Sandboarding (Ilocos Norte, PH)

 “You don’t need to be the tide to rise and fall, 
you don’t have to be a wave to touch the shore;
just be a little sand-grain and feel them all” 

– Munia Khan

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I have always wanted to try snowboarding. But since I live in a tropical country where we only get to experience summer and stormy seasons, that dream shall be put into hold until Ii set my foot somewhere “snowy”. What we do have, however, are sand dunes that serve as playground for sandboarders and sandboarding-wannabes – like me.

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Surprise surprise surprise! Sand surfing and other leisure activities in the sand are a bit unheard of from among Filipinos. Moreso, only during the early 21st century was the activity on sandboarding introduced in the sand dunes of Ilocos. These natural hill and ridge of sand that lies behind the part of a coastline in Ilocos, cover an area of 52 square meters wide. These are the La Paz sand dunes in the city of Laoag and the Paoay Sand dunes that stretch to nearby town, Currimao..

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So what is sandboarding?  Just like surfing, one rides on a board (sans the waves) instead, one cruises down a vertical ridge of sand, all while keeping your balance. Indeed an ideal adrenaline-inducing sport!

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In August of 2010, 3 friends of mine joined me as we went on to try the La Paz Sand Dunes adventure. This included a super overwhelming 4X4 ride trailing the elevated undulating sands of La Paz and the heart-hammering sandboarding.

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The first segment of the adventure was a ride around the dunes, where we got to experience the jarring trails, up and down the sheer hills. It was a bit scary at first but you’ll get through it.

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After which, the sandboarding basics will be taught. I am quite poor in describing the “how to” details so just check out our pictures. Well, we were given the option to whether sit down or stand up while our feet were strapped on the board. We did try both. We headed to try first our sandboarding skills (skills???) at an easy, not so high hill and boy!!!! It wasn’t easy at all!! We found ourselves stumbling from time to time. Nonetheless, it was fun.

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Then, we were asked to do it on a high vertical slope. We were all apprehensive at first. But our sandboarding mentor (Kuya Glenn) was more than encouraging and supportive. He repeatedly told us to be focused and that we should try our best to maintain good balance. And so we braved the sheer slope, and failed.. many times… some of us even literally ate some sand. Hahaha. It was full of fun though. We did a few more tries until we were able to find our balance.

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The entire activity costs Php2,500 for the 4 of us. And it is all worth the stumble and fall from the sandboard, and the palpitations induced by the 4×4 ride. Will I do this again? Will I recommend that you try this? An astounding YES of course! Just don’t forget to bring some energy drinks and lots of water PLUS prepare your staying power because the key to this activity is a lot of patience and stamina. Additional heads up: Wear clothes that are comfy, clothes that can get dirty (or even ruined).

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For Sand Boarding lessons, you may contact: Sir Glenn Guerrero at  0908 8853669

Don’t be a wasted soul, be ‘juan’derlust. Take it easy ebri’juan’.

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