The idea of going to the beach has always excites me. I believe many wanderers who are beach lovers feel the same way too. Being sun-kissed, achieving that perfect golden tan, or just frolicking by the beach, playing in the sand, or even watching people play with the water are just some of the scenes that go into your mind.

When in times I would rather sit and relax by the beach side and observe and contemplate by the peace and serenity of the view in front of me, I usually have this struggle of carrying my things (mobile phone, camera, sunblock, hat, etc) to the beach. Aside from that, I also have to carry something to sit on–like a sleeping bag (which is a little bulky and heavy) or sometimes, a plastic bag.

Sidlan, a multi-functional travel buddy created by gypsea princess Zel Enriquez, has people like me in mind when it was created. While the name is catchy in itself, it’s purpose piqued my interest for its cool (and really colorful, nature-friendly colors) function.

beach bumming
Photo by Ramir G. Cambiado

How Sidlan started

Zel quit her job as a junior account manager to feed her passion for travel and skim boarding.

“With just a backpack, my skimboard and a small budget, I started my voyage,” she says. “For months I went from coast to coast, riding waves, learning to live the simple life of the friendly locals who would accept me as family and finding serenity and peace of mind.”

In those month, this lass came to a point where she just want to create something that marries business and travel.

Her aim to have more beach time while earning. “I prayed that I would be able to invent something useful and also be able to give back to my community, and as the same time promote backpacking around the Philippines,” she says.

In January 2014, Zel went back to Manila to make her vision a reality. As what she has always observed in her beach trips, she wanted to creating a product which can help beach goers struggling with setting their beach mats/sarongs and carrying loads of things to the shore.

Made with love

The product is not only Filipino in term but in ways too. Sidlan, which was derived from the famous Bahay Kubo’s word “sisidlan” meaning a container or storage, ties-up with DSWD National Vocation and Rehabilitation Center for its production. Makers of the multifunctional travel bag-mat-blanker are PWD graduates of the DSWD NVRC sewing course.

Sidlan also boasts of Filipino pride. Zel have special designs that feature Philippine local weaves and fabric mostly from Mindanao. These are paired with linen sourced from Rizal and hardware from Divisoria.

I finally got the chance to bring with me my Sidlan for my recent trip to my hometown Burgos, Pangasinan. I used mine to Cabongaoan Beach where I had to look over my little cousins while they play in the beach.

beach bumming
My pink Sidlan at Cabongaoan beach. Photo by Ramir G. Cambiado

What makes Sidlan really cool? It serves as a sand repellent. The sand does not stick to it. You can even lie there all day without worrying of the sand sticking in your skin. It is lightweight and compact thus easily fits and barely takes up space in your backpack. No need to worrying of carrying heavy sleeping bags.

To use it, pull out the fabric from its pouch and lay it flat. Make sure you lay it with the pouch on the top side facing up.

But hey, Sidlan is not only for beach bumming! Here are some of the ways you can do with your very own travel buddy:

(All photos gathered from Sidlan’s Facebook Page)

Travel Bag

As mentioned above, Sidlan is not just a mat. You can adjust it to become a bag where you can put your belongings.

Directions: Pull two tabs upward while pushing down the fabric, until you form a bag or sack. Knot the rope according to you desired length. You can make is as sling bag or a shoulder bag—whichever you prefer!

Travel Blanket

And if you are done with beach bumming and is now back to the camp, protect yourself from insect bites and let Sidlan hug you.

Directions: Open the three buttons at one corner of your Sidlan and slip yourself inside it. Feel its warmth throughout the night!

Happy traveling with Sidlan!

Sidlan has headquarters at 189 Cluster, Maginhawa corner Makadios St., Brgy. Sikatuna, Quezon City. 

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