O sleep! O gentle sleep!


The most cherished corner of my bahay kubo or nipa hut is where my hammock or duyan hangs. I wanted a precolonial Filipino homey look. Thus, I considered the duyan on the hut’s facade.

The hammock is designed to invite one’s self to relax; setting it high over the cascading angle of the property enables one to enjoy the surrounding sights and sounds, thus, add to the bliss.

For generations, Filipino mothers have used the duyan to lull babies to sleep before moving them to a bed, crib or banig (mat) on the floor.

The idea of having a duyan brings me back to my own earliest childhood memories. I find the pampering and the sweetness of the gentle rhythm slowly rocking me to sleep most precious.

To start one’s day on the duyan meditating on the calming blue waters of Puerto Princesa Bay whilst the sun rises soothes one to an ethereal appreciation of the creation.

Swaying on it while watching the birds flying to and fro amounts to a privilege.

On a lazy afternoon, one can gawk at the airplanes which circle above before landing or leaving Puerto Princesa skies, or count the boats languidly crisscrossing the harbor. But on a hot Palawan midday with freshly harvested coconut juice on hand and an irresistible sea breeze, my duyan becomes the perfect tranquilizer far more effective than Valium.

Most nights the mood changes as the pitch black darkness shrouds the bay. One can imaginatively sail with the duyan as the sight of fireflies enchant one’s heart ushering it to a land of make-believe.

Far out sea, flickering gas lamps on fisher boats synchronize with the twinkling stars and other heavenly bodies completing the display of grandeur.

Sometimes the red winking lights of airplanes traveling over Palawan airspace serve as extra eye candy. And oh, the moon ever translucent ever the “faithful witness” to the grand cycle of creation.

With some lit candles strategically placed in corners of the balcony and excellent wine on the side, the duyan soothes my wife and me to a whimsical evening.

As Shakespeare would put it…

I count myself king of infinite space…

On my duyan I feel like an Ace.

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