Tuesday, September 21, 2004


For the past months the image of swimming always passes through my mind and there has been a quiet urging to understand and share an insight that has been stirring my thoughts for some time.

Floating and swimming is such an amazing thing once you learn it. It is indeed a relaxing feeling to be able to glide in water like the fishes in the ocean...like Nemo :o)

Before when I was younger I did not know how to swim, I wouldn’t venture out into the open sea or on the deep side of the pool. Before I just swim where my feet can touch the tiles or sand underneath. But since I love going to the beach and pools I try to learn more and more about swimming.

In our Science class they says that water is buoyant and will naturally hold you up specially the ocean. I learned from my cousin Hazel who is a good swimmer and even made a living once by swimming ...that you do not have to struggle to swim just relax and allow the body to be lifted up by the water. The more you struggle the more you will sink. I thought this would be difficult but is amazing once you learned it.

It took me some time to learn this principle. It is amazing how little effort you have to exert to learn it. It is just like trusting the water itself. The hardest part is to unlearn the limiting thoughts that I will sink and that I can’t swim in deep water.

Having faith is knowing that the water will keep you afloat and by allowing it to be your aid in exploring things, you will blessed with so much to discover.

Sometimes we need not struggle to keep afloat. Sometimes we just need to be still and the water will keep us afloat. And indeed it was such a liberating experience to float in water, swim across an Olympic pool or dive into deep waters.

Swimming and faith have some things in common.

(O who wants to swim in Amoranto with me???)

Working in the islands

Our work brings us to different places and working for environmental NGO brought me to one of the most remote islands in the Philippines—Tawi tawi. Taganak Island is one of the 6 of the 9 islands of Turtle Islands that comprise the transboundry conservation project meaning it geographically spans two countries Philippines and Malaysia. I love traveling, being a mountaineer and a diver I do not find constant traveling a burden as part of my work at all but a bonus to be able to travel and at the same time be paid for it. Doing environmental conservation work in remote islands opened up opportunities to immerse myself in a new community, a different religion and culture.

I was blessed to be able to know the people of these islands. During one of our 3 to 4 month long fieldwork, I learned to live simply going back to basics like fetching our water from a well using a small pail with a rope filling the bucket doing this everyday sometimes I do this ritual of sorts at night under the moonlit sky. It was not a burden at all for the novelty of the experience made me feel alive. Our office is beside the beach and at night the waves actually lull you to sleep in the morning there is the beach only a step away from the backdoor of the office/staff house and working in the community of a different religion was a challenging one but that did not stop me from expressing my Catholic faith there were about four Catholic Christian families. In the small chapel we have dry mass, we pray the rosary and that is our Sunday... a priest only comes once or twice a year in these parts.

I realized that there are many things to be thankful for that we now have at hand and going back to Quezon City I felt overjoyed at the convenience of piped-in water and when I went to mass again for a long time, I was moved deeply (parang sasabog sa tuwa ang puso ko—ed)by the beauty of the Eucharist celebration.

(Daisy’s memoirs of Turtle islands, 2004)

finally a blank verse

One fine day, rainy afternoon, chimes swaying, thinking of things, verses they say are poetry and blank verse are those that doesnt rhyme. Life for the most part doesnt rhyme and yet it is still beautiful. Many of my own thoughts come in short verse. Simple yet complicated, until it grows... I think I have a seed, well rather many seeds in my mind that gives birth to thoughts and after three decades, these thoughts have taken root and would like to see sunshine and maybe grow into a tree. One fine day it is for them to finally find this space for expression to grow I hope. I thank God for the many insights that He gives me, the many lessons that are taught in simple verse.