FTF / Such magnificence

12:00:00 AM

It's been a couple of months since my inner Dora the Explorer brought me to Oslob, Cebu to swim with the whale sharks. From the time of my visits (I actually went twice in the same week - alone the first time, and with Gayle, John, and Franco in tow the next), I would find myself looking at the photos from the trip for a few minutes each day, every day. 
This is the wallpaper of my laptop. 
Confession: It's not just the queueing of my First-Time Friday posts that caused the delay of the publishing of this post - it actually took me a while to get into the right frame of mind to write it. In several attempts, I'd find myself staring blankly at the computer because couldn't believe my luck - I went to Cebu with absolutely no plans after ACC 2014, but somehow I got to experience awesome new things. 

The day before Oslob, I was in Moalboal, swimming with schools and schools of sardines - it was a wonderfully overwhelming (or an overwhelmingly wonderful) experience. I spent the night in the backpacker lodge where I met Anibal, who had actually gone to Oslob that morning. I asked him about it, and he told me that it was amazing. I tried to psych myself up for it, but really, nothing could have prepared me for the magnificence I had the good fortune of witnessing first-hand.
First - Whale Shark Watching. In the boat, I was a bit scared - although I  know that they feed on plankton, I couldn't really shake off the fear entirely because these creatures, even their young, are huge. HUGE. Crazy thoughts were running in my head - what if it accidentally hits me with its fin or its tail? I'd be so screwed.
Big mouth, but not for eating humans :)
Diving in for a closer look. 
But the whale sharks truly lived up to their moniker, "gentle giants," and after a mere minute in the water, the anxiety was gone. I swam freely with the three whale sharks that were there, and with the help of the flippers that my boatman and guide Kuya Lambert lent me, I dived as deep as my ears could take. Watching them was absolutely breathtaking.
Sideways for a better look!
Travel buds
I spent a good half hour in the water, swimming the way I did when I was young - with an almost reckless abandon, and with sheer, unadulterated fun. I was a competitive swimmer for a number of years, and by the time I quit, I've actually grown to dislike swimming. Being there, with no pressure to maintain proper form, reminded me why I loved being in the water so much. 
A different world
Second - Tumalog Falls. I'm a fan of James Cameron's Avatar, and one of the things I really loved about the movie is the fictional world that he created. When I first laid eyes on the waterfalls, a part of me felt as though I were transported to Pandora, and I half-expected to see blue people walking around. 
Gentle showers
It was among the tallest waterfalls I have ever laid eyes on, but the drop of the water was so gentle that it was almost shower-like. It was very cold, though, that when I brought Gayle, John, and Frank there, Frank yelled, "Wala ka nang ginawa kundi dalhin ako sa malamig!" ("All you've done is make me swim in cold water!" Context: I brought him to Malabo Waterfalls the day before, which was also very cold.)
It's cold!
We're so tiny!
Both times I was there, I went for the swim despite the ice-cold water. I guess swimming is my way of basking in the wonders of nature completely. It's more than just a physical experience - it was a spiritual one. I have never felt smaller in all my years, and I mean that in a good way. The world is so wonderful, so awesome, so perfect that I involuntarily started praying. 

It was a prayer of gratitude. For the incredibly good fortune to be there. For the overwhelming beauty of the world. For the gift of nature and of life. For everything, really.


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Hello, reader! Thank you for wasting your time reading my blog. I do hope you enjoyed whatever you stumbled upon. :)