Six Filipinas brave the open waters and swam 22kms from Siliman Beach to Siquijor Island, known as the Tañon Strait, to celebrate women’s month and promote environmental awareness.
Ocean6 comprises of 6 women from Dumaguete – Maru Rodriguez, Dr. Frances Yap, Sheila Omaguing, Flom Barot-Datoy, and sisters Ching and Monique Furbeyre.
These women are no athletes but your regular, average, modern Filipina.
Sheila Omaguing, who only learned how to swim when she turned 40, shares the belief along with her teammates, that any woman can conquer their dreams.
“We want women to feel empowered. We are not athletes. We are your average working women. If we can do it, anybody can,” said Monique Furbeyre.
Last year they swam from Sibulan, Negros Oriental reaching Santander, Cebu in three hours and 20 minutes covering a distance of 6.4 km.
Their goal this year was to match the record of Ingemar Macarine, known as the Pinoy Aquaman. He swam last 2017 from Dumaguete to Siquijor – a distance of about 25 km.
Dangers in the open waters
Rough waves, sharks, and barracuda attacks are just some of the risks that these women face swimming out to their goal. Siquijor waters are known for hammerhead sharks and aggressive barracudas.
Furbeyre said, “When you swim in open water, anything can happen. You can encounter fish that can harm you, creatures that can attack. But when you’re there, you don’t think about that anymore. I guess your fear disappears when you’re with a group,”
Though they were fortunate enough not to have any encounters with barracudas and sharks, they were a lot of jellyfish resulting in a number of rashes among them.
To inspire and protect
Being the first all-female group to cross the Tañon Strait, Ocean6 hopes to inspire women to believe in themselves, that they can do anything they set their mind to.
Crossing the strait, they have also encountered a great deal of trash. Because of this experience, they would like to raise awareness of our waters by promoting the conservation and protection of the ocean and coastal areas.
Photo source: Ocean 6