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This is the blog of Ian Rosales Casocot. Filipino writer. Sometime academic. Former backpacker. Twink bait. Hamster lover.

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Friday, June 10, 2011

entry arrow4:21 PM | Nabiyaang Tamawo

Since last Sunday night, there are spectral figures wading the shallows off the Boulevard in Dumaguete. You can see them as you cruise the street, before you turn right towards Burgos Street. They will strike you as uncanny. Perhaps. The three figures in white -- white plaster bodies in white sheaths -- are tamawos, the artists who made them tell us. To be more specific, "mga nabiyaang tamawo." Left-behind spectral figures of myths; tamawos, according to legend, are a kind of encantos, humanoid creatures of supreme powers, light-skinned, most of whom live in trees where they maintain huge (but invisible to the naked eye) kingdoms of fabulous riches, fantastic realms into which they tempt people they have fallen in love with to enter and leave the human world forever.

These tamawos on the sea, ghostly white and faceless, are somewhat of an indifferent sort: these ones turn their back to us observing them from along the shore or along the cemented walkways of the seaside promenade. Their frozen walk simulates that attentive grazing of shore in lookout for what's hidden beneath sand and beach rocks. They also seem inattentive even of each other, and that stance, looking out (but barely) into the dark vastness and oblivion of the TaƱon Strait, seems sad and forlorn and beautiful and evocative of what life can be found in this lively, isolating stretch of this lovely, sad, small city. I can now imagine these figures, once the klieg lights that illuminate them are turned off, to seem ephemeral and lost in the Dumaguete darkness. And what of them in the light of morning tide? Figures wading chest-deep, still inattentive to the fact of the possibility of drowning.

Photography by Razceljan Salvarita.

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