Xavier School Batch ’77 at the Laoag La Paz Sand Dunes


The normally placid desert of Laoag transmutes into a happy place just as soon as Batch ’77 of the Xavier School in Greenhills arrives. The visitors chose Ilocos for their latest reunion. Part of their itinerary was a sand adventure with the original Ilocos sandboarding guys, the LEAD Movement, at the La Paz Sand Dunes. Asked them to describe Ilocos Norte in two words. One shouted “Awesome!” Nelson Co fired the matchless non-generic answer. I wouldn’t have even instantly thought of it myself. So expect that in my vocabulary from now on! Read: SANDY:)

Xavier School Batch '77 at the Laoag La Paz Sand DunesXavier School Batch '77 at the Laoag La Paz Sand DunesStaying Alive

Conceivably inspired by the ’77 hit of the Bee Gees, the get-together’s theme is Staying Alive. And shimmy they did.

Ilocos Sandboarding with LEAD MovementLa Paz Sand Dunes, Laoag, PhilippinesSandboarding with LEAD MovementMuseLa  Paz Sand Dunes, LaoagBanterLEAD SenCheers!
Cheers to Life! Thanks, guys!

Photographed by Blauearth © Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2013

Drew Arellano gives Doorah a sandwich at the La Paz sand dunes

GMA News TV Pop Talk production people were not yet actually done with their La Paz shoot and GMA Network’s AHA starts to roll their camera. Doorah, a funny flamboyant fellow tries his luck on a LEAD Movement sandboard, fails, but regains control faster than I can blink. Riot!

The aircraft carrying AHA host Drew Arellano flies over us. He arrives on the set looking fresh in cool blue. It’s his second time in a La Paz shoot and he still amazingly remembers LEAD’s Benny Arce.

LEAD’s 4X4 expert, MC Manangan, gives Drew an instant off-roading tutorial (a part of the shoot), and then Drew gets the wheel and vamooses in the sandy air. Check out who he meets along the way.

GMA Kapuso AHA's Direk Jepoy Mejia.

Doorah explores the Laoag La Paz sand dunes.

Comical and clever Doorah is Bobay Torqueza Valbuena in real life. An Abreño, he speaks fluent Ilocano.

LEAD Movement with honorary member Samantha Jackson of Los Angeles.

After the hot, hot day at the dunes, we invited the AHA people to have a delish carinderia lunch at Katrina’s near the BJMP. Show host/businessman/triathlete Drew brought out his organic red rice (or was it brown?) to eat with endemic Ilocano food. They ate what we ate, such nice unfussy guys!

Katrina's (aka BJMP carinderia's) Ilocano imbaliktad and insarabasab with papaitan.

Direk Jepoy's pink obsession.

AHA airs Sundays, 9 AM, on GMA Kapuso Network.

Like Ilocos Sand Boarding on Facebook.

Photographed by Blauearth © Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2012

Northern X-posure on Monday (Magazine) Issue 5

Yes!! It’s out!! My eco-adventure group, the LEAD Movement, in rockin’ sand adventure photos in Monday, a 3/4-inch thick corporate culture/consumerism/lifestyle mag in the Philippines. FYI, it is the Laoag Eco-Adventure Development Movement that innovated sandboarding in Ilocos.

Grab a copy and see more of the best of my beloved Norte!

With special thanks to Monday, Karl de Mesa for the story, and Paolo Seen for the photography!

Also to Mark Castro and Ericke Tan who gamely posed under the scorching heat in Norte!

Photographed by Blauearth  Copyright © Blauearth™ ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
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Photo courtesy of Paolo Seen (seated)