Siargao, Phillipines – Day 5

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Just because I don’t drink and therefore don’t get hangovers and therefore don’t have a problem waking up in the morning at 5:00 a.m. doesn’t mean my habal-habal driver will wake up after taking him out late night drinking at the Jungle Party.  A lesson for us all as I woke up and waited and waited and waited some more for my driver to get me and a surfboard and get us to the meeting spot where my surf instructor was allegedly waiting for us at Cloud 9. I finally gave up and went back to my bungalow to go back to sleep.  This is unfortunate because it’s near impossible to find a better time than 6:00 a.m. to “surf” the Cloud 9 and to watch the professionals SURF the Cloud 9 given the yoyo of high tide low tide here.

Arnil says maybe we can try at 4:00 p.m. today. Maybe high tide will return in the evening he says so I spent the day at my beach side bungalow working and resting after having French crepes for breakfast. I learned that my bungalow was twice the cost of what I thought it was but at $40USD/night for a private bungalow on the beach with private shower and with my own balcony and sea view smack dab in the middle of a very private jungle area was well worth a little extra dough.

Honestly though today was a bit difficult for me for some reason. I was having a ‘you need to HALT’ sort of day i.e. when you are hungry, angry, lonely and tired, you had better HALT and take an inventory of yourself and address one or more of these issues before you turn into someone neither you or anyone else wants to be around. It happens though to the best of us even at our best times. I got cranky (yes me!) due to probably all 4 things and when I learned I couldn’t surf Cloud 9 because of low tide (given that was why I came to Siargao) and when I learned it was an extra 300 pesos for an outrigger to Cemetery (another famous surf break in Siargao) and then I saw I had to walk about 3km barefoot knee deep in the water on painful rocks and coral, my feet all cut up, to get to the break at Cemetary, let’s just say I had a problem and it was ME!

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Then, suddenly and embarrassingly, it hit me like a baseball bat to the head that I was “walking on water” both literally and metaphorically. I was actually walking out in the middle of the lukewarm ocean in the beautiful Philippines at sunset preparing to try and surf the mother of all surfs. There were less than 8 people out there. Talk about a HALT! I stopped dead in my tracks, did a 360 degree turn to view my surroundings of jungle covered lush green islands, white sands, water so clear I could see my red toenails, a cumulus cloud filled sky with God’s rays peeking through them to cast rays of light on the water and pinkin the sky and I felt a gentle breeze caressing my skin washing the ugliness inside me away. I was standing dead center in God’s paradise – a place that emanates God in his purest form – and all frustrations, fears, resentments, and stress melted away like magic and utter gratitude slipped in filling every pore of my skin. I apologized to God immediately for my reprehensible attitude and asked for his forgiveness and the forgiveness of all those less fortunate than I and in that moment that likely included everyone in the world.

Jacob, my instructor, and I then continued on our “walk on water” and the stones and coral beneath my feet no longer hurt. I slid onto the shortest surfboard of my short surfing career knowing and accepting the likelihood I would not be able to get up given beginners generally do better on the long board I’ve been told. However, to my utter amazement, when the first wave came and each and every one thereafter, my body slid effortlessly from my tummy to my feet and my gaze shifted from the water directly before me to the incredulous sunset in the distance and I felt sheer joy and utter peace simultaneously and was certain I had reached a new level of serenity and spirituality out there in the middle of that ocean. I could have stayed there forever – content and back to being the daughter God wishes me to be.

Sometimes, despite our desire or efforts otherwise and despite our surroundings, our humanity seeps through in a moment of weakness. I used to self deprecate when I allowed the ugliness in and then out all over everyone around me rather than being the beacon of light I’m supposed to be but then I realized that sometimes we need a reminder to not take serenity and peace for granted even though it is given freely. And while I shouldn’t need to walk on water to the center of an oceanic paradise to reconnect with my God and the best version of myself, it certainly is one of the better ways to do it!

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God continued to bless me (as always) as he filled my evening with great authentic Filipino food grilled right there on the street at Mama’s Grill, filled my evening with new friends, and then handed me a peaceful night oceanside under the third best starlit filled sky I’ve seen on my journey behind only Cabo Polonio, Uruguay and the Sahara desert in Merzouga, Morocco. To my chagrin I didn’t see a falling star but my friend Mit did. Had I seen one I would have wished that his wish came true anyway. To Mit’s chagrin, I was unwilling to jump in the ocean naked for a midnight swim not because of shyness as it is rather the most visceral of things you can do under a sky like that and in an ocean with at least a 70 degree Fahrenheit temperature but because of the congruejos!! There were hundreds or more of those little bastards aka crabs running around the beach and at a dizzying pace and it was freaking me out! 🦀

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That’s all from yet another fave place of mine in the world – Siargao!


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