Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Grand overture: Skimboarding in Boracay Island, Philippines

May 9-11

I thought exploring my country would be a good prelude to my Southeast Asian adventure. It is, after all, the "pearl of the orient." Indeed, a trip to Boracay Island in the Visayas proved to be a great one — not to mention that it's an all-expense paid trip hosted by the Economic Journalists Association of the Philippines where I am a member.

The sky was dark with a storm brewing somewhere north of Philippines at the time. But
what the heck! With its powdery white sand and party atmosphere, Boracay is still Boracay.

As this was my second trip to the island — the previous one being in 2004 — I've already had a taste of what it's like under the sun with the powdery white sand on your feet and the Boracay party vibe that Caucasians, Asians and Makati yuppies go for. With all the stress that I've had in the past few months, I've decided to just sit back and enjoy the view, and be a beach bum for once in my life, as my companions went island hopping and gone shopping for souvenirs and pasalubong at the market. But before I could "empty" myself while lying down on one of those artsy beach chairs, my curiosity was piqued by those half-sized surfboards that native kids play with on shallow waters. I approached a 10-year old boy and learned that it was called a skimboard. With a knack for trying new things, my friend and I tried our hands on the thing. For 150 pesos for an hour's rent plus "free" crash course from the kid, that's not that expensive at all.

But the seemingly graceful glide that kids show was just mere perception as skimboarding is not at all easy to learn — at least for me and my friend.
We were told of the right way of throwing the thing on the water, waiting for the right timing before we let go of our boards. As we were told, we should throw the thing at running distance before waves could gently ebb, then chase it later on, stepping with the front feet first (if you're a lefty, the left should be your "front") and the hind feet afterwards. Then strive to make a balance while gliding.
After sliding for about 12 inches, we would slip, pick up the thing, and start all over again. Do this repeatedly for an hour, and surely you'll get muscle pains come nighttime.
After a few attempts in perfecting skimboarding, the kid provided my friend with a board that's got rubber on it so that she wouldn't slip easily. It may have made a bit of a difference, but my friend still ended up slipping and starting all over again.
But I thought one hour is not enough to learn skimboarding. I was kind of making progress, as my 12-inch glide became longer and longer, but my one hour finally came to an end. I could have continued skimboarding for another hour but my muscles were already complaining, not to mention that my back and shoulders were already burning for having been exposed to the hot afternoon sun.
So this somehow proved that it takes time for me to learn such kind of thing. I remember in 2003, a couple of months after I graduated from college, a classmate invited me together with another classmate, to her family's resort in Calapan, Mindoro. I got to try jet skiing, which was really cool. Later on, my classmate asked me to try the wakeboard. And try I did, with the jet ski pulling me, only to end up with aching arm muscles while my nose got that feeling of being drowned for having been dragged on the water repeatedly.
But still, the whole thing — my skimboarding experience, I mean — was really fun. At least I would stop being envious of those who are into water sports who seem to have a grand time while on the water, being pulled by parachutes, jetskis or whatever they've got. For sure, they had the body pains that my friend and I got on their first try.

3 comments:

ika said...

hi gerard! hehehe.
boracay amf.

Barb Lorenzo said...

I took that look-beyond-the-horizon-while-holding-a-skim-board pic! Woohoo!

bumbu pecel bali said...
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