LETS JUMP OFF A CLIFF!
Hello every Fat Guy Here,
My wife was all excited to take me to a new place in the Philippines. Hundred Islands in Alaminos was going to be that trip, my wife said we could watch people jump off a cliff there, I told her maybe we would too. I thought I was joking. (I will be writing a page of our entire trip to Hundred Islands click on the name). We planned to take the family with us on this trip because we had been on two other outing without them and they were feeling a little left out. Can’t blame them for that, I love the beach too.
GETTING UP EARLY
The six of us got up early this day for our trip because it gets hot early here and we wanted to
beat the heat. The early departure proved to be a little too much for some as my niece fell asleep in the car right away. We left Manaoag and headed for a ninety minute drive to Alaminos City. The trip was uneventful and I found a new path to drive through the Pangasinan countryside.
When we arrived at the boat area early about 7 a.m. We were anxious about it because we had looked up online how much the boat trip should cost us and my wife had not had that experience the last time that she had been here.
ARRIVING AT HUNDRED ISLANDS
She took the kids into the dispatch area without me, there is a thing that a lot of vendors do here when they see white people, THEY RAISE THE PRICE. Once you pay them or get an agreement to price they can’t do that without embarrassing themselves. My wife came out of the dispatch area and said that the price was posted so that I could come in, they couldn’t change it when they saw me because it was posted.
We got on our boat and headed out for our adventure.
First stop, Governors Island. This is one of the larger islands in the group and I will describe it in more detail on my article page. We spent
about twenty minutes on this island taking pictures and enjoying the views. I was a happy camper, I love island hopping the best.
ISLAND HOPPING AT ITS FINEST
We left Governors Island and took off for Romulo Island, we stopped here for about an hour. We took a lot of pictures and got wet snorkeling
and enjoying the water. We left Romulo Island when it got crowded and headed for our next stop,
Now my wife had told me that there was a spot that you could jump off of a cliff in a cave on one of the islands. What she didn’t tell me was that we were headed there next. We landed at Marcos Island and jumped out onto the beach. It was crowded so I didn’t want to spend a lot of time here.
MARCHING DOWN TO MY DOOM
I saw a set of steps heading up to a trail that went along the ridge of the island to the left. I followed them. When I got to the top I came across a young man sitting with his back against a tree, I said good morning to him. I think he was asleep because he jumped up startled and said good morning sir.
I continued down the path to what I did not know. The young man caught up to me and hurriedly passed me. About ten feet later I found out why.
I came up to another set of stairs, this one was leading down into the dark, a cave. I love going into caves and exploring so I did not hesitate to go down the stairs with the troop following me. As I descended the stairs I heard my wife say “oh, this is where they jump”. As I saw where we
would be jumping from, the stairs suddenly became my “Bridge of Sighs” and I reluctantly
finished going down.
I approached the edge of the cliff and looked down
into the cave. My eyes had adjusted to the light and I could see a nice pool of water about fifteen to twenty feet below. Above, in the ceiling of the cave, where a lot of bats and I could smell their presence.
As I stood there on the edge I suddenly felt very weak. My knees began to shake at the thought of jumping off. This was very strange to me because I have stood on the edge of many such places and not felt that way. But I wasn’t going to jump off of them.
The young man that had run past me on the steps was actually the guide for this particular area. He began to tell us the history of the cliff jump and that it was perfectly safe. I asked him twice, he said “very safe sir” and laughed.
I backed away and told my wife that I didn’t think I could do it. She decided that she would go first then. She stepped up to the edge and the young man told her that she would have to wear a life vest so she put one on. She looked back at the camera with a big smile, yelled “you only live once” and jumped off into the abyss.
She hit the water with a loud and large splash. A cloud of bubbles came rushing to the surface and up popped my wife. She had a huge smile on her face and said “it’s safe, you should jump.”
I was still unsure about it, I am an older man now. The man of my youth would have just jumped and would be waiting for another turn by now. Had I finally lived long enough to think about consequences before I act? While this was going thru my mind my wife had thrown her life vest to her brother and he was ready to go.
He stepped up to the edge of the precipice, turned and gave me the look in the picture. He suddenly smiled his big smile, turned, yelled something that I did not understand in his language and jumped. He too hit the water with a large splash. Another flurry of bubbles and up he came.
He was smiling up at me and pointing. Taunting me to go next. I stepped up to the edge and told the young man that I would be wearing a life vest. Funny thing about the life vests here, they are not designed to fit six foot two, three hundred pound Americans.
PONDERING THE JUMP
As I stood on the edge I heard the giggling of my two nieces and my nephew behind me. They were teasing me for being afraid and said “you are next Tito.” I turned and said “yeah, maybe” and gave them a nervous little laugh. I turned back to my challenge and looked down at my brother in law.
I waved him to get out of the way, still unsure if I was even going to jump. I had stood there too long, thought about it too long. Every excuse for not following thru was entering my mind. Then
without any warning the young man I once was, the one that would have jumped already, went off in my head. He said “What are you doing? Jump already!” I remembered how fear used to make me angry that I was afraid and that took over my body. My mind stayed focused on the fear.
I felt the fear, but I also felt myself moving towards the edge. It was like a dream, no a nightmare, you know the one where you want to wake up but can’t.
I was moving, unable to stop myself. I felt my knees bend, I felt the thrust of my jump. Suddenly I was floating in the air to what my mind was telling me if it wasn’t my death then it was to a very painful injury.
I heard the splash of the water and the slap of my thighs as I pierced the surface of the water. I felt the warm sea water of the Western Philippines Sea surround me and wrap me in a water blanket as it slowed my decent. I felt my feet gently touch the bottom and I put myself into a crouched position and thrust myself towards the surface.
I came to the surface in the same bubbly cloud that my wife and brother in law did. I know that the same smile was on my face as I screamed “YEAH!”
The feeling of complete victory came over me. Every part of my body was tingling with the rush of adrenaline that had gone through me and I was alive, alive perhaps for the first time in a long time.
We swam out of the opening to the cave into the beach area of the island. We did some snorkeling
in the deep water before leaving the island, all three of us had this knowing smile on our faces. We weren’t that old after all.
We went to several other islands after this one, it is the last one that I want to tell you about before closing this message. The name of the Island is Cuenco, not sure what the name is for. It had another cave so we rushed from the boat to explore and see what mischief we could find. No cliffs to jump from, darn. But there was this dock….
Thanks for reading,
The Fat Guy