“Oh, take me back to the start.” [Holy Week 2014]

You know the drill. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been oddly comforted by the idea of solitude, particularly as expressed by the visual of a deserted metropolis. Almost a post-apocalyptic feel, only not nearly as scary because it’s just a city missing people and not, say, power and water and such. Over the years my appreciation for this has deepened beyond simply digging the apparent freedom that it brings to taking the silence as an opportunity to think, and even to mentally or physically visit certain places that have become touchstones associated with important times. And that in itself is very comforting, making a one-person walk less lonely.

I started actually walking around the metro and taking pictures in 2010, I think, when the family was spending the latter half of Holy Week at a Linden Suites room someone lent us. Got the idea from Atty. Avecilla, an old broadasting professor who’d made an entire video of shots of a deserted UP. Walked around the Ortigas area and Greenhills with a digital camera that I’d assumed was set to take HD-dimension images, but later found wasn’t. Since then I think I’ve only missed one year, as I was able to spend the Good Fridays of 2012 and 2013 also walking around, getting some of UP, Makati and Cubao. Truth be told, 2013 was more of a revisiting of 2012’s same spots, only with panorama apps like Photosynth at my disposal and with that damnable camera finally properly set to take huge pictures.

This year, perhaps the last in this series of walking around and weirding people out with a digital camera and an iPod touch, I decided to revisit the 2010 destinations. Revisiting destinations after some time is an interesting thing, both in stories and in life — the parallels make you stand out, as someone who has grown and changed in the interim. You, the heroic character returning from the unfamiliar world, returning to the familiar world a changed person.

Not that there was no change in the places themselves. You’ll see that in the route I took — along EDSA, through the POEA footbridge to the streets of the Ortigas Center (and even Ortigas Park), down and around St. Paul road, to the Valle Verdes, to Greenmeadows at night that messed the camera up a bit — there’s much that is different compared to what it must have looked like before. This, of course, is another benefit of not having a sea of humanity roiling over everything in sight.

That’s a good thing, I suppose, because that tells us the places and those of us living in them are still alive. And I guess I’m fine with the outside trappings of the world changing — because the stuff that really matters, and that should really remain the same is within. And sometimes, on solitary days, that’s all the company you need. Sometimes, that’s enough.

“Leave the memories alone —
I don’t want to see
The way it is, as to how it used to be.
Leave the memories alone, don’t change a thing,
And I’ll just hold you here in my memory.”

– Fuel, “Leave the Memories Alone”

 

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