Our story - The Making of WaGaliGong

How dreams became a reality

What are we about?

Taitung..Dulan..everybody is an island and the bridge to connect us is music and art. Good things are happening here in Dulan, where we thrive on the unique mix of people, artists, music and the energy of the ocean. WaGaLiGong Surf Hostel Bar & Restaurant is waiting to show you around, feed you delicious home cooked food and provide very reasonably-priced accommodation to anyone with an open mind. Get a taste of what we are about - watch our one-minute-long film.

It took 24 months to finish

Somewhere around 2012, South African English teacher Teunus "Tienie" Wessels grew tired of throwing sticky balls in cram schools and approached fellow South African teacher Mark Jackson with the idea of throwing music festivals instead. They realized they needed a physical base first, a 'hub' from which to base their operations. Having a place, ie a building, meant they could explore a whole bunch of other options too, like pizza, surf shop, bar, etc, and so the festival idea morphed into a hotpot of other options: music, art, watersports, and great food and drinks - a place that would bring different kinds of people together. They decided to join forces and the concept of 'WaGaLiGong' was born.
But they didn't have a building yet. They visited countless potential sites but there was nothing that really 'grabbed them', except for one (kind of). Dulan 89, diagonally across from the Dulan Sugar Factory, looked like a real dump from the street. First impressions: just another concrete box with little or nothing going for it. It badly needed a paint job and the cracked floor tiles looked like an abandoned hospital from a zombie flick. There were dead rat carcasses upstairs and the rooms were filled with trash, rotting furniture and dust. Ugly rebar steel bars (or rusty prison bars?) completely blocked the second floor balcony which, facing east, ironically had the best view of fields and beautiful blue ocean. But Tienie and Mark could see through all that mess. Granted, the place was ugly as hell. But its location was, well, almost perfect. A stone's throw away from a famous landmark (and iconic nightspot), the Sugar Factory. A couple of minutes ride to the beach by car or a 15 minute walk. The walls could be repainted and the trash and dead rats removed. The small doorway separating the two main areas on the first floor could be knocked out, opening up the space and expelling the claustrophobia. The prison bars on the second floor balcony could be chopped down, opening up the view of green and blue. And then there was the rooftop. Wide and long, with beautiful views of Dulan village Dulan Mountain to the west and the Pacific Ocean to the east, high above the muffled sounds of Highway 11 below. There's something about rooftops that appeals, that grabs you. Visions of braais (BBQs) on warm summer nights, yoga classes saluting the morning sunrise, the potential of small parties, or just going up there to chill after a long surf session. Sure, there was no railing at all which meant that some unlucky bugger, desperate for a piss during a party, might stumble over the side. Two meter high clumps of construction rebar sprung skyward from the floor like steel weeds, anticipating a third floor that was never built. And the place could potentially become a sauna in summer with nothing to shade it from the relentless sun and heat. But so what? We could fix those things.
The roof was inspiring and magnificent.
The building could be reborn.
We wanted this spot.
When the landlord finally agreed to sign the final lease on Dulan 89 in November of 2012, WaGaLiGong Surf Hostel Bar & Restaurant drew its first breath, and the real work began..

Meet the team

These are the people behind WaGaLiGong
Christine
General Manager

Christine

General Manager

Christine is the heart and soul of the business.She was born in Taiwan and lived…

Tienie
Co-founder, Food & Beverages Manager, Chef & Master Brewer

Tienie

Co-founder, Food & Beverages Manager, Chef & Master Brewer

WaGaLiGong co-founder Tienie Wessels, aka ‘The Vortex’, is a passionate food buff and poker player….

Yong-yi
Watersports Manager & SUP Instructor

Yong-yi

Watersports Manager & SUP Instructor

Born and raised in Taipei, Yong-yi worked and traveled in Australia and Europe before graduating…

Mark
Co-founder, Surf Instructor & Filmmaker

Mark

Co-founder, Surf Instructor & Filmmaker

WaGaLiGong’s co-founder, Mark grew up skateboarding and windsurfing in an inland town. As a kid…

Aya
Head Chef

Aya

Head Chef

Tienie’s other half  and mother of two, Aya is the person crafting those delicious gourmet…