Their squeal of unbridled delight was what drew me to them. “Ate, ate,” they chorused when they saw me approaching. “Picture-i mi.” (Rough translation: Elder sister, please take our photo.)
I smiled and marveled at their friendliness. I was a stranger to them and yet, they were not the least bit shy about asking for a photo and were looking at me with those trusting, soulful eyes.
I did not need to coax them. The moment I aimed my smartphone at them, they gamely posed for the camera. “O, tan awa.” (Look here.)
And they huddled around me, giggling while pointing at their beaming faces. “Guapo!” (Handsome) they teased the boy on the far right of the above photo. He laughed. We all did.
I never knew their names, but I will always remember how that day, they made me happy simply by being with them and reminding me that happiness needs no reason, just a disposition.
Photo taken in Mocaboc Island in Bohol. Here’s the original photo: