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The Maricris Bacala
Hongkong in late November is just perfect for a trip. I was among the lucky one chosen to participate in a tour hosted by one of the world’s top air carriers.
Great I thought, I can get some Christmas shopping done. I felt pampered all throughout the trip, enjoying only the best services on offer. business class seats on the plane, first class hotel accommodations, sumptuous food and a whirlwind tour of the island’s famous spots.
It was the perfect vacation for me. I have been breaking my back for the past three months as a feature writer for one of the glossy magazines in town. Our publications is centered on personalities and issues, and would oftentimes be heavy on research. Sometimes I would be assigned to report on the effects of the latest disease, like Hepatitis B, and at others I would be told to interview a reclusive business tycoon.
But things are not all as glamorous as they seem. Putting the stories together entails research and sometimes a lot of legwork. Plus, there’s always the pressure of an upcoming deadline hounding you, sometimes even in your sleep. In the past three months, I have also been pinch-hitting for our publication’s managing editor, who is on maternity leave. This means that, for the past three months, I have been putting the publication “to bed” inheriting pressure and attendant headaches that being a managing editor entails. This is why, when I was offered to cover the launching of a book in HongKong, I immediately jumped at the chance. Fortunately, Lisa, our managing editor was due back from her leave and my editor-in-chief allowed me to join the tour. The first two days of the tour passed by in a blur of cocktails, luncheons and, of course, shopping tours. We barely had time to rest before we were dragged to an other party or function. At the end of another full day of touring around the territory. I decided to make it an early night and catch up on my sleep. After enjoying a long luxurios bath in the tub, I finally settled in for the night. I went over the day’s events in my mind as I slowly drifted off to dreamland. I had just dozed off when I was rudely awakened by some force pressing me down on the bed. Vaguely, I tried to think whether I was alone in the room. Slowly, I gathered my wits and remembered where I was- alone in a hotel in Hongkong. I tried to sit up, but I couldn’t lift my head. I felt a heavy weight across my chest, like something was laying on top of me. Oh no, this couldn’t be happening again! A few months ago. I also woke up in the middle of the night. I was at my rented room within the confines of a gated village in Makati. Someone or something was pressing down in the bed. It was pressing down on me so hard, I could hardly breathe. I was so scared because I thought this would lead to an asthma attack. I had ashtma ever since I could remember and sometimes stressful events triggered my attacks.
I cracked my eyes open, and what I saw nearly made me faint with fright! Sitting on top of me was a creature so hideous, I could barely described it. The best I could say was that it resembled a horse standing on its two hind legs.
I shut my eyes tight and prayed hard. After a while, I felt the pressure ease, and then, all of a sudden it was gone!
I slapped at the lamp switch beside the table. Light flooded the room. There was no one there. But that was three months ago, and several thousand kilometers away in Makati. How could it be happening again? How could it’ follow me to HongKong? I could barely muster enough courage to open my eyes. I knew that I would see and I prayed so hard I cried. This times the pressure on my chest was like a vise getting tighter and tighter. I don’t know what happened next. I think I lose consciousness. But when I woke up, it was broad daylight, and the hotel phone was ringing off the hook on the night table beside me. I sat up, but immediately fell back down on bed, weak as a new born kitten. I searched the night stand for my asthma medication and immediately took it. I tried to act normal in front of other people in the tour until we flew home in Manila. When I got home, I immediately called up my cousin, Anna, to help me look for a psychic who could perform a “tawas” or candle ritual that would purge the spirit that kept following me. We found one in our old neighborhood in Kamuning. The psychic said the spirit was that of a “lamang lupa” or earth creature who fell in love with me when I was 16 years old and living in kamuning. She tried to purge the spirit out of me, but to no avail. The psychic said the creature was very stubborn. It has formed an attachment to me and has vowed to stay with me whenever I would go. Which is why it is still with me now.
THE SAGADA ADVENTURE
We were having our vacation in Sagada, in Banawe, where we had gone caving it was a hard trek but my sister and I, along with our guide , wanted to go all the way to the bottom. Upon reaching the bottom I felt something following me. Throughout our trek, I could feel the presence beside me. Several times, I felt it tyring to grab my hand, but I just ignored it, thinking it was just nerves. I was unwilling to let my fears get the better of me.
After viewing the magnificent formations in the caves we began our ascent, this time with lighter feet. The feeling that someone was with me had lifted and I was able to move freely. Upon finally reaching the top, our guide confessed something that made my hair stand on end. He said every time the lamp shone in my direction, he could see another shadow walking beside me. Then he told us that previously there were two Australian tourists who died while attempting the trek. They did not hire a guide to show them which way to go. But the mountain is too steep and its trails are too treacherous to attempt without an experienced guide. Somewhere along the way, they slipped and fell in one of the ravines and died. While walking back to the car, the guide took us to the grave of the two Australians and an unidentified grave. According to our guide, this unidentified person’s spirit is the one misleading unaccompanied trekkers and pulling them to their deaths-even to this day.