By J.M. Ramos
My friend and I were driving around Baguio City that night in 2001. The night was chilly and dark. Though previously unsuccessful in our hunts for ghosts that were rumored to populate Baguio after the 1990 killer earthquake, we continued to persevere in our ghost hunting activities. There had been a minor tremor that day, and we thought that maybe it migh have stirred some otherwise dormant ghosts.
We were not really brave souls; my friend and I just did not believe in ghosts. We first passed by the former Hyatt Hotel on South Drive. It was the most likely place where we would see a ghost. People say that the wind at South Drive usually carries with it the moans and cries from those who died there. By 8 p.m. the road was deserted, and we parked just outside the hotel compound. An occasional back from a dog sliced through the night’s silence, but that was all we heard. After a few minutes, we decided to drive on.
We didn’t see any ghosts there. Our next destination was brent Road. Since it was a semi-residential road, we did not expect traffic there at night. And we were right, as we parked near the convent of the Pink Sisters. My friend turned on the car stereo. After a minute or so, we thought we heard something. It sounded like a dog howling.
But unlike the dogs at South Drive, this dog sounded like the dogs in scary movies. My friend quickly turned off her car stereo. Then the howling stopped. We laughed nervously . We dismissed the howling dog as one of the “special effects” of my friend’s old car stereo. We sat back and enjoyed the music, waiting for something to happen.
Then we heard it again, although this time it was a little louder. It was definitely a howling dog and the sound did not stop when we turned off the car stereo. We were starting to freak out, for the sound had a chilling effect. My friend started the car and we prepared to leave. So much for ghost hunting.
And then we saw, a lone woman walking down the road. We did not know where she had come from; we just saw her there, walking with a cane. With the way she was using the cane, we assumed that she was blind. That was a little weird, we thought.
Why would this blind woman be alone walking the street late at night? Though the sight of her gave us the creeps, we nonetheless followed her and illuminated her with the car’s headlights. We were worried that a car might pass and would not see her, since the woman was garbed in dark clothes. Brent Road was not well it; its streetlamps were widely spaced, providing only dim illumination.
So we followed the woman down the road. The dog was still crying. We were nervous . When the woman reached the end of the road, we saw her turn the corner and disappear from sight. Maybe someone had fetched her after all.
At that time, we were parked near a lamppost. We were laughing, thinking how silly we acted. That dog was probably just calling out to a mate and the woman was probably someone who lived near the convent. Still, we felt something was not quite right. We felt that something strange was about to happen. And we were right.
While my friend was talking to me, she suddenly shrieked and pointed at something behind me. I did not have time to look; she had immediately started the car and drove off as fast as she could. She was pale and was in a panic. She could not even talk. When we reached the end of the road, she stopped the car and looked back at where we came from. She was perspiring despite the chilly night. She shrieked again and drove off.
It was when she was about to drop me off that she told me what she saw. She described it as a taong grasa. She said that she saw someone leaning over my side of the car. She could not tell if it was a man or a woman, as all she saw was a hood over that person’s head. The figure had his or her face against the window, as if she or he was trying to take a closer look at us. She said I did not see the figure as my back was to the person. ‘It was creepy, like I was looking at a headless person trying to get in the car.
The light from the lamppost should have illuminated the figure’s face but it didn’t. It was spooky,” she later told me. And what freaked her out more as that when she looked back, she could not spot a single figure on the road. I had also looked back and I don’t remember seeing anyone, too. She said she was certain that she saw someone or something and it could not have vanished into thin air.
Still feeling spooked, she went home. She said she could not shake off the feeling of being haunted. When she entered their house, their Igorot maid said to her, ‘Something, a presence, followed you here. I can feel it.”
She had goose bumps and turned even paler. That night, she swore off ghost hunting. And I did, too.