The story occurred in year 2012, during on of my community outreach activities with my students called "immersion". The students have to stay for three days and two nights in one community/village with the host families assigned by the teacher and field coordinators. Host families were chosen by the barangay/village officials. I was the teacher. I had my own host family along with my assistant.
In one of my immersions, we were assigned in a remote municipality known for NPA's (New Peoples' Army-considered as rebels; government enemies). There were many stories already by the folks and while we were preparing for a feeding activity in the multi-purpose hall, my students talked about the massacre years ago in the very same ground we're in. The massacre stories were told by their host families. But even though there are still NPA's out there, I assured them we are safe. There is a military camp on top of the hill.
On the first night, I was patrolling with my assistant and two barangay officials, ensuring that all of the students are already at home (their curfew is 10 p.m.). So we were at the far end of the village when I saw a group of my students sitting on the wood under the tree and seems they're debating at something while looking at the camera Mel (one of the students) was holding.
I approached them and asked why they are still outside. But instead of answering my question, they all stared at me in horror. One female student spoke. "Ma'am, look at this," she said handing me the digital camera. I saw Mel's stolen shot. He's covering his face, like he's being teased, but over his face was a face in form of a shadow. Round face, big eyes, big flat nose. The lips were not visible, but it's like "it's" hitting a cigarette. My assistant, Toots and the two officers also looked at the photo. It looks like a tree giant, or in Filipino language, "kapre".
Puzzled, I asked my student. "Did you edit this?"
They all shook heads. "No, Ma'am. That was taken few second before you arrive."
Then, the officers said that the tree near them is really haunted, so they better go inside the house. They went to their respective houses and we headed back to my host family's place. While walking, Toots told me that he feels "someone" is with us because of the goosebumps around his body. He suddenly feel cold and asked me to walk faster. I did as told, though I didn't feel anything different. When we entered the house, "it" stayed outside. We both had a little sleep that night. I spent most of the time praying and holding the rosary.