I Almost Lost My Life in Biri Island, Northern Samar, Philippines
STORY: I've traveled to many places, each with a unique story to tell and an experience too hard to forget. It can be about this wild animal roaming around this particular jungle or this tiny island off the coast of this humble province with the most unbelievable crystal clear water. But today is not about a story of triumph, what i will share with you now is a story of defeat, of disappointment and of life and death.
It was afternoon when i went. It wasn't necessarily low tide to begin with but the sea was much calmer when i went there than when i left. Getting to Biri wasn't easy. I rented a boat from the port going to the main island. From there, it was a rough ride going to the base onward to visit the Biri Rock Formations. The boatman stayed by the port and eased the time away. The moto-driver became my guide to the rocks.
I recommend this guide for being knowledgeable about the province and the mystery behind Biri. He mentioned stuff about the different kinds of sedimentary rocks, and how the mixture of saltwater and erosion have caused to produce such wonderful group of rocks. Very intelligent man, i must say.
But I wasn't paying attention to what he was saying. Somehow, i needed to discover this place all by myself. I wanted to touch the rocks, I wanted to walk on those steep and pointed edges like swords sprung from the middle of the ocean. I want discovery. I didn't want a history lesson from him.
And so i went on top, and the vast Pacific ocean seemed like a diamond cut out of a big canvass. It was too beautiful to describe. And none of my descriptions could ever be at par with what i have just seen. Little by little, the waves begin to exercise its might over the rocks. It was a fight. A struggle.
As a spectator, i was there in awe. I just observed. It repeated for more than a couple of times until i soon lost count. I said to myself, "i vow never to leave this place ever again". It's that beautiful.
Of course, the moment passed. And i was ready to jump in to my next stop. I trekked down the steep runway and left the rocks.
I was already sensing, little by little, how the waves were getting bigger and bigger. It was indeed getting bigger that the waves begin to spill out of the ocean, touching the innermost depths of the rock. I begin to get worried, a little terrified, but still getting by. The beautiful place and the magical 900 seconds was enough to calm me down.
This was the photo taken of me before i was rushed to danger. I left my cargo shorts because the weight of the soaked piece of clothing was making me walk in the ocean at a speed less than a normal person.
As i was walking from the left side of the formations, facing the ocean, i saw pigeons flying opposite the direction of where i was going. The sound of the waves begin to die down for an instant. The terror took a turn for safety. And then...
I was looking at the horizon, the depth of the wave began to thicken. I was walking slowly to face away from the ocean daggers. The rush of the ocean came for me. I was slipping away. Until i couldn't hold it any longer. I was strongly pressing my hands towards this lone rock to keep me alive. I was beginning to fade away. My eyes were watered down, and slowly, all the most recent experiences i had came back to me, one by one. It dawned on me that i could lose it today and that i will never ever go back. I reckon, if this was the last day of the rest of my life, i wasn't ready.
Luckily, my guide was there to save me from despair at the nick of time. He was there catching me from imaginings of the last figment of life. He was there in time.
The guide was there to tell me that shaded from what we see, there are elements guarding these rocks; a woman, a lover, a broken-hearted soul. Not a lot of people survived. There were a couple of those who have drowned, a couple of those perished in an instant from the angry waters of the pacific.
She was there. I knew i saw her.
I left Biri, on board the motorbike and the long tail boat as it speeds away, fresh blood oozing from the left blanket of my ankle. I didn't even bother to look at the Virgin Mary looking down upon us earth people. I was shocked.
On my way back to safety, i closed my eyes and prayed. I thank God for giving me another day, another month, another year, another lifetime to explore this vast earth. I also talked to the guards of Biri. I told her how unfortunate it is that i almost lost my life in her palms, knowing i had the best intentions to share with the world how beautiful it is there. I couldn't think of any word to describe how simply amazing it is to travel by foot and cross the waters.
I've learned so much from this trip. I've learned to live my life at a whole new level. I went home with an even more probable reason why i have to go back home. I missed my family. I missed seeing the people who want to see me alive and well.
Someone asked me what was i going to do about what happened. I said, "i'll charge it to experience".
These are the real experiences you will encounter when you're traveling. There are hopeful moments, and then there stuff like this that are worse.
REALIZATIONS: With no apprehensions, i looked at the window of the plane unscathed but definite. I was seeing San Bernardino Straight and the different rocks littered along the coast. It was magnificent to see it as i leave because never will i see it again. I know i will never come back.