).

Less than 1 kilometer away from Lola Sayong is a small stream that drains towards the sea. I was so mesmerized by the braided pattern exhibited by the stream as it flows seaward, even the sand on the bed of the stream showed braided pattern. You have to watch this video below to appreciate what I mean!

So that’s it folks. If you would like to visit Lola Sayong someday to experience local life, you may visit their Facebook page (link below). I recommend this place for families and because I also mentioned farming, local life, and geological aspects, I’d recommend Lola Sayong as one place to explore for homeschoolers.

(1) LOLA Sayong Eco-SurFarm | Facebook

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