Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Waiting game

It is still probably the Philippines’ most picturesque volcano. The near-perfect cone shape seemed unsullied despite several eruptions and restless rumblings through centuries. There’s this local belief that an unimpeded view of Mt. Mayon’s tip would be a lucky sign especially for non-Bicolanos like me. Recalled a quite similar folk story about the cloud cover that is supposed to alternate between the peaks of Mts. Banahaw and San Cristobal in Quezon (something more to do with the good and evil theme, like that of the yin and yang). But the image which immediately came to mind with the Mt. Mayon version was that of a shy native girl of the olden days who dutifully covered her pretty face in the presence of male strangers or suitors. That rare unhindered glimpse of a smile or the face can be taken as a propitious signal by a man with amorous interests.

The first time I went to see Mt. Mayon was from the now famous Cagsaua site with its half-buried church bell tower and ruins. True enough, the first few pictures I took of the volcano had the peak always lost somewhere behind a thick cloud cover. With my 2.0 megapixel cellphone camera in hand, I tried to imagine cajoling the mountain to show her complete form. But, sad to say, I didn’t get my wish. If I had been wooing a girl back in college, friends would have said I’ve been busted or basted. Which back then would have called for several bottles of beer. However, five months later, I was coming down from a plane at the Legazpi airport when I noticed many of the other passengers taking pictures as soon as they’ve set foot on the tarmac. I turned around upon reaching the ground, and there it was: the uncovered peak.

A few days later, I was back at the airport. And the peak was still bare. There was even a thin wisp of smoke coming out from the top. Strangely, instead of the girl, I had this image of the solid stillness of a mountain during my zazen practice.
The word “enlightenment” also appeared and got stuck in my thought bubble. The mountain reveals itself, unmovable and tranquil.


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