When I first came to Manila, a friend of mine told me to look out the window of his apartment. On the horizon, I saw the lights of the Metropolis. I stood there with cigarette in hand, looking out the window with awe. The magnificent lights, my friend said, was the best way to relieve stress. Even better than the cigarette I was smoking. You look out there, and realize that all your hard work on the daily grind can be relieved by the sight of where you are. Few people ever make it to this place. Out of the millions of Filipinos in Metro Manila, I’m lucky enough to be here.
Back home, it was all about stars. Every night, I saw stars twinkling in the heavens. Nothing artificial; no architect or engineer went up to the skies and placed the stars just so. Nobody put stars together to make constellations. It’s never intricate – like a lot about nature, even haphazard – but the stars never cease to inspire.
I don’t know if it’s the smog or the elevation that keeps me from seeing stars down here. Stars never move, but the lights here keep moving. The lights glow with an intense glimmer. Like small specks of hellfire, compared to the subtle glow of the stars. Instead of feeling lucky that you’re here, it makes you wonder why you’re here.
Don’t get me wrong; I love it here. Manila has its charms, its inner beauty. It’s a bit rough around the edges, but Manila is not devoid of things that make it truly wonderful. Maybe I’m just missing home, or maybe I’m just looking for that one opportunity when I look up from these streets and see stars.