“Sailing Off” Into Indonesia

This is the first story under my blog series #SunchildStories, written in honor of the release of my debut album Sunchild.

Sunchild is a reflection of the life I lived while stuck on a remote island in Indonesia during the COVID-19 pandemic. My story begins with a song I wrote 7 years ago: Sail Away.

Unbeknownst to me, I craved for an adventure stripped of the familiar. I wrote the song in 2015 with purely my imagination, but subconsciously I longed to explore the unknown. Little did I know this would happen so literally.

I think it is time

To let go of my past

And build a ship of mine

A deck a wheel a mast

I left for Indonesia in March 2020, shortly after I resigned from my first job. I wanted to focus on creating music with my band The Ransom Collective. But instead, I accepted an offer I could not pass:

I reconnected with a bamboo expert I met in Bali during a bamboo workshop I joined in October 2019 and he invited me to Indonesia to learn about bamboo and sustainability. In exchange, I would help him with his business plan. I was a bit worried that I wouldn’t be good enough as a financial consultant, but I decided to steer my own ship and go solo.

I’ll sail off into the ocean

And dump out all of my tears

Leave it all behind me

To conquer all of my fears

It was scary to be stuck in Indonesia during lockdown because of the uncertainty of going home and my unfamiliarity with the people and the culture, but I was intent on learning about bamboo so that I could apply what I learned to the Philippines. It helped to have a goal in mind as to not get lost in the chaos of the pandemic.

A compass and a map

And my old pirate hat

Oh to the sea I’ll be

That’s where you will find me

It’s just mind blowing how literal the song gets, because even though I am from the Philippines, a country with 7,640 islands, I have never lived by the ocean. But in 2020, I did just that – and for 9 months. To think I flew to Indonesia expecting to be there for only 1 month!

It was truly a blessing to get stuck in Indonesia during the pandemic. Not just because I lived an island life, but because I did something I never thought I’d do – I learned how to surf! And I poured my heart into it too – every board I could try, wave I could paddle for, wipe out I could manage, I would do it. I figured being exposed to all kinds of conditions would help me become a better surfer. And after 3 months, I felt that I could truly surf! Not well of course, but way better than when I was just starting.

I’ll push through every storm

And sew back what was torn

I’ll breathe this endless blue

My beating heart anew

So I kept at it: surfing, learning about bamboo, being independent and discovering myself in my new surroundings… By the end of 9 months, I was so inspired that I wrote so many songs!

And so, I came home to the Philippines in December 2020 to finish writing my album, record my songs, and try becoming a full-time musician for the first time in my life. Not only that, I reflected on my experience and realized that I’ve changed so much since (read: My Indonesian Adventure). As such, I think it is just right to conclude my first story with the bridge of Sail Away:

Don’t you worry about me

I will come back from the sea

Just be patient wait and see

I’ll be back a better me

Wait and see

`Cause I’m going

It’s been an incredible journey, and I cannot wait to share more of my reflections as I continue writing for #SunchildStories here on my website. Stay tuned!

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