My vacation in the Philippines is almost over. By noon tomorrow, I will be at the NAIA’s Terminal 3 dragging my suitcase to the check-in counter and hoping that the its weight does not exceed my baggage allowance. Although most of the time, I don’t care if it does. If I have to pay extra for the excess weight, I would, as long as I have my Manapla puto, my dulce gatas, my hopia and all my other baons to Seoul in that huge maleta!And on my last afternoon, I met with my former assistants Amy and Jenelyn at the Mall of Asia in Pasay City. I really don’t like huge malls; just too much people. There’s just one place I like in this mall: that alley by the south wing where they sell bibingkas and other local delicacies.
After shopping and enjoying our bibingkas, we headed to the mall’s Seaside Boulevard for one reason: to catch the Manila Bay sunset. When I was still working in Manila, I’d usually catch the sunset from an office window or while I was passing through Roxas Boulevard. It was just one glance and that was it. I guess I took it for granted. One of the most spectacular sunsets in the world, that is.
And today, my last afternoon in Manila, I just needed to take a glimpse once more of that spectacular sight of the sun setting on the bay.
And so, along with a few hundred people strolling, sitting and relaxing by the bayside, where there were a few rides for kids and a few statues that pay homage to the Filipino professionals, Amy, Jenelyn and I waited for sundown. I wasn’t sure if I was the only one in that area who was excited about the time passing. I shouldn’t be actually rushing time as I would have to leave home again, and be away from friends and family once more. But I think all these years, I am used to that arrangement already.
A tourist boat roaming the Manila Bay, a few birds flying above and clouds by the horizon completed the picture. No wonder people flock to Manila Bay at this time of the afternoon. From Manila’s Baywalk area to the Cultural Center of the Philippines Complex, and down to our spot, hundreds must also be sitting along the boulevard facing the horizon, not just eagerly awaiting for the same moment, but also enjoying a picture of serenity the bay offers at this time of the day.
Finally, the sun was finally nearing the horizon, which was now turning red, and the sun getting bigger but sinking. A huge, circular orange-red ball of light slowly dipping down past the straight line of the horizon with its colors reflecting on the waters below it and the darkening skies above it. This was the experience I took for granted before. This was the experience I missed.
At this moment, all eyes must have been fixed towards the horizon just like mine; but not everyone was trying to remember this sight and experience like it was their last. Unlike me, they can always come here tomorrow or any day they want; I could not. They can always walk towards the bay and watch one of the most spectacular sunsets in the world any afternoon they want.
But for me, at least for now, this had to do and had to be…my last Manila Bay sunset.