Photo from Jesus Lawrence Quitorio’s Facebook account

TACLOBAN CITY — Aside from celebrity surfers, a 27-year-old differently-abled surfer from Borongan City gets the admiration not only by his fellow athletes but also spectators of the biggest and first-ever national surfing competition to open in the Philippines during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jesus Lawrence Quitorio, who has challenges with his speech and motor skills, is the first internationally-accredited surfing instructor in the Philippines.

Although he is not competing this year, he is part of the organizing team of the 2021 Surf in the City event, the first leg of the 2022 Philippine Surfing Championship Tour from December 6 to 12.

Quitorio is also qualified to teach surfing in 20 other countries where the Academy of Surfing Instructors is active such as Australia, Europe, and the United States of America.

Quitorio, a first-year Business Administration student, has only been into surfing since the pandemic started but he has been playing skimboarding since he was 11 years old.

Although he considers skimboarding more challenging especially with his difficulties, he has grown to love surfing by relating the things he learned from skimboarding.

Quitorio, who is also an orphan, added that he wanted to become an inspiration to his fellow persons with disability that they can achieve anything if they focus on their goals, and enjoy what they are doing no matter what hardships they go through.

“My friends inspired me to try surfing. I first underwent pre-requisite training, which includes basic first-aid, basic water life support, and water safety rescue, before I became a licensed surf instructor,” he narrated.

His friends also consider him as a good mentor because he is patient and helps others to be better in the sport.

“I feel happy and proud because there are lots of people supporting me. There is no discrimination in surfing,” he said.

Borongan is the only surf city in the country. For more than 10 years now, the Department of Tourism has been promoting the potential of Eastern Visayas to become one of the top surfing destinations in the country.

Among the three regions in the Visayas, only Region 8 has spots that cater to tourism.

These areas stretch from Borongan City to Guiuan town in Eastern Samar down to Dulag town in Leyte province, and the municipality of Silago in Southern Leyte province.

Source: Manila Bulletin (