The surfer’s season of choice isn’t actually the summer months—the seas are too flat and uneventful when it’s hot out. We have this lull to thank for our chance to sneak a session in with Chill Torralba. As you can see from her Instagram feed, city life isn’t the first choice of this beach babe, and she explains the life to us in a way that you can’t quite cram into those little captions.
So why Chill?
Pinangalan yun sakin ng [naging] best friend ko in college. Nung first day of school, nung papasok na kami sa class pilit niya tinatanong name ko. I kept on telling her “Cheryl, Cheryl.” Pero ang naalala talaga niya was “Chill.” So from then on, sa buong campus, yun ang kilala sakin.
How does that work with pre-college friends who already know you?
Tawag nila sakin is Che, tas naestablish nalang na Chill na.
Was college full of new things like your new name?
Actually, I changed a lot. Nung college ako, super school then party girl ako. Three years ago I decided to leave Manila and nagbase na ako sa Pampanga. I changed my lifestyle 180 degrees from being a party girl to an island girl. I started learning how to surf, tapos nagstart ako sa outdoors—climbing mountains, traveling, island hopping. Parang I left Manila talaga.
Does that mean you quit your job too?
Yes, nung nasa Manila ako I was a model and then parang toxic na siya for me. Hindi ako nagkakaroon ng improvement. I also wanted to have my own swimwear line but nung nakatira ako sa Manila, wala talaga akong idea about it. So when I embraced the lifestyle na laging nasa dagat, I thought that I’m ready na.
There are a lot of local designers popping up, is it easy or still challenging to make your own swimwear?
Yung number one na mahirap is finding a manufacturer. Labanan din yung tela. Kung napapansin mo, parang pare-pareho na sila ng style, ng tela. Ako lumabas na sa Philippines, nag-scout ako sa ibang bansa ng manufacturer kasi nahirapan din ako maghanap ng gumawa ng gusto ko dito.
What is the goal to differentiate your line?
Classic cuts, sexy, but also sporty—I can use it for surfing.
You also mentioned that the seaside scene is very different now?
Actually yes, nauso yung travel blogging and Instagram. Yung mga spots na dating inexpect mo walang tao, magugulat ka nalang na andami—even on weekdays. Sobrang laki ng influence ng social media.
Is it a competition to find unknown beaches?
Nagiging. Parang, “I want to go here kasi ginoogle ko to and wala pang nakapunta.” Paunahan sila para maging pioneer. I don’t think it’s necessary, if you want to travel just go where you want.
How do you tend to choose your destinations then?
Nakabase kung may alon sa lugar na yun. For example, discovering spots na may alon sa Palawan. Hindi siya kilala as a surf spot but there are!
Beach backup plan when its flat out?
Yoga. Pag walang alon, I go longboarding din...most of the things I like doing talaga is boyish. I’m an only child and super daddy’s girl, sobrang lakas ng manly personality niya and na-adopt ko yun. I play guitar, nag billiards ako, now surfing, camping. Even shooting guns with my dad when he was alive pa. So usually tingin ng tao sakin tomboy—but I’m not, ha ha!
Miss anything about the city life?
Yung friends ko. I left my friends here—three years din yun na di talaga ako nagpakita sa Manila. Recently na lang I’m finding the balance between buhay ko sa dagat and here. Yung swimwear line ko kasi dito ko din sa Manila inaasikaso, medyo napapadalas na ako.
Iba ang dating scene sa surfers. Pinakabonding niyo is magsurf kayo. Hang out, chill, hindi the usual bar, resto, more of hands on—minsan kayo na din magluluto, ha ha!
Producer Mary Rose A. Hogaza Photographer Shaira Luna Stylist Debra Bernales Makeup & Hair Rhoy Cervantes Bikini Cesa
Special thanks to Belmont Hotel Manila located at Newport Boulevard, Newport City, Pasay City. For more information, contact (02) 318-88-88 or check their website.