GIRL GROM AND WAHINE CAMP SIARGAO

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While it is easy to think that surfing is just mainly about chasing waves and getting stoked, not many realize the sense of community that exists and flourishes within the scene. A number of our local surfing destinations across the country have seen the cultivation of various businesses that include resorts, accommodations, restaurants, and many more that have become favorite go-to’s for weekend warriors, seasoned beachcombers, and even casual getaway seekers. Apart from the trade and commerce end of things, various advocacies—from raising awareness for environmental care to surf school programs—have been established that have not only boosted the stock of a handful tourist spots, but also positively impacted lives in and out of our islands.

The Surf to School (S2S) is a true testament to this; to how a surfboard and the sea can bring people from diverse backgrounds, of different ages together. Launched in 2014, the core objective of S2S is to keep the youth, who happen to reside in surfing communities, in school all while nurturing and further promoting the sport itself.

According to Edeline “Edz” Payawal, one of the co-founders of the said non-profit organization, says that she owes a lot to surfing and as member of the community, effecting change. “A lot of people intend to go good. They have good thoughts and beautiful words, but if it doesn’t hurt or pinch just a little, then you’re not doing enough.” And what better way to build a better future than through fostering the love for learning and the importance of an active lifestyle through a sustainable grassroots movement. S2S has reached Baler, Batangas, Davao, Gubat, Zamabales, Quezon, and there are definitely not showing any signs of slowing down.

Edz has quite the resume that makes her more than the ideal mind behind this advocacy. Aside from having the passion for chasing swells, she has extensive experience in market research and business consultancy which has taken her to fields of industry that includes real estate, retail, food, and even technology. She doesn’t only have the experience of heading businesses, but she’s also has the sense of foresight to capitalize on opportunities and avoid setbacks. That’s why it is in surfing where she finds a respite from her busy schedule. “My head always takes me to look at businesses, how it’s performing to how long it is likely to stay afloat. Surfing keeps my mind quiet. It envelopes me in a kind of calm that allows me to just play, escape, laugh, and connect with people.”

At an attempt to take the spirit of S2S unto more endeavors, the Girl Grom and Wahine Camp was born, which is an upcoming three-day camp in Siargao that’s focused on empowering young women. Having a daughter herself., Edz realizes of the import of instilling confidence in adolescent girls. “With this camp, we hope to inspire, engage and empower the young girls in our surfing communities through arts, dance and sports. We want them to give them an opportunity to shine and feel absolutely wonderful about themselves. We want to build a united and supportive wahine community that would hopefully help mold amazing Filipina Wahines of the future.” Similar to S2S, this movement will be taking the shores of more and more surfing communities for years to come.

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