D is for Died and Went to Heaven
January 2007, Anilao, Philippines

The New Year’s day of 2006 will remain etched in my mind for as long as I live. A day I actually did die and discover heaven; a heaven that lay beyond my imagination. We were then a family of  three. The 18-year-old was about 8; as old as my 8-year-old now. Those who have read my blog probably know I have two girls. Currently 8 and 18.
Well, now you may be wondering why on earth did I die and go to heaven? Well add a V to the DIE and it becomes a DIVE. So on the 1st January, 2007 we went on our first ever dive. All 3 of us. DH, the little girl and I.

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Doorway to Heaven
Credits: www.planetdive.com

 

We drove down from Manila with our friend, AA to Anilao. Anilao is a lovely barangay (village or a small district) on the Luzon island and a few hours drive, South of Manila. It is a diver and snorkelers paradise.
So on New Year’s morning, after a sumptuous Filipino breakfast and some nice, strong coffee we prepped ourselves into dive mode. After we had worn our wet suits and strapped the oxygen tanks, our Dive Master and AA took us through the various dos and dont’s, along with a set of instructions that we were to follow. The DH and I went in first with the Dive Master. We did a small test dive and a drill before taking the real plunge. Escorted by our Dive master we signaled with her fingers that the air pressure was fine and then gradually went on the descent from 0 feet to 15 feet and then to about 40 feet.

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Findings Nemos   Credits:Claudia-Pinterest/Flickr

 

Our dive site was called, The Cathedral. It was another world down under. Enthralling and of things fairy tales are made of, where mermaids prance and fishes dance. Where sea water meets corals and the sea anemones, star fish, clown fish, sea cucumbers, sea horses go on a kind of trance. I had heard stories about heaven all through my growing up years. I imagined it to be a pristine place surrounded with natural beauty, meditative calm and awe-inspiring creatures of the universe. As we placidly swam under the sea, along with the fascinating inhabitants of our all new destination, I thought to myself, “If this isn’t heaven, then what is? I was awe-struck by the spectacular beauty of the South China sea.

 

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And She Huffed and she Puffed-“Little” Miss Puffer

 We came across critters , squids, nudibranchs, squids, cuttle fish & large schools of jacks. And how could we have missed that coy, and the clannish charmer, the clown fish (Nemo), who shares a symbiotic relationship with the sea anemone?! I almost fist bumped a puffer fish and was so excited to see one that I cupped it in my hands and in a bid to protect itself, it puffed up into a huge ball. This grey guy seemed like one of those squishy stress balls with a gaping mouth that almost blinked at me in astonishment! A funny yet unique sight to behold. We then swam underwater and reached the Cathedral site, named so because of a small coral-encrusted cross, which was erected between two humongous rocks that guard the gateway to a deep abyss. The cross was brought and planted by former Philippines President Fidel Ramos who happens to be an avid traveler. It was also blessed by Pope John Paul II. After we were done with our dive our little girl was taken on hers, almost 15-20 feet down under. She came back squealing with excitement. She couldn’t stop gushing about her fascinating experience, just like us.

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Three’s company

As we headed back to our rooms to change, I thought to myself who wants to go to heaven when we have so many heavens right here on earth? Heaven is what you make of life, heaven is in these little natural bounties and wonders the universe has bestowed upon us, heaven is in these small pleasures we experience, heaven is what you make of what you are given, heaven is out there and within us.

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My theme for this year’s Blogging from A-Z Challenge is Travel Epiphanies that are my very own tales of adventure and revelation. I will be writing 26 posts throughout the month of April. You can read my theme here.

52 comments on “{D) is for Died and Went to Heaven #AtoZChallenge”

  1. I cannot swim so I know I’m missing out on so much to see out there. But it does indeed look wonderful. I love puffer fish. A friend had an exotic fish tank and had three of them. They look so cool all bloated.

  2. Thank you Nilanjana. Yes, we do. And then before we know it life is over and all we have is regrets to look back. Time to cherish what we are gifted with on this beautiful planet and life per say.

  3. I’m so glad May. 🙂 Yes the puffer fish was one helluva guy. I think I terrified him way too much. That’s their protective mechanism against their preys. They are otherwise much smaller.

    What’s cooking at your end? Let me go check.

  4. Thanks Maneka, for stooping by. Have you gone for one? I’m excited to read your post on Organic vegetables. We have been growing them since I was a kid, and now my husband goes some on our terrace.

  5. Sue, yes we always reminisce those great times. The older one who is now almost 19 now is very keen to go again, and the as for the younger one, yes we are already planning a scuba diving jaunt hopefully in the next one year or so.

    How is Eliot doing? I’m gonna go check him out now :-))))

  6. Yes Debbie I did. So true, there is way too much beauty in this world, I feel offlate mankind has just started focus on the negatives and what is not going right….Thank you for your thoughts. 🙂

  7. Radhika, honestly it doesn’t require courage, all it requires is the will to experience something that is way beyond our imagination, something surreal and dream like. Go for it please.

  8. Tina you must, and since it’s on your bucket list, the sooner you do it the better. As once you go scuba diving, you will want to get a Padi(Scuba diving) certification, like I want to. That’s next on my bucket list.

  9. Hey Miths, You know what, you don’t need to know how to swim to scuba dive. I’m not much of a swimmer myself either. So if you can put the fear of deep waters to bay, maybe you will actually reincarnate as a blue/purple star fish :-))))
    Oh and I’m so happy this post gave you a close account of what deep sea diving meant. 🙂 Hugs

  10. I remember the scuba diving scene in Zindagi na Milegi Dobara, and I guess that movie and this post is the closest I’ll ever come to the deep sea. I can’t swim, and deep waters terrify me!

    I can almost imagine holding a puffer fish in my hand, looking at all the little Nemos swimming by. Hmm, I wish I reincarnate as a starfish in my next life, so that I can sit back and watch all the awesome marine life! 😛

  11. Scuba diving and getting lost under the water for sometime is in my bucket list. Last time we went to Maldives my husband got petrified with the idea! Have to do it alone i think!

  12. It’s common for divers to seek deep dives over shallow dives, most divers have probably experienced being on a dive boat and the dive master asks the entire group if they have a preference, deep or shallow and most of the group shouts out “as deep as possible”. Though deep diving can be awesome some divers might not be aware that it significantly reduces bottom time and requires a longer surface interval. Whether it’s the thrill of going deep or simply being able to brag about the depth it seems to be most divers first choice.

  13. What a fantastic experience. It sounds like you all had a great time. There is so much beauty in the world if we only look for it
    Debbie

  14. It certainly sounds heavenly! I’ve lived near the Great Lakes or the Pacific Ocean all my life, but I’ve never been diving. Does your daughter ever reminisce with you about that time? Do you plan to give your younger girl the same experience some time?

    • Yes, we did take an under water camera. I have to dig up most of my dive pictures. They are MIA. I can’t wait to go diving again. It’s something I literally crave for. F
      ngs and toes crossed that it happens soonest. You must make it happen too soon, Shalzy.

  15. I’ve been meaning to go snorkeling or scuba diving ever since I learned how to swim 7 years ago. The puffer fish looks so cute! That may just be tipping the scales in my favour now. Ah, to go snorkeling. Your excitement is so infectious, Nats 🙂

  16. Heaven is indeed right here in front of us, and we keep ignoring what we have and hanker for some elusive paradise. Beautiful descriptions – enjoyed reading.

    Nilanjana.
    Madly-in-Verse

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