There was once a writer who said that “sunsets are windows to heaven”. And so I keep chasing sunsets. And every time I see a stunning sun setting whether into a sea or a mountain, I would imagine heavens opening their windows down to men. But I forget that there are sunrises too. And so I asked, “what are sunrises for?” My question was finally answered when I went to Caraga in Davao Oriental.
My lovely province of Davao Oriental is coined as the Sunrise Capital of the Philippines as this is the easternmost Province of the country. However, the old town of Caraga in its eastcoast side is the easternmost town and the Pusan Point is the easternmost point of the country. In the dawn of welcoming the new millennium in 2000, the Pusan Point took center stage as it welcomed the Millennium Sunrise being the first point where the sun shines everyday. The event gained the town of Caraga the tagline as home of the Millenium Sunrise.
To be honest, I always consider myself as a sunset person. I love photographing sunsets. I can even stay for hours on a beach waiting for the striking sun to set. This is because I am never an early riser. I have a hard time waking up in the morning, how much more of waking up at 4 AM and wait for the sun to rise. But my recent visit to Caraga was an exemption. First, I know for a fact that Caraga is where the sun shines first in the country and second, I take pride of it as one of the beautiful towns in our Province of Davao Oriental – these are two enough reasons for me to fight the enticing morning call of the bed, brave the morning chills and patiently wait for the sun to rise.
Thanks to Bango Beach, staying with them provided me the perfect venue to witness the picture-perfect dawning of the day. The old mangrove trees, the white coastline, the rocky sea bed, the rock formations on the sides and even the red swing swaying from the old branches of mangroves trees – they’re all there too waiting to be bathed by the golden rays of the rising sun.
On our first night in Caraga, I had doubts if I can wake up early on the following day. But Good Lord, at 4:30 AM, I found myself stepping out from our room half-awake going towards the beach. My friends were still in their deep sleep ignoring the loud sound of the alarm clock from the phone. At an instant I could feel cold sea breeze hugging me. It was still dark. The urge of going back to the room and burry myself back in bed was so tempting but I was already there on the beach, barefoot, with my toes kissing the sands of Bango.
I sat on the sand and prepared my camera hopeful to capture the first sun that shines in the whole country. The horizons from vast waters of the Pacific were partly covered with clouds. I prayed that it would vanish so it won’t hinder the sun from peeping in the Pacific Ocean.
Few minutes of waiting, the heavens were slowly lit. The sky gradually lightened. It was the different orangey rays of the sun that first came out from the horizons. It was so beautiful I lost for words to describe its magnificence. And then I realized that the clouds I prayed to vanish were there for a purpose – it seemed to me that they formed there so that the sun can create the most spectacular ray formation I’ve never seen in the whole life before. It was mind blowing. The scene was like no other. Slowly, I was consumed with full admiration.
I remember the many times I cried for seeing so many awe-inspiring sunsets in my life. But never did I cry for sunrises. But at that moment when I saw those startling rays, I couldn’t help myself but wept in astonishment knowing that I was given that opportunity to witness that glorious daybreak.
It took minutes for the sun to finally come out. I felt like the heavens conspired for me to enjoy that outstanding scene. And when the sun finally came out, the rays disappeared and the sun shone in its brightest. It was very dramatic. The orange turned into gold. I look around and witness how everything bathed in the glorious golden colors of the first sunrise of the day. It was so beautiful I forget I was there already there for more than an hour.
As the sun rose up, I decided to walk on the beach and allowed the gentle waves to touch my feet. The rough feel of the sands and the cold caress of the seawater were so therapeutic. I looked around and realized I was alone in the beach since I got there. I was the only person who was there to witness such spectacle. And I felt like I owned the world and the world owned me.
As I was walking, I asked myself the same question that I often ask when I have the chance to see sunrises: “If sunsets are windows to heaven, then, what are sunrises for?” Now I know the answers. SUNRISES ARE GATES TO HEAVEN.
On my third and last day at Caraga, I woke up again at 4:30 in the very dawn. This time I woke up filled with sheer excitement to witness another opening of the “gate to heaven” for that day – the SUNRISE. And I concluded, yes, from now on I will not only chase sunsets. I will also start chasing sunrises just like how I chased the stunning Sunrise of Caraga.