GHOSTLY ENCOUNTER IN BORACAY

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By Henry Barrameda

Part 1: The mysterious passenger

Behind the  festive mood that Boracay has on summer night is a mystery waiting to be discovered  by an  unfortunate few.

I was one of those whose memories wholesome frolic  in the pristine sands  have been  tainted  by a dark and horrific experience.

It happened two summer ago, when the company I worked for mounted  a  huge event in the island paradise. As expected, the Boracay  nights that summer were lit up by a  string of parties because we were not the only ones scheduled to hold  an event there.

These parties would  last throughout the night and almost always  end in the  wee hours  of the morning.  Some of the revelers would party  on even  as the morning sun peeked out of the horizon. On our last night on the island, when the last  of our parties was held,  my roommate and I decided, for once, to turn in right after midnight.

After a week of festivities,  we were  both partied out. Besides, we were  exhausted from the work we’d  been doing  for the past five days.  We decided on an early morning swim before departing  for Manila  in the afternoon.

As we weaved in and out of the crowd on our way to our rooms, the noise became steadily fainter, As we stumbled onto the main road, an eerie silence  greeted us. Since it was only a little past midnight,  we thought we could still  catch a tricycle  to ferry  us to back to  our resort, which was on the southern end of the island.

For  half an  hour,  we waited. Finally I proposed that if  after another 10 minutes no tricycle passed by to pick us up, we might as well walk the one-kilometer trek back to  our resort.  My companion wasn’t too happy with the idea since we didn’t know what we would encounter on the way.  He had heard about  the island’s  urban legends.

Being a  non-believer of such horror tales,  I insisted that if we  wanted to make it  back to the  resort and get enough sleep,  we had to hoof it.

Realizing he was left with no  choice, my friend finally agreed. So after 10 minutes and no tricycle passed, we began our hike back to our lodgings.  By the time we’d reached a hundred meters, we were so  exhausted from trying  to trudge through the badly-lit road, which, to top it off,  was under repair at that time.We had  to be careful  about which side of  the road to walk on.

Minutes later, we heard the welcome sound of  a motorcycle engine somewhere behind us. I looked back and saw a tricyle coming towards us. Relieved, we flagged  down  the vehicle and stumbled into the vestibule,  stammering our thanks to the late staying driver.  The driver merely grunted and sped down the highway.

After another hundred meters or so,  we neared a bank.  To our surprise, the driver told us that he could no longer take us any further and insisted we get off at that point.  We asked him why but he would not give us  any straight or logical response, answering cryptically:

“Basta, madilim na masyado paglampas diyan. (It’s already too dark beyond that point,)” We became  furious upon hearing this,  not because we were frightened by what  lay ahead,  but because  we were  already exhausted  and walking  the rest of the way  toour room was a big  inconvenience. We hurled invectives at the driver, but he seemed oblivious to anything we did.

Left we no choice,  we got off and began trudging the rest of the way home.  A few minutes later, we heard another  motorcycle engine coming from behind us. Another tricycle was  coming.  It was running at low speed and so we  thought  it would  stop to pick  us up.  We flagged him down.

To our surprise, he did not stop, though it was impossible for him not  to see us. Instead, he sped up.  He probably had too many passengers already,  we thought. Peering into the tricycle cab as it passed by,  we saw nothing but the driver and a lady seated at the back.  A few meters away from us, the tricycle stopped and we saw the lady alight.

This is our chance, we said.  We shouted at the driver, telling him to wait for  us, and ran to the vehicle. As we made ourselves comfortable inside the tricycle, we attempted to make small talk with the driver. We asked him if the  lady who went down from his vehicle earlier was his girlfriend. The did not seem to hear, nor brother to answer us. Instead, he increased his speed and careened dangerously  from side to side. We had  to hold on to the railings  to maintain out seats on the vehicle.

By the time we reached the end of the road and were about to alight,  we began  to worry that the driver had gone berserk.  We asked him what the matter was. As we  handed  him our  money,  he finally replied, “Sinong babae ( which girl)?” Obviously referring  to our earlier question.   We replied, “E di yung ninyo dun sa may puno ( The girl who alighted  near the group of trees).”

“Wala akong sinakay na babae, kaya hindi ako huminto sa unahan niyo kasi  yung puwesto niyo kanina may lumalabas na  babae pag hatinggabi( didn’t pick up any  lady passenger. The reason I didn’t stop in front  of you is because that area is  notorious  for being haunted by a ghost lady who  appears every  midnight.)”

PART II: The  telephone call

As the tricycle driver sped off,  all we thought about was how we’d reach the  resort without encountering any more eerie incidents.

There was  still stretch of road before we finally got to our lodgings. We  took comfort in the fact much of it was via the beach,  where some other resorts were located. We prayed that these resorts would have their lights on at that time of the night.

Sure, enough all of the resorts that lined the last strip of beach towards our resort had lampposts, giving more than ample lighting  to those passing by. Upon reaching  the resort, we noticed that the reception area was empty. None  of the guests appeared to be up and about.  At last,  some peace of mind,  we thought, heaving a sigh of relief.

We took  our keys from the front desk and tried to put up a brave front by singing  our way up the stairs in order to keep our minds  off the lady of the road.  When we finally reached our room, we checked for anything unusual,  like if  the bed covers were disheveled,  or the windows left open,  to make sure we didn’t have  anymore spooky encounters.

Everything seemed to be normal.  This calmed  down our jittery nerves  and we  tiredly  prepared for bed.  Looking  at the air conditioner, I debated whether to turn it on or not, since the  air outside had been cold and dry. I decided to not to, informing my roommate that the air was cold enough to leave the aircon off.  He agreed.

I settled down to get some shut-eye,  as my  roommate went to the bathroom for a quick shower. Just as I was dreaming off, I felt a chilly wind slip  into the room. It was colder than the breeze we felt outside.  I stoop up and shut the  windows against the frosty night air.

Bothered but too exhausted to do anything else, I cocooned  myself within the bed covers. Determinedly I ignored the icy atmosphere.My roommate,  who had just gotten out of the bathroom, rushed to put on  some clothes, complaining loudly of the cold.

I told him  I had already closed the window. I no longer felt the cold so much since I had already covered myself in the comforters that I brought. We got  into a heated discussion over  whether to put on  some music  as we  slept.  I wanted some music  because I  usually fell asleep listening  to it. My roommate on the other hand complained he couldn’t sleep with the radio on.

After some amount of reasoning,  I won the argument. But he had gotten worked up by the thought that he might not be able  to get some sleep and so  grumbled loudly, even as I hummed to the music that was  playing, oblivious  of my roommate’s  irritation…

After a few minutes,  he got fed up  said he would  not be able to sleep if we kept  the music on, more so if I kept  humming to the songs.  What started as a little  argument soon escalated into a shouting match.

In the middle of the argument, we both realized I had  dropped some of the  materials needed for our even while we were on the tricycle.

I told him nothing was gonna make go back out there and pick them all up,  not even the threat of my boss’ wrath. In the middle of the argument, the phone rang. We froze and stared at the phone. It was like  a scene from those horror schlockers, when something spooky is about to happen.

Meanwhile, the phone kept on ringing.  We let it  ring few more times while we silently argued  over who would pick it up.  Neither of us would budge. Eventually, I caved in. I felt guilty about the music and the lost materials.

I picked up the receiver and said hello, but there was no one on the other end  of the line. So I put the  receiver down and went back to bed.  Less than a minute later,  the phone rang again. I told my roommate it was his  turn to pick up.

So he answered the phone,  but like the first time,  no one was on the  other end.  Instead of getting scared, we became annoyed  by the  incessant ringing. I decided  to contact the  officemates we left at the party to ask if  they had been trying to call. I was sure on one would call us at that time of the night except our officemates, who probably wanted to make  sure we were safely back at the resort.

Not one of  them admitted to calling us up.  Then the  phone rang again. This time, it was my turn to pick it up  and a voice finally spoke on the other end.  It was a  woman’s voice. I asked that she  wanted and she asked if she had called the right room  number. I said yes, I asked her again what she  wanted.

What she said sent chills down my  spine.  “Hindi niyo ba kailangan ang mga gamit na naiwan niyo sa daan kanina ( Do  you not need the materials you dropped on the road  earlier)?”  In instantly dropped the phone. I tried  to recall  if there was any  other lady in the  area at the time. I could  swear there wasn’t any.  I ran  for the  bed and buried myself under its covers.

I told my roommate all about the conversation. He said  it could have been some lady whom we saw  back there.  But how could she know which resort and room we were staying in. I challenged  him.  It was impossible for her to tell from the materials we had dropped because they did not contain any information about where we stayed. My roommate ordered me to leave the phone off the hook so we could not get  anymore calls, I did.  Right after I did that, the phone rang all of 13 times!

Already frightened out of our wits, we unplugged the phone. “Let’s see  if that phone rings again.  Because if it does,  I am out of here. I am  running to the beach and heading off to our officemates, even  if it takes me half   an hour to get there!” I cried.  The phone rang became silent after this.

But as soon as  we were  under the covers, the phone rang 13 times again. We did not  get up. Instead we shut our eyes tight and  determinedly  ignored the  incessant  ringing.  When we woke the next morning,  we told all of our officemates about the incident.

I thought our horror had ended that night. I was wrong. The resort  owner overhead us talking  about it and  finally spoke up: “Paano  magri-ring e putol and lahat ng linya  mula alas dose ng gabi.  Tsine-tsek ko pa nga  oras-oras e. ‘Di ako nakatulog kasi may kailangan akong tawagan sa resort diyan sa  daan malapit sa bangko. May babaae daw na nawawala. Akala ko, yung pamangkin ko  (How can it ring, when the line  had been disconnected since 11 o’clock last night. I know  because I kept checking every hour for news of my niece. I couldn’t sleep because I had  to call the resort near the bank. Reports claim a woman has been missing. I was afraid it might be my niece.)”

He left us speechless, with our months hanging open.

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