By: Aya Paredes
Literary was fighting with almost all of the travel agencies last summer. It was two days before Holy Thursday and there was a zero possibility for any agency or ticketing office to book us a flight to this wonderful beach resort the next day, Holy Wednesday. Failing to secure plane tickets for us, me and five of my friends were close to giving up. It was peak season and it was really impossible to book us on such short notice. Tuesday night, I tried to call a ticketing office. I felt a surge of hope when the agent told me that she can only monitor any last-minute cancellation of booked passengers. In short, we were to become chance passengers. As desperate as we were, we agreed to take the chance and trooped to the airport. After a few hours of wait, a miracle happened. For some reasons, a group of six people booked on a flight to
the resort made a last-minute cancellation and thus, we ended up taking their slots on the plane.
It was the worst flight I have ever experienced in my whole life…. thanks to dark cloudy skies and strong winds that rocked our small plane. It was a ceaseless bumpy ride from Manila to resort. We were really thankful that we made it to the island in one piece. Not long after we arrived, we forgot how bad our flight was as excitement and joy overtook us. As always, the beach resort could take away one’s breath with its pristine waters and powder-white sands. No wonder tourists. foreign and local alike, flock to this paradise-island every chance they get. And as we expected, the shores were teeming with tourists of all colors already. We decided to go to our hotel and check in first before hitting the beach.
The inn was newly built and it was the first time we saw it. The rate was fairly affordable compared with other inns within the vicinity so we decided to grab us a big room before rates hike up the next day. The six of us- me, Dean, Dennis, Siegfred, Sofia, and Marianne secured a spacious room with four big beds. The room was well- ventilated and it was on the third floor. We were the only occupants on the third floor. The other rooms remained unoccupied. To save up on food expenses, we decided to just buy food being sold outside resort restaurants and eat on the veranda while feasting our eyes on the terrific view of the resort. Plus, the cool breeze was relaxing. After a near-disaster flight to the place, we needed some pampering. At about 10 p.m. that night, my friends decided to check the bars. We went to one of the biggest bars just across the road. The place was already full with tourists who were mostly drinking and dancing, having a good time. After finding a table for six, we began to order drinks and socialize a bit. My friend Dennis, a born player, immediately found himself tangled up with a group of girls. Dennis went out of the bar with one of the girls, Liza, leaving us all behind. We figured Dennis must have had a good time with the girl since he never went home until 4 in the morning the next day. We were already asleep when Dennis loudly banged on the door. When we let him in, we saw that he was shivering and red blotches started to appear all over his body. He had a high temperature. He said he was aching all over. When we asked him what happened, it took him a while to remember. Dennis narrated that Liza took him to the beach where they talked for hours. When it was already late and the beach was practically deserted. Liza took out a small bottle of a local hard Liquor and invited Dennis to drink with her until they pass out. Dennis, trying to impress the girl, gulped down the contents of the bottle within minutes. He suddenly felt sluggish and weak after that. Thinking it was just the effect of the alcohol, he told Liza he’ll be going home for we might be already looking for him. As he was trying to stand up, his knees buckled and he passed out right there and then. He woke up with a fever. Liza was no longer with him. She left him sleeping on the beach. We were worried about the high fever and the red blotches on his body what we decided to ask a local shaman to assist us in finding a clinic or a doctor nearby. Manang Rosario, an old woman on her 60s, told us that Dennis had been “Marked” by a newly converted aswang. The aswang according to her, will go after Dennis to feed on him when he’s gotten to sick. Manang Rosario also told us not to leave Dennis’ side as the aswang will definitely go out and start looking for him again. She said the illness the aswang gave Dennis had a certain aroma only aswangs within the vicinity can detect and smell- within miles. We got scared with what the old woman told us. We took turns in feeding and monitoring Dennis’ condition which only got worse the next day. The doctor told us it was just a case of measles. However, he couldn’t explain the worsening condition of my friend despite the medicines he order to take. The doctor suggested that Dennis might have developed an allergy to whatever he drank the night before and he had to be taken to the nearest hospital as soon as possible if his condition would not stabilize in the next 12 hours. It didn’t By around 11 that evening , we were already preparing ourselves to call for an ambulance. Dennis started to convulse. We panicked and got scared and started to administer first-aid remedies to help lower his temperature. Suddenly, a gush of wind took us all by surprise. Then we saw a big black bird flying in circles near our room. It was gawking in a chilling manner like it was trying to get something. We got scared and closed all the doors and windows.
From inside the room, we could see the shadows outside the window Sofia and Marianne started screaming when we saw the bird turned into a human. It was all black, the height must’ve been over six feet We heard it break the light bulb outside the veranda and darkness fell outside our room. Siegfred and Dean started to bolt the doors and windows and were terrified when the creature started to bang loudly on the door. We were all shouting and asking for help but none seemed to have heard us.
It broke the glass window and tried to insert an arm in. Scared to death, we ran towards the kitchen, but soon realized Dennis was left groaning on his bed. Dean, who amazingly didn’t lose his head during the chaos, got a big kitchen knife and ran back towards the intruder on the window. He stabbed the creature in the arm and we heard a woman’s voice wailing in pain. It took its wounded arm out of the window and the next thing we heard was the sound of flapping wings. The creature was flying away from our room. Dean later described the arm as black as a coal with razor-sharp talons. Its arm was covered with long black hair. The strange thing was there was no bloodstain near the window where Dean stabbed the arm. We booked a flight to Manila the next morning, Good Friday. We were a bit worried as Dennis still had rashes all over his body. Airport officials might not allow him to board. What we did was to cover him up in long sleeves and long pants. We had him wear a cap and sunglasses. We made it to our flight.
Needless to say, Dennis got better when we got back to Manila. He still dreams of Liza attacking him after she has morphed into some kind of black monster. We all spent the Holy Week visiting different churches and praying. We found an inner peace we’ve never had in years. No beautiful beaches can compare to that.