Starting at the first sunrise of 2017 in Japan, I made a commitment to myself to witness every first sunrise of the year possible – weather and health permitting. I felt that there was this fulfilling and positive effect on the mind and soul to be seeing the year’s first rays of light and awaiting for what hope and surprises it brings. Japan indeed stays true and faithful to her title “The Land of the Rising Sun”.
The following year, January 1, 2018, when the entire city of Cagayan de Oro was soaking wet at the height of LPA/Tropical Depression Agaton, I missed the first sunrise of the year. Inclement weather is not uncommon during the months of December and January here. Since I could not complain much about Mother Nature’s behavior on this part of the planet, I just took photos of Cagayan de Oro’s first precipitation of the year. And looked forward to something much better in the coming years.
At the final hours of 2018, I excused myself from taking photos of Cagayan de Oro’s last glimpse of the year; it had become my annual tradition since 2011. Instead, I prepared my gears for my first shutter counts of 2019. The New Year’s Eve skies were dotted with stars, I even spotted the Omnipresent Big Dipper constellation. I was thankful and hopeful to see the first sunrise again.
With barely 3 hours of sleep, I got up at 5:00AM, on January 1, 2019. Wore a pair of comfortable jeans and t-shirt, and brought a sweat shirt in case of cold temperature on the hill. I took off with my gears in my backpack and headed for a short walk down Bulua highway to Green Hills Memorial Park, this has to be CDO’s best spot to see the sunrise. When I looked up the skies, clouds were looming in the faint wash of dawn light. I begun to worry.
As I entered the gate of the park, I greeted the security guards a Happy New Year. I also exchanged greetings with a man in his running outfit. People with fitness goals swarm this memorial park early in the morning and late afternoon.
I got to my favorite photo spot in no time. The Eastern skyline of the city was smothered in clouds. Sad, sad view. Although there was a tiny bit of clearing on the Northeast where I could see tinge of orange and yellow clouds, a hint that the Sun was starting to rise somewhere. But at 113 degrees East- Southeast where the Sun would first greet the land (I checked out timeanddate.com for the sunrise info before getting here), thick and dark Nimbus stood in the way. And visible downpour in some areas of East CDO. My first sunrise of the year turned into a failure. Again.
Yet a part of me did not want to throw in the towel. Scanning dead Eastern skies for an ounce of hope, I took a few shots. Only to find beautiful silver linings at the back of these ugly New Year clouds. This may sound mushy of me but I chuckled at the at thought of Catriona’s famous line at the final Q & A of Miss Universe, “to see situations with a silver lining.”
Seeing Cagayan de Oro growing skyline now starting to see the first light of day, I said a little prayer of gratitude. That the year 2019 started out way better than the previous year. I may have not seen the first sunrise for the second time, there’s still so much more to thank for.
And the enchanting Kitanglad Mountain Range with her share of silver lining.