5th thing: get certified and learn to dive
i've seen the wonders of the deep before. when i won the travel essay competition of the philippine star, i got an all-expense-paid trip to balicasag island, where i managed to experience my first intro dive. it was really a strange feeling. i was breathing irregularly, probably 3 times faster than usual, and my throat felt really dry. i kept mistaking the "OK" signal: instead of making a circle with my thumb and index finger, i gave a thumbs up, which means to go up to the surface. we didn't go deeper than 30 feet, although at that depth, i was already wary of sharks. i feared they might just pop out of nowhere and take a bite off me. at the time, i wore a poor excuse for a wetsuit: it was blue, tattered, and needing replacement, but the joy i experienced under the water was incomparable. i knew i wanted more of it, but since then (that was 2003), i haven't had the chance.
i also regularly snorkel. a few weeks ago, i purchased a new set of snorkeling gear from mares, including a set of yellow fins. i've snorkeled in boracay, honda bay, balicasag, pandan island, anilao, and bucas grande. there are still a few places worth trying. and underwater photography is really amazing. and next year, i'm going to kota kinabalu again, for an entire week! i plan to go up mt. kinabalu, and spend 3 days at sipadan afterwards. so a dive license is necessary.
the BMC is currently taking up much of my time right now, but i think it will also be because of the BMC that i will finally get my license. zean, one of my trainees and an old friend from way back in my freshman year in UP, is a dive instructor, and myself and a few AMCI folks are going to get him to teach us. he's an overachiever and is a marine biologist, so i'm pretty sure this is going to be worth the trip. we just need to fix our schedule, and before we know it, we're divers.
the reason i've put off learning to dive this long is because i have yet to
6th thing: learn to swim
i've always thought of myself as a sinker. i have had this inexplicable fear of water, which is the closest thing i have in terms of phobias. but this fear isn't so much that i won't even touch the water; in fact i have done many crazy things in the water. it is a lot like math, i would suppose -- i can do basic arithmetic (with some difficulty), but then, my fear gets in the way to do higher maths (such as trigonometry or calculus). i will go out swimming in the ocean, but won't go deeper unless i have a vest. recently though, i have challenged myself in ways i never thought were possible. it all started when i kept myself afloat for a length of about 30 meters, going deep into a cave under the sea. i've been more daring since then. leo once mentioned to me that he was also a sinker, and he swims only through sheer technique.
in a long chat i had with fab_ab, he mentioned total immersion, and i read somewhere else that TI believes that the "i am a sinker" defense in a myth, and that i can really learn to swim. i just need to find the schedule and i'm on my way. who knows, i could actually consider triathlons once i've done this... but then again, there is another consideration. i wouldn't want to look at myself wearing a pair of trunks for too long. so this year, i'd also want to
7th thing: get a new body
i'm not talking about cosmetic surgery here, just good old-fashioned physical workout. i've been such a laggard early this year that i've ballooned to over 165lbs. i'm now below 160lbs, and running with my trainees in the BMC has done me a lot of good, losing a lot of weight which people have noticed. i hope to continue it though beyond the BMC. i've upgraded my gym membership -- from the always packed, cruising place called fitness first, i've elevated to fitness first platinum. so my gym is just below my building, which is really quite convenient, plus they're opening another branch at my new favorite mall, trinoma. i've also started on some supplements: the green tea must really work, because i run regularly, but have not lost this much since i started taking the capsules about a month ago. i'm almost done with my first bottle so i'm getting my second one soon. i would recommend it to everyone. funny thing is that after slimming down, i need to bulk up as well, so i might add whey protein to my daily regimen. i wonder whether all these things can work together? hmmm... well, this isn't really a skill, but whatever, it seemed natural. haha.
8th thing: learn a new language
working with the EU has a lot of perks, and one of them is getting french lessons for free (french and no other european language since many of our documents and communications are either in english or in french or both). a teacher from alliance comes twice a week to the office for informal sessions. i skipped about 5 or 6 sessions so i'm way behind. i already speak a smattering of spanish so i have a few choices: i can go to alliance and learn french for real there (and for free), get refresher courses in spanish, or learn german to please my boss! i'd really just want to learn a new language and get a step closer to being a polyglot. this won't be achieved in a year, but this is a good year as any to start.
9th thing: photography
i have been taking pictures with an SLR since 1997. since then till late 2005, i have exposed over 300 rolls of film. when i turned digital, i have probably taken about 10,000 photos, or equivalent to over 2,000 gigabytes (trigabytes?). i have used 4 different set-ups: i started with my brother's yashica (forgot the model), then moved on to a nikon F60, upgraded to a nikon F80 (sold the old body to a photographer), and got a nikon D70s. before this year ends, i should hopefully have moved up to a D200 (or anything nikon coughs out, i'm a sucker anyway). i have also won a few photo contests and have published my pictures in several magazines. trouble is, i don't really have proper instruction in photography. my training has mostly been through experience, books, and conversations with other photographers. this year, i would really like to get into this art and actually take up a formal course. i think i'm pretty good at photography, but i think i could be better. and maybe a workshop will help me make the necessary step (even if it's just half a step) towards becoming a better shooter.
10th thing: write literature
for some reason, i think that i have unwillingly turned my back on writing. it's been a long time since i fantasized about being the first filipino to win the nobel prize for literature, since butch dalisay told me that he looks forward to my first book and that i belong to the next generation of filipino writers, since wendell capili told his students that i will be a great man someday, since people had crushes on me because of what i wrote, since people asked me for my autographs, since people telling me that my poems or stories affected them in a variety of ways, since i wrote a poem or a story, or anything not autobiographical. it seems that i've lost that skill somehow and i'd really like to get it back. i'd like to write again. a workshop might help.