Years ago, I was able to experience something out of the ordinary. I was still courting my girlfriend in her family's ancestral house in Cubao, east of Manila.
My girlfriend's father was having trouble with their family's business and they had to move back into the ancestral home for a year. It was empty prior to the family staying there. But that house had a lot of history to it. The grandfather of my girlfriend passed away there. And years before that, an uncle of theirs had committed suicide in that house. That house had it's share of hauntings and haunted stories.
My girlfriend's grandfather made the house. He was an architect, of little reknown, but he had eight kids and was well-to-do early in life. But alas the poor fellow was orphaned early and subsequently lost the family fortunes and had to build everything up by himself from scratch. I've heard stories being told by my girlfriend's father that the granddad was obviously very bitter about it. As a result, (the grandfather's) his children, my girlfriend's dad included, also grew up very bitter and/or resentful about family and familial wealth. So you can imagine the history of emotions the house had seen.
The house itself was a two-storey construction that used to have a sprawling lot to it - some 3,500 sq meters or so. Over the years, several changes were made to it. The surrounding unused spaces were sold piecemeal, 500 sq meters here, another 1,000 sq meters there.
The house itself was also renovated several times. It was redecorated and refitted so some rooms that were originally there have now been closed off. There are doorways with no doors, there are hallways that have been cemented off. In fact, it used to have basement, which incidentally was the room of the uncle who committed suicide. Nowadays the basement isn't there anymore though, it was filled up with cement because it was unused and was always flooding whenever it rained. But to this day there's a door to the wall with steps going down to leading to it to nowhere.
The unusual construction continued off outside. The house has a 4-car driveway that's off to the center of the home. Other houses beside it tower the home so that it's always dark from the shadows other buildings cast. In short, it's a house tucked outside of view inside a modern neighborhood.
So one night, my girlfriend and I (she wasn't my girlfriend yet at the time) were in the driveway chatting doing as lovers do, in the middle of the driveway, behind her car. It was about 1 or 2am when we started looking at this old mango tree behind the lot of her house. We joked to each other about what if that tree was haunted, like what if all of the sudden some ghost or a monster, or even a pair of eyes appeared out of the the tree.
RIGHT AT THAT MOMENT, we both got chills all over. We turned quiet. Without speaking, we knew right away we were both spooked. I got goose-bumps and tingling all over my body and without missing a beat, we decided it was time to call it a night.
I walked her to her house, and I asked her permission to stay in her car in the driveway because it was pretty late. I figured it's easier to travel (I was commuting then) after a few hours of sleep than to have to wait for a jeep in Cubao at that hour. (I didn't mind after all, but also at the same time, I felt that whatever it was that spooked us, would be bothering us the whole night. Weirdly enough, the threatening feeling was very real to me. And I would rather that I be bothered, than that thing bothering her.) She hesitated of course, but I told her it was nothing. I was dead-wrong.
I got in the car, closed the windows, folded down the drivers seat and slept face down.
A few minutes into my sleep, I had this terrible nightmare. I couldn't open my eyes but my mind was fully awake. In my mind's eye something was sitting on my chest laughing at me, mocking me. I could hear it in my sleep. I could see it myself. I could even see myself inside the car and the window tints going pitch-black from the bottom of the windows going up. All this tome some terrible tingling sensation came all over my body. I could see it in my mind, it was reading my thought and taunting me, mocking me. Like it's going to go after my girlfriend after it was done with me. I could see it in my mind. It was a short, fat demonic looking thing with sharp ears, sharp teeth, claws and burned flesh. I could hear its skin cracking with every movement. I was struggling to fight it off. Shove it off my back.
I did wake up eventually, very tired and sleepy. I wasn't even asleep 15 minutes when it happened. So I decided to shrug it off and chuck it up to a bad dream. I laid back in the seat and this time, decided to sleep on my back.
After some time, I started hearing it again. It was clearer in my mind. I could see the thing's face looking at me. In my mind once more it was pressing against my chest this time. I was opening my eyes to look at it but when I opened my eyes I didn't see a thing. I could see the window tints were all black this time, like I couldn't see anything out of it even through the whole windshield. I had to move and get out of the car. I was trying to lift my head, move my legs grab onto the steering wheel but I couldn't. I tried shouting at the thing. I said I wasn't afraid.
That no matter how much it tried to scare me I wasn't afraid. I was trying to recite a prayer but cursed the thing at the same time. Finally I got up. I was sweating and out of breath. The windows were clear and the night was bright. But I could imagine the thing sitting at the corner of the car looking at me. When I would look at the direction where I thought it was, nothing was there. BUT I STILL FELT THREATENED. Like a cat with all it's hairs standing up, my skin was just as full of goose-bumps from my arms to my back to my neck. Even my head was full of goose-bumps.
All this time my heart was racing. I noticed that the feeling of goose-bumps hadn't left me ever since it started to spook me and my girlfriend. It was just as strong as it ever was, no, It was stronger now. Like the thing was literally beside me in the car.
I got out of the car and walked down the driveway. I could feel it following me. I was really afraid but I was thinking it's better for this thing to follow me than disturb my girlfriend and her family. I could feel it circling me in the driveway. I was terrified when I reached for the gate, because I thought it would lunge at me from behind. But I got out as quick as I could. I started feel better again when I was walking in the street. Then it popped up again. I still felt like I was being followed. It was about some 10-30 feet behind me, but when I looked back, nothing was there, but I could see it in my mind's eye so completely. It had these legs that bent backwards like an animal, but it wasn't hooved. It had feet with sharp claws for toes. It had claws for fingers. It had a sharp tongue with sharp teeth and pitchblack eyes. This image that seemed to pop out of nowhere was vivid that it even shocked me.
I took the first jeep (ride) I saw. I didn't even read where it was going. At this point I was thankful for the rest. The goosebumps were going down a bit. I started to calm myself down. I was thinking if this was just a figment of my own imagination, why would I be so deftly afraid of it. I tried to keep it out of my mind. I was moving afterall and I'm going home.
Until I got out of the jeep. I swear, the goose bumps came back. It's back! I started wondering how far was this thing going to follow me. Since I rode the wrong jeep due to the fact I wasn't looking, I had to walk about the fourth of the way going to my house. AND again the goosebumps followed. This time, it was keeping its distance, but I could still feel it following me.
I got to my gate, turned the key and got in the house and locked all the doors. I could feel the thing walk into my driveway, staring at me from outside the window. I stayed in the center of the room, pulled up a chair and watched tv until morning came. For good measure I called my pet dog to sleep on my lap. I could feel it watching until the sun rose, and then the fear began to vanish. My mom, came down the stairs for breakfast and asked me why I was still up. I just told her I couldn't sleep.
A few hours after that, my girlfriend called on the phone. The first things out of our mouths were, "Did you feel that last night?" Apparently she also got spooked a the exact same moment I got spooked. She said she had trouble sleeping and she was also scared the whole night. And she was afraid to go out of the house or look at the driveway or out of the window. She really didn't want me to sleep in the car but she wasn't sure what to do. We're both rational and educated people but, to this day, we can't explain what we felt that night.
Even now I don't know if I imagined the whole experience or not. When I retell the story, I still get the same goose-bumps and I still remember the image of that charred, demon-like entity. Sharp teeth, clawed-fingers and toes, burned skin, bald head and pitch-black eyes. I've never seen eyes that dark.
Later on, when I read up on ghosts and other Filipino folklore, I learned that there are creatures like these and they're called BATIBATs. They're vengeful wraiths who inhabit trees and come down to strangle/ suffocate people in their sleep. Sometimes, a batibat will come down its tree to follow people and inhabit trees of a different house, like a parasite choosing a different host.
I still wonder whether to believe it or not. But since then, other stuff's happened to me. All felt, sometimes seen. But at least, it's not as bad as this one. Nothing's scared me like this one. I hope nothing else does. But after that, whenever any other strange occurrences happen they just feel strange. I mean it's still shocking and it stops me in my tracks, but after a moment passes, it's done and forgotten. Like de ja vu. It just takes me by surprise and then I forget about it - until the next episode. I confess sometimes I like the experiences.
I'm still a horror nut after all of it.