20 October 2014

The Island of Living Lights

There was a time in my life when I only existed in darkness. Follow the light, people would tell me. And for some time, I spent my days chasing the sun. I even crossed oceans for it.

My pursuit of sunny days one day brought me to a gorgeous little island of Calaguas nestled at the edge of the Pacific. I knew I had come to the right place when after almost a half a day of voyage on both land and sea, the boat I was on finally hit the shore. The crystal waters and fine white sand that welcomed our fleet left me almost speechless.

On that island, it was bright everywhere. Wherever we went, light followed. It was there in the sky, turning golden against our sea-drenched skins. It was there under our feet, fine white sand, glistening under the daylight. It was there in the mornings, waking me up with its playful rays, peeking through the little netted window of the tent where I slept. I would go out to greet it, but I would see it bashfully hiding behind a tall field of grass. And it was there, watching majestically from a distance as we trekked up a hill where at the end waited the most glorious display of nature I’ve ever seen in my young life. Everything was in a perfect hue of red, green, and golden. I sat there at what felt like the edge of the world, feeling distant from everything, feeling thankful. Utterly thankful.

I prayed the light to inundate all of me.

This island had stripped me of everything I ever thought was invaluable. There, you only had the sun as your light, your words as your network, the sand as your futon, and multi-colored tents as your home. But despite everything I didn't have, I felt complete.

When dusk took away the daylight, you’d think you’d be soon engulfed in darkness. But this wasn't the case at all. From what I have witnessed, while the sun slept, this island was even brighter than ever.

At night, lights are everywhere. They illuminate the sky, falling all around us like diamonds. I must have made a hundred wishes. And they were in the waters too, flickering like blue green jewels. Sometimes the sea would cradle them to shore allowing you a peek upon its beauty. You’d see it there, stars twinkling on the sand, until the waves would crawl up to the shore once more, sheltering them back. Bringing them home where they belong. It was a fleeting second, but you’ll be thankful She showed it to you at all.

But look up. Look around you, and you’ll see gleaming lights wandering the island, too. And these are the best ones. Some you’ll find sitting under the huts, illuminated by the drinks in their hands and good-humored conversations with new found friends. Others stand towering over the soil where they were born, beaming like lighthouses, shedding warmth and light for travelers making their way through. But there are the ones you’ll find sitting in solace by the waters, gazing past the horizon, silenced by their own ruminations. You can hardly recognize any faces, but their love for the sea and this stirring world of fleeting felicities ignite them in the dark—for their hearts are made of tinder.

And you will see them. You will see them so clearly. For they are the iridescent.

Follow the light, people would tell me. So I got a blanket and lay under the stars.

I look at the sky and a vast sea of light hangs so low above it seems like I can almost touch them. It was like seeing the universe unraveled so generously before me. It all seemed too beautiful to be real. But in that moment, it was. It was all real.

“It is on moments like this,” my friend tells me, “when the world makes you feel so insignificant.” I understood what she meant, and in that understanding, we felt infinite.

But lying under that endless blanket of stars, I suddenly felt a wave of empathy so overwhelming it was almost loneliness. Watching over all the humans of the world, witnessing the great things we can feel and achieve, I bet the stars would sometimes feel insignificant, too. And in many ways than one, in sharing that moment, in sharing that melancholic feeling of belonging, it felt like we were one of them. We were one of the stars.

Follow the light, people would tell me. So I did.


  1. Your photos are beautiful! Thank you for sharing! And your words are beautiful too. ☺

    1. And thank you for reading! And for all your kind words. :)