Lola Sayong: An Elderly Woman Lends Land to Aspiring Surfers
Choose Philippines | Nov 02, 2016
Have you been to Sorsogon lately?
Gubat, Sorsogon is known all over the world for its beautiful beaches, and strong, smooth waves. Both elements come together to make Gubat a prime destination not only for surfers, but for beach-lovers, wanting to escape to somewhere beautiful, but off the beaten path.
However, it is this isolation and relative anonymity as a tourist destination that made life difficult for many Gubatnons: the lack of opportunities for livelihood or business kept many locals from attending school, and were unable to make their lives any better.
However, in spite of life’s hardships, it never stopped Lola Sayong from nurturing a big heart: because she was relatively more well-off compared to her neighbors, she decided to make the most of her blessings, allowing many youths to borrow her seaside property, essentially converting it to a surf school where youths can practice their surfing, make money by teaching visitors and surf enthusiasts, and create a support group where they encourage each other to better their lives through hard work, faith, and perseverance. In fact, Noli Mercader, the surfing instructor of the school, was one of the pioneers of the “No School, No Surf” policy, where they encourage the youth to do well in school, lest they be barred from surfing completely.
According to Noli, surfing is not all about the sport: in fact, it’s only one of the lesser aspects of it. He believes that surfing is more of a connection, above all else: it helps you connect with the water, it helps you connect with other people and surfers, and most importantly, it helps you connect with the things that are truly valuable to you. According to Noli, surfing is more than just a sport: "Hindi lang sa sport ang tutok mo, kung hindi, paano ka kumonekta sa kalikasan; isa iyon sa nag-inspire sa amin kung paano namin maipasa [ang kaalaman] sa mga bata.”
Of course, none of these good opportunities would have been possible if Lola Sayong, who is now loved and adored by the community, especially the youth, had never opened her heart to the possibility of building a community around surfing. Her big heart has made surfing not only as a sport, but as a beautiful way of loving each other within a community: “Pamilya ang nagsilbing lakas, inspirasyon, at pag-asa.”
Watch the official video shared by ABS-CBN Regional Channel here:
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