Tuesday, October 31, 2006

True Iloilo Scary Story

A friend who follows this blog said that my entry yesterday titled "Edu Manzano for Governor??" was really scary and inquired whether I was trying to foist some pre-Halloween scary story on the Ilonggo public. Although I found her observations terribly funny, I swear to God it was not my intention. My friend, a journalist, has a very fertile mind and often "over-interprets" stories (as most journalists are wont to do).

Since we are in the subject of scary topics, let me share with you my personal brush with the errie, "supernatural" side. Sometime March-April 2004, while I was on the election trail campaigning for the Aksyon Demokratiko slate, the late Senator Roco was invited to speak at the graduation of Central Philippine University (CPU) in Iloilo City.

Now for those unfamiliar, Central Philippine University or simply CPU to locals is a very old university. Established in 1905 by American Baptist Missionaries, the 24-hectare campus located along Lopez-Jaena St., Jaro District is littered with old, colonial-style buildings and century-old trees (much like Silliman University in Dumaguete). Up until 1966, the university was run by Americans when finally a Filipino by the name of Dr. Rex Drilon took over as President that year. It is said that the school was used by the Japanese as an internment camp (much like UST in Manila) during the Second World War. As such, eerie tales of "white ladies," ghosts and the like roaming the old, haunted buildings in CPU are told by "eyewitnesses" - security guards, students and even officials of the said school.

Anyway, to cut on hotel costs we in the Roco advance staff decided to stay at the CPU Hostel (which school officials offered to us for free). We were billeted in an old, wooden house "on-stilts" whose architectural style is similar to those big American-colonial style houses which typically can be seen in Teacher's Camp-Baguio and Subic. Anyway, it was already late at night and I was in my assigned room together with another advance staff sleeping when we were both awaken by a thrashing sound of something flying. To our complete surprise, we saw a maya bird inside our room - it was flying around in circles, trapped inside our room.

Now, the maya is perhaps the most common bird in the Philippines and one can see it almost anywhere so seeing a maya should not be scary or should cause panic. But the effect of seeing a maya inside our room late that late at night inside an old, "haunted" house spooked the bejeesus out of us all! I know it was weird to be scared of a tiny, cute bird but I guess the aura of the old house made all of us edgy. Also, the fact that it was totally unexpected (who can imagine waking up to see a bird inside his room!) also added to our surprise. So after a few seconds of "pure horror," I finally brought up enough "courage" and good sense to let the poor bird out (who in hindsight must have been just as scared as us). But I wasn't able to sleep well that night and swore never to stay at the CPU Hostel again.

1 comment:

koolitz said...

salamat sa pagbisita...kasimanwa! :D