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By: Aya Paredes
My older sister, Yolly and her family relocated to Cavite after buying a small property in the area. She said it was a perfect place for her growing family. The house they bought was located away from the hustle and bustle of the more developed areas in the province. She said the place was peaceful and was developed like the villages in the US where houses are built on a measured distance from each other. After moving in, she started scouting for a school for her kids. She immediately went on to plan the house blessing. She asked for my help to arrange the whole event- I had to look for a caterer and buy candles and souvenirs for the guests. I was too excited for her. The day she asked me to go and see her new place, that was when all of my troubles began. “Ya, where are you now?” my sister asked. She must’ve called me five times and I was still driving on the dirt road along numerous villages going to a town called Molino. “I’ve been driving for three hours now and your place is still not in sight. Where is that anyway? Mars?” I joked. I was trying to fight off the drowsiness distance driving would always give me.
“Ito naman! Minsan lang naman ako humingi ng favor sa’yo eh!”
she said trying to cheer me up. “Anyways, I cooked your favorite and it’s already sitting here on my tabletop waiting for you.”
I made a couple of wrong turns. I had to ask for directions every now and then and that took time. It was already dark when I finally made it to my sister’s house. After bringing her most of the stuff she’ll need for her house blessing, I started to consume the feast she prepared for me. When we have discussed all the details for the big day, it was already around midnight. “It’s late. Why don’t you just stay here for the night? We got a guestroom upstairs,” my sister offered. “No thanks, Ate, but I really have to go home tonight. Mom’s home alone, the two helpers are on leave are on leave until tomorrow morning so no one would be with her for the rest of the night. You know Mommy, she frequently gets anxiety attacks whenever she’s alone.” I told my older sister. “Then why didn’t you bring her with you? You can both stay for the night na lang sana.” “She hates to travel long distances, but she promised to attend your house blessing. I really got to go now.” I was a bit in a hurry, thinking of the long ride home. My brother-in-law offered to drive with me to the village gate. I might get lost again, he said. I declined and told him. I was fine. I was certain i could remember the way out of the village.
I was driving for about 15 minutes when I acknowledge that I was lost again. The road looked like a maze to me. I kept on driving hoping to finally find my way out of the maze. After a few more minutes of ceaseless driving, houses began to disappear from view. I began to sweat despite the cool air my car aircon was giving off. Something about me getting lost in a dark endless dirt road made me nervous. I checked my cellphone to call my sis to ask for directions, but I couldn’t get a network service. I panicked. Where in the world was I? I started to turn around and head back where I came from but when I reached the end of the dirt road, I couldn’t see any street signs which could give me an idea were I was and where should I make a turn. I told myself to keep on driving. After all, no road is endless, I convinced myself. For several minutes I was driving straight but there were still no houses or concrete roads in sight. What made it worse was that I was already running low on gas. I was running on a 40-kph speed when all of the sudden , I saw three men in construction uniforms waving in front of me. I was hesitant to stop for safety reasons but as my car headlights illuminated their faces, I saw something that made me stop and talk to them. I slowly rolled down my window. “Boss, dead end na po diyan,” one of them told me. Though they were wearing the standard uniform for construction worker with hard hat and orange jackets, I easily sensed that they weren’t “normal” people. Something in their pale faces and dead looks gave me the creeps. “Naligaw po ako eh. Saan po ba ang palabas dito?” I asked. It took a while before they responded. One of them pointed to my left without saying anything. “Kaliwa po ba? I asked again. They nodded in unison. “Thank you po. Dis-oras na ng gabi ah, bakit nandito pa kayo?” I got the nerve of asking them.
“May hinihintay lang kami,” the third man responded in a dead tone. My heart skipped a beat when I saw their feet not touching the ground. I said a short thanks and immediately drove off as fast as I could. I was too nervous to analyze the situation, not knowing that I did follow the path they pointed out. I was speeding like I never did before, too scared to slow down or look behind me. In front of me, I saw something from a distance. In my condition and in the complete darkness engulfing the night, seeing nothing something like a car approaching was really a relief. I was a little disappointed when I came close to what I saw as it turned out to be an off- road sign. It was partly hidden beside the road by a mango tree. I slowed down a bit and was about to hit the road in full speed once again when the two front tires of my car fell into a cliff! I stepped on the brakes so hard. If I hadn’t slowed down to read the sign, I would have driven straight to my death. Minutes later, my sister and brother-in-law finally found me. They were shocked to see half of my car hanging off the cliff. They brought along the head security of the village and he was asking how in the world I got there. It was off limits to traffic and all roads leading to the placed were closed off. I told them what happened and the security guard told me I might have encountered Jun, Milo and Dante. There were three construction workers who have died building the village a year ago. They were buried alive in a freak accident that happened during the construction. Many believed that the three might be haunting the deserted part of the village, causing villagers to get lost or be harmed to avenge their death. I have never went back to visit my sister in her new house since then.