Little Haven

FEU Advocate
November 10, 2022 06:45

By Beatrice Diane Bartolome

Soot sticks onto the walls of your lungs, your veins filled with more smoke than air. Rusted, unused railways reclaimed by nature, grasses of green stubbornly find a home between blood-forged iron. In the dilapidated wooden houses that are merely a shadow of what it once was in the face of taller, shinier, and stronger buildings—trees of old hiding away and keeping to themselves yesteryears that have succumbed to corrosion. 

Metro Manila is an ever-present, suffocating concrete jungle that blocks every piece of sunlight that dares to shine on the city—gray and sickly cream-white painted cement facades do little to brighten up congested roads and poisoned rivers. Yet, almost paradoxically, this makes those little pockets of nature shine even brighter. It makes stepping through the gates of Far Eastern University even more breathtaking when you pick up on that nostalgic scent of petrichor and freshly cut grass you swore you had long forgotten.

There is a mundane magic to it all; the rich hazel-hued leaves liberate themselves from fast branches, gently fluttering as they fall to sit on the ground or the lap of an unsuspecting student. You will find peace in laying back against cold marble benches to watch clouds crawl against shades of cerulean through the trees. Simply watching people play volleyball was charming, sweat and sunburns barely bothered their fun.

There's gleeful laughter and light-hearted jokes mixing to create a place ever-growing with life, ever-bustling, and evergreen. You will feel yourself inhaling fresh air, only to exhale toxic notions—letting go of everything just for a moment. Evergold will be found in every smiling face and passing "hello, how are you?" or the childish joy in someone’s face when they notice a calico cat pass them by.

Every inch of what we call home is seeking to destroy the history that came before, there are little pockets of what our ancestors saw and decided was holy. Through the filth and mud, there is still a sliver of something worth loving. 

(Photos and Illustration by Kayla Babista and Mary Vel Custodio/FEU Advocate)