Film Pirates and Surfers of Dahican Beach in Mati | Davao Oriental

After a sweltering day resembling The Clash's "breaking rocks in the hot sun" and relishing the impassioned ambiance of Davao City's Kadayawan Festival. Early the next day, I joined a small group of enthusiastic film photographers Lauren, Master Erick, and Surfer Kara on a journey to Mati, the capital of Davao Oriental. Our aim was to find some waves and capture some amazing landscapes, both digitally and on film. My buddies were carrying analog cameras and rolls of film, as opposed to my little camera bag. The trio undoubtedly came to Davao armed to the teeth — Lomography speaking. 

Dahican Beach

The journey from Davao City to Mati took about three hours, traveling through picturesque scenery. A slideshow featuring beautiful fields, undulating hills, and tranquil villages in between, as well as the "sleeping dinosaur" island formation. I successfully concentrated my thoughts on the surroundings outside the window and occupied myself with the magnificent moving images inside the cramped up vehicle, experiencing cramps and struggling against falling asleep.

Kara Hizon

By the time we arrived in Dahican Beach, chill reigned over. Time flowed in a pleasant manner, as though seconds were passing by elegantly, like the strokes of a skilled painter. From the beautiful sky to the crystal clear waves to the motions of the skimboarders known as the "Amihan Boys," there was a sense of peace. Even though I'm not a big fan of surfing or skimboarding, their abilities impressed me right away.

Kara Hizon

The months leading up to the start of the surfing season in October might provide some bipolar wave conditions. If you're lucky, you might be able to surf some, but just to be sure, make your surfing trip here during the surfing months. Surfer Kara was initially disappointed by the absence of waves, but we found time to enjoy our trip by being beach bums. The next day, Kara's friend drove us to another break spot to see if she could surf.

Mishi Magno

The surfing Gods must be smiling because there was some wave that formed a couple of hundred meters out to sea and Kara and company—minus myself, Lauren, and Erick—were able to surf a dozen or so lengthy rides over their surfboards. A surfing paradise is not doomed, especially if it faces the Pacific Ocean.

Kara Hizon

Later in the day backpacking superstar Journeying James joined us for brunch, and we teased him about potential chemistry with surfer Kara. I hope they both continue to surf together in the future. 

things to do in Davao Oriental

Mindanao is a land full with gems, places you never knew existed after reading numerous headlines from the generalization-crazed mainstream media. I'd like to continue my journey to Cateel and return to Compostela Valley, but I'll have to wait until the next most convenient moment. As work awaits me in the city from which I came.

Ria Jose

Rays of sunlight lighted up our faces as we rode the back of our new friend's pick-up truck across gravel and rocky road, surrounded by tall trees on both sides. We didn't notice the bumps and grinds since everyone of us had a newfound enthusiasm for this new place. We all agreed that we would want to return in the near future.

Surfer Girl Kara Hizon

Following my resolve, I plan to go on more surfing trips in the future. I want to achieve a skill wherein I'll pull long rides over continuous swells. As my film pirate friends and I prepared to depart Mati, they took home wonderful images stored in endless rolls of film with them, while I loaded up my 2 gigabyte memory card for my digital camera.

Things to do in Mati Davao Oriental

As I drew a little pin on the map of the Philippines, I marked the location of Mati. I noted it not as a spot to get it over with, but rather as a reminder to me to return there, maybe during the surfing season. Let's see whether I would have said "I'm stoked" afterwards.