Myths in Manila.

Sunset. Suddenly the rain stopped and the heavy clouds that straggled about the mountain seemed to set upon the sun with the fury of Titans fighting the divine Apollo, and the sun, vanquished but magnificent in its fall, transfigured the black clouds with glory. And they seemed to pause for a moment, as though aghast at the splendour with which the death throes of the god had covered them; and then on a sudden it was night.

W. Somerset Maugham, A Writer’s Notebook (p. 200)

Half past five in the afternoon, on a train to Cubao after having listened to a very interesting lecture on political communications and the ways in which presidents in this country project themselves through portraits–there was a red sun that fell slowly toward the horizon. It was a brilliant crimson symbol sitting on the base of a dark grey cloud. Around it, the armies of Apollo gathered in the form of tall, gold-lined shapes. The outer rays of the sun pierced through the sky in a gesture of victory while the bloodied sun bade us farewell.

The best part of the ride was seeing two trains go the opposite direction. It happens quicker than we can prepare ourselves and without taking an eye off the sun, we glimpse the heavens in someone else’s eyes.

What of the Titans and Apollo’s chariot, then? Up there, the gods do their bidding and the sky plays out a grand show while we carry on with our everyday myths and worn-out legends.

In a country so blessed with achingly beautiful sunsets, it’s hard to accept that life must be so cruel…that in the end our people slave for very little and pay lifetimes to live in shanties. It’s on days like this that I wish the sun were rising and not setting.

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