Friday, December 28, 2007

The Watcher

The University of the Philippines (U.P.) is the premier university in the country. Hundreds of alumni have become eminent personalities in every field of human endeavor. The university’s standard of academic excellence is undoubtedly the most exacting in the Philippines.

It is not surprising, therefore, that the state university’s students are a breed apart, the cream of the crop among the country’s student population. The stringent University of the Philippines College Admission Test (UPCAT) effectively screens incoming freshmen. In a few weeks time after entering U.P., students are quickly acclimatized to the rigorous routine of student life in the prestigious school. Immediately before periodic exams, students review in groups or individually in order to absorb the bulk of the period’s lessons.

In one of the university’s campuses in the Visayan Region of the Philippines, the girls’ dormitory was located at the old Girl Scout Building of the city. The land on which the university was erected was donated by the city government. Hence many of the old public buildings in the area were taken over by the university.

It was two days before the first periodic examination. Many of the female students billeted at the dormitory had chosen to study by groups at nearby beaches, rest houses, retreat houses, etc. Only a handful of the girls were in the dormitory that day.

At eleven o’clock in the evening, one college freshman was studying alone in her dormitory room. Her three other roommates had left in the morning to study at a friend’s house. Deep in study at her table, she faced the open window where the cool night air gently wafted into the room.

At around eleven-thirty in the evening, she went to the nearby comfort room. Standing up did her good. It awakened her senses and she was sharp and alert once more. When she returned to her table, she sensed some movement out of the corner of her eye. She raised her head and looked.

Across the open window, in the pale moonlight, a man was standing silently still and looking at her intently. The girl was quite annoyed. She detested rude men staring at her and she disliked it now that it was happening at night. After around five minutes, the man was still there, unmoving and still looking at her. She could bear it no more. She stood up and proceeded to close the wooden window.

When the window had been closed, she uttered a sigh of relief at being freed from such rude staring. But her relief turned to horror when she realized that her room was on the second floor of the dormitory and the “man” was staring at her from outside her dormitory window twenty feet away on the same eye level as her! This means the “man” was floating in mid-air!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007


All over the world, there are recurring stories of incubi and succubi. An incubus is a male supernatural entity whose primal desire is to have sexual intercourse with a human female. A succubus is a female entity which seeks to have intercourse with a human male. Some incidents associated with incubi/succubi molestation occur while the mortal victim is sound asleep at night, bathing, or while changing clothes.

I personally know a 39-year-old woman who experienced such molestation barely a month ago. She is separated from her husband and lives in a one-bedroom rickety house with her five kids with ages ranging from 13 years old to 2 years old. Her second husband is a sales agent who is on travel five days a week. She sleeps in the bedroom with her two youngest kids aged 7 and 2, both girls. For lack of space, the three elder children sleep in the living room.

Despite her age, Virginie, as we shall call her, is still very beautiful and shapely. She is also endowed with an open “third eye” which enables her to see more of the paranormal than most ordinary people.

In the last week of November, 2007, while her husband was away on travel, Virginie woke up in the middle of the night. She could feel an unnatural presence in her bedroom. She initially shrugged it off as a figment of her imagination as she was still groggy from sleep. Moments later, the floorboards at the foot of her bed began creaking, as if someone or something, though invisible, was treading on them. She recited a prayer for protection and the creaking stopped.

Two weeks later, while her husband was yet on another business trip, she began experiencing wet dreams for five successive nights. In every instance, she felt she was dreaming of tender moments with her second husband. She also felt as if her body was immobilized in supine position on her bed while a inexplicable heaviness went on top of her.

On the sixth day, she could take it no more. She consulted a friend who was well-versed in the supernatural. The friend surmised an incubus had taken fancy of Virginie and he was responsible for the attacks. That very day, they secured the services of a spirit healer who promptly visited Virginie’s home. After the spirit healer had erected psychic barriers on doorways and windows, the incubus molestation has not been repeated as of this writing.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

A Doppelganger in Samar

Never in my wildest dreams would I ever concede that there are doppelgängers in the Samar, a province of the Eastern Visayas region in the Philippines. And the uncanny thing about it is I was the object of the phenomenon.

From Wikipedia, “a doppelgänger has come to refer (as in German) to any double or look-alike of a person—most commonly an "evil twin". The essential meaning of the German word is "doublewalker", someone who is walking the same way as another person.

The doppelgänger associated with me first manifested itself around two years ago. A lot of my friends began confronting me as to who the long-haired woman I was being seen around with. Their encounters with “me” usually happened late at night at some nightspot in town. My friends insisted it was “me” they saw. In fact, they said, “I” even waved at them during those encounters.

One particular incident had “me” with an unidentified male companion at a certain nightspot. The friend who related the incident told me “my” male companion even tried to start a brawl with my friend’s group!

All the while during those incidents, the real I was at home asleep at such late hours. That was when I became very apprehensive. Here was an entity masquerading as me and possibly doing some very unsavory acts. I was worried I might be left holding the bag and be the object of repercussion as a result of this entity’s actions.

A full year after the first reported incident, I sought the help of a well-known faith healer in our locality. He revealed to me that I was being mimicked by a shapechanger. The faith healer performed a ritual focused on the Third Eye area at the top of my head. I distinctly recall him making sweeping motions with his hands as if in the process of cleansing my aura. He also gave me a sort of amulet which would supposedly protect me from the recurrence of doppelgänger manifestation.

Since then, there have been no reports of my phantom double. Still, I will never forget the time of the manifestations of doppelgänger in Samar.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Biringan (Part 6) : Conclusion

What really is Biringan? Is it a city or kingdom existing in a parallel dimension with ours? Do these two dimensions interpenetrate at times, causing the meeting of inhabitants from ours with encantos? Does this explain the ethereal now-you-see-it, now-you don’t quality of Biringan and its denizens?

To this day, Biringan remains a mysterious part of Philippine folklore. In addition, everyday stories of encounters with Biringan’s residents continue to be told. If these had simply been figments of the imagination, these stories would have died down a long time ago, what with the advent of 100+ channels cable television and the Internet. Still, fresh stories continue to crop up.

Stories such as spirit possession by Biringan’s encantos over ten school children just because their school Principal unwittingly made a bonfire next to the large balete tree in their school yard. How was the poor teacher to know that the huge tree looming large near the old school building was the abode of a Biringanon? And that she had unknowingly injured the youngest child of the invisible occupants of the tree abode?

Even modern-day kids in the Philippines, well-versed on the Japanese animé sagas of the new century, still believe in the existence of the legendary kingdom of Biringan. This is an undeniable fact. Despite all the terror attacks, all the coup rumors, the hunger, the droughts, the floods, and everything, only one thing remains unshaken by it all … Biringan.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Biringan (Part 5): The Japanese Venture Into Biringan Territory

Biringan (Part 5): The Japanese Venture Into Biringan Territory

In the late Eighties through the Nineties, the Japanese ventured into Biringan territory. They conducted rural development work focused on the town of San Jorge, Western Samar. The implementing agency was the Japanese International cooperation Agency (JICA). The entire Samareño population was perplexed as to why the Japanese would concentrate on San Jorge when there were a lot more towns in the province which needed the development work more. To implement the project, the Japanese brought in tons of equipment (vehicles and machinery) and Japanese engineers and field personnel descended on San Jorge in full force.

One story involved a team of Japanese who went into the forest accompanied by a Filipino guide. Inexplicably, the guide lost track of the terrain. The Japanese promptly whipped out a very detailed satellite-generated map of the area and the team immediately found its bearings again. A related report had it that infrared, ultraviolet, or similar satellite pictures of the area kept registering a shimmering effect right on the location where the JICA was concentrated. This led to further reports that an enormous deposit of uranium is embedded deep in the bowels of the earth beneath that particular area. Others speculate that a mother lode of gold has been detected in the area. The thickest deposits are reportedly under the San Jorge area with the ends tapering as far a San Juanico Strait to the South and the San Bernardino Strait to the North.

Could there be a connection to the reported location of Biringan in the area? In Philippine folklore, elementals supposedly guard vast treasures hidden deep in the forests or deep underground.

Nevertheless, the Japanese left the area without any tangible results of their “rural development” work. That ended the Japanese Venture Into Biringan Territory.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Biringan (Part 4): Heavy Equipment for an Invisible City

Heavy equipment for an invisible city? Uncanny but true. In the Sixties, Tacloban City in the province of Leyte, the Philippines was the commercial hub of the Eastern Visayas region. It was the natural port of call of passenger and cargo ships plying the Visayas-Manila route. Who could ever imagine that manifestations of Biringan’s existence would take physical form?

One particular incident which is still word-of-mouth to this day involved the arrival of a large lot of first-class heavy equipment from the United States. The shipment consisted of bulldozers, graders, payloaders and hauler trucks. Post officials were astounded when they examined the freight documents and discovered the entire consignment listed the destination as Biringan City. Since the fabled city’s reputation had spread far and wide in the Eastern Visayas region, people were in a tumult of speculation as to who will claim the equipment.

Following prescribed port rules, the heavy equipment were unloaded and neatly parked in the concrete confines of the Tacloban port under heavy guard. Months passed and still no one came to claim the shipment. The elements were taking their toll on the equipment. Conflicting reports have it that the entire lot was either sent back to the shipper or hauled to the junkyard. Was this a matter of mistaken port of delivery of heavy equipment for an invisible city?

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Biringan (Part 3): Supernatural Abductions

Supernatural abductions. Quite seemingly out of this world, but reportedly true. Some of the most persistent incidents related to the Biringan phenomenon involve the “relocation” of humans from the mortal world to Biringan.

What happens is, whenever a Biringan inhabitant takes fancy on a mortal (usually a fair maiden or attractive lad), he or she is taken away from the mortal world by was of bugkot (a Visayan vernacular term). The transition usually takes the form of sudden “death” (i.e., accidents, fatal illness lasting a few hours at most, sudden disappearance from any physical location). In reality, the mortal never really dies but his/her consciousness or spirit is taken by the Biringan entity.

The anguished kin of the victim are left with the “lifeless body” where in fact it is not the actual cadaver but a log or similar physical object configured to look and feel like a real lifeless human body. All the while, the victim now resides in Biringan as the wife, husband, or servant of the supernatural being which took her away.

I once knew of a very beautiful lady in Catbalogan City in the province of Samar in the Philippines who was separated from her husband and had three good-looking kids. One day, in the mid-Seventies, the car she was driving suddenly turned turtle on the highway near San Jorge, Samar causing her sudden untimely “demise”. The bereaved family held a decent wake for her and had her body properly buried. Until the present, however, there are persistent recurring reports of this lady being seen in the reported location of Biringan City and she is reportedly now queen of the encantos who live there.

No wonder a portion of the population of the city are half-encantos, half-human. It is these progeny who are reportedly fond of frequenting places where mortals abound for relaxation and entertainment (i.e. parks, beaches, nightspots). This is a direct result of all the cases of supernatural abductions.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Biringan (Part 2): Portals

Portals to and from an ethereal city. There are places in the island of Samar that have been described thus.

There’s one story of a bus plying the night route from Catbalogan City to Tacloban City. Somewhere halfway, when the bus had been emptied of its passengers, the driver and conductor stopped to pick up two young lady passengers. Their stated destination was quite off the main route but the driver consented because the two had offered triple the usual fare. When the two mysterious passengers had alighted, and the driver turned the bus around to get back on the highway. But, to his utter bewilderment, he could no longer distinguish the dirt road they had taken just moments ago. Conceding that they were lost, they decided to spend the night at that very spot. At dawn the next day, they were confounded when they found themselves and the bus at a desolate mountain top. A large tow truck had to be sent through rough mountain trails just to bring the bus back to civilization.

Then there’s the story of a bus that somehow lost its way and the driver stopped to pass the night at some sort of depot. When he and his passengers woke up the next morning they were in themiddle of a clump or bamboos with no roads anywhere around them that would have brought them where they were.

Perhaps the most classic example of these gateways involved two motorcycle riders riding tandem on one bike. They were traveling the highway at night from (Western) Samar to Eastern Samar. It was around nine o-clock in the evening and they were negotiating the foggy, winding passes halfway to Borongan, Eastern Samar. The night air was chilly and only their motorcycle headlights split the dark ahead. The deafening silence was only punctuated by the occasional chirping of insects.

Suddenly, as they rounded a sharp curve, they were suddenly engulfed in a bedlam of sound! It was as if they had entered a very busy freeway, invisible to them but its sound assaulted their ears. Shrill air horns blared from every direction and sudden gusts of wind rocked their motorcycle as if huge trailer trucks were passing them by on all sides. The driver tried his very best to keep the motorcycle handlebar steady.

It was only after they had round the next curve that the noise suddenly died down and the night air was deathly still once more. Still, these two motorcycle riders and scores of other highways travelers will never forget their encounters with Biringan’s portals.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Biringan (Part 1): The Land of Enchantment

In the Province of Samar, the Philippines, the mention of “Biringan” evokes awe, fear, intrigue, knocking on wood and innumerable signs of the Cross.

What is Biringan? It is reportedly an undefined location somewhere between Calbayog City and Catarman, Northern Samar, where a mythic city(ies) of indescribable grandeur is/are said to exist, unvisited by ordinary mortals, known only by magnificent folk stories that refuse to die despite the advent of television and the internet. Other reports extend its area to as far south as San Jorge, Samar.

Biringan’s “now-you-see-it, now-you-don’t” quality indicates it is not of the usual land and water terrain in which we live in. It seems to exist in a different dimension, which explains why its boundaries can overlap with known towns and cities of Samar island. On moonless nights, seafarers aplenty have reported seeing a dazzling city of light. In a few minutes, though, the manifestation is no longer visible. Obviously, Biringan is not likely to be shown on any map or atlas. But specialized (infrared, ultraviolet, etc.) satellite mapping photography have reportedly turned up a shining area in the reported general location of Biringan.

They say Biringan is the legendary home of the encantos (enchanted ones) and half-encanto, half-human progeny. The encantos are most likely elementals, as old as the mountains and rivers in the area. They are apparently shapechangers because they have been reported to appear in whatever form they wish, human or not. But in human form, their distinguishing characteristic is the lack of the philtrum, the indentation below the nose and above the upper lip.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Phantom Companion

A phantom companion is the last thing you would ever want, especially when you’re out in the streets in the dark of dawn. That’s exactly what happened to an elderly woman on her way to church one cold October dawn in Calbiga, Samar Province, the Philippines.

The Philippines is the only Roman Catholic nation in Asia. Devout Catholics, especially the elderly, make it a habit to attend early dawn Masses every day. This elderly woman left her home at around 4:30 A.M. and started heading for church about five blocks away. As was her routine, the lady was on foot, clutching her rosary and prayer books. The street was deserted except for a few stray dogs barking at her as she passed by.

One hundred meters from the church, an round tin lid (like the ones that come with cracker cans) flew out from somewhere, landed beside her, and rolled from the momentum. The old woman was a bit annoyed. She kept thinking a group of teenagers, still out from the previous evening’s revelry, was playing a prank on her. She dismissed it and continued walking since she couldn’t see anyone in the darkness at all.

A strange feeling came upon her and prompted her to look to her side. The round tin lid was still rolling, keeping pace with her a good fifty meters from where it had landed beside her! It was all she could do to quicken her pace as cold dread crept over her entire being. Still, the tin lid kept rolling by her side! It was only at the church grounds’ gate that the round tin lid fell on its face and lay still. It had rolled a full one hundred meters, clearly a violation of the laws of physics.

Was it possessed by an evil spirit? You be the judge. Whether you have an open mind or what, on dark, restless nights, you would never ever want a phantom companion.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Man Mountain

Man Mountain. A very apt description of the nocturnal monster that roams, or used to roam the town of Calbiga and its environs.

My mother was a native of the idyllic town of Calbiga in the province of Samar in the Philippines. I stayed there when I was about 3 or 4 years old. The town is nestled in a fertile valley beside the mighty Calbiga River. The place is quiet except for the sound of an occasional vehicle and the residents are mostly devoted Roman Catholics. The elders are respected and are the source of wisdom by the rest of the population. It is also from the old people that you hear of stories of the supernatural which actually happened in town.

One of the most pervasive supernatural Calbiga folklore involved the reported Man Mountain, kapre or agta in the Visayan vernacular. It is characterized to be a tree demon, but with more human characteristics. It is described as being a tall (7 to 9 ft), brown, hairy male with a beard. Kapres are normally described as smoking a large tobacco pipe, whose strong smell would attract human attention. Kapres are said to dwell in big trees like acacias, mangoes, bamboo and banyan (known in the Philippines as balete). A kapre is said to often wear a belt which gives it the ability to be invisible to humans if it wants. Further, a kapre is supposed to hold a magical white stone, a little smaller in size from that of a quail egg, which if obtained by a human, the kapre could be obliged to grant wishes. Kapres are not necessarily considered to be evil. They may make contact with humans to offer friendship. Kapres have been also said to play pranks on people, frequently making travelers become disoriented and lose their way in the mountains or in the woods. It is also believed to have the ability to confuse people even at their own familiar surroundings; for instance, someone who forgets that they are in their own garden or home are said to be have been tricked by a kapre. Reports of experiencing kapre enchantment include that of witnessing rustling tree branches even if the wind is not strong; hearing loud laughter or voice coming from an unseen being; witnessing lots of smoke from the top of a tree; seeing big fiery eyes during night time from a tree; as well as actually seeing a kapre walking by in forested areas. At night, an unfortunate traveler might happen to pass by one of these trees and notice a shower of sparks from the kapre’s lit cigar.

The most popular story about the Calbiga kapre involved a female public school teacher. She was working on her lesson plans at her house one evening. Calbiga houses of old were then made mostly of wooden planks for walls and doors and thatch roofs. At around midnight, the poor teacher felt the ground shake. She surmised it couldn’t be an earthquake because the shaking was rhythmic. Curious but afraid to open her doors and windows, the teacher peeked through a gap in the wooden plank wall.

She felt ice-cold chills on her spine when she peeked just in time to see a tall, massive, dark figure pass by her house. The figure was faintly illuminated by the full moon and it had enormous hairy thighs as large as coconut tree trunks. Thick dark hair covered its entire body. It was the kapre on its favorite nocturnal haunt.

There have been no reported incident of a kapre ever mangling a human being. In fact, like the sasquatch of North America, it prefers more not being disturbed. Rather, a kapre likes to scare people rather than harm them. Encounters between the kapre and humans have mostly been caused by the latter straying into the kapre’s territory or path. In the Eighties, stories of sightings of the kapre have subsided. Presumably, because of the advance of human habitation, it has retreated deep into the lush rain forests of the province of Samar. Still, when parents in the Philippines admonish their children to be good, they invoke the name of the Man Mountain.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Writer of Supernatural Stories Re-Awakened

Hello. Call me Valkyrie. I am a writer of supernatural stories re-awakened. I am an employee of the Philippine government. Writing is my deepest passion. In high school, 1972-1976, I would be sent as delegate to campus journalism workshops all over the Philippines and I would end up winning in the writing competitions. There was a time when I published a school science newsletter all by myself. I literally wrote ninety percent of the articles and edited the entire paper. On weekends, I would write essays and short stories just for the sheer pleasure of it and lock all these up in a big wooden box in the attic.

After attending college at the University of the Philippines, I got my first job in 1985 as an Electronic Data Processing employee at the Philippines’ only copper refinery (Philippine Associated Smelting & Refining Corp.) at Isabel, Leyte Province, Philippines. The company maintained a corporate newsletter and I was one of those picked to be trained by veteran journalists from Manila. I would go on to contribute numerous articles from the serious to the whimsical.

In writing, you let your creative juices flow. Where before, I would make do with dirtying whole sheets of paper with rewrites and revisions, computers and the internet have changed all that. Blogging has given me and thousands of others the opportunity to give vent to creativity and originality. And reach millions of readers.

I am launching this web log to give you all an entertaining and mentally stimulating literary experience. I am full of stories that would keep you riveted to this blog. How’s that for a writer of supernatural stories re-awakened … ?