Sun Soaked: The rise of a promising annual beach festival in Ilocos


The first Sun Soaked on the warm sandy beaches of Cabugao and Magsingal brought both jolt and encouragement to the otherwise serene coastal villages at the northern end of Ilocos Sur. Without much fanfare prior to its staging, the festival of sea, sand and sun challenges that included kiteboarding, surfing, beach volleyball, frisbee and dragon boat racing was able to attract droves of beach sports enthusiasts from the National Capital Region and the capital of beach events, where else but Boracay?

Pug-os Beach

I lingered at the Cabugao Beach Resort to cheer for the PDRT Fireblades, one among the country’s leading dragon boat teams that made the 8 slots for the first ever dragon boat race on the shores of Ilocos. The race was held in cooperation with the Philippine Canoe and Kayak Federation, headed by Ms. Jonne Go.

Congressman Ronald Singson

As head organizer of Sun Soaked, Congressman Ronald Singson of the 1st District of Ilocos Sur mingled with the participants, and along with brother Gov. Ryan Singson, they hosted an after beach party and concert following the awarding ceremonies.

Cong. Ronald said when asked if Sun Soaked is the start of more sports activities to come in Ilocos Sur, “Yes, this is going to be a yearly thing. With our many beautiful beaches, we see the potentials of fun events in Ilocos Sur.”

Looking back, Ilocos Sur has successfully organized individual sports competitions, particularly motocross and enduro dirt bike challenges.


I crossed paths with the Sports Unlimited team covering the events. Hahah, first, it was Gene, the executive producer. Only until Marc Nelson holds the mic before the camera, he is incognito as always. I was happy the super friendly host remembers me and my family. The last time we hosted him and Dyan Castellejo in Norte was almost a decade ago.

Marc NelsonPhilippine National AnthemThe Chinese Monk

A monk blesses the dragon boats on Pug-os Beach.

TailsSun Soaked, The Ilocos Sur Beach FestLea and JonneManila DragonsLa Salle PaddlersPaddlersPDRT FirebladesSun Soaked 2014 Dragon Boat RaceTeddyBeach MatInoue, Charlie and AlexThe moms

With Duch Gamboa-Co and Pinky Co, supportive mom to PDRT Fireblades paddlers Duch and Phil.

Sun Soaked Dragon Boat Race

Moody winds threatened the races. La Salle’s boat overturned at one point, but made it back to the race.

Manila Wave beat Boracay All Stars at the 300m dragon boat race. PYROS came in close third while Manila Dragons made the 4th top spot.

Being an adventure junkie myself, looking forward to experience more action-packed events in the years to come.

Happy Kannawidan, Ilocos Sur!

Manila WaveSun Soaked, The Ilocos Sur Beach FestSun Soaked, The Ilocos Sur Beach FestFrisbeeSun Soaked, The Ilocos Sur Beach FestPhil

Phil Co, an Ilocano paddler.

Alex and Charlie
Photographed by Blauearth © Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2014

Batibols Bikers joins the MayDay MTB DH Race – Part I

downhill bikes

Learning the ropes of downhill mountain biking, the Mini Batibols of the Batibols Bikers join every race opportunity they can get themselves into. Batibol Bikers expert downhiller Jackie de la Cruz and influential dad Ryan Cunanan led the boys to their latest coup, the Mayday Mt. Bike DH Race, part of the national series of the Downhill Riders Organization of the Philippines (DROP). Foggy Mount Sto. Tomas in Tuba was the fitting venue for the treacherous rolls and jumps.

We joined them in Baguio. Stayed at a rented house in Cabinet Hill. Our things were always intact even if the doors were left unlocked, such a nice neighborhood, btw. Amid fine weather, we were all too lazy to cook. No rants whatsoever, carinderia fare for breakfast:)

UlamBisikletaA view of Baguio from Mount Sto. TomasRadar isu!Cell Site TowersMayDay Mt. Bike DH Race sign-upTito Jackconfidencebike-checkfather and son downhillersdownhill raceThe Farrs

The country’s leading pro class downhiller, 14 year-old Jeric Farr, and his dad, expert class downhiller Eboy Farr were also in the race. “I practice when I’m not in school, ” Jeric says when I asked the second year high school boy how he balances school and sports. Four years into downhill mountain biking, Jeric describes his sport as “masaya!” He also competes in international races. He placed fourth in a race in Indonesia in 2011.

AliensPekwa (1st), Lucius (2nd), Dylan (3rd)ThinkingWoman Downhiller

Maricar Estacio, the lone woman rider in the race, reveals “Natutuwa ako… kaya ko ‘yon, “ as I try to dig out what is it that she loves about the bone-breaking sport. Love the lady! Notably, a downhill race organized in part by Jackie, in Batac, way back 2005, was her first race.

kokeshiuntitledAky Nolasco

Aky Nolasco spearheaded the Baguio race. He is a veteran of the Baguio-Sagada Bike Challenge way back in the mid 90s. A race my hubby is proud of. It was refreshing to see Padma Perez, the Baguio-Sagada race organizer in a different light (see photo below). She is a descendant of Pilar Hidalgo Lim mentioned in my recent Café by the Ruins post.

UmbrellaOn the line

To be continued.

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

SANDBOARDING: The Newest Reason To Visit Ilocos

Ever so proud of the LEAD Movement, the forward-looking Laoag-based eco-adventure group of which I am one of the founding members, I congratulate my fellow-LEADers for sharing their vision for Ilocos Norte, in respect to travel and tourism.  They conceptualized the latest sport to experience in the Philippines, and of course, only in Ilocos, since it is only in Ilocos Norte, Laoag Sand Dunes in particular, where there are steep slopes suitable for the adventure. Sandboarding is like any other board sport (e.g. surfing, mountainboarding, skimboarding, skysurfing, snowboarding and skateboarding) except that it has to be played on sand.

In this extreme sport, I assure you, it is quite easy to get yourself started… no snowboarding or skateboarding experience required. All you need is a board and loads of guts… then head to the Desert of La Paz, where you can get your adrenalin fix and at the same time marvel at this natural wonder.

Visit and like the Ilocos Sand Boarding page on Facebook.

The LEAD Movement prepares for another sandboarding adventure along the slopes of the Laoag La Paz sand dunes.

Ready for the drop...

The Thrill...

MC, The Man

Zooming down amidst pure natural beauty...

Ilocos  Sand Boarding Contact #s 0919-873-5516 / 0932-358-7521/ 0917-523-0331.

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