There are places that stays in your heart, one you want to go back to. And when you finally went back, a bit of you wish you hadn’t.
Places change. People change. Nothing is constant. So, you cling to the memories of the first visit. At least, you had that. At least, you experienced that.
Siquijor’s enchanted balete tree. It was mystical, it felt enchanted.
The early rays of the sun flitted in and out of the tree branches, the leaves rustling feels like some fairies were playing, gleefully hopping from one leaf to the next, all the while observing us as we took on the sight.
Behind the giant tree were still trees and plants. No concrete structure beside it except for the cemented spring enclosure.
The atmosphere was very different. Calm, yet there was a promise that hung in the air. Like if you dare to look, not with your eyes, but with every nerves and fiber of your being, you will find something, feel something. It is there. That something.
No, not something menacing. Not the black magic that the island of fire is famous for. But something calming, something serene that you want to just stay and bask in it.
Visitors, like us, were rare.
That was in 2012.
It is now 2018.
Instead of the serene dreamlike feel that surrounds the balete tree, modern times has replaced it with noise, foot traffic, squirming visitors laughing at the sensation of fishes nibbling on their feet, and a nearby building selling all kinds of Siquijor souvenirs.
It felt like the draw of the place is no longer the hundred years old balete tree, but the cold spring lying on its feet, and the fish spa.
The warm glow was gone. The fairies must have bid this place goodbye. I wonder where they are off to? I hope in one of my journeys, I’ll find them again.
One can’t stop progress. One can’t hide a place. But one has a memory. I think that is enough.
p.s. I reread what I wrote the first time about Siquijor’s Balete tree. So, I wished for progress. So, I wished for more people to come here. *sigh*
p.p.s. travel as early as you can, to as many places as possible, try to go before more progress comes knocking at the door.