Gringo In Siargao
Gringo Benedicto has it figured out. He travels for a good part of the year, mostly to other tropical paradises or exotic and remote destinations, overflowing rainbows of art or taking odd jobs here and there. Gringo is laid back, thoughtful, and comfortable in his own skin. Never without the backpack that holds the treasure trove of his fantastical paintings and art supplies, he spends these days as a full time artist and the manager of Harana Surf Resort in Siargao.
Gringo Benedicto is living the dream every day and he knows it: “It sounds like a dream, the beach life, but it's for the most part figuring out what to do next as the day goes by. I could be blank one day, and then super eventful the next. I prepare myself for nothing and everything.”
Days can be spontaneous and full of activity. “They're impromptu. It goes from biking around the island. To cooking dinner with friends. To impulsive boat trips for afternoon beach bumming.” Gringo’s burgeoning body of work and mastery of his craft comes from an extraordinary dedication to his art, whether his days are overbooked or leisurely. “Common denominator is i need to work on my artwork. I have to sit and work because i want to.”
Life in home base Bacolod “is way too comfortable. I end up gaining weight the longer I stay. I also find myself in a routine which I do not mind. I go to my favourite cafe and draw there the whole day and then go back home.. and i repeat.” For Gringo, “moving to the beach wasn't really an ‘escape from the city’ but of simply a change of scenery. I always like where I am no matter where.” Despite traveling often and his family getting used to him being away, Gringo’s biggest sacrifice is still time with family. With milestones occurring in his family’s life such as a one year old nephew growing up, he feels he is missing out.
Moving to the beach was a simple matter for Gringo, and a common occurrence in his life. He had previously worked in Siargao for a year as the chef of a popular Italian resort-restaurant. “I moved because I could and I love Siargao to bits and have made many good friends in the many times I’ve come.” Of his current stint as manager, he says, “This time, opportunity presented itself for me to stay longer, giving me an avenue to do something unconventionally Gringo. So I took the challenge.. and now we shall see.”
Years of commitment and working at his art has led to being able to sustain his lifestyle through art. “As an artist, all I need is a table.”
Living by the sea is part of Gringo’s essence. “I live in the Philippines. The sea is part of me.” It inspires him to keep creating: “I find myself hoarding the color blue and its many hues. Being by the sea does not necessarily manifest itself in the art in a visual sense. But it definitely fuels my urge to keep producing art of whatever shape or form.”
Tell us your own story of how you've dared to make the move to the beach, how you might be thriving (or struggling!) with it, and get a chance to win a gift pack of Kudo Surf merchandise!
1. Like Kudo Surf on Facebook and Instagram
2. Share this post on Facebook together with your own story, OR post on Instagram and tag us @kudosurf.
3. Don't forget to use the hashtag #LivingTheDreamKS!
Winner will be announced on June 18. We can't wait to read your stories! Open to Philippine residents only.
Words and photos by Sabs Bengzon