Three days up the mountain was more than enough. It was time to get back to level ground. From summit to sea, we brought ourselves to Dahican Beach in Mati, Davao Oriental, 170-something kilometers southeast of Davao City. It's a 2.5-hour van ride from Davao City to Mati. And from Mati proper, an 8-kilometer motorcycle ride to Dahican Beach.
We bought some supplies at the Mati Public Market before heading to the beach. We would be camping at Amihan sa Dahican, home of a group of skimboarders and surfers called the Amihan Boys. They are mentored by George "Jun" Plaza.
Amihan sa Dahican
The Amihan boys would skim all day if they could. But all day is not possible, there are chores to do in the morning before they can catch the waves. Their day starts as early as 5AM and chores include cleaning the beach, cooking, and washing the dishes, among others. Of course those who are studying have to attend classes and can only go skim and surf on weekends or when school's out.
The Amihan boys would skim all day if they could
Everyone is welcome at Amihan sa Dahican. Sir Jun Plaza let us camp for free. Unless you bring your own food, the only place you can get a meal is at a nearby resort. Amihan sa Dahican only has softdrinks and junk food for sale.
We brought food, but were still unprepared and had to shamefacedly ask to borrow their pots and utensils. The Amihan boys were kind enough to lend us what we needed, but it would have been better if we had a cookset and burner so as not to invade their kitchen and delay their cooking. They, too, have to cook for the team.
If you don't know how to cook, you can ask one of the Amihan boys to cook for you. A tip would be most welcome. They'll be happy to have some extra money as baon in school.
Toilet / Kitchen / Dining area
Seven kilometers of beach
Dahican Beach is a long stretch of clean sandy beach. During amihan, from November to April, skimboarding and surfing are the activities of the season. Other months, the sea is calm and perfect for beach bums. Amihan sa Dahican also has a kayak and Sir Jun Plaza or one of the Amihan boys can take you along for a ride. They can also take you dolphin watching (June to August) or see the pawikans (sea turtles).
Clockwise from bottom left: Sir Jun Plaza and an Amihan boy on a kayak, Bayogyog Aporbo on a skimboard, Langlang Aporbo on a surfboard, and Mustachio on his butt.
We were there on a November weekend and the Amihan boys were all over the water catching the waves. It was awesome to see them on and off (doing stunts) their boards. Some of the Amihan boys have won competitions here and abroad.
These old bones aren't made for surfing. I have accepted that reality and so just stayed with Mustachia on the shallow part, avoiding the skimboarders' paths while trying not to get pummeled by the waves (very difficult to do). When we did get pummeled and rolled under the surf, we held on to our shorts (lest the waves take them off) and shut our traps to keep from swallowing sea water.
How this summit-to-sea-break broke Mustachio's budget:
Van to Mati, Davao Oriental Php 220
Provisions for lunch and dinner for two persons Php 338
Motorcycle to Dahican Php 50
Surfing instructor and board rental Php 400
Tips Php 140
Motorcycle to Mati Php 25
Bus to Davao City Php 272