Wednesday, June 6, 2007

The quiet art of sitting still

It’s ten in the evening and everything is quiet except for the sound of crickets, the intermittent cries of a tree lizard, the busy whir of a stand fan, and a page being flipped by a guest who is just waiting for the spell of sleep to fall on him. Everything appears so calm in this tiny cove tucked in one of Negros Oriental’s remote coastal areas.

From the deck in my cottage, I look at the sea, which in its stillness seems to me like a lake merely masquerading as an ocean. There is no sound of waves and there’s not even a sign of one coming. Even the wind seems to have gone on a break for the leaves and the trees stand motionless. It’s as if they’re only purpose in being here is to frame the view of the body of water before them.

The place is a static photograph, a landscape painting. I look at it and it draws me to its calmness. I couldn’t do anything but stare. I sit and stare and feel surprisingly as relaxed as the place itself.

Kookoo’s nest is one of the only two resorts operating in the Antulang Peninsula. It only has four guest cottages that are strategically laid out far enough from each other. If not for the wooden curtain that doesn’t completely close in the outdoor bathroom, I would’ve been 100 per cent satisfied in its attempt to let the guests enjoy their privacy.

There are six other tourists enjoying this private moment with us, and the only interaction we had with them has been sharing lighters. We almost walk on tiptoes and our voice tuners are now set on low, very careful not to disturb the other visitors basking on their solitude. The three French ladies seem all too content chatting among themselves in their native language. The Kenyan guy from Canada prefers the quiet nook among the stone hedges at the far end of the resort to read a book about India. The couple, who may be in their honeymoon, almost never leave their cottage.

Ron has bathed all alone under the hot sun, minutes after we got here. He then went on a trance taking pictures of the landscape and catching the best shot of the sunset. While I play with a strange dog and observe a local boy picking shells from the seabed and his father walking his kid brother along the shore. In a place like this, socialization could easily mean intrusion. They seem to value their solitude so much, and Ron and I would rather not cross it for fear of other people crossing ours.

It’s now past midnight. The sea remains calm. The leaves remain motionless. My body stays relaxed without any memory of fatigue. And I am writing without a dent of depression, sadness, anger, bitterness, or longing in my spirit. In this very moment, my mind does not know anything outside this place and my heart is silenced by a rare sense of serenity for it to make way for other feelings.

I just discovered that people go to Kookoo’s Nest for the peace and quiet. I didn’t, but I just realized that it’s everything I never thought I ever wanted.

The Sputniks at Kookoo's Nest
04 June 2007


Anonymous said...


Joey said...

the place is so peaceful. a nice read too. thanks for exploring and sharing your experiences. hopefully i could meet you guys somewhere when i free up my schedule.

hahaha...serious. great work tina and ron! miss you.

jke said...

ang ganda-ganda-ganda naman ng mga pics niyo dito! could really feel the serenity and untouched beauty of the place... no wonder ang romantic rin 'nung mga insights ni tina... haaaay... gusto ko na ring mag-beach...