Lynn Bryant and Victoria Fabella, two Filipina Americans from San Francisco have created an interesting incentive for the young people of Siargao, an island in the Philippines.
They originally went to surf the waters of the 'Surfing Capital' of the Philippines. While there, they noticed that the local youth wanted to surf as well, but didn’t have the means or equipment to do so. They also noted that these kids would skip school to enter surfing competitions to win prize money in hopes of being able to afford a surfboard.
That’s when the idea of Balikbayod (Returning Wave in Siargaoan) was created. Balikbayod is a non-profit project by Bryant and Fabella in collaboration with the San Francisco Filipino Cultural Center. The goal is to collect surfboards in the U.S. and donate them back to the young people of Siargao Island. They also instituted an after school program called 'Cloud 9 Board Borrowing Program' in which a surfboard librarian would keep donated surfboards and lend any young person a surfboard if he/she continues to attend school. It becomes an incentive for them to stay in school and the reward is the use of a surfboard and receiving free surfing lessons.
To date the Balikbayod project has donated and shipped 45 surfboards and their numbers keep growing. What started as a trip to enjoy surfing at Siargao Island for Bryant and Fabella has become a passion to give back by promoting education through Balikbayod.