Where Thoughts Masturbate: Everyday Life in a Philippine Coastal Village

Someone once wrote that the city is where ideas have sex. Well, I propose that the coastal village is where thoughts masturbate. In the quiet shores of Bayabas, Cagayan de Oro, in the Philippine island of Mindanao, remnants of self- pleasuring ideas, dreams, and fantasies find a home in the sand and remain there untouched for eternity. Here, they produce nothing new, despite the ecstasy they experience by rubbing themselves; unlike in the city where ideas give birth to people or protests, and yes, sometimes, progress. But when the Typhoon Sending came with a massive flood, all of them were washed away – people, protests, and progress.The city was left with nothing but prayer. Such a tragedy.

Reyn Barnido

But in Bayabas, everyday life remains as it was since I first came here – and that was twenty years ago. No, it is not stagnation; rather it is the fidelity to our deepest desire for mystery to remain as is.

The morning sun greets you when you wake up. And when it rains, the morning sun greets you just the same, albeit a bit  shyly.

Reyn Barnido photo

Each morning, children play in the sand and say hello to the sea. On Sunday, Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday of each week, the sea waves back at the them. The rest of week, the sea is a snob; but children wave at them just the same.

Each day, this bike finds its way to a bamboo pole near the shore with only a baseball cap as proof that a human brought it there. He or she is never seen throughout the day. No one in the village bothers to find out why.

reyn barnido photo

By noontime, this food vendor climbs from the sand to sell yellow corn to the same group of fishermen drinking beer in the same spot under the same coconut tree.

reyn barnido photo

Earlier, they left behind their fishing boat in the same shore tied to the same tree where all of them are bound to pee at
anytime of the day.

Early afternoon, this voluptuous lady marches along the same stretch of sand, passing by the same huts, and smiling at the same catcalls made by the same young men. That is the highlight of their day.

reyn barnido photo

Late in the afternoon, small children return home from school stopping by at the same spot looking at the same hole where crabs are known to dwell. The sighting of the crab is the main attraction of their childhood.

reyn barnido photo

By evening, the sea waves put the whole village to sleep – dreaming of the same dream that pleasures them.

But the sea – ah – the sea always changes. No seawater has ever came to the shores of Bayabas without being changed. They always do.


Entry to the Weekly Photo Challenge. Theme: Everyday Life


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