Manila Ocean Park was a sanctuary yesterday. I went there for a meeting and it was my first time to visit the place. I didn't know what to expect but I wasn't expecting to be surprised either. It was a weekday so the place wasn't as crowded as I would imagine it would be during weekends and holidays. But still, despite it being a weekday and just less than an hour after opening time, there were already groups of people trickling steadily to the oceanarium.
Before I got there, I was already mulling about what I would possibly do while waiting for the people I was meeting with. I deliberately went there earlier than scheduled because I figured I needed extra time in case I got lost or have a hard time finding the meeting place. We were meeting at the Starbucks there and I didn't have the time to check their website for a map so I was going in blind.
The moment I stepped out of the cab that brought me there, I immediately had this weird and intense feeling of lightness. I don't know what caused it. Perhaps it was seeing the place for the first time amidst a backdrop of intensely blue sky. Maybe it was the silence despite the people taking pictures I saw on that stone marker they have at front or it could be the gentle breeze that momentarily touched my skin and left a lingering sense of peace. I stood there for a while gawking at the impressive edifice and I knew I did right by coming there.
Inside was quiet activity. Restaurants were just opening and people were walking around idly, some waiting for others for their tour while others seem to be just happy chatting with friends. I headed straight to Starbucks and I was overwhelmed by emotion when I stepped inside. The store was located in a corner with a very good view of Manila Bay. The bright sunlight illuminates it and puts everything in stark clarity.
I think it was the mix of raw feelings that triggered the swirl of emotions. I think it had something to do with seeing the water again. Manila Bay is not exactly a Boracay but the water was so flat indicating its calmness at that time of the day. I looked at it and a surge of memories came back. Years of being on that water everyday probably caused this invisible bond with it that not even time can erase. Like most people who frequent the bay and spent hours at a time caught in its mysteries, I have become attuned to its wiles and accepted that it is as unfathomable as nature would ever get.
I just sat there at Starbucks, alternately gazing at the water and reading a book. I once again felt this strong connection with the universe. And it was pure bliss.