The Sacred Hour ⌛

Every day since November 4, 2023, in the late afternoon, Neithan and I would go out on a walk to have coffee at Starbucks Katipunan. A ~10-minute walk from Saabii, our apartment, this has become a daily ritual we look forward to, especially on workdays.

We spend an hour, sometimes more, sitting with our Americanos and a cheesecake, talking about the highs and the lows of the day. 

On days when Neithan is mostly done with his programming work, we spend a few hours at 311, a sports lounge along Katipunan.

He’d passionately indulge in playing billiards while I either read a book or doodle on my iPad. 

Some days, I stay with him; on others, I head home.

It’s a sacred hour for us we ended up calling it “The Sacred Hour”.

Back when we lived in Naga (pre-2019), we always had a similar routine.

At day end, we would head to Starbucks Magsaysay for the much-needed reset of the day. 

And it felt like we lost that when we moved to Manila…

Now that we are doing it again, we are slowly realizing how significant these moments are to us.

This deliberate choice to step away from our computers to experience life outside of the screens has been refreshing.

The walk, aside from being a good physical activity, is a great opportunity to simply observe and wander. 

Such a bounty of life to witness and appreciate.

The turon vendor, graciously requesting passersby to buy his remaining turon pieces so he can call it a day and head home.

The students who are out and about, going to their restaurants of choice, perhaps to cap the day or take a breather before their next class.

The condo guard who is signaling us to step aside as a car prepares to exit the condo.

The waitress from a Japanese restaurant stationed outside the building inviting people to dine with them.

Billions-worth of cars (mostly SUVs!) navigating the Katipunan traffic, often displaying impatience at the stoplights, honking away as if the noise could make a difference. 

A scavenger treasure-hunting among chunky black garbage bags, hoping to unearth hidden gems.

Grab and Food Panda riders finding respite under a large tree, awaiting their next delivery order.

We miss out on so much as we remain glued to our computer screens, waiting for the next email to respond to.

A friend once asked us what we were doing when we go on these walks and coffee outings.

We talk. 

We talk about our life choices.

We talk about what went wrong and how we can do better.

We try to objectively assess our current circumstances, questioning our motivations and whether this is the life we truly want.

We remember the things we are grateful for so we can intentionally attract more of them to our lives.

We remember the things we hate so we can deliberately shut our doors to them.

We make plans for the night, the next day, or the months ahead. 

We decide to do things, or not to do things.

We highlight our non-negotiables.

We talk. A lot…

Every day with no fail, during our Sacred Hour, Neithan and I feel an excitement for life.

We look forward to what feels like versions of ourselves going on those first few dates.

We used to do this a lot.

What stopped us from doing more of it?

Oh. Work.

How did we, as a society, become slaves to routine work?

Why do we live just so we can get up each day, dress up in some corporate fashion, and go to work?

Aren’t we supposed to work to build a life for ourselves and the people we love?

For us, the Sacred Hour is a conscious effort to truly live.

Each afternoon, we put on our best casual attire, lace up our sneakers, spray on our perfumes, and walk our way to an hour (perhaps more) of life-giving conversations over coffee.

Go outside. Life is simple.