no. 21: sleep under the stars

When we arrived in Malingay, Pagudpud, it was already dark and we had a hard time looking for someplace to sleep because most of the reasonably-priced resorts were fully booked and Hannah’s, the only one with rooms available were charging peak season rates. Tired, hungry, almost broke and homeless for the night, Pagudpud’s welcome to me was quite depressing at that time. Good thing we were advised that it’s better to pay for home stays since we’d be spending most of the time on the beach anyway (also, it helps the livelihood of the locals and not big corporations). After canvassing and choosing the best home stay possible (forgot the name but it was behind a sari-sari store. Three double beds, decent air conditioning and a bathroom, that’s all we really need), we subsisted on overpriced barbecue for dinner, washed up, and prepared to hit the bed.

Katie however, wanted to take a swim so bad but I discouraged her because there were no lights on the shore whatsoever and I doubt if there were lifeguards or police patrolling at night. In short, if anything bad happens to her, she’s alone. To compensate, I just asked if she wants to sleep on the beach with me and she gladly said yes. After asking permission from our other friends (it is common courtesy to tell your travel-mates where you’re going so they don’t worry about your ass), we went to the beach and set up  our territory between the waters and the cottages for rent.

SONY DSCWe didn’t have a tent or even a sleeping bag so we just used my malong. As a consequence, only the upper half of our bodies were accommodated. The lower half was on the sand. No pillows, no blankets, no anything.

SONY DSCAnd still, it worked quite well. In front of us was the blackness of the sea with its strong waves. Behind us were lights from the resorts and the sound of drunk people singing Videoke.

stars (2)And above us, well, it’s just the sky. The beautiful, unpolluted, star-filled sky (tried to capture the exact image we saw but my camera just couldn’t do the job properly lol. Hence, I adjusted the contrast of the crappy photos I took).

SONY DSCstars (3)Aside from water, air and land pollution, there is also such a thing as light pollution. Also known as photopollution or luminous pollution, it is the use of excessive, misdirected, or obtrusive artificial light and it dramatically reduces the visibility of stars. In fact, there’s even a scale that measures the night sky’s and stars’ brightness of a particular location and it’s called the Bortle scale and pictured below is a comparison of the different skylines of different places. I say that Pagudpud’s is rural sky.

http://img.gawkerassets.com/img/18mnm6v93dvtypng/ku-xlarge.png
http://img.gawkerassets.com/img/18mnm6v93dvtypng/ku-xlarge.png

At one point during my Non-REM state, I heard strangers murmuring “There’s something on the shore. What’s that? Don’t come near. Ah, they’re only people. They’re sleeping there?“. Not sure if it was a dream or not, I remember chuckling and then going back to sleep (labo!).

White sand, blue cloth, dark sky, bright stars, us, and nothing else in between. It’s kinda serene and I slept peacefully.

SONY DSCHowever, I woke up to the disturbing sound of waves at around 3 AM and I got scared because the sea makes me uncomfortable (I don’t know how to swim and drowning is second on my “possible cause of death” list next to Lifestyle diseases) and everything was so calm and quiet (except for the crashing sound of water on the shore) it got on my used-to-the-bustling-of-the-city nerves. I chickened out, woke up the sleeping Katie, and then continued our slumber in the air-conditioned comforts of our room.

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