Matanglawin: Fun in the Sun!

By Grace Sucgang, Multimedia Producer, Matanglawin

Posted at Mar 27 2012 10:12 AM | Updated as of Apr 02 2012 06:57 AM

Summer’s around the corner and even Kuya Kim and Melai are ready to have fun and get wet! But before that here are their summer tips and trivia to make sure you’re all set!


As Kuya Kim says, don’t be fooled by all the fun that summer has to offer, because beneath all that, there are still many dangers! 

While he is searching for creatures that live underwater, Melai goes off to Batangas for her own Matanglawin adventure to try out swimming, kayaking and even windsurfing!

The sun is out. The waves are inviting. But before you plunge in, what are some stuff worth knowing?

Summer Tip 1: Apply sun block with enough SPF to last you through the day.

Have you ever wondered what those three letters on sunblock lotions and sunscreens stand for? SPF or Sun Protection Factor acts like a barrier between the harsh ultraviolet (UV) rays of the sun and your skin. Kuya Kim and dermatologists recommend a higher SPF applied once every so often to prevent the over-darkening of the skin and possibly skin cancer…

But wait, how exactly does the sun darken our skin? Our skin has chromatophores and melanin which react to the UV rays of the sun. The more melanin the skin has, the darker the skin gets…however, it doesn’t mean that the lighter you are, the safer your skin is!

The safest time to go out onto the beach is between 9 AM to 3 PM because that’s when the sun radiation is at its lowest. Umbrellas and shades are fin but remember, UV can bounce on the water and still get you!

Summer Tip 2: When stung by a jellyfish, use vinegar, not pee.

You see it in the movies. You hear it from urban legends and stories. But how true is it that pee can be a temporary cure for jellyfish stings?

Kuya Kim busts this myth by saying that it’s acetic acid that counteracts the basic chemicals present in jellyfish stings and not uric acid that’s found in pee. What’s more, pee may actually bring more harm than good because of the bacteria that may infect the victim’s wounds! And it’s about time too because Melai happened to become one of the average 150 million sting casualties per year!

But what makes jellyfish stings so alarming? For one thing, one ounce of jellyfish venom has the ability to kill 60 people in around four minutes. That’s worse than the statistics found for scorpions and snakes!

Another animal to look out for include the blue-ringed octopus, which is the third most deadliest sea creature on the planet.

Summer Tip 3: Sink or swim? It all depends on how you keep your cool.

When Kuya Kim does something dangerous, he’s always calm and collected; because when you panic, that’s where the trouble starts!

The same goes for when your leg suddenly cramps up and you feel like you’re about to drown. One thing you could do is keep still and put your arms near your sides so you can float like a beach ball. This saves a lot of energy you will need to get back to shore or at least wait for rescue. If you have a strong feeling you can still swim and all you need is a little stretching, Melai advises that you pull your toes towards you to get your circulation going.

Some beach casualties occur because people don’t realize that fighting waves or rip currents is very difficult and exhausting. So what do you do when you find yourself drifting out into the sea? The most practical route to follow back to shore is a diagonal path, this way, you don’t fight the currents as much and you still move towards the target.

Summer Tip 4: Sharks and stingrays? No way!

There are at least 75 shark attacks per year. However, in the Philippines, it’s very rare for people to get eaten or attacked by sharks. The same goes for stingrays, despite the news that came out in 2006 when Australian “Crocodile Hunter” Steve Irwin was impaled by a stingray.

The best thing to do would be to avoid breeding and feeding grounds and if you don’t want to attract their attention, best not to smell of blood unlike the shark fest that happened in 1945 where almost 600 people were feasted on by sharks!

Summer Tip 5: Hand signals…be in the know.

When underwater, it’s obvious that no one will be able to hear your calls for help. So how do you communicate? Before diving, it’s a must that you get someone to teach you basic hand signals. Even an animal expert like Kuya Kim needed a refresher course when he dove deep into a tank full of stingrays, sharks and other sorts of fish so his safety can be assured by the diver that accompanied him.

Summer Tip 6: Lifeguards are your friends.

Back in the 1800s, lifeguards used to wear suits out of wool that weighed as much as eight coconuts when wet. This greatly decreased their performance in saving people so lifesaving evolved into what we see today. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that all lifeguards are like those in the movies though, because all that matters is how they react when someone’s in danger! Like Gregory Pratlong, the fastest lifeguard who can respond in as quickly as 45 seconds!

There’s more to learn about summer but Kuya Kim and Melai won’t keep you waiting. So until then, keep these tips in mind when you’re off to the beach for some well-earned swimming!

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