Since the pandemic struck, it’s been more quiet than usual in Siargao Island. With 80 percent of its tourism activity attributed to foreigners, it’s easy to see why. But David del Rosario of Cev Ceviche and Kinilaw says his restaurant is surviving. “We've been doing okay because of residents in the island,” says the stockbroker turned kinilaw savant.
Once in a while, however, usually from mid to late afternoon, there’s frenzied action on the skate bowl just fronting his bar and a few outdoor tables—thanks to island kids who enjoy hanging out there and practicing their latest board moves. “The reaction of diners have been extremely positive. They like the vibe the skate bowl and ceviche bar have together,” observes David. To hear him say it, it’s like the good old days again even just for a while.
The cevicheria and the skate bowl used to be two separate entities. The former opened on the island in 2018 and was sharing a space with a music venue, bike rental place and bar along busy General Luna Road. The skate bowl was constructed two months later at the Bravo Beach Resort, one of the most popular resorts in Siargao. When the ice cream shop that used to be in Cev’s current location left, David—who used to skate in his teens, which got him hooked into board culture—jumped on the chance to move there, having eyed the spot for quite a while.
The dining and skate bowl combo is proving to be a unique attraction for the cevicheria, and mining it is a direction David is seriously considering on exploring, especially when the tourists return. He says Siargao has a good community of skaters, a mix of both foreigners and locals. “Lots of kids are learning, which is awesome,” he says. “We want to promote the skate and surf culture more kasi maraming mga bagong places dito na parang typical resort or restaurant lang but doesnt push the skate or surf, which is more the identity of Siargao.”
“Surfing and skateboarding are both board sports,” says Bravo Beach Resort owner Alex Gari. “Waves are not as consistent as we’d like them to be. Therefore, the idea of building an infinite concrete wave that you can actually skate all year long was really appealing. In addition, skate culture can be closely connected to surf culture and we wanted to grow that community in Siargao, as well as to provide the local kids with a new activity that can enhance their skills when the ocean is not providing.”