Our Founder, Anton, had a chat with the homies over at Blunt Magazine for a quick catch up on how Gahyao was formed and the future of skateboarding in the Philippines.
Original post by Blunt Magazine
Original post by Blunt Magazine
In Hong Kong culture Ga Yau 加油 (pronounced GAH YAO) translates to “add oil or petrol” and is often used to encourage someone to continue doing what they are doing. If you think about it, you and your car ain’t really going nowhere if you don’t put some gas to it!
Last month DJ Plaza, Prince Manalang, Moe Gomez, KC Santos, and GA hit the Pelota DIY and MSP with Maui Hidalgo and Mari Torres behind the viewfinders for this 1 day mission! In between breaks and dodging heavy traffic we were able to catch up and talk story with the brains behind GAHYAO, Anton Pelayo.
BLUNT : As a fellow (older) average-joe and a sucker for multimedia, creating something visually unique for the skate scene almost felt like second nature for us, what sparked that light bulb for you?
Anton : “I started skateboarding when i was 11 years old, the skate scene in HK was still very young, even more so in The Philippines. It was around this time that I started flipping through magazines and grew an admiration for skate art. There was something inspiring about the graphics, like it had a cool factor – a swagger to it. Since high school – I’ve always dreamt of starting a tshirt company that was geared towards skateboarding. I dabbled a little into silkscreen and digital printing in college (where I was studying Multimedia Arts & Graphic Design). Fast forward to today – with years of design experience and content marketing, it just felt like the time was right to put my work out there. The goal for Gahyao is to create a community around Asian Skateboarding and promoting the many talents that this region has to offer.”
B : We couldn’t help but notice, what’s up with the brand’s Hong Kong x PH connection?
A : My family was based out of Hong Kong in the 90’s when skateboarding really kicked off – we migrated back to Manila in ’97 and I was quite shocked that no one had even tried skateboarding (in my school maybe only 3 or 4 guys actually skated) What was nice about it, was that skating was a thing only my group of friends had, we were different. When I got to college I met similar folks who had a love for skateboarding. What I hope for Gahyao is to be a collective point for people to feel welcome, to feel like they have a posse that they can kick it with no matter where they are. To answer the question – I don’t think it was intentional to brand it as a HK and PH theme, I think this happened organically (especially since I’m based in HK now)
B : How small is the workforce for this passion project?
A : “Gahyao is my brainchild – I do hold this project close to my heart. The company is mainly managed by me, with some of the support and decision making split between my wife and I. For the initial phase, I knew I couldn’t launch the content on my own, so I asked a couple of close bros to help out with content creation. The idea is to involve as many people as we can to help build this brand.”
B : To be honest, when people hear about a new brand coming up these days, sales, sponsorships, numbers and whatnot always seem to be in priority. What direction do you see GAHYAO in?
A : I think mainly we want the brand to be about relationships, building a community of likeminded individuals Initially the company was brought about to showcase the talents of Asian skaters and artists What there seems to be (in my opinion) is a lack of awareness on how good skaters are in the Asian region and also I guess to a certain extent the artists and musicians too. Thanks to the likes of Margie, Filipino skaters are getting the recognition we deserve. Plus the numeric team are building a very strong presence in the region which I think is great for international exposure. One of our missions is to showcase Asian talent and culture to a wider audience. We hope to do this by working on collaboration with other skate brands, street artists, photographers and the whole bunch.
Prince Manalang. Crooked Grind.
B : Pretty nostalgic going back to Pelota huh?
A : Pelota was one of the spots we skated back in 2003, before the ramps and all the concrete was laid over. Thought it would be nice to do our first shoot to pay homage to the good old days!
B : You guys only had less than a day but everything seemed to work out.
I messaged a couple of homies who I knew were still skating to set this thing up. Luckily Maui, Mari and KC remain active in the skate scene and helped put together the session. What was nice about the whole thing despite the traffic was that everything felt so organic and just fell into place.
It’s amazing to see the level that the younger dudes are skating these days. Definitely ripping 100% more than we did in our day!
DJ Plaza. Frontside Ollie.
B : Where do you see Filipino skateboarding in 5 to a decade from now?
A : I see a lot of things progressing forward, hopefully brands take on more Pinoy skaters, and giving them opportunities to compete on the international stage. With the SEA games in Clark this year and skateboarding in the olympics, it’ll be interesting to see how it goes down
B : As easy as these kids are getting it these days, they’re also competing with a ton of other good skaters for that cheese. As the creator of this brand or maybe as a fellow skateboarder, (cliche as it may sound but) what advice would you give the youth not just in skating but in life as well?
A : We all know that skateboarding is a tough sport to get into. You need to put in the work in order to get good… You can’t eradicate the competition, it will always be there. I think what’s important is to persevere and just keep at it.
KC Santos. Layback Grind.
If you enjoy what you do, and you do it with passion it will show in your skating – and in essence, your life too.
Keep Pushing Forward!