Monsoon winds from the south are agitating the waters around the Spanish settlement town of Boljoon. Atop a watchtower, a sentry spots a fleet of pancos outlined against the horizon. He frantically hoists a red flag on a tall bamboo pole. A group of villagers, assigned sentinel duties for the week, shouts “Moros! Moros!” They ring a massive bell at the baluarte and prepare the canons peeking out of the loopholes. Hearing the alarm toll, brawny menfolk mount their armada of wooden sailboats, the balangayes.
With no agenda for the afternoon in Cebu City, road trip buddy Ki and I decide to hop on a southbound Ceres bus. As is my wont, I get a shuteye as the bus cruises out of the city. I open my eyes momentarily, barely catching a glimpse of the famous Carcar rotunda. Hours later, I fully awaken to the enchanting blue of Bohol Strait glistening in the sunlight. The bus is now tracing the coastline of Cebu Island. But we can see the end of the sunny afternoon further south. A compact column of clouds blurs the horizon. It is dumping rain on Bohol, the island next door.
Other than my bedroom, I didn’t have a literal comfort zone – a feel-good place that I’d repeatedly go back to. My fellow transcendental traveler, Ki, knew such a place where he felt “in the zone.” He took to his solitary journeys there like a fish to water.
Overcast, Gothic, Illuminati. No, these are not plot elements of the latest installment in the Da Vinci Code franchise.
One gloomy January day, I attended an Illuminati event at the only Neo-Gothic church in Manila, the Basilica Minore de San Sebastian. From the elevated train, the sight of the church’s twin spires piercing the sunless sky evoked an ominous Gothic atmosphere. Despite the whimsical aquamarine exterior, darkness enveloped my tentative steps as the basilica’s main portal creaked open akin to a filmnoir opening sequence.