After the fabulous party on Saturday, the beach with me and the kids, plus Caden, Ces, Dennis and Boy, was a nice rest. I had no menu, just basic ingredients for easy food. I packed my clothes in 30 minutes, and it was still more than I needed. The kids needed no toys since Caden was around. Mia kindly lent me her Xtrail so we had lots of space. The roads were clear enough for fast driving, and when we arrived, Wilma was waiting for us with sticky-hot biko and freshly caught samaral to grill.
We woke up on Tuesday the 19th to a bright sunny day with cool winds. Anton, Lorenzo, Max and I climbed Mt. Matuod late afternoon (the little troopers did it in 30 minutes!) and at the top, we were treated to a truly spectacular red and orange sunset. I told the kids, 'This sunset is from your Dad'. We sat, talked and watched the sun until it sank below the horizon, then headed down. Turns out, we weren't descending fast enough and got caught in darkness among the trees on the lower slopes. People with flashlights had to be sent up to guide us down, but the wonder of it all was that by being caught in the darkness, the children and I were treated to another spectacular sight -- fireflies by the thousands surrounding the trees, and lingering in the air around us.
Again I said 'This is from your Dad'. Because in my entire life, I have never seen more than a stray firefly in Matuod, much less a startlingly breathtaking profusion like this one. It was almost as beautiful as Balesin Island's 'infested' trees. We waited in the darkness, chasing fireflies, and when the flashlights found us, we chose to trek the last few minutes home in darkness, with the only light coming from the rising moon and the fireflies around us.
That night, as our small group toasted the eve of my real birthday with vodka leftover from the party, I blew out the lone candle on my surprise neopolitan-flavor Goldilocks cake that Lando bought all the way from Nasugbu and I thanked Cyril for his gifts of light -- an expansive fiery sunset, a multitude of fireflies and my twinkling birthday candle.