Yuletide Perspectives

I used to sit alone on top of the Cebu City mountains on moonlit nights just to immerse myself in the vastness of nature. When the terrain is bald, you see the rough hillsides gradually fall down to the darkness that are the rivers and creeks and then rise up again going up to the other peaks. The mystery deepens with the gray of the surrounding.

Above you, the stars, millions of them, assert themselves even with the moon lighting up the usual brooding blue of the sky. The white orb looks flat at first glance, but becomes three-dimensional once probed deeper. The moon has been there through time, titillating limited minds with the inscrutability of its existence. Mine was no different.

Man has always been puny but often wallows in the illusion of power created by its communities. When you are in the metropolis surrounded by man-made structures and gadgetry, you lose sight of the ethereal and the universal. That is why I always cherish the moments when I commune with the earth and the heavens and be other than human.

One of my better recollections of Christmas happened in one of the mountains overlooking the city. In the village called Patayng Yuta nights take over early and the farmers immediately fall prey to its spell, even on Christmas eves. One time, I just decided to climb the hilltop to watch ignited pyrotechnics rise above the city lights.

I could not recall now how long I sat there. The midnight air was biting despite my thick jacket and my alone-ness added to the coldness that permeated the thick mix of grasses, bushes and trees. But time seemed to fly by as my thought drifted from the man-made—the family left behind, city life, etc.—to the profound—nature, God and creation.

I grew up spending my Christmases in the comfort of home and neighbors. In Sitio Kawayan where I grew up, we children would go caroling, light firecrackers or just watch our elders in their festive mood. In that kind of celebration, the communal is the props. And often, the Christ in Christmas is lost in the passing, though we don’t admit it.

At the back of our present home is a hill topped by towers of two telecom firms. I haven’t climbed the hill at night and don’t intend to do it now. Spending a moment alone in the yard tonight and feeling the cold air on the face while watching the stars would be enough to put in perspective this age-old celebration. A Merry Christmas to one and all!

(I wrote this for my December 24, 2009 Candid Thoughts column in Sun.Star Cebu)


6 Responses to Yuletide Perspectives

  1. Me says:

    I can’t imagine how you feel during those time while you were in Patayng yuta on christmas looking at the lights, stars, the beauty of nature, etc. I knew you were with the group who were not very considerate to life back then and I can feel how painful it was imagining that people are killing people when in fact life is just passing and why is it spent on hatred. Is it part of your imagination? I am glad you changed and become a person that is useful to society.

  2. pinoyapache says:

    I’ve passed by Patay’ng Yuta twice when I hiked from Riva Ridge passing over Tisa Hills then Banawa Hills and then downhill to Baksan Forest enroute to Napo and Mt. Babag. Yesterday and the week before that, I spend with the mountain folks of Sitio Busan and in Kahugan giving gifts to the children. It is such a beautiful feeling when you are with them sharing coffee and conversations.

  3. cebuano says:

    To Pinoyapache: I tried imagining the path you took up to Mt. Babag. You must have gone up near Good Shepherd going up the peak before going down to Baksan. There’s a road there going to Patayng Yuta. My problem is your direction after that. If you went up to Pamutan, then to Bocawe (which is at another peak and part of Sapangdaku) then went down to Busan, Kahugan and Napo, then you could not have reached Babag peak because farther down Napo is Guadalupe. Another route is from Patayng Yuta to Lanipao, then Napo, go up to Kahugan and Busan, get to the peak and from there go to Babag. That means you would get to Napo first before going up to Busan. Either way, those routes would take a whole day from Tisa and back (riding this time from Babag to the city proper). Actually, nindot mokuyog nimo sa sunod nimong trek diha.

    • Jessie says:

      I’ll be going to Bocawe next Month. I would use Guadalupe-Baksan-Pamutan route or Punta Princesa-Buhisan-Toong-Pamutan route. I would stay there for a month.

    • pinoyapache says:

      After walking from Baksan forest I reached the road and hiked about half a kilometer before going on another trail that pass by Arcos Hills (Bocawe?) and down into the Sapangdaku River. Along the river I trekked until I reach Napo and from Napo to Sitio Busan. There is a steep & difficult trail after there which my friends called Ernie’s Trail which goes up to Mt. Babag. From Babag, I backtrack and pass by Sitio Kahugan then into Napo then Guadalupe. At other times, I will traverse from Babag into Kalunasan Road then Guadalupe. There are so many trails here and is worth discovering. Last Sunday, I tried the hills above Guadalupe and discovered a lonely trail that goes a circumferential route to Sitio Kalumboyan and into Napo. A perfect alternative from the hard paved road from Guadalupe to Napo.

  4. Jessie says:

    Do you distribute goods to poor community? Why don’t you try Pamutan next time? The people there needs a lot of help, not just goods but knowledge about responsibilities on parenthood, family planning, and moral values. Ask their captain about the problem there.

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