May 17, 2013
Chasing Dipolog’s Sunsets
While responding to a questionnaire for the Trip Journal section of Smile, Cebu Pacific Air’s in-flight magazine, I had no hesitations when it came to suggest what tourists should see in Dipolog. Whenever out-of-towners inquire as to what attraction our city can boast of, I always say, “The sunsets.” One photo of a Dipolog sunset has already even made it to the front page of a national newspaper a few years ago and has been dubbed “The best sunset in the world”.
This symphony of light that is especially impressive during summer is the reason why, despite the high demand for music lessons every year during vacation time, I strictly forbid myself to accept any students after five in the afternoon, and it is why I annually reschedule my jogging time at the boulevard from early morning to the afternoon just in time to see the sun appear to lower itself on the horizon. I clearly take my summer sunset tradition seriously.
Most of my friends are aware how much of an ardent lover and advertiser of the Dipolog sunsets I am and contacts on Facebook may have already noticed my numerous postings of sunset photographs that are not digitally-manipulated or edited. As I have said many times before, I reckon it insulting to the Dipolog sunsets and the Creator if I should Photoshop the images. Besides, the sunsets do not need any enhancing at all!
Sunsets fascinate me for so many reasons. Among these are the ever-changing kaleidoscopic hues that are never duplicated in any other day; the tricky illusion of the sun lowering itself in the sea caused by the earth’s rotation; the profound contemplations that they arouse; the ethereal glow that envelops me while I jog, stroll, or read a book at the boulevard; and the humbling heliocentric reminder at the end of the day that we are not the center of the universe.
The days leading to June prelude the end of summer for most of us in our part of the world, schedule-wise and climate-wise. The fickle weather these days are signaling that summer is almost coming to a close. The effulgent Dipolog sunsets are beginning to be veiled behind heavy clouds, and soon enough, the sea will no longer be a liquid mirror but a rougher canvas for whitecaps. This is often a wistful time of the year for me. Rarely does anybody wish for the summer sunsets to be over.
However, we oftentimes take these beautiful things for granted. Ralph Waldo Emerson remarked, “If the stars should appear but one night every thousand years how man would marvel and stare!” I feel the same way about our sunsets, and I like the humorous but truthful twist in environmentalist and writer Paul Hawkens’ reply, “Ralph Waldo Emerson once asked what we would do if the stars only came out once every thousand years. No one would sleep that night, of course. The world would become religious overnight. We would be ecstatic, delirious, made rapturous by the glory of God. Instead the stars come out every night, and we watch television.”
In addition, some of us are also willing to squander money for mesmerizing pyrotechnics or pay a fortune for state-of-the-art light shows but have not even fully recognized the value or paid attention to this natural spectacle of light in our own backyard. Friends from afar can only scan my photos in envy, but do all Dipolognons realize how blessed we are?
I have already promoted many matters that are of concern to me in this column and nature appreciation should not be left out. “Great ideas do not lodge comfortably in bodies whose outlook is shut-in, restricted. But by the seashore the mind expands with the spaciousness and openness,” wrote British philosopher and traveler, Paul Brunton, in his notable journals. “Nature produces new or nobler feelings in the more sensitive wanderers into her domain. The sunset’s peace… and the pleasure of beauty’s presence are always worthwhile and should fill us with gratitude. The sensitive man can freshen his trust in the ultimate goodness of things from a glowing sunset, can renew his inward peace with a forest walk. Nature lovingly speaks to him, all wordless though she be. In the beauty which Nature can offer man, he may find a catalyst to bring his feelings toward a loftier plane. Those who are responsive to Nature, and more especially to the beautiful colours released at the sun’s rise and fall, to the silences of woods and forests, or to the ocean’s vast spaciousness, may use such contacts for attempts to get spiritual glimpses.”
Sunsets, too, are ephemeral. When the rainy season begins, I simply wish to content myself with the thought that I chased Dipolog’s sunsets and basked in their brilliance as much as I could and it is my hope that every Dipolognon shall be able to say the same.