My hometown is rumored for witches, or in Filipino terms "aswang". Though my mother and brother said they have experiences of hearing and seeing "tiyanak", a newborn baby witch, I wasn't afraid and have second thoughts if they're really true. Because in my opinion, the very reason why my hometown is linked to witches is because of it's motto: "FLY HIGH".
Growing up, my family slowly moved to Manila and I was left in our hometown in Bicol Region with my job and my own life. My husband (who's working in Manila) and I rented a small unit in one of the villages near the foot of the hill, few blocks away from my relatives' house. My husband comes home once or twice a month while I was pregnant with our first child. I'm as well waiting for my baby's arrival before transferring in Manila to be with my family. So, I was always home alone. By the way, I got two housemates who are occupying the other room of the house I'm renting but I seldom see them because of our different schedules. But I wasn't afraid even if I'm alone at home most of the time... Until one day...
I woke up and everything was dark. I usually turn on the light outside my window but that time the only light is the one coming from the moon. My window inside the room had no curtains, so I can freely see the moon outside. There's a power interruption again. I felt like my whole body is sweaty and I don't like the humid. It's something different.
I looked outside the window and I see something on the ceiling outside my window (where the light bulb is placed). It's like a shadow of something with wings. I turned around and faced the other side of the room and covered myself with the blanket. My heart was beating very fast. I was afraid to move and look outside the window because I feel like being watched.
I grabbed my phone and checked the time. It's almost 4 a.m. I also checked some messages. I was surprised to see few messages from my cousin who's living few blocks away. The time the message was received is past three a.m. Her message is something like this: "Always bring a rosary with you and pray for your pregnancy. I did that when I was pregnant and I always felt safe." Another message from her read: "Put some garlic and salt on your window to avoid entities."
I began wondering. Is this a coincidence? Or did she felt that "something" is visiting our village? I kept on praying and hoped that the sun will shine soon. I wasn't able to go back to sleep that time and I kept on calling Jesus' name and I think, all the saints too.
When I got to work that morning, I heard some of our clients say they're leaving 'cause they wanted to see the "aswang"/witch caught by the policemen in a form of dog. I don't know if it's true because I don't want to add more fear. I was reminded of our land's caretaker who also had an experience of "manananggal" when she was pregnant. Manananggal is a woman, flying like a bat with only half of her body (until the belly) and likes to eat humans, especially children/babies or pregnant women. I called her and told her about the experience. I also told her that I need some help. I don't want to sleep alone again. Luckily, the caretaker agreed to spend every night with me in my room. I became very careful and placed a rosary under my pillow.
Days passed and I almost forgot the event. Our caretaker is still staying with me every night, except when my husband is home and I'm paying her for that. My immediate superior visited our branch two weeks after the event. She was asking me about my condition at work and at home. She told me to be patient because the company promised to transfer me in Manila after I give birth. And I told her positive things.
I was surprised when she told me about her experience when she's pregnant with her eldest. She's staying in a different city and she suddenly woke up at dawn, sweaty, and she feels like being watched. She said she was too afraid to look outside the window or to even move an inch. The next morning, her housemate (she's staying in a dormitory) who's also pregnant told her that there was a "manananggal" outside the window. And my superior confirmed that everything was not just her imagination.
And that moment, I, too realized that I wasn't imagining. I wasn't being paranoid. That text message from my cousin was not a coincidence. I did not tell her anything about the experience, but I had a feeling, my cousin warned me.