Sunday off again, which is a relief as we have all now collected an array of bruises, lost gallons of sweat and spilled some blood.
The intensity of the training continues to increase, but its very rewarding. What we normally do as conditioning and fitness training, back home after we’ve warmed up, is what Steve has us doing at 5am as our pre-stretching warm-ups. Sparring is a lot trickier too when the floor is soaked with sweat!
After Friday morning’s training we got the chance to train with professional firearms combat trainers. These guys train the police and the army in effective and rapid combat response. Davy, of course, went straight for the 45 (the highest calibre handgun) and was essentially our response team leader for our rapid-fire combat drills. The weather was fantastic and it was great fun, although the emphasis was upon responsible gun ownership and use. Incidentally, citizens are allowed to own handguns in the Philippines (within certain parameters), we haven’t come here to train as assassins.
When you work hard you get to play hard, so on Saturday we still got up around 4am and met with Steve, but we also met up with our now familiar friends from Alvin’s family and we hopped on a ferry and went to Samal Island, which is in the large bay of Mindinao just south of Davao City.
Samal Island is known as paradise island, and for a very good reason. As if the tropical conditions in Davao aren’t enough, where you are surrounded by rainforest, and coconuts and various other fruits grow in abundance, Samal Island is surrounded by white coral sands and azure sea. We had a bit of picnic and a swim in the sea before hopping onto a boat that we had chartered to take us round the smaller island adjacent to Samal. Well, you can never have too much of a good thing!
When we got to the smaller island we found a small cove where we could swim for a while and have some mid-morning snacks. Despite being in a secluded cove on a small island, off another island, the people on the only other boat there recognised Steve and had to get their photographs with him before he got a chance to have a splash about in the sea. It was strange to think of the guy that has been training us for the past week and half as being an actual celebrity. Of course, by the time it happened later at the waterfalls we were sort of used to it.
We continued round the island, had a swim at a coral reef (awesome) and more snacks and we finished the day almost as tired as on our normal training days, given the amount of swimming that we had done!
Barely able to stay awake, we still decided to go out for dinner. At the café, the pizza looked like a pretty good choice, but there was only a choice of a slice, or a full pizza. In order to ascertain the size of the pizza to decide whether to get a slice, or go for the whole thing, I asked the girl how big a whole pizza was. “8 slices”, came the response. When I asked again, trying to make my point by gesturing with my hands like a fisherman boasting about his catch, the girl reiterated “8 slices”. Thanks to Alvin we finally agreed on the criteria for defining size so the girl showed us a round tray about 10” across. As that seemed a manageable size of pizza we ordered one each. Little did we know that the 10” tray held a 14” plate holding a 14” pizza! Admittedly they were cut into 8 slices each!