While it is no match against the horrors of everyday living, the people and places, creatures and chaos that go bump in the night—either paranormally experienced or conjured up by the human mind—can keep us awake to no end. But indulging in these paranormal constructs, and scaring ourselves silly is an age-old, somewhat inexplicable guilty pleasure. In time for the Halloween festivities this week, we've asked several people to either share personal experiences or contribute works of fiction that will help satisfy this national past time.
Most of the stories in this list were shared previously in the Facebook group Best of the Best Manila. ANCX asked for the permission from each of the story teller before publishing.
This was in Guadalupe, Makati in 2014, at my best friend’s old house. I stay there overnight at times, sleeping in their living room. This time, though, we slept at my friend's and his younger brother’s room in the attic. That night, it was just me and my friend. He slept on his own bed while I slept on floor. There were two light sources in the room, the smaller one near the door was open so it’s not really dark. In the middle of the night, I woke up as I felt I needed to pee. I was lying on my back that time; I usually sleep sideways or facedown. When I opened my eyes, I saw a dark figure sitting on top of me and about to choke me. I couldn’t figure out if it’s male or a female. It was faceless, just a dark figure of a human being. I was wide awake. I was so scared and I tried to scream to wake my best friend who was just a meter or two away from me. But, it didn’t sound like he could hear me.
I looked back at the entity on top of me and the load just kept getting heavier. It was choking me. With all my strength, I tried to switch sideways and closed my eyes and silently prayed. After a few minutes, I felt that it was gone. I opened my eyes again, slowly to check and it was indeed gone.
I checked my watch and it was a few minutes past 3 A.M. I didn’t bother waking up my best friend anymore. A couple of weeks passed and after having lunch in their home with their family, we came to a topic about strange experiences. I finally told them about my experience. I found out that my best friend and his brother experienced the same thing several times in their room. Their mom attested, even before they were young, their late dad always ensure to accompany them in their room specially at night. It was also the reason that they seldom sleep at night there and mostly stay at the living room or their mom’s room. That room doesn’t get sunlight in the daytime. In 2016, they renovated the house and brought the old one down. Now, they made sure that all rooms got sunlight and all other parts of the home. During the renovation, workers who stayed the night reported strange things and noises in the old house. It was a creepy experience I never want to have ever again.
It was an unforgettable night in Bantayan island. I was on a quick break from work with two others, Bryan and Kha. I remember it was just 9:45 P.M. We were really tired from the trip going there, and all the activities we did when we arrived.
Beside our room, there were three girls having a drinking session. We can hear them singing, and laughing hard. We then heard the sound of broken glass, followed by a wailing cry came from their room. It was so loud, we got worried and knocked on their door. Kha immediately called the hotel receptionist, and then Bryan and I went inside the room. We were shocked. There was blood everywhere. Apparently, one of the girls accidentally broke a beer bottle and slashed her leg.
An ambulance was on its way, but we couldn't get any immediate medical help from reception. So Kha and I went outside, to the nearby houses asking for help from those with tricycles. Nobody was awake at that time. We passed by this house and a man emerged from the shadows; he was laying from the hammock. We got freaked out, but we asked for his help anyway. He agreed. He was starting the tricycle when the ambulance came.
Bryan told us that he will accompany the three girls. I told them we will follow for assistance and got on the tricycle. This time, Kha got a bad feeling. It was weird. When we rode the tricycle she was really uncomfortable and was telling me to just not go.
I insisted though because Bryan might need help from taking care of the ladies. So off we went into the quiet night along the main road of Santa Fe. Almost everyone was asleep by now. The main highway was beautifully lit with the moon and the stars and only a few lamp posts were on. I was actually enjoying the view. I noticed a man under one of the few lamp posts beside a Papaya tree, wearing a white cap, a jean jacket worn over his white shirt, and maong pants, calling out to our tricycle making signs he wants to ride. I looked at manong driver to see if he will stop, but he did not. May he didn't see him, I thought. So yeah, we continued. But then, after driving for a few meters, our tricycle suddenly stopped. Engine and all. The driver was puzzled, and Kha by this time had her eyes closed and just saying, "sabi sayo wag na tayo pumunta e."
I was actually not worried. The driver was trying his best to start the engine, but it wouldn't turn on. Then, all of a sudden, my cellphone beeped with a text message from Bryan: "Okay na. Nasa center na kami ginagamot na." I replied, "Okay. Balik na kami ni Ate Kha."
When I informed the driver to just turn around, he turned the bike, and the engine suddenly roared to life. We started to go back to the hotel, iI was still looking outside admiring the scenery. Chills came down my spine when I saw this cemetery beside the road. Just when we passed by, the tricycle again stopped, and it felt like someone rode in the back seat. The driver was trying to start the engine again, but Kha is now crying. I was calmly tapping her shoulder and she told me, "Marvs, samahan mo ako magdasal." I did not quite understand, but I felt someone tapping my right shoulder, but I cant see anyone. That was the time I prayed with her.
When we started to pray the Our Father, the engine once again started. The driver told Kha calmly, "mam wag na kayo matakot. We started to drive again. Kha was still just praying with her eyes closed. We passed by this wooden house, now near the hotel. And then again, the tricycle engine stopped.
This time, the driver himself panicked. He shouted "Ay!" and quickly tried as fast as he could to start the engine. While he was doing this, we all felt someone got off from the tricycle back seat. Even the driver was shocked. He started to really pour all his effort to starting the tricycle. Once he did, he drove far away as fast as he could.
It was then 12:01 AM. I remember because i even joked about it . "Manong pasensya na. Nasiraan ka pa ng tricycle sa hatinggabi. Sana di masyadong seryoso," I said as we got off, and paid him.
He stopped and caught his breath. "Sir, 15 years ko na dinadrive yan. Mekaniko ako at alaga ko yan. Pero di sa akin kasi 'tong tricycle. Binigay lang to sa akin nung namatay yung tito ko. Alam nyo po ba bat ako natakot dun sa may bahay kanina? Dun nakatira yung tito ko. Kakalibing lang namin sa kanya nung isang linggo. Dun sa nadaanan nating sementeryo," he shared.
I told the driver about the main at the side of the road, "Manong kanina may pumapara na lalaki sayo. Akala ko di mo lang napansin kasi medyo faint, nakatayo sya sa may ilaw. Nangilabot ako kasi across nung sementeryo dun ko sya nakita. Sa may puno ng papaya. Naka jean jacket, white shirt, maong, and white cap."
That exact getup, the driver said, was what his uncle wore when he got run over by a multicab in the island. I wasn't able to sleep. I prayed 4 decades of the rosary the whole time.
Marvyn Ej Yaranon Acantilado
This is not an OT story, but an early bird one. A few years ago, I worked as a copywriter in an old office in Makati, near Greenbelt 1. I usually like going to our office on the third floor early, usually 4 or 5 in the morning so I can get a lot more of my work done. It's just a short wait til others come in, anyway, and is definitely better than staying late at night.
Our office occupies the entire third floor and has a totally open design. With the exception of the elevator, CRs, and the pantry, you can see from one end of the office to the other. It was rows and rows of long desks for the different departments.
Our section is in one corner of the office and my desk has its back to everyone else. One morning I'm set up to go and it's about 4 A.M. I wasn't feeling scared at all coz I opened all the lights and had never had any scary experience before. I hear footsteps behind me. One at first, then several, followed by the sounds of computers powering up and keyboards clacking. I even hear the coffee machine whir up in the pantry. No biggie. This is something I got used to from doing this for a long time. Just people trickling in.
I even start to feel comforted by the sounds of chairs rolling about. Now, I'm introverted so I didn't look back. When I heard someone shout my name, I just shouted "Uy!" back with a half hearted wave of my hand. Again, didn't bother to look back. I was really busy checking stuff off my work list.
At around 4:30 A.M. or so, I became suddenly aware that all the noises stopped. All I was hearing were my own keyboard keys clacking.
Sure enough, when I look back, everything is quiet and empty. I would have screamed and run out, but my friend then walks in. I ask him to accompany me around the office to have a look. There was really nobody else there. No computers that were opened. No chairs out of place.
Needless to say, I always just went in on the dot after that.
Sino ang naniniwala sa pagpag? My uncle passed away in 2008. I was studying in Canada at the time and flew back as soon as I found out.
So fresh from a 14 hour flight, I went straight to my uncle's wake in Sanctuario in Forbes. I stayed for a bit and then went home because I was tired AF. I was greeted by my sister, who had the flu and was home alone. I had a quick dinner, bathed, and decided to retire for the night.
My sister and I stayed in a one-bedroom condo in Makati, but we decided to sleep in the sala. I was huddled near the window while my sister stayed on the couch. About 15 to 30 minutes in—wala pa masyadong smart phones nun so we couldn't really waste time playing candy crush till we fell asleep—I said, "Frannie, paki bukas naman yung ilaw."
She said no. I repeated my request but louder and with more ate authority.
"Paki bukas naman yung pü[email protected]& inang ilaw!"
She still declined.
I stood up and ran toward the main door to switch the lights on. I sat by the edge of the couch and told her why I was so pissed. I said that while I was trying to go to sleep, I felt someone or something was looking down at me from my side. Parang yung ginagawa ng mga tao pagtinitignan yung patay sa coffin.
My sister then said that, before I told her to turn on the lights, she saw a shadow or a dark figure standing beside me, looking down at me. She then asked if I did pagpag. I said no because I was so tired. She said I probably brought a random spirit home with me from Sanctuario kasi di rin niya kilala. Like, it wasn't my uncle, or a deceased relative.
Ever since then, ritual na talaga namin mag pagpag kahit sa 711 lang. My sister is a sensitive and probably has a partially opened third eye. We've had mumu experiences at Makati Med, too.
I was in med school and settling to sleep for the night. In the dorm room, I had just one roommate. We were both getting ready for exams, but as my test the next day was practicals, I knew I needed sleep more. She stayed awake to continue reviewing.
About an hour into sleep I had the sensation of someone lifting my bed from the foot. Not the mattress or blanket, the bed. I remember turning to my side, but still feeling sleepy. I feel the bed starting to move and I'm still halfway awake, thinking it was a dream. I was jolted awake by my roommate calling my name and screaming.
I look, and I see the end of my bed suspended in the air at about 30 degrees and rising—and no one holding it up. I scrambled off the bed and into her bed. As the bed started lifting off the floor, my roomie and I started praying the rosary. We heard a loud groan, then the bed dropped down. We never slept with the lights off for the next two years.
We had an old ancestral house in Horseshoe in Greenhills that was unusually dark and extremely foreboding. It wasn't helped by my grandmother's obsession with Catholic relics. She even had a zoomed in 8R-size photo of Mama Mary crying blood. It was the first thing that greeted you when you entered her room. Needless to say, I rarely went there.
We have several stories collectively as a family, but sharing a few that really stand out. I can't say these were what happened word for word, but it's how I best recall them.
Back when my siblings were just kids, my grandfather would usually spoil them by giving small treats like candies or snacks to eat, much to my mother's disdain. This was a time that I wasn't born yet. I never met my grandfather. It didn't happen frequently, but, of course my grandfather would sneak in every chance he would get.
One afternoon, it was after dinner when my mom had asked my siblings to get ready for bed. She had packed away and cleaned up, and found my siblings in the living room eating snacks. She was upset and started reprimanding them because they knew very well they weren't allowed. When asked where they got these, they just very calmly answered, "But mom, lolo came down to give it to us so we ate it." She went pale after that, because my grandfather had just passed away a month before.
Another incident concerned the bathroom on the landing, which I hated. It was a small space, lit only by a solitary warm light bulb and could only fit the toilet and the sink. It was claustrophobia-inducing, despite having a high ceiling. There was a small window that served as the exhaust, but it was no bigger than two by two feet. It was barely enough to let the light in, and was located above and behind the toilet. For some strange reason, I felt an uncontrollable urge to look at that window every time I would use the bathroom and would have my hair standing on end. It was extremely uncomfortable, like someone was watching you. I always rushed to do my business then got out. Some spirit questors later on had visited the house and reported their findings. It turns out, there was a little boy that they found peeking in that very bathroom window, and the boy was lost and just looking for his guardian.
I had one personal encounter. It was summer of last year, at around 3 or 4 A.M. As the fan was trying its best to cool the room, I opened the curtains and positioned my fan directly in front of my window. That way, the fan can siphon in the cool air from outside.
As I was trying to fall asleep, I stared lazily into the window hoping that sleep will visit me soon. But as I looked out I noticed something big, trudging past my window—a giant or a kapre. I thought I was just imagining it. But when the entity looked at me directly through the window, I was paralyzed and couldn’t breathe. It did nothing, but just look at me. I couldn’t move my body and was panicking as I tried to breathe. I prayed the Hail Mary and other prayers that I could think of all throughout the ordeal.
Then at one point, I managed to blink and then the vision was gone. I was able to breathe again, and move my body but I dare not move nor approach the window at that time. I must’ve fallen asleep after because it was lunch time the next day when I woke up.
When I told the experience to my family, my mom told me that when the workers were renovating the house, some of them were afraid to cut down our mango tree. When asked as to why, they told her that a bantay was in the area and they were afraid of disturbing it.
I must’ve showed itself to me at that time because the baranggay recently removed some branches of the tree because it was hitting the power line. Since then, I never approached the window in the wee hours of the morning.
We used to live in a 1980s condo in pre-development Kapitolyo. It had big windows with a beautiful city view. We were the lone tenants in the wing on that floor. The contractor who fixed my unit mentioned: "Ma'am, parati akong kinikilabutan dito, parang may nakatingin sa akin," whenever he waited in the hallway in front of my unit. I just brushed it off.
On our first month there, my son, who was in preschool, would peek out of the door's peephole to look at the hallway every 6 A.M., even before peeing, and every 8 P.M. before going to sleep. This was every day. So I asked him what he was looking at.
"Mom, there's a lola out there. And she's not our lola." Then he continues: "Mom, sometimes nasa stairs lang siya." And then it gets better.
"Mom, dead na raw siya."
I was an AE accompanying journalists on an offsite trip for a tech client. As part of an Amazing Race-style activity, we visited the foot of Mt. Mayon on ATVs. Our team in particular lagged on one of the challenges so nightfall came and we were still at the Mayon site. It was extremely dark and the only lights in the entire area came from our mobile phones and the headlights of the ATVs.
When we finally finished our team challenge, everyone rode their ATVs back to the entrance of the site where a van was waiting for us to take us back to our hotel. Most of our journalist-guests had their own ATVs, while I rode at the back of our tour guide’s ATV. We stayed at the back of the group to light everyone else’s path with our ATV’s headlights. Since ours was the last ATV, there was nothing behind me except pitch darkness and eerie silence.
The ride back to the parking area took around 10 minutes. A few minutes into the ride, the tour guide starts to make conversation. “Ma’am, nakakita na ba kayo ng patay?” he asks innocently. The hairs at the back of my neck stand up and I feel strange chill around me. “Hindi pa po... bakit?” I reply with a lot of dread. We’re still surrounded by darkness. My forward view is of faint lights from the other ATVs and something tells me not to even think of looking back.
The tour guide then starts to tell me that he’s seen a number of dead people in his lifetime. “Yung itsura nila nung namatay sila, minsan ganun pa din itsura nila. Hindi lang nila alam na patay na sila.” He proceeds to tell me about this dead man in his hometown whom he saw walking about after our tour guide had attended his funeral. He said not a lot of people can see what he sees. I ask him if he gets scared. He said he does, sometimes, but he just tells himself that the dead can’t harm him.
He continues to chatter on, and the whole time I’m just wishing the ride would end. I feel insanely creeped out and I can’t explain why, but I think it’s my imagination getting the best of me. The tour guide’s stories weren’t helping. Neither was the darkness and dead silence.
When we finally get to the van, I tell our tour guide, “Grabe kuya yung mga kwento mo ha. Hindi na ako makakatulog mamaya.” Our tour guide looks at me strangely and asks, “Ma’am, may mga narinig ba kayo kanina?” he says. “Pasensiya na ho sa mga kwento ko. Ang dami po kasing mga bumubulong sa inyo. Sa likod ninyo, sa tabi ninyo, sa mga puno. Ayoko po kayong matakot kaya nagkwento na lang ako nang nagkwento para mapunta sa akin yung focus ninyo.”
I was silent the whole van ride back to the hotel. I’ve never seen Mayon the same way again.
One time when I was a kid, I was sitting on the street in front of one of my friend's house. It was the afternoon and the sun was out. We were in a circle and I was facing their house. For some reason we were talking about ghosts at that time. And by this time, some of them know that I've seen my share of ghosts.
So we were talking and sharing stories. My sister was beside me because she is part of our barkada. After a while I glanced up toward the front door of my friend's house. There I saw a man standing in front of the door. He was in an all black suit with a white square on the neck—like what priests wear. He was bald. And his face was smushed. Like his forehead and his chin were pushed towards each other.
At first I didn't mind him. Maybe I was just imagining it. You know, if I look again he'll be gone. So I did. I looked at him again. At this point I knew I can see ghosts, because he was still standing there. We were staring at each other. Then he slowly smiled at me. That made me cry. I tried to keep it in because I didn't want my friends to say that I was doing it just because we were talking about ghosts. Baka sabihin nila papansin ako. But they noticed that I was crying and they kept asking why. Then my sister whispered to me "may nakikita ka no?"
We just stood up and went home and I didn't even explain it to my friends.
After some time, I remembered that my friend who owned that house shared that his parents could see a man at the back of their house who looked like a priest. I just put the two and two together and this is how I knew I see dead people.