Kalaklan, Olongapo — The breeze was not that welcoming as we arrived in Gordon Park, Kalaklan, Olongapo for the Pilipinas Summer Hammock Fest. It was a very sunny and humid day after traveling 5 hours from Manila. The venue was not what I expected. I was expecting more shoreline and a refreshing breeze but for all it was worth, we arrived at a fairly historical area in Olongapo. The area selected was where the earthly remains of the father of Senator Richard Gordon lie. In the vicinity was an old rest house of the Gordons, where their ancestry started. This is how my adventures began.
The Journey to Gordon Park
The journey was quite unexpected. My flight bound to Manila was quiet early since I arrived 20 minutes ahead of schedule, thanks to Air Asia for that. I was not expecting it to be early. Anyway, I was surprised when I landed at NAIA Terminal 4. It was a small one compared to NAIA 3 and there weren’t any food stalls/kiosks on the arrival area.
Pilipinas Summer Hammock Fest was organized by Pinoy Hangers Community, a collaboration and unified group of people who are hammock enthusiasts. Yes, you got that right. I myself is a starting enthusiast on the chill hammock lifestyle. Since I help out in the Social Media for Silangan Outdoor Equipment, I definitely had the chance to field test two of their products during the Pilipinas Summer Hammock Festival, The Neck Pillow Hammock and the Kimbara 35L Backpack [which I will be reviewing in a different blog post after this].
As soon as I landed in Manila, I got the chance to survey and enjoy the Old Manila, by that being Binondo, the oldest Chinatown outside of China. I will also blog about the different hidden eats [in my food blog, Viajera Cebuana Eats] I discovered when I walked the entire stretch of Binondo town in a circular manner. It was a fulfilling and fun experience as well.
Moving back, I met the rest of the Pilipinas Summer Hammock Fest gang that I will be joining for the next 2 days. Months before that, a fellow hammock enthusiast, Zalde of Tribo Kalmado Outdoor Shop had invited me to join them in the van going to the area. As I see that it was my first time traveling, might be a good move to join them and meet great friends. And I was right. I met with Rob, Darell and Len at The District Greenfield Mandaluyong first at around 9pm. They were the first people I met and had interacted with while waiting for Zalde at Wendys. When he arrived, we transferred to the area where food stalls, live bands and artists had gathered. We were waiting for the others to come and so we enjoyed some cold drinks and was getting to know everyone. It was as if I was in Cebu still. It wasn’t really foreign to me. After some hours, we met with the rest of the gang. Cillin and RK, Kat, Catie and Kim, Louchie, Mykel and Jaja was there at the adjacent McDonalds at the crossing. We were already 13 in total and we made our way to Kalaklan. It was a good 4-5 hours ride. WE spent only PHP 700 for the van fare [round trip] and PHP 300 for the food for 2 days. It was pretty much affordable considering we are a lot. The registration was only PHP 300 and the event jersey [optional] was for PHP 300.
We stopped at the Olongapo market to have our last buys and we proceeded to the venue. Upon arrival, we noticed that a lot of hangers and campers are already there. It was humid and we still see a few trees to hang our hammocks. After deciding where to have our “camp”, we hanged our colorful hammocks. Admittedly, after a long time, this was the only time I was able to hang my hammock in an outdoor setting. It was hanged at first on two eucalyptus trees but I decided to transfer to a different set of eucalyptus trees as well. The day progressed into getting to know everyone, our differences, and preferences. I was the only one from Cebu and it wasn’t hard to blend in. 🙂
Saktong hang time lang. Chill. My makulit na pink hammock powered by Silangan Outdoor Equipment @silanganoutdoor.equipment and Mam Kat's Sierra Hammock by Tingguian Tribe @pinoyhanger getting the spot in the wilderness of Gordon Park. #SilanganOutdoorEquipment #ViajeraCebuanaAdventures #ViajeraCebuanaTravels #hammockchronicles #PinoyHangersCommunity #outdoorwomen
The day turned into night. We had certain adjustments since the place somehow lacked an abundant water supply [which I didn’t blame to the organizers since I understand how they feel] but nonetheless, I was able to meet the most awesome people on earth. I met my fellow Mountaineering Federation of the Philippines, Inc. and was able to do some chat and of course, BEER pa more!
Pilipinas Summer Hammock Festival is gathering of all sorts. I see mountaineers, hangers, beach loving people and of course, artists and musicians laughing, talking, chilling by the hammock. It was a very fulfilling day amid the heat and the lack of water to take a bath. 🙂 I found my inner peace by just looking at the waves and by chilling on my hammock 🙂
Summer only comes once in a year. I was grateful to visit one place that I haven't been to every year and this time, it was Kalaklan, Olongapo, where, when facing the sea, you will see the waters of the disputed and controversial Scarborough Shoal around two weeks ago. Short but fufilling travel. Grateful for the One up there for a safe travel and for letting me meet new friends. #PinoyHangersCommunity #pilipinassummerhammockfestival #summerlove #sea #breeze #TraluluPhilippines #woogoph #ItsMoreFunInThePhilippines
The best way to spend the event was with friends and meet new ones. I believe the best way to spend my summer was to gain more friends and reconnected with existing ones. Meeting fellow hammock manufacturers and musicians was something I was looking forward to.
Overall, the Pilipinas Summer Hammock Festival was a success in spite of some shortcomings. Everyone had their own share of stories to tell. It was one heckava weekend but it was all worth it. I definitely missed the camaraderie, unity and good laugh with my new found squad. Addicting in a good way! 🙂
Here are our snaps by Mary Louchie a.k.a Arym Cuolhei 🙂
Much love and respect as well as big thanks to the organizers and volunteers of the Pilipinas Summer Hammock Festival who had been tirelessly working to make sure the event was smooth sailing and everybody is out of harm’s way. And I appreciate how the organizers made sure that the event is in a tip-top shape. The presence of marshals checking out the hangers is a plus factor of letting us feel safe.
Some Snaps by my new found friend, Ivan Ignacio Torres of Ivan Torres Photography 🙂
In the light of this new trend of the hammock lifestyle, I cannot help but wonder on some points worth discussing:
- Competition and mudslinging on fellow hammock manufacturers are a foreseeable crisis, considering that Filipinos are naturally creative and innovative. How will the community keep up and address the concerns on the competition?
- How can the Pinoy Hangers Community encourage fellow hammock enthusiasts and those who aren’t into the lifestyle to become responsible hangers?
- How can the admins of the Pinoy Hangers Community regulate the members of the Facebook Community?
With these, I ask you, my fellow readers on these ideas on my head:
Have you owned a hammock or are you thinking of owning one? How do you see the hangers community in the next 5 years? Let’s talk! Drop in your ideas and conversation worthy quotes. You may email me as well at firstname.lastname@example.org for any reactions, comments, violent reactions and anything under the sun concerns 🙂
For the love of hammock chill hang time,