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Jericho’s True Love...Is from Out of Town!
Star Studio, June 2000

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JERICHO ROSALES used to be afraid of water. For some reason, he had always felt he would meet his end in water. “Parang nai-imagine ko lagi malulunod ako...” says Jericho, or Echo, as friends call him. “Feeling ko, kakainin ako ng pating.” Morbid but true.

Like most boys growing up in the city with no real money to afford out—of—town gigs, Echo's sport since he was a kid had always been basketball. That was...until two years ago when knee surgery stopped him from playing his favorite sport.

It was his barkada from Talent Center, Lui Villaluz, who introduced him to surfing. Actually, that first time was just an ordinary trip to the beach--not to get Echo into the sport. But since everyone there turned out be die-hard surfers, Echo felt out-of-place. He was given a surfboard and off he paddled towards the sea.

"Sabi ko lnag, pag nakadama na ako ng takot, babalik na lang ako sa shore," he recalls that very first time. "Pero ewan ko, paddle ako nang paddle, palayo nang palayo, pero parang hindi pa rin ako takot. Nakasabay ako agad with the others."

He can't explain it, but he felt really "at home" with what he was doing. It was as if he'd been into the sport all his life. Echo turned out to be "a natural."

Today, surfing is more than "just a sport" for Echo. "It's an obsession!!!" he says happily. Every free day he has is spent on the beach. When there are no movies, guestings, or rakets, Echo happily maintains a two-day working week: Mondays for Munting Paraiso and Wednesdays for Oka Tokat. From Thursday to Sunday, he disappears from the city and heads to the beach. Ever wonder why he has never figured in a drunken party scandal nor been spotted with a date? Well now you know--Echo's true love cannot be found in Metro Manila.

His favorite surf spots are beaches in Catanduanes, Daet, Kabikulan, Baler, and La Union. He says a lot of people can't imagine Philippine beaches to be surfing havens. Say the word beach and most everyone automatically has visions of peaceful sunsets, tranquil seashores and calm waves. But no, some of our beaches are the best in Asia as far as "mean waves" are concerned.

Echo's most memorable surfing moment was when he was able to stand up and actually ride the wave. "Sigaw ako nang sigaw!," he shares, "Tapos in-is-spread ko ang kamay ko (a la Leonardo diCaprio in Titanic) at sumigaw ng..." He did not continue his sentence, but we're sure he was going to say, "I'm the king of the world!"

Echo's "guru" in surfing is Japanese expert Hiroshi Yokohama, actress Isabel Lopez' husband. Still bearing the status of a beginner, Echo is a constant victim of a "wipe out." That's when the wave "swallows you whole." Sometimes, it causes the board to flip over you, hit you at the back--or on the head (ouch!)--and pushes you into the water.

"Hindi siya joke," reveals the now die-hard surfer. "Ang tindi ng current sa foot nung wave. Para kang nahuhugot palalim nang palalim. Para kang nasa giant washing machine!"

But like a gambler who had just lost, a surfer who's just been "wiped out" is all the more determined to succeed on the next attempt. Suddenly the next wave is a challenge, a vendetta.

There were actually months last year when Echo spent more days on the beach than he did in the city. And several hours of those days were spent surfing. "Kahit gabi na, nagsu-surfing pa rin ako. Eh na-wipe-out ako. Nakakatakot pala sa ilalim ng dagat pag madilim. Nakaka-confuse kung saan ang itaas o ibaba. Tsaka ang hirap tantsahin kung gaano kalalim ka na."

But still, surfing is a sport Echo highly recommends. (Actually, that's "very, very, very highly recommends!") It gives a work out like no other. He claims that paddling alone defines the muscles on his shoulders and chest, and flattens his abs. Maneuvering the surfboard gives him firm leg and thigh muscles. Plus of course, swimming is an effective aero activity. "Enjoy ka na, may exercise ka pa!," Echo notes. 

Another big plus in the sport is the cost. "Hindi masyadong magastos ang surfing. Yung board lang talaga ang gastos mo," says Echo. It's unlike his short-lived former sport, hockey, where the gear alone cost him about P50,000.

"Kahit matanda na ako, hindi ako magsasawa sa surfing!," he declares. "Talagang natanggal niya ang phobia ko sa tubig."

It is obvious that Echo can rave about surfing forever. Then a thought hits him--the downside of surfing. "Yun nga lang, ang itim-itim ko na!," he pauses. "Tsaka walang social life." Another pause. "Tsaka ang hirap sa lovelife."

~ e n d ~


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