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PH's first PWD surf instructor making waves

Photos and Text by Alren Beronio, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 08 2021 12:04 AM | Updated as of Dec 08 2021 05:07 PM

For surfer Jesus Lawrence Quitorio, Eboi to his friends, being disabled doesn’t mean being handicapped. 

Born with a condition affecting his speech and movement, Quitorio nonetheless became a certified surfing instructor, the first PWD in the country to do so. 

PH’S SURF DESTINATION

The 27-year old surfer from Brgy. Sabang South, Borongan City, Eastern Samar was one of 34 people from Eastern Visayas to be accredited surf trainers by the Academy of Surf Instructors (ASI). They were also given additional training to necessary for surf instructors. These include Life Support Training by the Philippine National Police and Red Cross Philippines and Water Search and Rescue by the City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office

The training is part of the Department of Tourism’s push to promote Region VIII as a top surfing destination in the Philippines with Borongan City hosting the first leg of the Philippine Surfing Championship Tour. The event, which runs from December 6 to 12, will see some 203 surfers from 6 regions compete. The tour is expected to see the best surfers in the country who will represent the Philippines in international surfing events. 

CHALLENGES 

The sixth of seven children, Quitorio lost his mother at a young age and also his father in 2017. Currently he lives in a home made of galvanized iron sheets and light materials with older brother Mark. 

Mark, a barangay tanod, is the breadwinner between the two with Quitario in his first year of college taking up Business Administration.

Fortunately, a partylist that supports athletes provided Quitorio with cash assistance for his medical needs and to sustain his surfing career. 

PAYING IT FORWARD

Quitario says surfing was not his first water sport. Instead he first started skim boarding back in 2009, only starting surfing this year and started joining local events soon after.

"I was inspired by my friends to ride in the waves using surf and skimboard despite my condition. And now I will be the one who will inspire them as an instructor," he says. 

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Jesus Lawrence Quitorio shows his skill in surfing using his longboard at Baybay Boulevard, Borongan City, Eastern Samart on December 6, 2021. Alren Beronio, ABS-CBN News

Jesus Lawrence Quitorio with his skimboard in Baybay Boulevard, Borongan City, Eastern Samart on December 6, 2021. Alren Beronio, ABS-CBN News

A local approaches Jesus Lawrence Quitorio after showing off his surfing skills on December 6, 2021. Alren Beronio, ABS-CBN News

Jesus Lawrence Quitorio smiles after surfing in Baybay Boulevard, Borongan City, Eastern Samar on December 6, 2021. Alren Beronio, ABS-CBN News

Jesus Lawrence Quitorio gives poses for a photograph outside his home on December 7, 2021. Alren Beronio, ABS-CBN News

Kieth Edgar Balein (L) assists Jesus Quitorio in giving surf lessons in Baybay Boulevard in Borongan City, Eastern Samar on December 7, 2021. Alren Beronio, ABS-CBN News

Jesus Lawrence Quitorio gives Fransmel Olaybar basic surf lessons at Baybay Boulevard in Borongan City, Eastern Samar on December 7, 2021. Alren Beronio, ABS-CBN News

Borongan Mayor Jose Dayan Agda hands a certificate of recognition to Jesus Lawrence Quitorio on October 21, 2021. Photo from Borongan City Information Office