HANG TEN ON CLOUD NINE – SIARGAO ISLAND
Siargao – Surf’s Up but don’t drink the what?
My flight left at 7:45 a.m. for Siargao so yet another 5:00 a.m. wake up call but fantastic choice as I had a really relaxing day on a very beautiful island. I splurged here spending $40 USD a night at Patrick’s on the Beach where I got an unbelievable private bungalow, my own shower, good food and my toes in the sand outside my front door not to mention an ocean of bath water temperature. Sheer perfection. Laid back.
I did learn a lesson about purchases from street vendors so I’m passing it along. Everyone loves an adventure but not the kind this can bring! BEWARE OF PURCHASING COCA COLA AND PEPSI PRODUCTS FROM A STAND ON THE STREETS. True story – what do you need to make a motorbike go? Easy: petrol. Guess how these guys store and sell petroleum products? In old plastic Coca Cola and Pepsi bottles. You just pull up to a wooden stand or shack, open the gas tank and dump it from the bottle into the tank. Take some to go for a long journey. Dare ya. In fact, forget to tell your friends that little tip I just gave you and take some “Cola” to go. (Don’t do that…I’m only joking.) I’m certain this was not the marketing ploy both Coca Cola and Pepsi had in mind or paid billions for but could be effective depending on whether the regular or the premium gas is in your particular brand’s bottle.
My main goal in Siargao was to surf the famous Cloud 9. My first attempt was blocked by low tides so I spent a day at my bungalow where the French crepes were up there among the clouds but I was pretty bummed out. That carried over to the next day. I was having a ‘you need to ‘HALT’ sort of day i.e. when you are Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired, you had better HALT and take an inventory of yourself and address one or more of these issues. It happens in life and it certainly happens when you’re traveling given the pace, excitement, exposure to new foods and cultures and sometimes not so good sleeping conditions.
So, I got cranky (yes me!) due to probably all the above. When I couldn’t surf Cloud 9, 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 Cemetery, let’s just say I had a problem and it was ME!
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 embracingly warm 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 the 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 pink in the sky. A gentle breeze caressed 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. 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. I felt sheer joy and utter peace simultaneously. I 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.
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 ocean side 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. With such a beautiful night, I was tempted to skinny dip – but I didn’t. Modesty? Shyness? Nope – none of those. It was because of the cangrejos!! There were hundreds or more of those little bastards, a/k/a crabs, running around the beach and at a dizzying pace. It freaked me out! No midnight swims for this chica! 🦀
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