Jul 6, 2013

You are stronger than your fears

Last June, I joined Water safety training in Subic, Olongapo under the supervision of Philippine Coast Guard-Special Operations Unit-NCR in cooperation with PCG Station Subic.  My original plan was not to go since I just turned 2 and half months in my new office. Plus, I got a little feeling that the activities will be VERY tough. But, I know deep within that I had this so strong desire for that training, I would kill an ant for it. So, after the long thinking, considering the many things, finally, I decided to submit my leave of absence and go. So, with the 13 courageous men and women {including my brother}, we went on to face our fears.


The training lasted for 6 days. 5 actually since the 6th was for some light activities and celebration in the latter. The first and second were tolerable but the third to the fifth… horrible! Well, I said horrible because we don’t get to experience them everyday.

The few brave men {we called them sir/instructor} who trained us and taught us to be strong and disciplined pushed us daily till we hit our limits and become at our strongest. At first, I didn’t like it when they seemed like tripping on us. But the moment they showed us their own training, when they were still trainees, oh boy… It was beyond horrible! It suddenly changed my way of thinking about coast guards. I was somehow inspired and looked up to them as a mentor and as countries’ real heroes.

Going back to our training experiences, I learned sooo many things which I can never learn to any other trainings. Every activity conceals a lesson that can only be understood by the inner being. Like when we jumped off a 2 storey structure. The feeling was like “Oh God I can’t do this”. But you had no choice but to jump off or else the team won’t move in to the next activity. Thank God we all did it, with our instructors on our side.

Life is very similar to that. If you don’t move, if you don’t step up, if you never get out of your comfort zone, if you don’t start, you will never realize that you can do greater things.

I also learned a lot about myself that I realized, only, during the training. Like,

  • I can do a hundred jumping jack, non-stop (haha!)
  • I can hold my breath for more than 30 seconds
  • Plastic mistaken jelly fish gets me panicky
  • I am afraid of many things
  • But I can really do something if I told my brain I can do it.
  • I can really float, swim and survive 2 and a half hours in the water!
  • I am at my worst when I am sleepy
  • I cannot lead without showing examples first
  • I can choose to be strong or weak
  • If you push yourself to your limits, people looking at you will also push themselves to theirs
  • I can still push even beyond my limits, same goes for the rest
  • Group effort will always be the best effort (and strategy) :)
  • Good preparation plus prayer is the key to a successful mile swim

One more thing I learned was, I am stronger than my fears. Many times, during our training, we anticipated the last activity which is the mile swim. It was the final and the most scary part. It’s on our 5th day. Yes I was pretty scared, but that day, I knew we were all ready to battle our fears. With those 4 strenuous days preparation, who would want to back out? Sayang kung di ituloy. 


So, day 5 kicked in. We prayed before we go the mile. Everyone was keeping their cool as we reached the starting point. I too, had my own moment of silence, praying that hopefully everything will go as expected. No big fish please! No jellyfish… no whirlpool… minimal waves… and NO SHARK! Just water, cool, green  and flowing water.

As we started, we were asked to look for a reference point and never miss it. Thus served as our guide/direction. The problem most of us encountered was, the building we were all eyeing as a reference point was so blurred from the starting point. So we looked for another, mountains! But man, they look so much alike at a distance and with the goggles on. Sometimes, ah… no, most of the time, in life, people look up to someone or something as a guide. If your guide is inconsistent, you surely will loose direction, get frustrated and loose track. But if you go for the right guide, you will definitely reach your destination mightily.

And super thanked God, I reached the shore and finished strong with my buddy, in a span of 2 and a half hours, doing just breast stroke and freestyle, with divine intervention, the cheer of mom, our monitoring instructors, and happy thoughts as my baon. No shark, no big fishes! No whirlpool. Yes, there were waves and little jellyfishes. But hey, I conquered it! We all did!

Actually,the lessons {and the skills} I learned from this training were beyond words. The memories, all those first hand experience, will forever be locked in. I may not be able to express my gratitude that you all deserved to hear, but to those who helped out, to C3 Supervisors, PCGSOU-NCR, Coastguard station Subic {who welcomed us warmly in their station} and to my very encouraging co-tadpoles {as we called our group, since we were trained by the frog men}: I thanked YOU to infinity and beyond!  

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