THEY say everything is different in the daylight and under the night sky, and some say images don't prove to the reality of things. But as I walked through the streets of downtown Davao, listening to a well-chosen soundtrack, I can't help but look at the things I passed by this morning and every other day. 12:03 was the time in my little wristwatch as I walked out of a friend's house.

The stores are closed and residences seem to be out of light and only the alleys are lit. A man on his trisikad passes by from time to time, hoping for a late night passenger and a little more income. I walked pass Roxas Avenue where people were laughing and talking. But tonight, there were only passersby and vendors fixing up their pop-up stores and calling it a night. I walked past them, thinking about the times I go through the crowded street. It was full of smoke, some music blasting from different stores, and vendors that call out your attention to sit at their table and dine. But it wasn't there that midnight. All I saw was an almost vacant night market with packed up things, and friends and families converging around their stalls, looking gratified for a good night.

The police around the street, who would usually have that strict face and expressions, were in this circle drinking coffee and sharing stories to each other. I crossed the street thinking they would go home to their families after this and try to catch up with them. Then, the strict faces were not that scary to see anymore.

The 7/11 and in front of me glowed as it was the only establishment lit up on that street. I peered inside and saw an employee restocking the aisles. There were no people sitting on the chairs not picking out food inside. There were also no beggars outside, waiting for the people to come out and ask for change or a part of the food they bought. I seemed to ask myself, where did they go? And on a side of the dim street there I found them sleeping soundly on some cartons as a family with only water on their side. Other beggars also slept on different parts of that street. An old man who owns a large bag and a middle-aged man who had a large belly, sleeping upright.

The parking lot through my dormitory only had one light from an open travel company with a woman inside, hard on work. My dormitory, on the other hand, was as quiet as the streets I've been to. The silence reminded me of a good sleep. But the students outside of the rooms studying reminded me of hard work. I went inside my room thinking of another side of the stories that night. Who knew the after-hours would be eventful? (Marnil B. del Monte)