I never used to celebrate birthdays—but increasingly, these years, I get a certain wish, a strong, quiet but maddening desire, to be with myself on this day; to do nothing, to spend time with myself (of course, with dear ones); but primarily, to see the beloved hermit in the form of an Old Man with the Lamp on this very day, very far away from society. But normally, this wish doesn’t usually happen to me. In 2007, I remember spending this day right in a newsroom in Cebu, trying out a copy-editing job with friends and strangers who never had an inkling it was my birthday. I read a lone greeting from a friend (it was from Ca) in Davao when I sneaked peek on my FB—or was it my email? They never knew I was in Cebu, spending the graveyard hours copy-editing. In 2008, I was inside a dorm in Quezon city’s barangay Loyola Heights, battling with thick theoretical readings for our Media Ethics class at the Asian Center for Journalism (ACFJ) at the Ateneo the following day. I was already very drowsy because it was already deep in the night so I told Prateesh, my pretty Nepali roommate, I can’t take it anymore, I got to sleep and leave my readings in the morning; but Prateehba was so insistent that I should not sleep. “No, no!" she said. "Do your readings now. You won’t be able to wake up in the morning.” “I can wake up,” I said, confidently. “My body has an inner clock that’s working perfectly.” Prateesh insisted that I should not sleep so, I read a few more pages for a while and only went as far as Herbert Marshall Mc Luhan and never got to John Rawls’ Theory of Justice, which was my report the following day (how I figured out John Rawls’ theory of justice the following day without reading him is another story) but on this night of my birthday, I simply could not take all those readings anymore, I was already very drowsy as I declared to Prateesh, “I’m not going to brush my teeth tonight because it’s my birthday.” I can still see the shock and amusement on her face. She laughed so hard that she totally gave up making me read the rest of our readings. It was Bryant who discovered the following day it was really my birthday (I think I had forgotten it) and he rushed to join us with the Indonesian gang for some simple fun at the mall. The following years, my wish to be alone on my birthday remains a wish that has never been completely fulfilled and satisfied; and this year, this month, I’m afraid I’m going to spend my day exploring a Unesco mountain. I only wish I get to see the hermit. It will make up for everything.