As 2014 winded down, so did work and travel. I got more time to explore a bit of my own backyard - a fast growing urban hub in the southern part of Mindanao.
Koronadal is now the regional center of Region XII (largely promoted in the tourism circle as the "12th Paradise"). While progress is inevitable, I love how pockets of my hometown still clings to its rural ways. I grew up near rice fields and streams, most of which are gone now. Open fields where we used to fly kites gave way to subdivisions
Every time I'm home, and every chance I get, I hop on my bicycle and pedal to the remaining open fields (thankfully only a few minutes from my house) in the afternoon, or at dawn just before sunrise. I love how the fields looked different, depending on the season: golden on harvest time, verdant green after planting, or reflecting pools when they are being prepped.
So here are a few of my takes during the last holiday season.
A Christmas Sunrise
December 25. The air was chilly and not a soul stirred. Most are probably catching on their sleep, tired from from the festivities of the previous night. I was on my bike, huffing my way to a nearby rice field with a good view of the east. I have watched a hundred of sunrises, enough to know that sometimes you don't get to see the colors you hoped for.
But its Christmas day! And soon a lovely explosion of yellow and pink filled the east. Rice stalks, ready to be harvested, glowed with the warm colors.
You can say I got my gift early on Christmas morning.
December 31. Dusk. While every one else is busy with preparation for the midnight celebration, I'm in the middle of a, you guess it, rice field, waiting for nature's advance fireworks. The colors did appear and it was indeed a great way to end a colorful year.
A Birthday Sunrise
January 3. The alarm rang at 4:30 AM, like it did the past several mornings. I quietly got out of bed, checked the sky from our bedroom window, and quietly went back to bed. I kissed my wife and whispered, "Happy Birthday". I thought I'd give it a rest today.
"Thank you", she replied. "Aren't you going to shoot sunrise today?". Got out of bed as fast as I can, grabbed my bag and tripod, and hopped on my bike. I'm sure she laughed before going back to sleep. She said, later that morning, that she saw me prepare my gear the previous night.
Catching one for the road
January 5. Got a call from one of my friends late that afternoon.
Ric: "We are planning to shoot sunset by the rice fields. We can pick you up in a couple of minutes..."
Me: "Umm, rain check. My flight's tomorrow and I have got some packing to do ... "
I hang up the phone and caught my wife grinning. I called Ric again. "On second thought, lets catch one for the road ..."
We found nice green rows of rice seedlings with a perfect view of the west. Knee-deep mud, mosquitoes hovering, but we were all smiles when the sun went down.