Things here have a way of changing suddenly in unexpected directions; but unless that happens, by next week I will have moved back to America and left Dumaguete behind.
Not without regret. Wherever I go, the fifteen years I have spent here will be with me everyday- the random images that fly across one’s mind and vanish without reason will be, for me, images of Dumaguete, for years to come.
Some of those images have been captured in this newspaper space over the past few years. Some were taken deliberately to tell a story or make a point; the idea came first and I looked for the picture to follow it.
Other images happened by a kind of sharpened instinct, and almost by accident. I saw something happening, I had a camera, I took a picture. It wasn’t until I looked at the picture later that I knew what I had done.
If the image surprised me, or hit me hard, it suggested comments by itself, and found its way here in this space. I only followed where it led me.
These “accidental” images were given to me by fate, and they are the ones I will carry with me as a picture of life here in Dumaguete.
Over the last few weeks, I’ve been looking over all the photos in my “Minority Report”, to find a single image that would sum up what I’ve seen in the years I’ve spent here, and I decided on this one.
It’s one of the pictures I took by instinct. I was standing beside the sea, watching the waves, avoiding loud music and laughter going on behind me. Suddenly I saw this girl walk out along the rocks into the sea.
She was just a high school girl who wanted to walk home along the beach. But there was no beach. There was only wind and water around her, and she had nowhere to go. So she just stopped, and stood there, as you see. Something told me to act; I took the picture.
In that precise moment she became a mythical figure of beauty, a Venus. After that, she was no longer a goddess rising from the waves, but just a girl trapped by them, against a background of gangster emblems, facing a hostile sea.
That’s how Dumaguete looks to me as I leave it: a city of beautiful people standing fixed beside the sea, facing the waves and the wind.
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