SUNSET – PARADISE COVE
The island bus tour ended at the Paradise Cove, an oceanfront resort park on the leeward coast of Oahu. It celebrates the unique culture of the Polynesian with luau shows, serving a buffet of Hawaiian dishes and local favorite cuisines.
They were entertained during dinner with an interactive hula show with guest participating on stage showing their talents as they were taught the different styles of dance from the traditional to the modern Polynesian hula.
What caught his eyes, however, was a spectacular Hawaiian sunset as a backdrop of a play that narrates the Polynesian history with a display of songs and hula dances that ended with the traditional pig roasting. The sun was setting and the sky was turning in all different beautiful colors. He could hear the ocean in the background, and the soft gentle trade winds were blowing through. It made him feel so tropical and romantic! His thoughts scurried back to the kids.
“We went to see the sunset,” they told him.
“Did you go to the seaside, to see the sunset?” He asked.
“No, Tito. We went to see the Vintar sunset.”
“Hang on. You said you went to see the Vintar sunset? There’s no sunset in Vintar. Vintar is surrounded by mountains and hills. Vintar is far from the sea. You must have gone to Bacarra or Pasuquin or near the beach to watch the sunset.”
“No, Tito it was the Vintar sunset, we saw.”
“Tito Jem piled us up into a jeep and went towards the Dam. But, we didn’t go to the Dam. Half way, we veered right to a zigzag road going up a mountain.”
“That’s the Pallas road,” he interrupted.
“Yes, Tito Jem, said so. He took us all the way to the top where there was a shed for shelter.”
“What did you do up there?”
He has forgotten the sunset in Vintar. As a young boy, he would tag along with his Tatang for a trip to Lubnac at least once a month to harvest and cart tobacco leaves for the ‘pugon.’ There, at the western side of the Pallas ridge, which was high enough to spot the sea, was a slope of bougainvillea, cadena de amor and a maze of sunflowers. He would make a clearing large enough for his young body to lie down and watch the sunset over the sea, as kulibangbang, dudon and lawalawa scurried around him. “No sunset is alike,” his Tatang told him. “Everyday is a different sunset.” Sure enough. There were days, when the horizon was so red as the bougainvilleas, and yellow some other days as the sunflowers, and when the clouds gather, it was a mixture of reddish, yellowish, whitish and bluish, like the cadena de amor.
He remembered the sun rays creeping on the surface of the water, making the water shimmered and glowed. When the clouds gathered over the water, the visual effect was stunning, the sun sitting on the edge of the horizon, sandwiched between the white clouds above and the blue sea below. The clouds seemed to push it down while the sea was trying its hardest to buoy it up. The effect was a symmetrical vision that seemed like an entrance to heaven’s gate. Was this what the children saw?
“We saw a glorious sunset Tito!,” they shouted in unison. “Fantastic!”
“Amazing! Yes, but we cannot tell you.”
“Why not?” He asked in disbelief.
“Cause Tito Jem, told us not to tell anyone. He said it is going to be our secret.”
“He better have a good reason for him to say that.” He said in dismay.
“Yes, he does. He said, that if word gets around, people will come in droves, and they would litter and trash the place.”
“He pointed to a nearby place where people were dumping trash.”
The top of the ridge is the gateway to Pallas Valley, just east of Baguinsuso’s peak and on that spot, an unremarkable road cut was made leading to the dump. The green shoulder of the Baguinsuso overlooking the river valley toward the China Sea was pierced by a patch of a garbage dump. The children looked at each other with sadness, and without saying a word, their faces were asking, “Why?”
“We agreed with him. We want to keep the place, clean and pretty. We want it to be, hmmm, what was the word he used now?”
“Pristine,” the boys said with a heavy accent on the last syllable, dragging out the ‘i’ ‒ “Pristiiine”. Their faces were a mix of pride and a ‘Let’s Do It’ look.
What a lovely thought, he’s telling himself. He knows the children were aware of the environmental degradation that is happening around them. The older ones knew it from school, TV news, and from their parents. The younger ones knew it from their teachers and nanny. He didn’t want to diminish their concern of the ecosystem because after all, they’ll be the ones who’ll inherit the earth. But, why can’t we enjoy nature’s wonder without trashing it? He asked himself. Why can’t an ecology be created to prevent damage to the environment? Why are we trashing the house we live in? And like his older brother, he strongly believes that Planet Earth should be the most important thing in our lives, no matter who we are.
As the Hawaiian sun makes its way toward the horizon, and with a Mai Tai in his hand, he noticed the well-manicured lawn on top of the bluff where people were taking pictures of the sunset. It was surrounded by palm trees, green shrubs, and hibiscus with red and yellow flowers. He was in awe over the place with the gorgeous red, orange, pink and blue hues of the sun’s rays. He thought of the children’s concern for the environment. This place is pristine, alright, he murmured to himself. A large part of Hawaii’s spiritual draw can be attributed to its unique and inspirational sunset views in pristine surroundings like this one and he asked himself, ” Why can’t it be done in Vintar?”
The beauty of the sunset that the children saw on top of the Pallas ridge is inherently powerful and spiritual. To him, it is a slice of heaven. With its gentle warm orange glows, it seems time stands still. But, he knows that sunsets show the passage of time. For him, it is a nostalgia or a moment of reflection in his later stage of life. “Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away,” sang the Beatles. At the time he was in his early twenties. He is now in his seventies. He has arrived at the sunset of his life.
For the children, it is a beginning, and it is bound to turn up from time to time in their lives because the golden thread of memory – Vintar sunset – is already woven into the fabric of their lives. There will be a time when their eyes will be filled with tears of sadness and their hearts laden with worries. But, at the end of each day is a sunset, and it will remind them of a vision of a glorious Vintar sunset they once saw and they will know in their hearts that another day is in the offing. They can put their troubles of the day behind them and move on with a deep sense of calm and assurance that everything is going to be alright.