Every single day, I walk through the streets of Manila. The more I see, all the more I also come close to arriving at this one conclusion–that this city is nothing more than an avenue of broken dreams and promises. Wherever I go, I feel a clutter of despair that is vividly seen in those familiar faces that I pass by every day. These people scavenge for both food and money, trying to get through the days alive. Their axis revolves around the will to survive– nothing more, nothing less.
But now, I realize that everything I once thought was a mere understatement, and that I was simply taking a glance at the whole picture. I was neither paying attention nor thinking clearly and thank goodness, I saved myself from believing in a self-stitched conspiracy theory.
When I finally took the time to look closer, I saw something else and it was one of the most beautiful scenes that I’ve ever laid eyes on. There were children, six of them, trying to fly a handmade kite that was made from scratch. They were a happy bunch and the smiles that were painted on their faces weren’t fake; they were all real. I literally took a few minutes off and just watched them. Despite the sun’s scorching heat, they were running endlessly in circles, trying to lift the kite into the sky even without the breezing wind.
After a few minutes, it suddenly hit me.
Those kids don’t have anything and yet they seem to have everything. It was during that moment when I became dazzled with the fact that we were made to share this life with other people. True joy is celebrated everyday and it is not dependent on the circumstances that we are in. It stands above the rest and when it is shared with other people, it becomes a powerful weapon that is indestructible.
The kids didn’t need anything fancy in order to be truly happy. They just needed each other and that was enough. It dawned on me that I’d rather eat in a carinderia with the people closest to my heart than dine in an expensive restaurant, alone, with nobody to laugh or go crazy with.
I was smitten and it felt good. I was wrong– Manila isn’t a place of broken dreams, it is a city of people who shed an enormous amount of joy and hope.
True enough, a light will be seen in the midst of the dark and when it is genuine, it will be a magnet that people would find irresistible not to celebrate.