Stumbled on this photo tonight. It was as rare and perfect a day as they come.

June 7th, 2011, 4pm

Has it already been three years?

Our British dive videographer called this place, with characteristic Britishness, “the ass end of beyond,” - far away from civilization, right in the middle of the big blue Sulu Sea. Click on the map and you’ll see nothing but blue, just like we did. We were filming at Tubbataha Reef, the crown jewel of Philippine diving, where this love affair with the ocean began.

On our second day out —- the day after I turned 26 —- circumstances conspired to strand us for a few hours on this perfect white sandbar that the Park Rangers call home. I was done filming all I could there, so I walked, and I walked, across this seemingly endless stretch of shallow water, watching the rainclouds gather in the distance. Where I was standing though, everything was still perfect.

Behind me, there was a girl. She was making me laugh. She took the picture.

You sometimes end up marking your life out as before and after a fateful day, and that day was one of them.

The rains did come, eventually, but I’ll always remember that perfect day.

Shu, Christine and David Wade said thanks.

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Aaron Palabyab

Filmmaker. MNL and the world.

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