The weather yesterday swung like a pendulum. It’s summer now in Metro Manila and summers here are infamous. Hot, scorching, dry — on some days, I walk around in just my underwear, praying for the southern winds to come back. You’d think I’d get used to this by now, after 26 years of living in this city. But, no.
The heat mercilessly assaults us each year.
When the sky darkened yesterday, people were frantic. Traffic piled up, tweets buzzed through cellphone screens piled with question marks and exclamation points. We wondered if summer was effectively over for us. As much as we hated the cruel rays of the sun and the lethargy that came with the stifling heat, we were collectively sad.
Summer in Manila can be a painful and sweaty ordeal but it also signifies fun and celebration. Summer means that school’s out. Summer means beach plans and garden parties and road trips. Summer means new bathing suits, barbecues in Tagaytay, Holy Week, Labor Day and the promise of the great outdoors.
We only get two seasons in the Philippines: summer and monsoon weather. On some months we get the perfect mix of both but on most days, we know what to expect. We know how to love each, how to celebrate either. We know when it’s time to bring out the bikinis or cuddle under blankets.
Summer is for friends, the salty waves licking our ankles like overly excited puppies, shorts and slippers and messy pony tails. We don’t always love it, not when the sweat anchors us down to our chairs on Wednesday afternoons, but we don’t want to lose it either.
Our hearts are bipolar like the sky and sun, alternating between desires, waiting til they rest — finally — in the glorious middle.