I Wanna Have Abs Like Dionne Monsanto so I Went Snorkeling

I saw the recent post of Dionne on instagram and I was like, WOW ABS! I heard she is a swimmer, so I came up with an idea.



I went snorkeling for 2 days in a row thinking, if I would snorkel everyday, my abs can come a little bit closer to that of Dionne.

So yesterday was the start of I-wanna-have-abs-like-Dionne work out.

D, my snorkeling partner and I, decided to swim till the platform. The platform is a floating deck in the middle of the water, about 100 meters away from the shore, on top of approximately 6 meters deep water, where we can take some rest before heading back to the water again.

So from the shore to the platform and vice versa will be about 200 meters. Not bad for a workout, right?

Yesterday’s swim was really ok even though the weather was a bit bad as it was cloudy. But today, the sun was smiling to us, giving my already tanned skin an even nicer tan.

Though yesterday, D complained that she got wounded on her palm. She said that two huge fish were swimming along with her and hit her palm, though I didn’t really believe her as her wound looked more like a paper cut to me.

Image result for unicorn fish
the fish looks like this as per D, and when we say huge, we really mean huge                                                      image:http://saltwater.tropicalfishandaquariums.com/tangs/UnicornfishPhoto.asp

Today, as we were already halfway to the platform, I felt a sting somewhere below my right knee but I didn’t pay attention to it. We continued and as we reached the platform, we climbed up to take some rest. Then I saw the wound. And the blood. I tried not to panic.

Blood + Ocean = Shark

But still, I tried not to panic for we were 100 meters away from the shore. And if I panic, D will panic 100 times more.

I tried to figure out how I got this wound and couldn’t come up with a conclusion. I know for sure I didn’t get this from the corals and until now, this is still a mystery to me.

After taking a few minutes of rest on the platform, we headed back to the water.

I felt a sting below my right knee as we headed back to the salt water.  I haven’t watched The Shallows and I guess I won’t watch it anytime while I’m here in the Maldives. Don’t get me wrong. Till date, no cases of shark attacks have been reported here in the Maldives as the common specie here is the Black Tip Reef Shark, a harmless type. It’s just me and not the Maldives.

Blood + Ocean = Shark

And honestly when we headed back to the water, I was shit scared.

D took the lead. I was swimming at a much slower pace because I was already tired. D was like an Energizer battery charged twice.

I was following D when I saw something on the ocean bed. A huge stingray. A huge f@^#*ng stingray.

Image result for sting ray
the stingray that I saw was just like this, lying on the ocean floor, as if waiting for its prey                                                                                 image:https://www.montereybayaquarium.org/animal-guide/fishes/southern-stingray

I was panicking and I was breathing very fast, my goggles started to fog.  I told myself, the stingray won’t think I’m a food right? But I was still freaking out. Then I saw D swimming like a car running on NLEX at 4 in the morning – 150kmph (as I assumed). D was about 10  f@^#*ng meters away from me, leaving me with this huge  f@^#*ng sting ray and not to forget the wound below my knee.

After swimming for my life and I was really hoping that the huge  f@^#*ng sting ray didn’t follow me, I was again shit scared when I swam across a school of tiny fish, don’t ask me what type of fish this is, I don’t have a clue.

They were peacefully swimming as a group when I suddenly swam across them creating chaos. These tiny creatures swam all over me (maybe thinking I’m hunting them?) and they actually hurt my skin. But what scared me the most is that it was feeding time already. Whenever I am at the beach in the afternoons, I would see these tiny creatures flying at the surface of the water (they almost looked like a smaller version of flying fish to me) as they were being chased by the huge ones.

With that in mind while I was swimming in the middle of these tiny ones, I almost had a heart attack.

And when D and I reached the shore, I was like, f@^#!

I like seeing these sea creatures from afar, not while I’m swimming especially when I don’t have a pro swimmer/diver with me.

Today’s experience was really freaking scary but I think, with a bit more exposure to these sea creatures, my fear will subside later on.

I will still snorkel, maybe after my mini trauma is gone. I still wanna have abs like Dionne though.

Meeting Travel Writers & Bloggers from Everywhere While Standing Still on an Isolated Island

I know, I know. The title is lame. But never mind.

I never really liked any activity that involves socializing with strangers, well, not physically. As virtually, I believe I am sociable enough.

So I was assigned to do the very thing that, I don’t really hate, but I just don’t like. To entertain and host guests. And not just guests (just so you know, if you still don’t, I work in a hotel), mostly bloggers, writers and press.

They write reviews and articles about our hotel or they shoot travel documentaries. So how do I come in and what exactly is my problem here, if you may ask.

Well, I welcome them upon their arrival, prepare itineraries during their stay, join them for dinner (and sometimes drinks), and dance with them too if needed. Worse of all, take photos with them which, oh my gosh, might end up in one of their social media platforms.

The problem is, I write more than I talk. And I am really scared to death whenever I have to host them for dinner. For I don’t know what to say (that won’t put our hotel’s reputation in ruins) or how to even express myself properly.

During some of the dinners I hosted, there were long awkward silences and I really didn’t know what else to say.

But that was before I found out, before someone told me, that I am too talkative during dinners and I am very good at inventing stories.

I was like, really?

I wasn’t sure if that was a compliment. But I took it as one.

Then I started observing myself. I truly am talkative. I have become talkative. And I see how their face reacts when I tell my stories. I guess, my being a storyteller virtually has been taken to the next level.

I have been hosting several travel bloggers lately. One was a very lovely lady from Sweden, two hilarious UK-based gentlemen, a very elite European lady and his husband, an exiled Prince of one of the countries in Eastern Europe, a Japanese TV crew and a group of Spanish Fashion Bloggers.

It’s just funny that when I was in Dubai, at the center of everything (or as I thought so), when I had all the opportunities to travel and meet so many interesting people, I never had a chance to do so. And while standing still, and not setting foot out of this 67k sqm island, I was able to meet and interact with a lot of interesting people.

They bring stories from their previous travels, I share my island stories. We all learn from each other, each of us taking something home.

There aren’t any awkward silences nowadays, if there are, not for long. For I found the secret to long interesting conversations.

Ask interesting questions.


a small remembrance from the Spanish Fashion Bloggers


Tula Para Sa Nakabibighaning Takipsilim

Hindi ko malaman

kung paano ilalarawan

At hindi ko maisip

Kung saan aapuhap

Ng tamang salita

o kaya ay tugma

na sasapat

sa iyong taglay

na katangiang patuloy

na sa aki’y


ang damdamin ko’y

lubos ang pag pagpuri

iyon lamang ang maaari

at ang aking pagtangi.


Araw- araw ako’y nagpupunyagi

Kapag nasisilayan kang maigi




at umaasa pang muli

Na sana

sa pagdating

ng panibagong bukas

Ika’y masilayang muli,

at ika’y manatili.


sino bang hindi tutula matapos mabighani


The Gift of Rain

My tummy was acting funny last night. I was already on bed, reading Tan Twan Eng’s Gift of Rain when I suddenly felt the need of having something warm to calm my tummy down.

I went to the staff canteen and made a cup of tea.

I sat on one of the tables outdoor and started sipping the warm tea. I was reading some random stuff on my phone when I decided to keep it away for sometime and maybe, I thought, this is a good time to contemplate.

It started raining.

The rain wasn’t that strong so amidst the sound of the rain drops on the canteen roof, I can still hear the soft radio music from the speakers at the corner of the canteen. The music seemed to blend well with the sound of the rain.

I didn’t understand the song as the lyrics was in Dhivehi, the local language. The song was beautiful, at least the melody, and there was something in it, something I can’t explain.

I found myself lost in the middle of the rain and the song, that I stopped hearing the voices of the people around me. I felt like there was only me, the music and the rain and these two elements filled me in with so many emotions, melancholy being the most dominant one.

Sitting in a canteen with many people around, I felt alone.

I have not felt this lonely for a long time. I thought I was so used to being alone but not lonely, but that was just a thought. A misconception. A misunderstanding with myself.

I unlocked my phone and browsed the images. I looked at the photos of my family and recalled I had not seen them for over a year now. I looked at the photos and recalled the good old times. Seeing these photos, I felt good and at the same time sad.

I wanted to cry last night but my tears weren’t there for me.

I sipped the last few centiliters of the tea, and hoped that it will calm me down as it did with my then upset tummy.

The rain stopped and the song ended. I started hearing the crowd’s laughter and soft whispers once again so I stood and left the canteen.

The Little Devil that Dwells Within

I admire a lot of people. Not the romantic type of admiration, regard with respect, that is.

Respect on how they live their lives or what they believe in.

I met a man whom I admired for his character. He’s not the type of person who says something and does something else. He doesn’t pray five times a day only to drink alcohol by the end of the day.

I admire him for keeping up to his words and living the life the way he believes it should be lived, something even I, cannot do.

I admired him till the day I heard about his so called affair with a woman, who’s already having an affair with another man. A bit complicated, but that’s how the story was told.

I immediately lost all my admiration for him. I told myself, then you’re just like everyone else. You also have your dark side, a little devil that dwells within, hidden by a righteous pretense.

He was the talk of the island for quite some time.  People talked about him left, right and center. Some people even had the audacity to ask him upfront.

I watched and listened.

He never admitted nor denied anything. He just laughed.

In the end, the reality came out. He was vindicated. I felt shame. I was judgmental. Just like everyone else.

I admired him more afterwards, especially when I saw how he handled the issue with composure. He could now laugh at everyone who accused him of having this affair that never existed in the first place. He could laugh at me now for believing a tale, so unreal, so unfair.

There’s a little devil that dwells within us. Sometimes it whispers dark things to our gullible hearts and naive minds. Sometimes it wins, sometimes it does not.

We’re mere humans. We all have our dark sides. It doesn’t leave us. Just like our shadow. It follows us all around.

Our dark side takes over us sometimes, but our shadows don’t.

Let our dark side be just like our shadow. Leave them behind, let them follow you. But never let them lead you.

Seize the Moment

After a month (or two, I guess), I finally had a chance to take a day off.

I decided to go for a snorkeling trip with some guests and colleagues as the weather was really great.

I have snorkeled a lot of times before but this snorkeling trip was really special. A trip that I will always remember.

A boat took us to an area where, they said, we can see nice corals. We jumped from the boat, into the deep.

Honestly, I would never jump from the boat if not for the life jacket. I usually snorkel, in the shallow, just near the beach area. This experience was new to me. The jumping off the boat I mean.

There were 7 of us who jumped from the boat – four hotel guests and one guide, me and my colleague Crystal.

Crystal said she can’t swim but she took the lead as if she knew where exactly should we go. I followed. The guests and the guide were far behind.

I was behind Crystal. Not too close as I don’t want to get hit by her flippers. Not too far, as I always want some company in the water, specially this deep, when you can’t see the seabed.

The area has a shallow part with lots of corals and fish playing around, followed by a deep slope, that’s where one can only see, the endless dark shade of blue.

I was enjoying my time, finding so many Nemos when I saw Crystal, swimming without her life jacket.

I asked her why she removed her life jacket.

She answered, remove it. You will feel free.

I thought of removing it, but then I saw the endless dark blue again. Plus the fact that water kept on entering my snorkeling mask, panic suddenly attacked.

I just kept on swimming with my life jacket on, this time taking the lead.

And then something beautiful caught my eye.

A Green Sea Turtle. This was my first time to be really close to a swimming turtle. I swam a little bit closer then he looked at me.

I will never forget that moment. That connection when our eyes met.

It did not take long before the rest caught sight of this marvelous creature. The guide shouted, a turtle! A turtle!

They all swam quickly and they tried touching the turtle’s shell but the guide prohibited them from doing so and thankfully they stopped.

The turtle did not run swim away. He was just chillin’ out with us. I felt like he was so comfortable swimming with us and getting photos of him taken. He was playing with us, and this was a rare thing. They usually run swim away as soon as they see human beings.

I felt something that I can’t really explain. But one thing’s for sure, I felt happy seeing a turtle, swimming freely with us, humans. I felt so happy seeing a turtle, not in a cage or tiny aquarium for people’s sight and delight. They are also alive and breathing, just like us. They are not man made items, meant to be displayed in a Museum. They are meant to be free too, just like how we, humans have always fought for our freedom.

I was happy to see that he did not feel the need to run for his life. I hope the world, can come even a bit closer to this scenario.

The turtle then, after playing with us, swam away, gently, freely.

We moved on. The guide, asked me to remove my life jacket. I was still hesitating. But then, I thought, I can swim anyway, why was I scared of removing it?

Then I finally removed it. Crystal was right. It was, somehow, liberating.

I knew how to swim, but I kept clinging on to that life jacket, just to be safe. So I asked myself, if I have always been this way all along? Playing safe. Not using my skills to its fullest. Not moving out of my comfort zone.

I have always been a risk taker, or maybe, I just thought so. Maybe, I’m still not daring enough.

They said, if your ship doesn’t come in, swim out to it.

By playing safe, maybe, I have missed a lot of opportunities, a lot of chances. Maybe, the ship that was meant for me have passed by long ago just because I waited for it come in and never tried swimming out to it.

But lesson learned. Who knows? Maybe later on,  I’ll still get other opportunities and hope that by the time my ship arrives, I’ll be able to swim to it, bravely, freely.

For now, let me just then wait for my next day off. Go for another snorkeling trip. Jump off the boat without a life jacket and seize the moment should I see a playful Green Sea Turtle once again.

Somewhere Over The Rainbow[s]

It was a warm sunny day. The sky was so clear and the water was bluer than ever.

I told myself, I’ll take a dip later after my shift.

I left the office at 5:30pm and headed to the shores. The sun was still up, it was due to set around 7pm.

Not over five minutes have I stayed in the water when it started raining. It started with a drizzle so I still, kept on swimming. Then it became more than just a drizzle.

The water became cloudy so I stopped my swim. I headed to the beach and sat while the soft rain poured on me.

As I sat, I pondered. How the weather in this part of the world can change so quickly. In a matter of minutes, the bright blue sky turned gray. Just like our thoughts and feelings. In a matter of minutes, this bright happy feeling can suddenly turn into a cloud of deep melancholy, even with just a slight stir of empty words and crappy thoughts.

The rain stopped after a short while and the sun was up again. The sky, ever bright as if it didn’t rain just a few seconds ago. I sat still. I wondered if, like the weather, I should change my mind as well and head back to the water again. Or, keep sitting still and wait for some time till the weather fixes its mind as to whether it wants to keep the sun up or cover the sky with gray clouds again and let the heavens shed tears once more.

The weather can be so confusing at times. And so is life.

The rain finally made up its mind. That’s to leave me and the sun and the sky happier before the night says hello. But it didn’t leave without a trace. Or a gift should I say?

They said, to see a double rainbow is a good omen. Some form of a luck waiting for the one who sees it.

It was my first time to see a double rainbow. I’ve never seen a rainbow that close, let alone two. It seemed so near. I felt like I can almost touch it. Yet it is, still, in reality so far.

I felt like I was in a dream. Of rainbows and white ponies and unicorns. And I wondered if I could ever step on the rainbow and slide to the other side to see whether gold coins await me.

I felt like the world stopped. Like I was in between fantasy and reality. Stuck in the middle of a minute ago and a minute later.

I kept sitting while the whole world moved on. I just looked at the double rainbow and waited until all the colors have faded and I wondered if those colors have turned into stardust sprinkles, blown by the wind somewhere, to grant a lonely child’s wish.

I thanked heavens for the lovely gift. Then I went back to the water to swim again.

photo taken by my colleague, Ahmed Thaif

Mga Kabalbalan sa Isla

Kahit saan ako mapunta ay sentro yata talaga ako ng mga kakaibang pangyayari.

-Inutusan ako maghatid ng guest sa room dahil busy yung mga receptionists. At dahil diyan naligaw ako dahil kahit maliit lang itong isla ay sala-salabid pala ang pagkakapwesto ng mga villa. Nakakahiya pero nabigyan pa rin ako ng tip na tumataginting na 3 dollars. LOL. Pero binigay ko yung tip sa pakalat-kalat na bellboy na nagsalba sa buhay ko nung nakita niyang naliligaw na ako.

-Lumalangoy lang ako sa kababawan eh nakikipag-unahan pa itong mga sapsap na ito. Kayo na mabilis sa tubig. Kainin ko kaya kayo?

-Pinakapaborito kong gawin dito ay ang pangingisda LOL. Heto ang litrato ng mga nahuli namin nung nakaraan. Dalawang red snapper ang nahuli ko haha.



-Sa tinagal-tagal ko na sa propesyong ito, magiging taga-pala lang pala ako ng buhangin bandang huli. LOL.