I always feel at home whenever I’m in the sea. In fact, there are better chances of me getting lost in Makati than me not knowing how to swim back to shore. I don’t wear snorkel anymore when we go, umm, snorkeling, hehe (I just wear the graded Speedo goggles Joed See introduced me to last year because I am shortsighted). In Malapascua, I remember DJ Alvin saying, “para ka lang naglalakad,” referring to me just swimming around without a life vest looking at them and going under the water and not getting tired while actually it was already our last stop and no matter how beautiful the corals and fishies were, much-needed rest was in order.
When I nearly drowned in La Union, it was the calmest I have ever been my entire life. There were 14 of us who went there; six of those who surfed, including me, were dragged by the undercurrent. It was so strong that, just sitting on the surfboard, one moment I was near the shore, the next moment I was far away. There I was thinking, what are the odds of me getting sucked by the sea when I was only chillin’? Mother Nature replied swiftly by yanking me off the board (it really felt like someone pulled me off the board) and tumbling me under the water like clothes in a washer. My first thought was, “it’d be a hassle for anyone to rescue me. I can’t drown.” Seriously, that was on my head. So I removed the strap connecting the board to me — at that time the cord was coiling around my leg like a snake — to free myself from it, use it to get the board, catch my breath, and fight my way to the shore. It felt like forever to get there. My legs were tired, but since I was already poling that year, I was stronger. Funny though, one of our male friends, Janren, saw me struggling. But there was a chic somewhere in the water needing help too so seeing that I looked like I was gonna be okay, he went to fetch the girl, haha. Quite an experience, I should say; tested my capacity to act on a dire situation. Despite this happening to me, I still feel safe at sea.