It’s a tradition with our family to travel back to my mother’s hometown in Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija on the first day of the year and spend a few days there to catch up with our faraway relatives.
A four-hour north ride from Manila aboard a Cabanatuan bound bus and a half-hour tricycle ride and we’re there.
Nueva Ecija has been tagged as the rice capital of the Philippines due to it’s vast plains filled by endless fields of rice paddies. Farming is the basic way of life in this part of the country. Everybody has a parcel of land and everyone owns a carabao to till it with. Not really an easy way of life but a noble one nevertheless.
After a late lunch, general greetings, chitchats and exchange of gifts, I immediately headed out to the rice fields to catch the rays of the first sun of the year go down.
It took a good half hour after I arrived at the fields before the sun started going down on the horizon. Time enough to find a good vantage amongst the paddies and irrigation canals. The fields have just recently been replanted and some are still waterlogged. Although this hindered me from actually walking down the field, it certainly did make for a good reflector for the setting sun.
As the farmers one by one eventually calls it a day, and lone tricycles buzz by the dirt road carrying passengers on their way home; the darkness finally creeps slowly down the plains. The sun finally heaves and lays it’s last rays of the days on the patterned clouds, burning it a dashing red. The heavens that day certainly did not disappoint.