Yes, I believe I can fly. But unlike R. Kelly, I don’t believe I can touch the sky. Ha-ha-ha!
(Mount Silay from afar)
Thanks to the Wright Brothers and to the thousands of aircraft manufacturers, everyone can indeed fly! And when I ride these flying machines, I make sure I get a window seat especially if the scenery down below is a must-see.
One of my most memorable flyovers was the one over Mount Fuji on my way back to Seoul from Tokyo. I had only seen Mt. Fuji on textbooks and postcards when I was little. On that flight, I could not believe that I was actually flying over the iconic mountain. I hope someday, I can get close and personal with Fuji-yama on foot, and not from Seat 3A. Ha-ha-ha!
(The uninteresting Victorias Coliseum. Ha-ha-ha!)
Today, I wasn't flying over a mountain. I was flying over haciendas, villages, rivers and a city I am so familiar with. Mine.
(Victorias City. Do you
recognize some obvious structures?)
From the Bacolod-Silay Airport, the airport in the Philippines that has the most picturesque view, my domestic flight to Manila took off and from my window seat, I enjoyed the passing scenery of haciendas or plantations of sugarcane in patches of different shapes, rivers and Mount Silay from afar.
(Why the murky beaches today?)A few minutes out, and I could see my hometown (or homecity?), Victorias, which actually looked like a small settlement of reddish brown-colored rooftops and trees. The most recognizable structures were the Catholic and Mormon churches, the city's main commercial arcade, that supermarket after Taytay Baho (which literally means, 'Smelly Bridge' that crosses over a smelly river of waste water coming from Victorias Milling Company millsite), and most eerie, the public cemetery, which looks like a huge collection of white blocks northeast of the city.
Far from the city proper, I could recognize the Victorias Coliseum, which I have never set foot on. Why? Because it's freakin' very far from the city proper. I'm not interested in visiting it anyway.
And while the plane was flying out of the Negros Island, only then that I realized the waters by the coastal areas were that murky. Was it because of too much silt? It looked brownish and cloudy. Hmm. And to think I used to enjoy swimming on those beaches when I was a kid.
And while we were cruising over the Visayan Sea and Jintotolo Channel, I spotted paradise! Gosh, I wished that Victorias was just a short boat-ride from this islet with white sand beaches! I wonder who lives there! Or more important, who owns it? But it looks like it's closer to the Panay Island then Negros though.
I think it's fun naming the topography from your window seat if you know your geography very well. During my junior days working in Makati City, Philippines, I was sent to the field alone. I was to fly from Manila to land at San Jose. I was so confident of my knowledge of Philippine geography that I was so confused when the plane started its descent after only about 20 minutes. I could not believe that the flight from Manila to San Jose, Antique, was that short. I didn't know that I wasn't bound for San Jose, Antique; I was bound for San Jose, Mindoro. Ha-ha-ha! Luckily, I made it to my final destination, the Semirara Island, after making one more flight on a very small plane (from the San Jose, Mindoro domestic airport) which I think could only hold four people, including the pilot.
(My in-flight snacks!)
And today, I wasn't flying on that single-engine plane with a very bumpy ride and a limited number of seats. With more than a hundred passengers on this flight and with my own Manapla puto as in-flight snacks, I continued to enjoy the view from my window seat.
(Who owns this islet? Notice the white sand beaches!)
So, the next time I book a plane ticket, I guess I'd be choosing a window seat and be singing R. Kelly's song again.
"I believe I can fly....I believe I can touch the sky....I think about it every night and day...spread my wings and fly away..."