44 sunsets in Labuan.

Labuan is the shape of a shark’s fin that broke off the body and left floating by the coast of the Borneo Island. It is so small, that when the sun sets, the red orange glow can be seen at practically all corners of the island. For some reason, the situation reminded me of a passage from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s The Little Prince:

But on your tiny planet, my little prince, all you need to do is move your chair a few steps. You can see the day end and the twilight falling whenever you like…

“One day,” you said to me, “I saw the sunset forty-four times!”

And a little later you added:

“You know–one loves the sunset, when one is so sad…”

“Were you so sad, then?” I asked, “on the day of the forty-four sunsets?”

But the little prince made no reply.

Barely promoted, Labuan is a perfect place to see the sunset over the South China Sea, especially along the consecutive stretch of Batu Manikar Beach, Pancur Hitam Beach and Pohon Batu Beach, which has been awarded the cleanest beach in the 2008 United Nation Environment Program.

Perhaps the beach cleanup was last week, because when I was there, blankets of dead seaweeds and shards of dead seashells have washed up to shore, creating a barricade between land and ocean as far as the beach runs. As if protecting the sea from earthly harms. Driftwoods polluted the beach further away from the great wall of seaweeds, like intruding army waiting for an attack that will  never come.

When the sun sets in Labuan, the clouds form an impenetrable formation. The look like badly resized pictures; too big of a head for too small a body. The colours that bathe the sky that cannot seem to mix into different hues like oil with water.

Right about this time, a majority of the Labuan population would gather at the beach. Lovers would drive their cars as close to the shore as they could, parked facing the panorama. Workers would have clocked out of their office, as so the fishermen, kicking back after a hard day’s work, awarding themselves with God’s natural gift of beauty. Photographers would find perfect spots for the perfect shots, opening up the three legged stands and place their cameras in position. Waiting.

When it happens, it happens quick. It is like the earth craves for the sun like a lover’s touch, getting impatiently selfish at the last few seconds as gravity pulls it towards the horizon. Father Sun has been basking us with rosy-cheeked love for too long a day; Mother Earth misses him.

I guess, it was around this time when I finally saw what Labuan’s dubbed “Pearl of Borneo” meant. When the sun sets, he was like a fiery ball of pearl returning to his home in the sea. He sat perched on the silhouette of an island, beaming in his own glory for a minute of your attention. Admire me, he said.

And then he is gone. Leaving only traces of his allure behind saturated across the sky. Till the same time tomorrow, have a nice evening.


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2 Responses to “44 sunsets in Labuan.”

  1. Junnie Says:

    Labuan is so picturesque..ideal easy romantic gateway! now you are tempting me to pack my bags and leave for Labuan tomorrow! I wish the pearl of the orient island too has 44 sunsets..:( Guess father sun prefers Labuan afterall..

  2. Charles Says:

    I appreciate beauty in every form but I am truly captivated by the way you write.

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