It was on the tail end of the bird migration season when we set off for the low-lying fields of Candaba in Pampanga.
Departing Manila at lunchtime, we alighted at the San Fernando exit to drop by the local mall first to buy some supplies (and Pampanga Starbucks mug, hehe) for our supposedly overnight stay at the Candaba Swamp.
We reached the town of Candaba at around four in the afternoon and immediately headed to the fields where the Pelayo Resthouse, where we were supposed to stay for the night, was located. Everything had already been arranged, having called ahead, so we expected everything to go smoothly as planned.
The tricycle ride (Php100.00 per tricycle, good for 3-4 persons) took about twenty to thirty minutes. We passed through swaying verdant fields of rice and placid ponds. Everything looked fresh and vibrant and the scene reminds me so much of Ireland, not that I’ve been to Ireland but I imagined its rolling hills might have looked as green as these fields. I was so tempted to whip out my camera while riding at the back of the motorcycle, but the thought of tumbling down the rough road deterred me.
Our tricycles dropped us off at the dirt road leading inwards into the rice paddies and told us that the birds were just across the field. We were left puzzled as we expected to be dropped off at the Pelayo’s Resthouse. After some discussion with the drivers, the resthouse apparently was not where they brought us. So we rode again to where it was supposed to be.
Lo and behold it was located in the town itself, just some minutes away from the tricycles at the plaza. We just wasted Php400.00 for nothing and we were unable to take even one photograph.
It was almost sunset when we had all settled down. Since there was still some light, we decided to not waste it and go back out to the fields. We were again dropped to our previous spot but the birds were now all gone.
There was nothing left to shoot but the trees and fields that glowed against the fiery sunset. We steadied our tripods and after a few photographs, five frames to be exact, darkness enveloped the fields.
With no regular tricycles passing through the area, we walked in the darkness towards town. It was a two-hour hike on dirt roads with nothing but a weak flashlight, the moon,and the stars to light our passage. The night was getting cold as the wind turned up.
With all the confusion that happened that day, it at least ended interestingly with our nocturnal journey through the Candaba ricefields back to town.