Willing to be Illuminated and Pierced

Archive for June, 2018

Releasing the Inner Mermaid

I was always fascinated with the sea, but I always ended up on the shore because of the fear of drowning. Swimming, I thought, was only for fishes and mermaids. Only realized recently that swimming is a necessary life skill. Actually, missing a number of cliff jumping moments during travels has triggered me to enroll in a swimming school…finally.

Among the swimming schools I’ve looked into, I prefered Swim Central. Students can choose their preferred time and venue. Basic lessons cost only Php3,920 (US$75), but it took me two years to overcome my stingy ego. The best thing about this package is that it includes survival lessons, which I badly, badly need.

T’was a cheery, sunny day to swim at Ultra in Pasig. Just get ready to have a perfect tan.

The coaches are always on time. They help improve every student’s skill level even though everyone in the class have different skill levels from one another. You might think they are leaving you alone after teaching the skills for the day, but they’re actually watching over you. I get a lot of corrections after finishing a few laps, to which have become very helpful.

Every class was an agitating moment for me. I actually felt like a newborn thrown into the water at first (actually, newborns might be more fearless than me). The coaches would always assure us we would not sink, especially during the survival phase. Deep inside, I was freaking silently, especially when the coach told me to let myself go into the 14-feet pool. I had to jump into the water over and over again until I felt comfortable in the deep. The downside was that I kept of dreaming I was swimming upwards. I guess I wanted to dive into the water more.

The 14-feet pool at Mares in Makati. For now I find this comfortable because the deep is placed in a controlled setting.

I have this sense of fulfilment after learning a new skill. After a few weeks, I have learned to befriend the water. I have to let go of every anxiety because I was determined to become an improved human being. As one coach said, people don’t die because of the water, but because of the fear. We only drown in the water when we’re heavy with panic. I don’t have to envy my friends who know how to paddle like a dog (because I can now do that, too :D) nor do I have to worry that my head will bump on the side of a cliff if I try to do some tombstoning.

Let’s go to the beach! This time, I’ll dive without a lifejacket. 😉

Breathing Adventure: The Roadless Trip to Calatagan, Batangas.

We were going nowhere as we had no plan to live by. The sun was beating hard on the small, dusty Batangas road, but we kept our chill as we searched for the nearest beach. Borat Beach was already closed, and Google did not give an update about that. Stilts Beach was a romantic one, enough for a couple in love to own the place for themselves to fulfill their dream wedding on a scorching Friday morning. We were on our own and we were depending on Google Maps, who pointed us to a small beach called Manuel Uy Beach.

Manuel Uy is for the budget warriors, costing only Php200 per head for the entrance and Php150 for an overnight stay. We had two tents in store, making me live off with my remaining Php650 for the food. I did not mind the leaves falling or the sand flying above our heads, because I felt like a little kid having a picnic by the beach for the first time.

Road trips are never adventurous without Tina and Lans. 🙂

Now, I don’t know why is the beach named as such (we can only assume that it was owned by some rich, Chinese scion called Manuel Uy). It looks a bit boring at first. The heat was enough to melt us beneath the tree, unable to imagine why the people were scrambling to the middle of the sea in the midst of a hot, cloudless, summer midday.

We spent the whole day dozing off and trying to shield ourselves from the sun, which seemed to follow us because it disapproved of our remaining fair skin. Somehow, this is the camper’s life I’d like to live on a sleazy, Friday day-off. For once I’d like to forget my desk, my computer and the thought that I was a robot.

Our duo tents that were never slept in. 🙂

Exploring the beach became a part of our game when the sun was beginning to set down. It was still hot, but the waters were a bit warm and comfortable enough to forget the scorching heat that persecuted us the whole day.

The beach is safe for kids because the deepest part of the waters were five feet (just don’t go beyond the line and don’t be a stupid parent). The fun part was trying to show off some swimming skills, but it looked like a bad idea because I forgot my cap and my googles. So, I just settled with some fancy sunset photos.

One thing I had anticipated in this trip was stargazing. Sleeping under the moon and the stars was a lovely idea, except when you’ve forgotten to carry a mosquito-repellant lotion. The breeze made me cozy as I slept with my face up to Orion and the rest of the constellation, who showed up when I was in the middle of my dream.

I almost could not sleep as I tried to wait for some obscure shooting star in the wee hours of the morning. The dawn broke very early at 5 am and we rushed to the refreshing waters again. We wanted to have one final soak before we leave at around 8 am, the time when beachgoers were beginning to flock the beach on a sizzling, summer weekend.

Ah, the summer roadtrip…the trip home was made better with bulalo (cow bone soup) and buko pie (pie filled with coconut meat). These are just some of the things I miss about Batangas. The next time we come there, we’ll try the other beaches. I just hope nobody’s getting married that day.

*Would like to thank Valcres, too, for accompanying us on this trip! We would not have survived without you. 😃

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