Huge wave coming in! Jeff Ortega is currently one of the hottest surf entrepreneurs in the north, making great waves in the surf ‘biz in La Union while completing post-graduate studies at the Ateneo Graduate School of Business. That being said, the international Soul Surf festival founder obviously isn’t just Jasmine Curtis’s smiley surf-loving beau. He also mentioned his love for scuba-diving (he once recovered from a busted eardrum after cave diving and wants to get a rescue diving license), so here's one guy who’s also good beneath that sparkly, shimmery surface out on the ocean and not just above it. From Jeff, we learn that keeping family values and business ethics close to heart is part and parcel of leading, thriving, and being a good business hero as a millennial.
How millennial are you and why?
"I’m a surf entrepreneur so I have to keep making sure that my business goes well by reaffirming what my clients want. Usually, what my clients want is something that’s new, something exciting, something very different, something not the same that they’d have to see all over again. My biggest trait where I identify with myself being a millennial is that I am conventional with change because I can easily adapt to what’s being thrown at me similar to other millennials nowadays."
How do you counter the myth about millennials being too entitled?
"As a millennial, my parents raised me well, they taught me very good values and I think you know when they say 'You should really listen to your parents' it’s very good advice, it’s really the best advice you can take. So despite the millennial feeling too entitled or having a short attention span, I think what keeps me grounded is that my parents are there constantly reminding me to be vigilant, to be diligent with what I do, and to be responsible. Sometimes, when I over think too many things they’re the ones who tell me 'Hey, you know what maybe you should relax first.' They balance me. I also can’t blame millennials for overthinking because there’s just too much on our plate, too much information available, you can get anything anywhere from the internet. That’s also something that we’re struggling with which is why it’s very hard to balance life nowadays it’s not as simple as it was before."
How did you get started with using social IG in your projects/advocacies?
"When I started Instagram, it was something that was new for me when I started surfing. When I started my café, when I started my surf school. When I put up my own surfing music festival, it was a necessity for my business and with my personal Instagram. It was something where I wanted to show my identity, my brand. So from then on, other companies would come in, like Stoked, Inc. They’re my business partners. Because of the small, relatively small, following I had (but honest branding nonetheless) they came in, sponsored me and all these things...and of course when I ended up with Jasmine, it’s no secret that I also increased my following there. Sometimes, when her sister uploads, or friends of mine, because of Anne, Erwan, and all his other friends they were my friends even before I was with Jasmine. So, I would hang out with them, and you know, birds of the same feather flock together. That’s how it (my following) grew. Ever since then I’ve just learned to capitalize on it, because otherwise it’s useless, like why, I mean what’s the point. I’ve learned to put it to good use by channeling it to my businesses."
As a millennial, we’re feeling you still want to have more in life. What else do you dream of doing in the future despite juggling a lot of this stuff now?
"That’s very truem I think I’m juggling a lot of things and I think, actually, too much for my own good. I’m actually putting up a hotel, it’s been a dream of mine and this year it’s been made possible. I don’t know if you know Easy Adventure in Baler? I’m putting one up in La Union, but a more upscale one with air-conditioning. It’s more of eco-tourism, eco-luxe tourism, sustainable business tourism, so I what I try to do now, being a millennial, being environmentally supportive, I’ve learned to think of ways to make responsible and sustainable tourism efforts. I want to be more responsible, I want to set a good example. We’re from La Union, our family is in politics and all the more reason that we have to set an example for other businesses, because businesses are thriving but they’re not doing it right. So, you know, I mean for me that’s the best thing to do, to set an example for everyone else. Responsible tourism is the best way to go, more people will go and be mindful about the places they’ve been to."
How meticulous are you with your posts? Describe your process.
"I’m very meticulous when it comes to the photo I guess. Actually, it’s Jasmine who helps me with the editing. Let’s say if companies give products I always use them in an organic way. I would never use it for commercial reasons. May mga posts lang ako let’s say sa Wrangler I have to post like a video that I’m part of, it’s something I have to post. But if I had my choice I’d would rather go for organic, because nowadays, it’s honesty. All the more people, you know, like I’ve seen with Jasmine, so many people judge her by social media or what she posts and all these things, and I’m just like you know what, I’ll just give you everything as honest as I can get it so you have nothing to say."
What was your greatest social media/ online moment like?
"So, an example would be when I was starting with Instagram and I did my La Union Soul Surf it’s a surf and music festival, and lots of people came, around 12,000 people were at the beach from Manila. So, when lots of people came you know, my post right after that thanking God for such a successful event. I’m the one who created Soul Surf with 3 other partners. La Union Soul Surf is a 3-Day International Surf and Music festival attended by lots of people. It’s a good time to enjoy the beach. So anyway so yun when I posted that, being honest, I guess there are lots of people who enjoyed the same thing so that’s where I got it."
What do you think is your most ‘exciting’ post?
"This was my post (link here with Jasmine Curtis), this was I think, Feb. 12 when I posted this (again), this was our first date. So I was like this, I’m gonna post this for our first year anniversary. This was my first time to have a girlfriend, so, you know, having a first year anniversary was something that’s very big for me, knowing I’ve never reached that part. I was so excited to really post it coz, wala e, I was just super happy."
Which one received the most likes?
"I think it’s this one (Dec.31, 2016, link here), this was in the Great Barrier Reef. When we started talking kasi it was in New Year’s. During this time, this was New Year’s, she was still with her family, we just kind of started talking again. She was testing me, because she was in Australia for one year testing me na not to have anything to do with other girls (laughs), and so I succeeded. So, when I posted this I said you know I was so happy that at least this year from the past one at least I know that we’re here and we’re in a good place."
If you were to create your own hashtag, what would that be and why?
"I travel a lot because I love traveling, my work permits me to do so, um, and I get opportunities to do so. May inside joke mga friends ko, pati si Jas' , so sabi nila "Napaka jet-setter mo naman mag hashtag ka nga ng #JeffSetter."
What are your mid-summer plans?
"Summer's the busiest part of my work, I have to make sure that I'm there sa La Union, so I really have to be there. If I'm not I have a manager and a secretary to do the work for me if I feel like the work is too much because I'm also taking graduate school. I would usually go to the beach with Jas, I would go to La Union to my house, my house is really the best place because I bring friends or I just have Jas, because she's busy and I'm busy. We're that kind eh, 'coz before I would drink, but now I don't drink. I just don't drink because the next day you don't worry about trying to make money you know. We think the same, we're very like-minded. So, I would say mid-summer plans would be to go to the beach and to relax, to get as much time to rest from the busy days that we have."
Any dream destination and why?
"My dream destination would be definitely Palawan, in Coron. I've been to San Vicente, I've never been to Coron and El Nido. I've been to Puerto Princesa. Kasi it's something Jas and I would want to go to coz medyo we need to support local more pa versus international."
Ideal summer escapade and why?
"I would love to be with my friends in Coachella, yea because festivals are my thing, yea in California in Palm Springs."
Ideal summer date and why?
"We had a chance to do this last year, and I was so happy that we were able to do it. We went to Capri (it's an island in Italy). I took her on a date to a beautiful restaurant with a great view and good food, I forget what it's called. Jas doesn't like seafood, more on pasta."
How do you maintain your bod during the summer?
"I do surf, I do exercise, and I do run everyday...but I stopped because my work, sobrang busy, and my school also. I used to train with Belo, his name is Edward Mendez. Everyday kami, I would go to the gym, it's HIIT training."
"HIIT training, but I'd have to start running first so I can warm up."
Most recommended diet?
"For me I do paleo diet. You have to eat good carbs and get a good amount of protein and you have to eat every 3 hours."
Your most effective gwapo trick? "Just be natural, just be confident with what you do and I think you'll be fine. Don't doubt yourself."
Your most effective trick to get the girl?
"With Jas (laughs) kasi yung alam niya sakin dati was I'm not a very serious person, I like to have fun, that was me before. The thing that got her to answer me...was really to be straightforward and honest with everything. I came clean with how I was, you know, what I do. When I came clean and I was honest and truthful with her we'd almost have no problems as long as we're very honest with each other. Because sometimes people have a hard time kinda opening up, or saying exactly what's in there, even if they're together with someone, but even though it's hard you still have to let the person know how you feel, because the person will always think differently from you."
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Produced by The @ABSCBNLifestyle Team (Katrina Angco, Julia Arenas, Duey Guison, Angela Sy, Mels Timan, & Barry Viloria) | Cinematography Jana Jimenez with Gio Vibar | Photographs by Vyn Radovan | Grooming by Raf Bardon, Johnson Estrella, and Ryan Wong of MAC Cosmetics | Styling by JM Gumatay, Shaira Mariel Habon, and Carl Pabilona of @TheStylistCrewPH | Hairstyling: @VivereSalon
Shot on location at: I’M Hotel (7862 Makati Ave, Makati City)
Special Thanks to: Melissa Lim of @IMhotelPH | Gabs Azarcon and Vanessa Vergara of @MacCosmetics | Arvin Amaro of @VivereSalon