We nurture the creative strength of stewardship in young people by partnering with communities and schools at the locations we surf in. We create after-school surfing programs that keep the children in school by offering the incentive of surfing lessons and access to surfboards. Balikbayod—Returning Wave teaches youth respect for the majestic beauty of the ocean and in themselves. We are taking a piece of our surf culture here in California and sharing it with the growing surf community of Siargao. We aim to travel responsibly as surfers and as tourists and plan to give back to the international communities we visit by bringing recycled surfboards, surfing with the local children, and teaching workshops in the arts and trades.

Why the Philippines?

We chose to start Returning Wave on the Island of Siargao, Philippines because the Balikbayod founding members are Filipino Americans who have an interest in giving back to their homeland. “Bayod” is the word for wave in Surigaonon (Siargao is where we founded our first program in 2008) and “balik” is to return. “Balikbayans” are Filipinos living abroad who return to the Philippines often. In returning home, we aim to create positive change in our communities.

Siargao Island is named the “Surfing Capital of the Philippines” and is a world-class surf break.  When we founded our first site here in 2008, local youth not able to afford surf equipment stood by and watched as tourists came and surfed their breaks. We found kids using pieces of square shaped wood, anything they could find, to surf. They begged for surfboards from tourists, but the tourist surfers didn’t realize a gifted surfboard resulted in some children cutting classes and dropping out of school.

In 2008, local teachers contacted Balikbayod to help keep their kids in school. Partnering with the Philippines Alternative Learning System (ALS), we’ve been attracting dropouts to re-enroll and obtain their high school diplomas as well as helping kids in school to improve and excel in their studies.

We encourage responsibility of tourists and call them to give back to the communities they visit.

Collaborations encouraged. Please contact info@returningwave.org