The magic hour

My favorite time of the day. A time of transition: right before the sun lights up the sky or bows out for the day in a brilliant display of colors from orange to pink to red.

When I’m working in the house, I often find myself stopping whatever work I’m doing and just looking out the window during that magical hour in the afternoon. I don’t get a view like the travel photos below–just our next door neighbor’s white wall getting a hint of orange, rooftops, and trees against a blue-pink sky–but it’s enough to make me stop and just look outside.

Sunset in Boracay Island

Sunrise in Siquijor Island

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Dreaming of Siquijor

Whenever the day gets too hot and I’m stuck in front of my desk beating a deadline while being distracted by the heat and a blue sky devoid of clouds, begging to be enjoyed outdoors, I do either of these two simple things: I lie on the bed and imagine I’m lying on the beach (it’s hot enough in the room, anyway) or I stay seated and still imagine I’m on the beach. Among my favorite spots to revisit in my head are the many enchanting islands of Palawan, the clear, blue waters of Boracay (more than a decade ago when it wouldn’t have that long streak of green algae and seaweed during peak season), and the idyllic little island of Siquijor.

Unfortunately, when you mention Siquijor, Filipinos don’t immediately think beach destination. That goes to the likes of Boracay, Cebu, Palawan, Panglao, Pagudpud… it’s a long list before you hear Siquijor. And when you do hear its name, it’s often followed by inquiries on magic potions and shamans, witches and aswang. When we went there summer of last year for a few days to visit my sister who was spending some months in her friend’s house to finish her book, we didn’t see, hear or feel anything of the supernatural sort. We were not looking for it, anyway.

What we found was a beautiful and sleepy island, without a lot of restaurants or internet cafés. No nightlife for the partying crowd. Not a lot of cars or jeepneys on the road, not even a gasoline station (Whoops, my bad! There is one gasoline station but most people do get their gasoline in stores that sell it by the bottle.). It didn’t matter. All we were looking for was a quiet stretch of white sandy beach where the hours went idly by and we found it in Siquijor.

The clear water in different shades of blue that greeted us

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