Gib Lads Abroad – Ashley Heywood



This week GibLad catches up with a real llanito lover of life! El Ash, for those that know him, has always lived life to the fullest and inspired us all around him to make the most of every day.

Pues we thought we’d catch up with Ash and see what he’s been up to since his move to Manila, Philipines.

I left everything to travel, I quit my job, I left my friends, family and beloved Rock. It was such a hard decision but in the end it was the best thing i ever did.

I’d personally known Ash for many years and had the pleasure of some good nights out with el crack. But for our readers that don’t know him, it’s inspirational to know that llanitos are getting out there and embedding themselves all around the world, demonstrating our cultural diversity and appetite for adventure, taking that attitude with them to all corners of the globe and showing que los llanitos are lovers of life and willing to live it to the fullest.

So let’s see how he’s getting on!

GL: Why did you leave Gib?

“Initially I left Gib because I had a thirst for adventure, as much as I love the Rock it can become an intense bubble and one needs to escape sometimes to keeps his own sanity.

I had some friends of mine that had done their travels and all the stories were so cool about the places they saw and the people they met and I wanted to get in on the action so to speak.”

GL: What do you miss?

“Well for sure I miss my family and friends, I do have moments of home sickness now and then. We are all so close in Gib and it’s slightly different on the other side of the world although I have incredible friends and connections here, never forget your roots and where you come from😊

I gotta add as well that I miss the food, the proper bacon…branston pickle, proper Jamon… plus the almighty Ramson’s roll. The food here is still good but it’s different to what we are used to – Google ‘Balut’…”

GL: What has been the hardest to adjust to?

“The heat…… just imagine a heavy levante on a summers day, but increase the temperature up to about 45-50 degrees with no wind movement, yeah…exactly. (The dreadlocks don’t help at all haha!)

Ash’s office view, Makati

In terms of living in a big city, I enjoy it! I adapted very quickly to the city life and the law of the jungle here. It’s crazy but so cool to experience it, it’s definitely a unique Asian country to live in.”

GL: What are the most notable cultural differences? 

“Diet is one of the crazy differences in terms of culture, rice at 7am for breakfast is a normal thing here… The people are very religious too and the church is a highly respected place by everybody, even the hardest of metal musicians and rebels I know constantly salute and thank God for everything they have…

I remember watching an underground death metal band in another city outside of Makati and after the gig the singer approached me at the bar (I’m usually the ONLY foreign guy in these places standing out like a sore thumb) and I went on to praise (forgive the pun) the band and their show was good etc. The guy was nice and we started talking but the church’s influence on this guy was crazy, a 6ft Filipino with hair down to his arse, heavily inked all over preaching religion to me and how his band are this good because God made it that way and that before every band rehearsal they pray to God. Each to their own but not for me, thanks.”

GL: What is the best thing about being a GibLad/Llanito abroad?

“You can spread the love of our country to people far away, I’ve actually met Filipinos that have been to Gibraltar, generally they are older men like taxi drivers etc. This is because back in the 60’s/80’s import/export was growing into what it is today, thus so many boats were docking all over the world and many Filipinos became seamen on big tankers and many came into Gib. There was even a taxi driver I met once that knew a lot of the older bars in Gib, the conversation made me very nostalgic…the guy got a good tip after he dropped me at my destination.”

GL: What has been your proudest achievement since your move?

“I’m not one to big myself up at all, but I’m proud to be where I am today, what started as a one way ticket to Thailand to backpack SE Asia turned into a dream come true. I’m playing for a famous and professional band with endorsements left, right and centre and also working for a hugely successful company right in the business district of Makati, I did this alone and for that I can be happy with myself . . . not many people can tell the same story.”

GL: What are your goals for the year?

“Lets talk 2017, I have some huge things lined up with the band as 2017 has a massive agenda, this probably includes TV/Radio appearances, 2 music videos, some huge gigs (2000 people + ) and more contracts and free shit . . .😃  . . .also hoping for a promotion at work, all about tha moolah and music of course!”

GL: Do you see yourself staying there, or eventually coming back?

“My heart is set here right now with the busy life I’m living however, life can be a crazy roller-coaster and it’s almost impossible to know where you’re gonna be in a years time or more. The plan would be to stay of course, I can still have some vacations in countries close to here, even some of the islands here in the Philippines are just breath taking, some of the most spectacular places I have ever been to are right here in the Phillies.”
“If I was ever to come back to Gibraltar, I’d just backpack the way I came but also go to some places I missed like Vietnam.”

GL: What would you say to any GibLads/Llanitos who are thinking of making a move abroad to travel or chase a dream or experience something new?

“Do it! I know it’s scary…we are all human right? I left everything to travel, I quit my job, I left my friends, family and beloved Rock. It was such a hard decision but in the end it was the best thing I ever did.

Mountains in Cambodia

The feeling is like nothing I can explain, pure freedom to do what you want, go where you want to go with nobody dictating anything to you, just remember to stay safe and always use your brain when travelling foreign lands, although I can’t even think of many bad experiences, especially none that involve any type of danger.

The worst thing that happened to me was when i was in Siem Reap, Cambodia and I got food poisoning from eating shrimp (miles away from any water, I know..what an idiot!!) was staying in a cheap hostel with no aircon and shared toilets.. you can already put the story together yourself…3 of the worst days of my life surely, scary shit.”

Are you a Llanito abroad or travelling or do you know someone that we should hear about? To get GibLad to feature you or your friend and get involved e-mail us on!