Two Hours Under the Stars

This article was originally published on Footsteps on April 17, 2016.

Nagsasa Cove gave me an opportunity to be alone when what I wanted was a companion to share wonderful moments with in this breathtaking place. Little did I know that everything I needed for an unforgettable experience was already there, just waiting to unfold.

Blister In The Sun

Funny how the most wonderful things happen when you least expect them.

“And then one day, I got over him!” (Angela Chase, My So-Called Life)

I went to Nagsasa Cove with seven other people last February—my mother, my mother’s friend, four of my mother’s friend’s relatives, and my mother’s friend’s daughter’s classmate.

Our ages range between 11 and 62. As I didn’t really know any of them (except my mom), I figured I won’t get to have deep, meaningful conversations, which I loved having every time I visit a beach. That’s why I wasn’t expecting much from this trip aside from being by the beach yet again.

I love the beach. I feel at home whenever I’m near the shore. The ocean always takes me back—back to when all I ever wanted was what I already have. Do you know that feeling? When you’re surrounded by an infinite blue, tall mountains, countless grains of sand, and strangers in bliss, you can’t help but feel like everything you want is already yours, like the possibilities of life are simply endless. You can’t help but feel contentment. You can’t help but be in the moment, completely overtaken with gratitude. And boy did the ocean reward me with that state of mind.

Everglow

“There’s a light that you give me when I’m in shadow. There’s a feeling within me, an everglow.”

Our first stop was Capones Island. Only three of us went down the boat to take a closer look at the island. Imagine that. They didn’t even go down! I was a bit pissed because that means I only have a few minutes to enjoy here when I was expecting to have at least an hour.

I didn’t get to see the Capones Lighthouse, which I was excited about. Our boatmen said it’s on the other side of the island and it’s dangerous to go there. I’m not sure, but I have a feeling they’re just saying that because they’re being lazy. I could walk no matter how long to reach it, but I didn’t have a choice to stay, so that’s the end of it.

To my delight, I did get to see little stones assembled to form a circle reminiscent of the Stonehenge.

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We then spent another hour in the middle of the ocean to reach Nagsasa Cove. It was a delightful hour. The ocean was as blue as what blue looks like in my dreams. The rock formations we saw were magnificent, like nothing I’ve ever seen before. I can’t help but remember the rock formations in El Nido, but the ones in Zambales were a bit darker and silkier than those.

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Since I just got back from Boracay 10 days ago, I didn’t expect much from the sands of Nagsasa. It was gray-ish, but almost as fine as the sands in Boracay, so I was happy about that. The sun was harsh, so we hurriedly settled at a cottage and had lunch. In a few minutes, I was already swimming.

One of my companions was an 11 year old boy. Of course, he was full of energy. His humor was sometimes on point, sometimes off. Either way, he allowed me to be freer and have more fun. It was a blast to see him have the time of his life when I allowed him to use my action cam. At one point, he went underwater and took a selfie while the camera was above water, so we had a good laugh out of that.

We also interacted with some vendors who approached us to sell souvenirs. We bought some key chains and a cellphone holder made of bamboo that somewhat enhances the sound quality of your phone when you place it there. They said they cross the mountains every day (from Subic to Zambales) just to earn a living. The sacrifice of these vendors just to provide for their families is inspiring. What’s even more riveting was that you won’t sense the slightest hint of exhaustion or loneliness in their faces. For some reason, they are happy and content with what they’re doing. There’s even a sense of pride for how much they can give, never thinking that they only have very little to give.

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Up & Up

“How come people suffer? How come people part? How come people struggle? How come people break your heart?”

Although there was no cellular signal and all we had was ourselves and the cove, the day went by pretty quickly. It was fun to watch each other interact while I also did some interactions myself. The oldies played tong-its as I swam with the kiddies. The oldies were already preparing to go to sleep as I climbed the view deck with the kiddies.

Obviously, the view when you’re elevated by a few feet was absolutely breathtaking. It’s my first time to visit a cove, so I was really happy about how perfect it is. You can also see the mountains past the cove.

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What’s even more divine was how the sun was shining down when we were up there. Although it would set rather far from where we were, the image we saw was far more magnificent than I could ever imagine. Some clouds were blocking the sunlight, so it made an illusion that the heavens was shining its light on something. I already saw an image like this before, but not as beautiful as this one. There was even a line or shadow of some sort that seemed like a pathway leading to us, so that made it even lovelier. Divine intervention, I suppose. Right then and there, with no particular reason, I believed that something grand was about to happen. One way or another, I knew something came down from heaven to make that night special.

A few minutes past eight, everyone was already asleep or preparing to sleep. So I decided I can maybe go bold and approach strangers circling their bonfires, or I can be by my lonesome near the shore. I chose the latter, and it gave me one of the most wonderful, memorable, and meaningful moments of my life.

Yellow

“Look at the stars. Look how they shine for you.”

I started it by finding a spot to sit down. On my right was a boat, and on my far left was a group of friends around a bonfire. I saw both through my peripheral vision, but I only focused on the stars. I stared at the sky for a little while. Afterwards, I paused to re-watch Kelly Clarkson’s Piece by Piece performance on American Idol which brought me (and millions of others) to tears yesterday while I was on the bus going to Zambales. It brought me to tears again. It truly was a pivotal moment for Kelly; performing on the stage where it all started, with her little girl roaming around backstage where she used to prepare to compete, being seven months pregnant with her second child, and singing a song about how her father abandoning her made her all the more grateful for what she has now. I’ve been following her for more than a decade now, so I’m a little (or a lot) invested. Haha.

Anyway, I got back to looking at the stars while playing songs form my phone. This time, I was laying down and there was a light moving around the sky. I looked to my right and saw a couple with a flashlight. I assumed the guy was showing the girl some constellations. I started to direct my eyes to wherever the flashlight was pointing. I was kind of joining in on their moment together, being a third wheel to complete strangers like only I can do (haha kidding). I saw the small dipper, but that was all I can identify. I was never really good with constellations.

Be As You Are

“There are moments when you fall to the ground. But you are stronger than you feel you are now. You don’t always have to act so hard. Just be as you are.”

I just downloaded Mike Posner’s EP (The Truth) a day before, so I decided to finally listen to it while laying down on the sand. I also created a playlist of songs I wanted to listen to while enjoying the solitary moment I was having. That’s when I started to cry.

I cried for my heart was in pain because of something I needed to deal with. Right then and there, I didn’t feel alone anymore. I felt that God was on the other end of the line. I felt like I was sharing a marvelous moment with Him. The sound of the waves was my background music, the stars my witness, the sand my backdrop. It was a full-length silent movie that warmed my heart and made me clearly see why I am where I am right now. It was pitch black but exceedingly beautiful. I knew it was a moment that would change me for the better.

As the music continued to play and as I continued talking with God, I felt more and more love and hope. I imagined metaphysically touching all the pain that was leaving my heart through the tears I was shedding. I imagined seeing it all flying towards the waves, out of my reach, for once and forever, to finally set me free.

It was the first time in a long time that I got to talk with my God and got in touch with myself in a deeper level. It was the first time in a long time that I confronted my demons and allowed myself to let go, accept what I had lost, and simply be as I am. I felt all the load left me. I smiled with a genuine smile to the darkness that was in front of me. In the two hours I spent under the stars, I was healed, and now, I am ready.

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It’s so freeing to admit defeat, to ask yourself permission to cry, to run away from everything towards a world you never dared go before. It’s so freeing to let loneliness sink in, to tell yourself “it’s time,” to realize how weak you are yet still continue to thrive. It’s so freeing to feel secure with who you are and revel in the peace and the calmness of your truth. It’s so freeing to hear the waves battle for the shore, to watch the moon glare in red, to see the starts twinkle though they’re dead.

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