It was already nine or ten in the evening on a quiet Tuesday night. We were on a dark, lonely road in Calatagan, Batangas, looking for Cape Santiago, one of the oldest lighthouses in country. And because we have been driving from one place to another for the last 12 hours (first to San Pablo then to Pagsajan and finally to Batangas), we were understandably tired, hungry, stinking and quite annoyingly lost. Nobody from the people we asked knew where the place was. Luckily, as we drove near the beach, someone, a stranger, right off the dark street, offered to take us there. To be honest, I was a bit bothered by how easy it was for the other passengers to let him in. He led us to this dirt road surrounded with thorny bushes. I know its thorny because the thorns made an eerie sound as they scratched the surface of the van. I looked back and saw that the full orange moon was on our trail, casting a sinister vibe to the whole trip.
The stranger made us stop in what seems to be a cul de sac and immediately I wondered if he was going Kinatay on us. "Are you sure?" I asked my seatmate as we boarded out of the van. Just as when I was imagining the worse, someone appeared holding a lamp. It was the caretaker and secretly I felt stupid for having such a nasty imagination. Incidentally, I was listening to Joshua Bell's Ave Maria because the sad violin made everything in our trip seem poetic. I was so preoccupied with the music that I didn't notice that I was already going inside the creepy lighthouse along with Bam and the caretaker. "San sila?" I asked Bam who ignored me. I looked back and there they were, the rest of the team, framed by the slim door and illuminated by the monochromatic light bulb, waiting outside. Inside, the darkness was portentous. It was the kind that seemed to breathe. It had a nasty feel to it. After showing us the abandoned rooms, the caretaker then led us at the other side so we could take a better look at the lighthouse. We stepped out into a small patch of green land just a few meters from a cliff. Yes, apparently we were on a cliff. The place was surprisingly enchanting especially with the moon's faint glow making everything appear blue. The white lighthouse looks like a ghostly monolith thrusting upwards in the darkness. Above us was the sky with a sea of endless stars while below we could see the equally endless South China Sea dominating the horizon. It was very dramatic. I felt as if I have stepped inside somebody's beautiful dream. I wanted to roam my eyes but I was still afraid I might see something that I shouldn't see. So I just stood there, a few meters from the tip and listened to the soaring violin while drinking in the lovely view.