BATU, Indonesia. Photo by Jes Aznar

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Notes from Siargao

GENERAL LUNA, Siargao - "No two waves are the same," says Marlow in a dream-like gaze one only sees in the eyes of lovers locked in a trance as he talks about surfing right in this paradise called Cloud 9 in the idyllic island of Siargao, the country's number one and the world's eight surfing destination.

He is a laid back guy with strands of sun-roasted hair falling on his tanned shoulders, without a care in the world except for the thrill of surfing.

Like many other men and women who chose to live in the island, Marlow was once just an ordinary visitor who hit a rented board. It was love at first sight, he confesses. He boarded the plane back home only to tender his resignation from an eight to five office job.

Now, Marlow whiles his time enjoying the waves, they swoosh and splash and they come in all shapes and sizes. He doesn't need money or a high-paying job, he says. He just needs to be close to the water so he can hit the waves anytime. It is a paradise, truly his own, and there is an unbelievable high, he tells me and Jes.

"You just have to try it. You have nothing to lose," Marlow tells me. I give in and on my last day in Siargao, I rent a yellow surfboard. I was promised it would be easy. And I believed him. After all, I know how to bike, skateboard, rollerskate, ice skate and even do the stand-up jet-ski. In short, I know how to balance. But surfing was a totally different universe. Oh yes, how could I forget -- water is an unpredictable element, more unpredictable than all the bitches in this world combined. First try = splash. Second try = splash. Third try = splash. I almost gave up. I had lost count of the number of attempts.

And then, miracle of miracles, it happens. For several fleeting moments, I succeed. I will never forget the first time.

There it goes...the world freezes and time stops. There is nothing but blue waters, splashing waves and my 100-pound heart and soul on a surfboard, riding the waves. Ah, truly a dharma of in a paradise called Cloud 9, in an island called Siargao.

Photo by Jes Aznar