Although being Filipina, I grew up in California. There came a time during my childhood when my parents decided to buy a house in the Philippines for them to live in when they retired.
In 1998, at around six or seven years old, I lived in the Philippines for a few years. English was my first language. I was able to understand a bit of Tagalog, but was unable to speak it. I have gone through a numerous amount of live-in nannies, and each one had different stories to tell. It was during that time that I discovered my love for scary stories.
I have been saving this story for a while, and I'll admit that I believe in ghosts, but always thought that stories about mythical creatures in folklore were simply just that. Stories.
I always felt like this childhood experience was just a dream that was influenced by stories told to me by the elderly people in the Philippines. You know, the kind of stories that are perfect for a cold stormy night, while you're all wrapped up in your cozy blanket, hiding behind Mr. Snuggles the bear for protection. Stories about mythical creatures. About a half man half horse, or those mischievous little dwarves, and of course my all-time favorite: the Aswang/Tik-Tik/Kikik (there are many names for it), a night flying creature with bird and bat-like features, glowing eyes, and giant wings that allow them to scour the area for their next unsuspecting victim. They usually prey on pregnant woman and children. I was told that they had extremely long tongues that allowed them to feast on their victim's blood or internal organs.
Like I said, I have gone through numerous nannies (most of them quitting because I was a brat who had no idea what most of them were saying) until I finally found my very own Mary Poppins- her name was Joanne. After finding the perfect nanny for me, my parents proceeded to finding housekeepers to do the cooking and cleaning around the house. It was a hit and miss, some were lazy, some were thieves, while some were the definition of weird and creepy. I could go on and tell you about each and every one of them, but I'll stop at weird and creepy.
Lita and Helen were two elderly ladies. They came from a faraway mountain province. Poverty was a big issue in their area. They lived in a small community, living in nipa huts in a jungle-like area, not a city for miles, and gas lamps and candles were their only form of light at night. Honestly, I don't blame them for being a little eccentric.
It was Lita and Helen who told me tales of mythical creatures in Filipino folklore. At the time, my dad had our house built in a new subdivision with only a few houses. So, we were mostly surrounded by trees and open fields. Lita told me about the aswang/kikik, and I became afraid when she told me that they liked open areas and lots of trees, but she assured me that they wouldn't be able to get into houses made of cement and steel.
Mid-year of 2000, my parents left for their annual two-month trip to California to visit my older sister; leaving me with the two old housekeepers and my nanny (I had school).
One night, I remember looking out the front window to look at the moon and my nanny commenting, "It's so calm out tonight." A few moments later, I heard shouting at the back of the house where the big kitchen was. I entered the kitchen to find Helen struggling keep the screen door closed against the strong wind, while Lita was on the other side holding a machete in the air and shouting at something in the trees in our backyard. I remember seeing the mast trees swaying violently, as if a typhoon was on its way even though it was calm not more than a few minutes ago.
As I walked closer to Helen at the door, I was able to discern some of the words that Lita was shouting. Lita shouted something along the lines of, "Go away! There is no child here. I'm not afraid of you and I'm not afraid to use this machete on you and cut your tongue off!" I was still unaware of what was happening, and became entranced by the whole scene. Helen noticed me and instructed my nanny to take me inside the house and to stay away from the windows. She told her to cover me with a blanket and never leave my side. I ran to the living room and looked out the window. I found it funny that it was really windy in the backyard, but everything was calm at the front of the house.
My nanny called out to me and pulled me aside. Next thing I know, I was under a blanket laying down on a couch. Confused, all I could do was listen to all the shouting from under the blanket. I'm not sure how much time passed, but it finally quieted down. Lita and Helen went around the house ensuring the every window and door was closed and locked.
Ever since that night, I would hear a bird-like sound that sounded like "kii kii kii kii kiii", I've seen and heard bats around our mango tree before, but this one was different. It was louder and more demanding. The call of a predator. I was told that this was a kikik or aswang. Even if it sounded like it was far away, it could actually be circling your roof or even perched on top of it.
One night, Lita told me to sleep far away from the window. We have a two-story house, and all the bedrooms were upstairs. I usually slept in my parents' room, which had two giant windows on each side of the bed. So I slept with my nanny on the floor at the foot of the bed. I remember having trouble sleeping, so I just stared at the ceiling listening to the "kii kii kii" sound coming from somewhere in the distance. Suddenly, there was scratching sound right above me. Imagine a dog trying to dig at a wooden floor but getting nowhere since it's, of course, wood. Except this sounded like a much larger animal, with nails or claws that seemed strong and sharp enough to penetrate through the roof and ceiling. A rat or a cat would definitely not be to make that sound.
When I started talking to my nanny the scratching grew more intense and sounded almost desperate. My nanny hushed me and we laid there quietly, listening to the incessant scratching. The longer it went on, the more terrified I became to the point of crying myself to sleep.
My parents finally came back from California, and I told them everything that had happened. Of course, they didn't believe any of it and were very unhappy, and decided to dismiss Lita and Helen. A few weeks later, they found replacements who were much younger and a little less eccentric. My parents instructed my nanny to never mention about mythical creatures or anything scary to me again, because I was too afraid to go anywhere by myself.
The new housekeepers, Rosalinda and Lolette, knew nothing about the incident with the previous housekeepers. Rosalinda had a habit of waking up at four or five in the morning (it's still usually really dark around these times) to hang laundry. One morning, I overheard her talking to my nanny. She mentioned that when she was hanging clothes around five in the morning, she saw a huge bird perched outside my window looking inside my room through the glass. When the bird sensed her presence it looked right at her and flew away. She saw that it had glowing yellow eyes.
Overall, I'm not sure if I believe in mythical creatures like the aswang/kikik, since I've never really seen it. I can't guarantee that whatever was causing all those events to happen was some paranormal being. For all I know, it could've been some undiscovered flying dinosaur like a Pterodactyl that survived all these years and found me to be irresistible and tasty-looking. All jokes aside, all I can say is that everything that had happened was true, and is the most terrifying experience that I've had.
It is also one of my most treasured childhood memories.