It was around four o'clock that afternoon. My skin was burnt from the sun rays over the Sulu sea. Aliguay Island was a stunner. Pink Sand? You got it! As the boat slowly docked on the port in Dapitan, Zamboanga Del Norte, suddenly, i begin to ponder more and more how blessed i was to be able to set foot in this province and discover all the wonders it posses.
I rallied myself to prepare for my trip to Dipolog. I packed my stuff, hit the shower and checked all my stuff inside the room to see if i left something. It's still a few hours away from Dapitan, and i wanted to watch the sun set from the boulevard. I lit a cigarette and waited for tricycle that i could hire to bring me to the next municipality. I watched for the very last time, this beautiful scene from the boulevard. I don't know how it happened, but somehow the beauty of the place have magnetized me to stay still for a few minutes, like i'm waiting for something to happen.
I sat for a bit.
Two little kids started to walk pass by me. The little boy was accompanied by his older sister. Their faces, burnt too from the heat of the day. They're obviously from a poor family, stricken by poverty. Their tattered shirts must have been overused and ready to retire, still, they wear it proudly like it's their Sunday's best. The little boy started to come closer to where i was. He was looking at my little camera hugged tightly by a chest strap. I smiled and looked at this little boy whose amazement cannot be contained. I wanted to take a photo of him and show him how powerful this gadget is. His sister looked at me, emotionless, and tucked her little brother to her shoulder.
As the two of them slowly fade away from where my eyes could see, i begin to wonder what their actions meant. I could ponder that these two kids were actually too shy to ask for a few pennies. Maybe, they're hesitant because i could be a con man and i would hurt them. A few minutes later, i saw the sister grabbing a few spare coins from her pocket and bought her little brother a cone of ice cream. They continued to walk.
Of all places, i was surprised to see someone selling a broom near the ocean. I would reckon it's possible that this man came from the market and eager to sell his wares. He looked very, very tired. His eyes looked of worries, of desperation, of helplessness. I looked at him, but he didn't look back at me. A few people have passed by and he would say a few words convincing them to buy his broom. He stops every now and then to fix his wares. His shoulders falling from the dozen brooms held by a bamboo husk. He sat in one of the concrete benches a few meters away from me in the boulevard. He looked at nothingness. He wipes his sweat from his forehead. His white shirt, dirty from the dirt of the broom. I was staring at him. I couldn't tell myself to look else where. After a few minutes, he stood up and fixed his wares again. He stretched his left arm and begin to hook the bamboo husk strap to his shoulders. His brooms are ready to be sold again.
I managed to get up and walk for a bit. This might be the last time i will see Dapitan and the ocean from this side of Zamboanga Del Norte. It was just too damn beautiful to miss. It was around half past five already. Still, i didn't feel the pressure to leave. I waited a while and saw these fishermen plowing their seeds of hardwork. I walked towards them and managed to take this photo. I wished i could have come closer but i didn't want to disrupt their business. Everybody in this group was doing his part of the business. Each and every muscle moving, each and every finger up to pick up the net, and each and every sweat falling from their foreheads - all of which appeared to be slowed down by time and place.
These are real stories from real people. I figured, right at that moment, i was destined to be sitting where i was. I could be somewhere else, and doing all the extreme stunts an adventurous soul would do, yet i sat in that concrete bench where i could see, hear, and feel. Their stories aren't about the highest mountains or the deepest sea. For my first story in Mindanao, i could have written something wild, adventurous and wacky. But i felt, i had to relieve this story here. All of a sudden, the outstanding view of Aliguay Island became nothing compared to that afternoon spent along Rizal Boulevard in Dapitan.
I could fly, trek, be held by extreme adventure but my mind will always be wandering and pondering on the real essence of life. That, i think is the reason why i am destined to travel.