when traveling to davao oriental. a must see destination is the white sand beaches of dahican located just a few minutes away from the town of mati. A weary traveller should find respite in these turquoise waters and fine white sandy beaches on this south eastern part of mindanao. There are quite a few hotel accommodations in the area, which doesn’t matter, there are a lot of friendly locals that offer their front yard as your campsite. i had a wonderful opportunity to meet a group of local boys with great talent and a humble heart. Amihan boys as they call themselves are kids that help clean up the beach every morning, give a helping hand to any tourist that come visit their beach. they hang around in their wonderfully built surf shack made out of driftwoods and spare plywood from their hand built skimboards and aptly called as the tourist assistance center. many of these kids decided to stay in the surf shack and join surf and skim competition any prizes they get will be added to their allowance for school and some of them don’t have any support from their folks so they mostly rely on these competition and some few support from the government and private sectors.
It was just in time for their press interview and photo shoot from Mindanao Times. the kids were in high spirits and showed off their tricks in front of the lensman and reporter at this point these kids are starting to get noticed in the local media and i think its a nice way to get them out there for more support. Apparently the amihan boys have been featured recently on the front page of the local newspaper. the kids were ripping it, skimming fluid surf in dahican shoreline. i must say they are really awesome! though there were not any overhead swells, they still manage to get us all impressed with their skills in skim boarding. apart from being so talented on the board i was more impressed on them off their boards with their admirable approach on life.
On my short stay in dahican, i have gotten to know a lot of them better, while skimming along the shore. i found out that all of them are living in one house and being looked after by their big bother Jun “bosskie” plaza as they call him. they are not related in any way but these boys look up to Jun as the father figure in the group. How Jun taught them discipline and humility makes them more larger than life. i recalled when i was back in college and being exposed to local surf scene in luzon, i noticed these boys are pretty much not interested with the stereotype on surfers, always high on drugs and the laid back attitude. i see these kids found refuge in surfing and skim boarding from the depressing reality in their life on the island and found a way to get them out on this situation by going to school and staying away from any bad influence that visiting surfers from other places might offer them.
As the sun went down to the horizon we tucked in the surf shack and had a nice conversation with the kids. i remember one kid told us their rule that if they are found out to be doing any vices they are kicked out of the team. i asked one of them if they like it here. he replied that he felt like he is just playing around, only he is making something good for himself and his group. they also make hand built skimboards and i bought one for support of their livelihood. so if these kids are not hitting the waves of dahican you can see them cleaning up the shore and helping out tourist that may visit their shores. So once you visit dahican, say hi to these kids! maybe you’ll bump into Vincent, Edsel, Bagyugyog, Winston, Jerry and Jun “bosskie” Plaza. i assure you’ll be well taken cared off and would have a great time on your visit!