Salamat, 5 W's!

Photos: Guillaume Périmony

Interview: Benjamin Deberdt

The Philippines are sadly the center of attention, these days, and in those times, it always seem silly discussing skateboarding… Let's note right now, for all the poorly educated in geography (us included) that the area visited and skated by the crew were all located in the North of the archipelago, and therefore completely missed by the Haiyan typhoon… The guys all came back charmed by the country and its inhabitants, and also surprised by the existence of a strong and skilled local skateboard scene…
Before you red the following, please keep in mind that Alex Mizurov and Michael Mackrodt were questioned just before the tragic events of last week…
The Guillaume Périmony video will be online on Live Skateboard Media in a few hours.

Who came up with the idea of going to the Philippines, and how did you get involved?
Joseph came up with it, I believe. I had been wanting to go for a long time, so it was perfect. I had just been healing from my knee surgery, and skating indoors in Berlin was getting old, so I went a month ahead of the others to have time to discover the different areas of the Philippines.
Alex: I think it was Kevin Metallier who told me about the tour. I met him on a Nixon trip in 2012 for the first time and, right afterwards, we were talking about doing a tour together…  At first, we were talking about Cyprus, cause we heard a lot about it, but then he told me about the Philippines and it worked out perfectly! After being on vacation with my wife, I flew straight from Bangkok to Manila!

What were your preconceptions about the country?
A buddy of mine has been living there for years, and he always told me it was wonderful, and that Philippinos were great partiers, and that I would be amazed by the landscapes. He wasn't lying! [Laughter]
A: There were no prejudices about the country, I actually like the asian way of living. I was born in Kazakhstan, so it's kind of similar to go to countries like that.

Where did you end up going, and what remains your favorite part of the trip?
I went around quite a lot, from North to South, visiting different islands, cities and regions. My favorite still are the rice-fields of Banaue, and Bohol, a tiny island where you can swim with turtles.
A: I mainly saw the capital, Manila, which wasn't really my favorite part. After staying there for three days by myself waiting for everyone to arrive from Europe, I was kind of over it, since it's kind of dirty in the whole city!  But going to Banaue for a day or two, seeing the rice-fields for the first time, jumping into the water next to the waterfall and walking up the mountains for over an hour in the pouring rain, was a good experience!

Why go to the other side of the world to skateboard?
M: Why not? It's always nice to combine trips and skateboarding. First to get an idea of the local scenes, that are often unheard of, but usually really interesting. The youngest don't have the same opportunities as we do, so I find it important to help them, to motivate them to get together to get things better, if they are into it. Plus, it's always great to meet the locals. They are, for the most part, super cools, and they will show you the real local habits, will share their customs, so for us, it's amazing. And I guess that, for magazines, it's nice to get stories that are out of the ordinary, once in a while, also.
A: Yeah, why not!? OK, Manila isn't the greatest city for skating, but the people out there really appreciate some foreign skaters and everyone was super friendly! And maybe to see some new culture, as well.

When you got back home, what was the first thing you talked about to people?
The very first one? That the landscapes were absolutely breathtaking, that people were adorable, but also eat way too much fast-food, and that maybe, overall it wasn't as foreign as other countries in Asia, as the country is completely christian, which is something we all know of. So, it's a little less fascinating, culturally speaking.
A: Definitely about Banaue, since it was something you don't get to see every day! And yeah, my way back to Manila by myself in a packed bus, for ten hours overnight was pretty sketchy. One hour before we got back downtown, the bus broke down while we stopped to drop some people, so we had to wait for an extra hour for a new bus and I didn't have any money on me. ATM's didn't work either. [Laughter] In the end, everything worked out, though…

If you would like to give a hand to the populations in distress in the South of the country, you can do so, here.
Salamat will be online exclusively on Live Skateboard Media in a few hours.

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