Summer Vacation Checklist

Summer Essentials

Can you feel the heat? Can you smell the "anghit" ? Anghit is a Bisaya word that means bad odor in the Philippines. These two factors mark the start of the summer season. I love the summer. The grass is greener and the beach glistens with the sun shining so brightly up in the sky. People are all over the place buying ice cream, drinking cold drinks, and tearing or ripping any kind of material they can find to fan themselves. It's just the most wonderful time of the year.

I have here a list of things to bring on a summer vacation. I often forget things when my friends ambush me with messages to go impromptu to the beach. Here are a  few things to keep in mind for an unforgettable beach experience. Let's go!

1. Sunscreen
During my college days, I don't even think about bringing sunscreen or sunblock with me. Now I'm paying the price for ignoring it. Frequent exposures to the sun can cause premature wrinkles and aging. Now that I believe the essence of its existence I have obliged myself to never leave the house without a sun protection lotion, especially when I'm going for water sports activities. 

2. Slippers/ Flip-flops
Wear slippers. For goodness sake be kind to your sneakers or sandals and just give them a break. Exposing them to sand and water is not advisable for the material they're made of. Besides you're on the beach loosen up those tired feet of yours and give them some fresh air. 

3. Hat / Cap
Aside from putting on sun protection lotion, it's also a good idea to bring a hat with you. It's not only great for added protection from the sun but also a good accessory to complete your summer look. It keeps you looking cool and avoids having a bad hair day. 

4. Sunglasses
This is something I can't leave without when I'm heading to the beach. It's a must for everyone, it does not only protect you from the stinging rays of the sun but totally enhances the summer feeling. It adds confidence for the ladies and a great safety weapon for guys to watch bikini bottoms. 

5. Sarong / Big Scarf
A piece of cloth that saves you from any wardrobe malfunction, keeps you dry and comfortable. It also serves as a mat when you want to lay down for your sunbathing. It also keeps your hair in place and wearing it as a dress for girls will make you look like a summer goddess. 

6. Waterproof Bag / Ziplock Bag
Most beachgoers don't really care about this yet it really comes in handy when you're going on a water sports activity. It keeps your things safe from getting wet and most especially avoids putting moisture on your cameras. 

7. Camera 
Make sure to have a camera with you when going to the beach, no matter where you shot the images everything will look perfect. Having the beach as the background won't get your wong
Even if my camera and phone are not waterproof I would still bring them along with me on the beach. I would place mine in a waterproof phone cover and my camera inside my waterproof bag. 

8. Beach Song Playlist
Make a playlist of your favorite beach songs I like to include reggae songs in my list, add in some Colbie Callait and Jason Mraz songs, a tinge of classic music too like Beatles popular song "Here comes the sun" and The Beach Boys "Wouldn't be nice." I like my playlist to sound fun and relaxing especially in the morning. 
In the afternoon I might throw in some house music with some watermelon shake by my side and at night maybe some old RnB or the latest upbeat dance music. I like old, happy, and familiar songs when I'm on the beach sometimes, it brings back fun memories in my mind.  
Whatever songs you have in mind save it. Keep your playlist interesting so it would spice up your summer experience. 

9. Mini Speaker
Now that you have a playlist might as well bring along a mini speaker. It would totally enhance the music experience. 

10. Googles and Snorkel
This item is optional but if you're mindful of personal hygiene then bring along your own snorkel. Sometimes in Island Hopping Tours, they provide everything for snorkeling activity. However, having a pair of fitted goggles and your own snorkel is not a bad idea. 
Check out my hometown, Cebu, we simply have the best white sand beaches you can find in the Philippines. 

And because we love going to the beach so much we have to take care of it...

Why We Should Protect the Ocean

There's been a lot of destruction in our ocean for the past few decades. It's disheartening to know that people are ignoring the problems we have with the ocean. Some don't care at all, they throw garbage’s in the sea, pollute the rivers and go on with their lives like they didn't do anything wrong. Well, I care for the ocean. I stand by the people and the organizations that keep it safe and clean. I want to share a few of my experiences with the ocean and the reason why I'm trying to protect such a wonderful creation. 

My World 

I've lived most of my life on a beautiful island called Mactan in the province of Cebu, Philippines. We are famous for our pristine, white sand beaches till this very day. I swam in those waters since I was a little girl. During my younger days, my family used to live in my uncle's house which was nearby the beach, and every morning we would go to the beach with my cousins and played all day long. I remembered there was an abandoned ship docked along the shoreline. If kids back days have their treehouse, we were much cooler because we had a boathouse. It was big, rustic and we had an all-in surround sound system. Our waves of laughter fill the vessel with so much childish enthusiasm. There's this big hole at the side of the ship which serves as a gateway to our imaginative world. Some kids would collect leeches inside the ship while I, on the other hand, would stand on the side and just hear myself talk to myself. The ocean is still my playground and I would like to keep my world that way. 

My Childhood Memory Bank

The most memorable childhood memories I had on the beach is with my brother and my cousins. I don't know if I remembered it right but it happened this way. It was on a summer break, the boys just had their circumcision a few days back. In the Philippines, every summer break little boys go to their doctors to have their circumcision to mark their manhood. They were advised to remove the dressing after a few days, and everyone said soaking it in salty waters would expedite the healing process. So we made our way to the beach that early morning. The boys walked really slowly that day, each step came along with a laugh as the incision part was still sensitive to movement. I was tasked to be the watcher as they try to get rid of the dressing underwater. They asked me not to look because we were told it will turn their precious part to tomatoes, but of course, I can't help myself and I turn around. Surprisingly, the precious part they hold so dear really turned red like tomatoes, ahahaa. It could have been some simple irritation or infection but for kids who just proved a fable, it was a bewitching experience. It was such a funny memory and we all still talk about it after all these years. This memory is forever locked in those blue waters of Cebu. A memory I'm keeping along with the ocean, so protecting the ocean means keeping that memory alive. 

A gift

The ocean is a gift. I feel lucky that I've seen how beautiful the underwater world is in person. The ones I've seen on TV can't compare to its grandiosity. I have three unforgettable underwater experiences: snorkeling in Malapascua Island in Cebu, Philippines, scuba diving in Indonesia, and night snorkeling in Thailand. First of all, snorkeling in Malapascua Island was the best snorkeling experience I have in the Philippines. The waters were perfectly clean and bright. Beneath the blue water, colorful corals and school of fishes roamed around every corner. It was like swimming inside a gigantic aquarium which was real and majestic. 

The second one was my first scuba diving experience. This is totally different from snorkeling, to experience and understand more the beauty of the underwater world one must immerse itself with its environment. It made me realize how small and insignificant I am in this vast world. Back then, I thought I've already appreciated the ocean but it turned out I haven't seen the real face of the sea.  I valued the ocean more after I went for my scuba dive in Indonesia. 

Lastly, the most magical experience I had with the sea. I did a night snorkeling with my travel buddy to see the planktons in the waters of Krabi, Thailand. For a moment, I thought my world turned upside down and I was swimming in the dark grey sky with blue stars everywhere. Every motion I did in effect produced bright little blue stars that lights up the darkness. It didn't felt like I was in the water. I would want everyone to experience the wonders of the ocean, protecting it in each possible way is significant for its survival. 

My Responsibility

We are part of something big, which means what we do affects everyone; it's the circle of life. All living things are connected to each other in different ways. The ocean is for everyone and we all share the responsibility of taking of it. It's an inevitable domino effect that goes on for eternity. A simple thing like throwing a piece of trash in the ocean affects the marine world. Fishes will eat those rubbish, the birds eat the fish, the bird dies, no more pollination, fewer fruits bearing trees, less supply and humankind dies. 

It may be small and means nothing to you but for the ocean, it means the destruction of its precious resources. Sometimes we tend to think that we're the center of the universe, only we human beings have problems and everything else is mere distractions. Well, I believe all things are connected and we should take care of each other. This is difficult and challenging in so many ways. Throw in all the stress of life and humankind will burst into a bubble. I'm not getting anywhere here. My main point is don't ever throw your problems in the ocean, keep your mess with you, dispose of it properly, and find a way to protect the ocean.  

My Teacher

Learning to love the ocean means understanding and studying its mood swings. There will be strong tides, keeping yourself safe is important. I had my first lesson at a young age with the ocean, a blurred memory with a few vivid seconds of my life. I was small with pretty short hair, full bangs that sit just right above my eyebrows. My mum gave me two cooked bananas, one for eating and the other for reserve. I was playing with the waters then I dropped my precious banana which I tried to reach out till it felt like I was walking on air. I didn't know I sinking but what I remembered is the sun rays pierce through the water to light my banana that I'm trying my best to reach out. Then that was it just utter silence and I woke as a teenager. The lesson behind that story is to never cry over spilled milk and just let go of the banana ahahaa. Another good lesson I learned was when I went snorkeling with my cousins and my friends on an island in Cebu. I went snorkeling without a life jacket, I'm not a good swimmer at all but I carelessly went out there on my own. Despite these traumatic experiences, I realized my weaknesses and foolishness which made me a wiser person. The ocean is our friend; we just have to avoid making foolish mistakes. 

My Sweet Serenity

The most beautiful sunset I’ve ever seen is at the beach. I can't compare its radiance and splendid beauty to the sunsets in the mountains. But definitely love the sunrise in each summit climbs I've done in Asia. I love how the ocean sits still as the colors fill the sky with blended colors of pink, indigo, red, and orange colors. Then the ocean breeze swifts softly in the air as you smell and taste its glory. As you sit there by the shore, with your feet digging deeper in the sand and your fingers play with the sand. The birds fly high as small crabs crawl by. These are the moments I thank God that I'm alive. I guess my love for the ocean is undeniable. 

The ocean is a part of all of us. It makes the world a wonderful place to live in. Let's keep it clean, protect its life, and share its wonders. 

Have fun and be safe ^__^

Do you want more adventure?
If you still have one more day to spare why not go to Oslob and see the famous whale shark or also known as "Butanding."

Where am I going next?
My next adventure is to Boracay, the island that never sleeps.

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