Arpha Vida Gumila Buga-ay
I grew up near the beach and most of the time I’ve gone swimming with my playmates. Sometimes I got to go with my father to look for drift woods that we used as firewood. Almost every day, I walked for about two kilometers from our house to the pier, together with some friends to bring food for our fathers who were working as stevedores in the pier. Before we head back home we usually swam for awhile. Sometimes, we looked for some interesting things that were washed ashore and tortured those poor hermit crabs by pulling them out of their shells. After that we raced back to the village before it gets dark. Passing by fishponds and fish cages on our way home and there were times we were tempted to catch some fish when the owners were not around. Thus was the beginning of my love story with the outdoors.
Whenever there were outdoor activities at school and church, I was always there. Did all sorts of stuff from swimming, hiking, camping, spelunking or most commonly known as caving, and mountain climbing. I looked forward to those times, saved every extra coin from my meager allowance and I was always prepared for the next outdoor fun.
Danger was a vocabulary unknown to me then. Together with some friends we would borrow or rent a small fishing boat and go for a more daring adventure, such as diving without gears in the middle of a storm (Signal No. 1). The bigger the waves, the more fun we had. Hiking in places known as “No Man’s Land,” or going to a survival camp with only a few changes of clothes, a sleeping bag, knife, salt and a flashlight. We had to make our shelter from anything we could find and prepared our meals from whatever nature had to offer.
I may have had my share of near death experiences; such as rolling down the mountain and hitting a big tree, almost drowning while trying to rescue a friend who was drowning and being just a step away from a real landmine. No regrets – I had fun. Life is an adventure so they say. We can only truly say that we’ve lived a full life if we have dared to take some risks and challenged and pushed ourselves to its fullest limit.