It's a great morning. The streets are empty, the stars are flashing their dying light and the air has none of that kerosene smell.
Never mind if my eyes are beady from getting up this early. This is my quiet hour, when the rest of the world is sleeping and I am me, stripped of the wrinkles of the workplace and the nagging of the biological clock.
Mornings like this remind me of the days when Roxas Boulevard was a clean, peaceful stretch and Manila Bay was clear and unpolluted. PNR trains were safe then, and I would wake up at dawn, sweeping past acres and acres of coconut trees, heading for the city or heading home.
Even home is different now. There's traffic, Jollibee and other unmistakable signs of change. There are lots of unfamiliar faces and unfamiliar names. The streets are no longer safe at night.
On mornings like this, though, clutching a paper bagful of hot pan de sal close to my chest and taking in draughts of pure semi-urban air, I am home.
Hope you are, too.