"a caterpillar doesn't just grow into a butterfly. a caterpillar must undergo metamorphosis, and a cocoon is where a caterpillar risks it all: enters total chaos, undergoes total rebuilding, and is born to a new way of living. only in taking the risk of entering that inert cocoon can the caterpillar go from dormancy to potency, from ugliness to beauty."

Sunday, April 22, 2012

babuyan memories, part 2: post travel thoughts of a starlit sky admirer

♪ and when the night wind starts to sing a lonesome lullaby
it helps to think we're sleeping underneath that same big sky ♪
-- lyrics, somewhere out there

a date with sunset, bonfire under the full moon, and falling asleep lulled by the stars | memories of a starlit sky admirer

somewhere out there, on an island in the luzon strait, past the rarely calm 40-or-so-kilometer wide babuyan channel that isolates it from mainland luzon, was where i stood watching this year's good friday sunset. i was, at that moment, an adventurer feeling at home on the cozy white sand beach of naguilian, a barangay off the beaten track along the southwestern cove of camiguin norte -- the island.

where is camiguin norte island? there!

the sun gloriously tainted the late afternoon sky with orange and spilled it further on the blue seawater and on the shore. the sight of awesome warm colors hitting the cove was made even more beautiful by the captivating view of nearby pamoctan (also pamuktan in ilocano) island, which is actually a lava dome. it defined a charming lumpy silhouette as the sun went down the horizon.

the summer sunset in naguilian

it was a beautiful summer sunset -- the sun giving a perfect adieu, bursting a fantastic dose of orange hues before leaving the sky dark and ready for the next spectacle. i'm grateful that i was there. my seven travel buddies -- kat, mati, bren, sherelle, bryan, yanyan, and jb -- and our three boatmen were also there. they, too, experienced the beautiful summer sunset. they, too, had a date with the sunset like i did. we were there, a good 3.5-hour boat trip away from the mainland, a challenging expanse of sea separating us from the known and the familiar.

i took comfort in the beauty of that sunset and in the tranquil country ambience of naguilian. it was a good moment to be just there, allowing the good vibes to soak in, hearing the music of the waves, feeling the gentle motions of the wind, and knowing that -- in that isolated place -- i wasn't alone. how i wish i had the ability to capture all that in pictures. even my words are not enough.

naguilian beach and the sunset

the beach of naguilian is very gently sloping and is all sand for quite a stretch so running to the water and getting soaked, taking a swim, is relatively safe. particularly when the waves are just right, the sight is really tempting. i had no immunity to that temptation so i took a dip just as daylight was already quickly fading; yanyan did, too. i befriended the waves, floated on my back, felt the clear seawater. above me, the stars were already starting to appear.

i soon went back to the shore and helped in tending our campfire; feeding it with dried twigs, driftwood, and dead leaves. i had a personal stake in that fire -- not only did i need the warmth after allowing myself to be soaked, i was also the one who successfully started it using flint and steel. naturally, i felt inclined to be one of its prime guardians, to keep it going, and to see it last for as long as our group needed it.

taking advantage of the remaining natural light in the horizon, we did jumpshots -- ourselves registering as silhouettes in the pictures, with pamoctan island and the boat also as silhouettes. it was fun and a fitting activity for draining excess energy prior having dinner under the starlit sky, with the night wind blowing some sand onto our food, haha. the moon soon rose, so full and bright -- illuminating the boat and everything else. it looked so big and moonlight seemed to be everywhere. i thought of taking pictures but i did not bother bringing out my camera anymore. i committed everything to memory instead -- the bonfire, the conversations, the hustle bustle around our temporary camp until the last one standing, so to speak, called it a night.

somewhere out there -- in the babuyanes -- lies that beach where we once slept while the stars and the full moon kept their watch. i remember spreading my sleeping bag in full view of that big sky and it was comfortable, felt right. i remember sleeping, my spirit at home and calmed after humming songs and watching the stars to my heart’s content.

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