Anna Santos


It's been a year since my first dive into the Davao's Deep. My first ocean plunge, I did out of curiosity, but my second leap, I did out of bravery.

Honestly, I don’t know how to swim. So I am not supposed to be called a diver, right? But yet, scuba diving has become one of my greatest challenges wrapped up in my own adventures.

My dad has loads of stories of my misfortunes since the time I learned to walk. My mini adventures and the peculiarity attached to each mess, like falling from a tree, tripping over to a filthy canal, crashing my bicycle, and even my hairpin electrocution continued to amuse me as my dad used to jokingly unearth the memories. 

I love the beach when I was a kid, and I couldn’t count the times I almost drowned, turtle-turned by the waves as it brushed the shoreline. And my dad, who spent half his lifetime traveling the sea, was my first knight in shining swimsuit that saved me off my first taste of E.coli-infested, unsterilized, undrinkable salt water. Yet I never dared to learn swimming beyond the capacity and the height of my undersize legs. I hated the tan acquired from swimming as I was already dark in the first place. Hence not even a formal swimming class could convince me from learning.

Except for the backstroke I discovered I am capable of, I grew up swimming only till up to my neck and never over my head. I only have guts. Yes, guts! So as daring as the daring duck, I dive through my first journey underneath the earth’s ocean. After all, if you have the scuba gear (Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus), who needs swimming huh? I can breathe. I thought smugly.
Unluckily, I learned my first underwater lesson the hard way. I let my mouthpiece fall off after a big wave hit on us! I was in the state of shock and drowning myself with questions. How am I going to breathe?! That’s my life line, right? How am I going to put that mouthpiece back in my mouth without the water? 

I was already at 20 feet below sea level. I don’t know how to swim back to the top without breathing. In that very brief seconds of holding my breath, questions came as fast as the strokes of waves. My oxygen-deprived brain couldn’t even help me figure out the hand signal for “problem”. So I struggled like I’d die for my life. My expert diving partner, sensing the urgency, hurriedly ascended me to the top just one push-button from my gear. Rescued from my misery, I gasped for air and breathe the ocean breeze. I was so embarrassed and panicked stricken that I noticed my diver looked like my ex who was a swimmer; or was it because I still do not have enough oxygen to feed my brain. I must have drunk seawater that pollutes the mind and got intoxicated. I blushed and whisked it off!

I almost got drowned but I didn’t give up that easily. After a short chat and a quick reminder from my diver, I repeated the whole diving process again like recovering from a fall. This time I had done it successfully, graced the underwater beautifully, until 35 feet. Awkward as it may sound though; I had to hold my diving partner’s hand, as I'd bit my mouthpiece like a line between life and death.

When I did my second dive this year, I’d like to say that good things come out from bad experiences. This time, no more falling mouthpiece, and no more holding hands. I still don’t know how to swim though, but I was more confident. I played with the clown fish, watched the sea snake, and posed for the underwater camera, and enjoyed the wonderful scenery my eyes could lavish. I had a diver with me, still, as “never dive alone” is the general rule. But at least he didn't looked like the ex ex-swimmer of my past as I assured myself no more oxygen-deprived brain that could play tricks on me.

When I fell from the tree, I may had scratched a knee, but I brushed it off and walked through pain, till the pain's gone. I may had made a false move and tripped myself into the canal, but I rose from shame and washed it off. 

Diving can be pretty scary if you don’t know how to swim. Yet it must not stop there. Nothing has to hold you back from exploring your wildest wishes and aspirations, to open your heart to the possibilities and discover who you are, what you want, and what you can do. I’m afraid that life will pass me by if I don’t dare. I will remain at this point forever and I might never get a chance to see the other side of the world had I given up. 

Life is full of possibilities, and nothing is impossible. If it meant climbing a mountain’s peek or doing a Bungee jump to fulfill your heart’s desire and exist for one moment then let it be. Your limitations is all yours to break. 

Go,  dare life!


Anna Santos

Why do people always get the wrong first impression sometimes? They always thought doctors don't have a life, don't have a sense of humor, and just modestly serious. They thought we are one dignified humorless human being.

Why can't doctors be lighthearted, flamboyant, flashy, goofy, loud, ostentatious or swanky? For sure, our society dictates and insists what type of personality we should be acting in a role only a few were granted to have, Gods assistant for healing. For sure too, nobody wants their body to be entrusted to a cuckoo doctor. Of course, doctors have no right to be insane, or be foolish in treating their patients. That's why you can't expect them getting ridiculously comical inside the consultation room or that would be unlikely. I can't imagine laughing it out over an ailment, could you?

But on the contrary, they have the right to laugh and become wacky over themselves. To drink and be merry like normal people does. Outside, when we are not in our white coats, we are just ordinary human being. Who knows, you might see us in Bakbak drinking and laughing, or at K1 singing and dancing and you enjoyed how we make a fool over ourselves, then until such time you find out we are a doctor, you change your mind.

Some doctors become engulf with these silent mandate from the society, they turn out to become sobered and stern. Perhaps in witnessing the magnitude of a disease progression, there was no time to laugh. But hey, after all, this is our life. Life is what we make it, so they say. I hope these type of doctors would remember to laugh again.

I remember med school and how wacky we were out there (yo! Augs Bulai!). Medical students are extended adolescents. We don't mind much since time's not on our side. We didn't have time to write blogs or to go to bars all the time, we had a way of just simply take off the boredom inside school or outside during parties. None of us were working students. How was it possible? We went to school early in the morning till early in the evening, then we studied at night or we party at night (sometimes). Hospital duties were 24 hrs too. Well, what was it to worry except keeping the grades to a passing mark, joking it out when all got the reds (happy valentines day on the grade-posting bulletin board). We were scholars of our parents or a wealthy sponsor, and all we have to do was study, or should I say, cram studying.

So, whenever we are out there with our friends, even to this day, we too act like you. We laugh and play, we quarrel and make up, we also worry about our bills too (not grades now). We can be naughty and mischievous, and cunning or whiny at times. Yet most of all, we longed to spend time with our love ones too, just like all of you.





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