If you looked up the Cebu sky last night, you’d have the crap scared out of you. At least seven balls of light were clearly visible in a linear formation (if you squint hard enough and connect the dots, it could be the Grim Reaper’s scythe.) The lights were stationary and stayed visible for minutes.
Text messages were being sent around, asking people to look up the sky. I ran to our office’s canteen and saw the lights for myself. It was eerie and beautiful. (Click on the photo to view the larger image.) Across the street, people were stopping to look at it. I couldn’t make out their faces, whether they showed awe or fear or fascination.
The pimps on Cebu’s red light district, Junquera, were pointing at it and talking animatedly. Were they perhaps wondering whether the aliens on board the ship would be interested in getting one of their girls?
As I looked at it, it occurred to me, a certified science fiction junkie: how do you report an alien invasion? 130 points, Impact, all caps: ALIENS LAND IN CEBU? Will there be a sidebar? I recall one publisher of a US paper that had such a rigid banner headline rule, the same font size everyday, 100 points. He was asked how they would report Jesus Christ’s second coming and he said: the banner would still be 100 points but we’ll add a sidebar.
Would anyone do a live blog on it?
The lights were lanterns and as of last night, no one knew who launched it. Our newsroom assistant said that in the 1960s, Chinese-Filipino families in Cebu would launch the lanterns especially during fiestas. Its base, he said, is a metal laundry basin filled with oil. When you lit it up, the oil would inflate the balloon and make it fly. He also said that the Chinese-Filipino families would also fill the basin with coins for good luck.
It was no wonder that people were reported to have rushed to the Mobile Patrol Group headquarters last night when they saw one of the lanterns land in the compound. The people, we were told, were expecting to find money in it.
Max is a journalist and blogger based in Cebu. He has written and edited for such publications as The Freeman, The Independent Post, Today, Sun.Star Cebu, Cebu Daily News, Philstar Life, and Rappler.
He is also a mobile app and web developer and co-founded InnoPub Media with his wife Marlen.
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