After I finished my half-marathon last Saturday, I decided to take a walk to see how Manila Bay is doing.
The waves sounded angry as they gathered their strength and lapped onto the rocks and breakwater. The hues above and below were grey, gloomy. It was a morning that I do not like waking up to if given a chance.
Walking alongside the Manila Bay in Roxas Boulevard, I saw this old man sitting on the breakwater, staring at the waves, unmindful of the flashes that occasionally rose above the barrier. I could not watch the waves as close as he did. My feet were cold. I felt a strange feeling that the wind and the waves might connive to take me away, to drown me to death, or to wash me ashore to a desolate island without a hope of escape.
The once beautiful Manila Bay seemed dangerous to my senses. To me, its forces resembled that of a revengeful, grown up street child who was forsaken and forgotten.
I maintained my distance.
The old man shook his head. There were litters on the surface, playing with the waves, and dancing gleefully at the whistles of the wind. There were rubber slippers, candy wrappers, styropor, empty plastic bottles, cigarette butts, sachets, tissues, and other heaps of nondescript elements whose colors have faded away, perhaps because of the length of time they spent in the water before they were taken to this area.
He looked away. The horizon was barely visible. The rainbow has not yet appeared after the storm. I tried to figure out what was going on in his mind. What does he live for? Where is his family? Is he alone? Does he live here? Was he also dreaming the same dreams that I (and probably most of you) want to unfold before my open eyes? I would like to hope so.
I dream the dream that one day…
- Manila Bay turns into chromes that indicate life, like that of the freshwater in Minalungao National Park or the seawater in Burot Island;
- I can watch a magnificent spectacle of glittering sunrise and bleeding sunset transpiring in the clear waters;
- I can take my nephews and nieces on a swim, surf, or sail in the Manila Bay, without any garbages floating with us. It is just the clean water and us;
- I can do fishing in the Manila Bay and eat my catch without the worry that I might contaminate my body with diseases;
- I can sense a pristine smell of Manila Bay and that all the aquatic creatures in it are safe for consumption;
- I can stop by the bay and drink its water when I am exhausted from running, thinking that it is a safe source of hydration.
Do you share the same dreams? By becoming responsible, personally and socially, I am optimistic that these dreams would translate into reality. Will you partake in the same optimism and promote the clean up of our very own Manila Bay?