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· Volume III Issue I

Behold! The moon illuminating a sea of white clouds from the vast panorama above is a spectacle to delight in this warm night. After a hard day’s work, what better way to enchant a forlorn heart than to gaze at the horizon and be amazed at God’s spectacular creation. 

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The moon tonight rekindles fond memories of my childhood days, back when Mama was still around. The breaking of the dawn for me as a child heralds a long walk with my family, siblings alongside our two carabaos underneath the bright, stellar heavenly body. It was as if a day of toiling in the cornfield was nothing as long as we are all together as family trudging our way as the moon lights our long and winding road.  

I vividly remember how my older brother and I would poke fun with the moon saying in our native dialect, “Vulan, habulam mu ikkami!”(Moon, chase us!). Then, we would start scurrying. With all the innocence of a child with hardly any capacity to read and write yet, my older brother and I were so quick to believe that the moon was chasing us in our direction, while our sweet little sister was happily watching us.  

I remember how the outstretched mountains of Sierra Madre filled with towering trees, birds tweeting, bees buzzing and the likes would create echoes every time we shout our names at the peak of our voices into the thin air, and then we would do it again, again and again as if there was no tomorrow. Those echoes (experiences) of yesteryear still resound and are music to my ears.  

I recall how my siblings and I would willingly bathe our carabaos and at the same time “plunge and play” as we cross the other side of the river—while Mama and Papa were undaunted if their clothes get wet while crossing. For after a minute or so, we are already home.

I remember the countless nights when we used to play native games like “sampiter”, “sigay lata”, “vumvulan”, “sinnurussukan” and “ginnarafutan” with the children our age in the neighborhood underneath the moonlight. (I believe children who were born in the 80’s and early 90’s are aware of these evening games.) Needless to say, I rarely see children of this age and time of modern technology play these games anymore. If only they know what they are missing.

I miss those times of harvest season when Mama and Papa would carry my younger sister and I while we were deep asleep and bring us to the rice field and later on found ourselves cocooned in the comfort of a cave-like haystack. When awakened by the coldness of the early morning breeze, my younger sister and I would play in the haystack sliding and chasing each other to and fro tirelessly. Then, we would create our own improvised house out of a haystack unmindful of the itchiness it would cause us while our parents were busy harvesting just near us.

I also miss those times when we used to catch spiders and at the same time pick ripe bayabas (guava fruit) and mansanita (kerson fruit) along the way underneath the moonlight, and when we reached the side of the calm, crystal-clear river, we would pick pebbles and artistically stone them one-by-one to create ripples. When was the last time I visited the river near us? And when was the last time I ate guava and kerson fruit? 

Those days were awesome! I wish I could turn back the hands of time.  

I realized that it was during those typical childhood days that I learned about the importance of simplicity, creativity, friendship, leadership, resourcefulness and camaraderie to mention a few.  

Also, it was during those days that I never fretted about the oil price hike, rampant mining, illegal logging, extra-judicial killings, bad-mouthing leader(s) of the country, incessant fight against drugs and human trafficking. 

Sigh. Childhood days! No so much demand. Just a life enjoyed in simplicity. But then again, life is not meant to be like that. We have to live in agreement with nature. 

I may have wandered lonely as a cloud in this noisy confusion of life, the moon still never fails to delight me with all its beauty, grace and grandeur. And despite all the skyrocketing advancement in modern technology, political issues, social media trolls from people of diverse views and opinions in the society and now the ominous effect of the COVID-19 pandemic which beset us all, the moon’s radiance remains a balm in my anxious and preoccupied mind.  

At times in life, we are so busy finding what truly makes us humans happy. In our quest for “real happiness”, we (sometimes) lose sight of what is truly essential, of what truly matters —not realizing that it’s just in front of us, waiting for us to discover and appreciate. As Ralph Waldo Emerson put it in his poem The Rhodora, “Tell them, dear, that, if eyes were made for seeing/ Then beauty is its own excuse for Being.” 

Our life here on earth, just like the moon, shall soon wane. So we have to enjoy every moment of it by creating memories that will last a lifetime. 

My reminiscence and constant musings eventually stopped when I heard Papa call my name for dinner.