"WERE you the one who sent the link?" I wrote on dive buddy Czaldy's chat window when a link popped up there that read: "www.magicbastos.com".
With such a URL address, you will never know what kinky stuff would pop up.
Czaldy confirmed it was him. He would later relate that another friend asked if the link he sent was a porn site.
Czaldy was announcing the scheduled arrival of a visitor he met through the ubiquitous travel site, couchsurfing.com, Bastos.
Forgive his name, it was only when he arrived in the Philippines when he realized that nickname means something else. But then, Philippines has people going by the nickname of Dick and Bimbo...
Bastos's real name is Bastien Perret. He is a French sportsman who was so much into skiing and surfing and just about anything until a kite-surfing crash in May 2005 that left him wheelchair bound.
"After the accident, I had to spend three months to heal," he said over dinner and beer on his last night in Davao City last July 17.
After three months, he was back on the saddle... okay, make that "board", as he joined the 4x4 FTT disabled trek in Tunisia.
The guy who went by the nickname Bastos for his first 27 years "standing" has resolved to be Magic Bastos and go around the world to spread hope on those who are similarly disabled.
And he chose not just to go around to speak, he likewise took on a sport that will not need his legs -- like wakeboarding, and (believe it or not) skiing.
For the five years that he has been forced to a wheelchair, he has specialized in seat free ride skiing in the winter and wake boarding in the summer.
In 2007, he "hiked" up Kilimanjaro for the broadcast program "Beyond the Limits" on TF1, the biggest French channel.
In 2008, his group organized a ski touring expedition in Argentina, and in 2009, he visited over 50 cable ski resorts in Spain, Germany, Italy, Croatia, and France.
He has been testing his limits, and going beyond it, even on his wheelchair as he went on a descent on ski on the North Face of la Plagne Bellecote (a freeride route that is popular in France). He placed first among disabled skiers in the Derby of Meije in 2007 and went heli-skiing in Italy in the same year.
He became the first French participant in the XGames skiercross (seat-based) in Aspen, USA in 2009, was vice world champion of water ski among the differently-abled and the French champion on seat-based wakeboard and cable ski in the same year.
"Passionate about traveling, sport and adventure, the wheelchair doesn't stop me from living my life at 200%," he wrote in the flyer about the Magic Bastos Tour.
That's the reason why he arrived in Davao last July 14, to try out wakeboarding at Deca Wake in Tacunan, Mintal District. Before that, he was at the wakeboarding park in Batangas and then flew out from Davao last July 18 to try the Camarines Sur Watersports Center.
Bastien counts himself lucky for having a supportive family, who was all behind him as he recuperated and then launched onto this new vocation.
He also enjoys the perks of being a citizen of the developed world. He works only during winter as rescue operations coordinator of a French ski resort. That's enough to go around the rest of the year, wakeboarding and encouraging the disabled.
He used to go around with a friend who would not just assist him but also translate for him since he's French. But this latest world tour is all by himself.
"I found out that it's better to be by yourself because you get to meet more people and learn English," he said.
"My English was terrible and I had my friends translate for me, but when you are with friends you are confined to their company and you only get to meet a few people since you have to go around with your friends," he added. "Now I am getting better at English."
Although he came prepared to hack it on his own, he was most grateful for the unexpected generosity of those he met here, giving special mention to Deca Wake whose manager provided a lot of extra assistance for him.
Back to hacking it on his own, Bastien has a custom-made wheelchair, the wheels of which can be detached and the body folded so that he can ride a cab or some other vehicle with the least assistance.
His visit is part of the six-month, eight-country, five-continent Magic Bastos (Solo) World Tour.
He thought of embarking on such after his participation in the Olympic Extreme Sports Games in 2009 allowed him to meet so many contacts from all over the world.
The tour started in June 2010 and will end on November 30, 2010.
On his itinerary is cable skiing and cable wakeboarding.
While doing this to show the world that it can be done even by the differently-abled, he intends to search out differently-abled persons who have "accomplished amazing things" to back up his contention that the differently-abled persons can be do incredible things as well.
"To prove that nothing is impossible. After a serious accident, we can continue to life our dreams even if were in a wheelchair," he wrote in his world tour flyer. By doing such, he is able to spread dreams to both the differently-abled and the able persons "by giving them courage to take their lives in their own hands."
Bastien didn't just take his injured life in his own hands he shook this by its very foundation and made it march to his tune albeit on a wheelchair and he is out there, going around in his world tour to show the world and as many differently-abled lives he can touch, to say, it can be done.
Bastien's website and blogs about his adventures can be accessed through www.magicbastos.com, just let the Internet translate the pages for you because it is in French.