|Circa 2009. DB and friends soaking under the glistening waves of Puka Beach in Boracay|
Here is Boracay. With its fine white sand caressing every sinew and crevice, daring the half-asleep senses as it dances in the midst of the night naked, tempting. There’s not much difference. Same bunch of sun worshippers under the veil of punching heat, crocodile tooth sold by some native, banging hotels in their shrieking glamour, Jonah’s lustful vanilla and mango fruit shake – the endless cabal of sweet midsummer high noon dreams.
Three years ago I made a pact along the coastline of Puka Beach, the one found at the northern tip of Boracay. In its magnificent afternoon, as the quiet air of salt sashays to the gentle whisper of waves, I dared said: “I will return to you, and when I do, I’ll have another hand in me, walking with me, admiring with me the beauty and peace that you are.”
There’s something in it, although I could not pin point which exactly. Could be the excruciating choice of words that underscored such naivety. Or the much cheesiness and craze put. Or both. I just got out from college that time. You should’ve seen how my eyes blinked and sparkled like everything would just melt away on my command.
In the span of time after that little scene, I’ve been everywhere I never imagined. Thought I could hung the moon, but no. All I had were blurring tears as I watched the night sky bleed into agonizing defeat.
There came a time when all I want is to burn down the entire province of Tarlac. Even Cavite, not minding the fact that once I used to shake hands with its former governor Ayong Maliksi and once its sturdy vice Johnvic Remulla. All the people in it, with dear ones most notably from Imus.
In Ilocos I watched the rituals of the dead, ran naked along its wild rivers and jumped high enough to reach the billowing skies of Pagudpud. Thought I could hide from there, away from the past that attempted the defining of my person. I couldn’t.
Years after, I stand within the same precipice. In the same coastline where the sun meets the horizon, I found my hands still empty, face over the warm weather. I wonder if I really believed my own words then. I wonder if I really believed that upon return to such beautiful island, I will have that special person who will walk with me along the smashing waves and calm of my life.
It would’ve been a sad tale. Every grain of Boracay’s sand could tell you that. Yet in those jagged peaks of mountains far at the edges of such imploring sea, the strobe lights crisscrossing the night sky and the temporary dragon tattoo in my arms, I found this inexplicable amount of comfort. There is happiness in them that I see.
I remember what Neil Gaiman thought about mirrors in his collection called “Smokes and Mirrors.” He said mirrors are amazing things. That they appear to tell the truth. That when you set a mirror correctly, it will lie so convincingly that a things will just appear or disappear in command. I think of that promise I made then to be like of a mirror. It was amazing, yes, but it only appeared to tell the truth.
There was a truth I once believed that upon meeting that special person I so long for, there will be far greater pleasure of the beauty set before my eyes. Now, I’ve come to run wild along the sharp edges of the island half-naked, laughing, dancing, swearing and cursing. There are sand castles, bonfires and torches of fire and bongos banging wildly in familiar Jamaican beat. There are no words spoken. Sounds are everywhere but there’s a certain quiet that lurks. And then within the rhapsodic air of the island, I heard a promise that was made, one that I shall keep and ponder about until the time when once again the blinding ball of sun returns in its glorious summer skies.