Embracing the Waters

Our Refuge

We are the sons of the sea!
She is our refuge.
She embraces us with her shore,
we roll on her calming foam.

We swim with the brother fish.
Between her waves, we soar!


Under normal circumstances, J and I should have been having our Sunday Tea Ceremony today somewhere in Maginhawa, Quezon City. It’s the day of week when we catch up with each other’s stories in our lives. But not today. He texted me last night that he’ll go with his friends to Subic, Zambales. Subic boasts one of the country’s best beaches, and it’s relatively close to Manila. I envy J because it’s been a while since I’ve gone to Subic. A more pathetic version of this is: It’s been a while since I’ve gone close to the sea. [insert sad face emoticon here]

So since there’s nothing else for me to do today, I made a poem (above) about the sea.

In my poetry class last semester, my professor asked us to look for a poem about water, written by a Filipino author. I brought “The Legend of the Seafoam” by Dr. J. Neil Garcia–it’s a poem about a creation myth in the Philippines. I really love the poem because it told of how Tungkung Langit (the creator) pined over his dear wife, Katalona, who left him. “The Legend of the Seafoam” illustrated how important women are even to the strongest and most powerful men. By the end of the poem, I sense a different level of resiliency from Katalona, as if she owned Tungkung Langit and everything he has created. As if everything he has made, is for the lost wife.

Isn’t it beautiful? If ever you feel like reading the poem, and I suggest that you do, it’s included in most of Dr. Garcia’s anthologies of poems. Please try looking for a copy, because the poet is a genius.

Anyway, I asked my professor why he requested us to bring a poem about water. “What’s with water?” I asked. He said that since the Philippines is an archipelago that is literally surrounded (and full of) different bodies of water, many Filipino poets have at least one poem about water and the sea. It only explained why no one among us in class had a hard time looking for a poem with water in it.

My poetry professor was right–that we are surrounded by water. I recall in one of my History classes, another professor has told us that when she was still a student some hundred years ago (hehe, joking!), Swimming was a required PE, for the same reason that we are surrounded by water. She said that it’s only fitting that we know how to swim, because there’s a very high probability that we’ll encounter deep waters. The required PE was removed from the curriculum years and years ago, I wonder why. Maybe because man has already invented many ways of saving himself that do not require swimming skills. Yeah, it’s kind of sad that way. I still feel blessed to live in a country where the beaches are very much accessible.

And it’s a good thing that I know how to swim despite my big stature. 😀

So since J is already rolling in the deep, I can only look at my old beach pictures. I hope you don’t get sick of seeing me in my every entry, haha!


Oh, this is the famous South China Sea!

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