Monday, June 17, 2013

As Above, So Below

My first peak and my first dive.

The town of Anilao in Batangas is just a two-hour drive away from Manila but it brought me to entirely different worlds. In just one weekend, I did two amazing things which I have only just dreamed of doing: climbing a mountain peak and scuba diving. What's even more fun is doing it with fellow, earth-loving pagan friends. 

Local mountaineers rate Mt. Gulugod-Baboy (aka the "Swine Spine") as one of the easiest peaks to climb but we still ended up with Bikram-yoga sweat after just a few minutes uphill. After about an hour and a half of huffing and puffing and taking short breaks to catch our breath, we finally emerged from high grass and were surprised by how different and beautiful the mountain-top landscape was. It felt like we have just stepped into the Windows XP default wallpaper. There's a great feeling of accomplishment and natural high just standing on top of the mountain and looking at the land below. It would've been cool if we set up camp here but we had to prep up early for a morning dive.

When in Batangas, have barako coffee (my favorite).

The seaside diving resort we stayed in was quite cozy. The porch was wide enough to lay our mattresses on, and so we had the mountain breeze and the crashing waves lulling us to deep, restful, delicious sleep.

We had our dive master Pixie teaching us the basics of scuba diving. Thankfully It wasn't too complicated as I thought. I couldn't get over how cool I look the first time I wore my diving gear. We had to take a boat to the diving site and the preparations took quite a while before we finally plunged into the sea.  As we go deeper and deeper I was growing in awe at the alien, dream-like, underwater world revealing itself for the first time around me. It was so beautiful, I could cry. Seeing it was one thing, feeling it is another. The sense of being weightless is just indescribable, I felt like a spirit hovering over the seabed. I emerged from the waters with a bleeding nose because my right ear had problems equalizing, but I was relieved after being told that it was quite normal among newbies. I slept that night dreaming of Finding Nemo land.

I'm hooked. I'm saving up for a PADI course right now.

 Tired feet on top of the mountain.

Feeling the mountain breeze.

 Waking up by the sea.

Laughing at the instructional video.

 Prepping for the plunge.


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