It was in the month of May 2015 when I went to Baguio for an outreach program. We will be carrying school supplies to Lubo-ong, a school in the district of Hungduan on top of a mountain in Ifugao. We were the first to arrive at the rendezvous point in Uhaj and had to wait for other volunteers coming from Manila. On our first day, we stayed in the cottages, but we move to the library the following day to give way for other guests.
The library smells like what library ought to smell, old books. The room showcases a dead tree in the center, with branches reaching up to the ceiling where the light bulbs are attached. Its trunk has the light switch and power outlets where we can charge our phones. Ten of us will be spending the night here, and though there are only mattresses between us and the floor, it still feels cozy and comfortable. One of my friends noticed an old backpack hanging on one of the branches. Curiosity got a better of us, we decided to have a peek of what's inside. It creeps us out when we discovered it contains a human skull without a jaw, so we put it back immediately.
We turn the lights off except for one, in case someone needs to go out and use the bathroom, we wouldn't accidentally be stepping on anyone sleeping on the floor. It was quiet, we have our eyes closed, but I know none of us are asleep yet. When suddenly, I felt a presence as if someone is watching us. I opened my eyes and saw something lurking in the shadows beside the shelves. It seems to be a figure of a man wearing a yellow uniform. I stood up and turn the other lights on, but nothing's there. Everybody stared at me. I said I thought I saw someone and point a finger on the corner from where I saw it. Some of them understood what I was talking about because they too are ''sensitive''. They told me it's fine and it's probably a ghost of a Japanese soldier, and continue telling me not to worry as they are harmless. I asked them "how come he's wearing yellow?! They said they don't know. I turn the lights off and went back to sleep. That night, I had a dream that I'm a Japanese officer arguing with my superiors because I don't want to follow their orders.
A few months after, I went to a museum and found out that back in the days, a Japanese pilot uniform is not fatigue, but somewhat a yellow color.
The following day, another strange thing happened. While we're having coffee in the afternoon, we found an old children's book that imitates the sound of an animal when you press a button. Some of us played with it, but I didn't even bother to touch it. I don't know, but I sense something different in that book. When everyone is asleep and as always, I'm the last one still awake, I suddenly heard a sound of a goat bleat coming from the book. I opened my eyes, stood up and look around, I found it on the shelf where they left it. I thought it might have been broken or something, so I went back to sleep, and then just when I'm about to close my eyes, I heard it again. Since I'm already tired, I just brush it off. That night I had a dream that I was a Japanese soldier and my enemies are after me. I jumped into a river, but it was too late when I realize that I couldn't swim. As my body slowly sink to the bottom, I woke up.
My friends told me that during their previous visit, one of them took a nap and woke up from a sound of a Djembe (an African drum). He stood up, went outside and saw our friends playing the drums. What baffles him are the many soldiers gathering around, watching and listening. He keeps wondering where they might have come from. When he rubbed his eyes and opened it again, they disappeared except for my two friends who are still playing the drums.
I later found out that, our host was appointed to exhume remains of Japanese soldiers buried in different parts of the country. Soldiers who died here during the war. The library used to be a storage where they kept the bones. The skull that we found inside the backpack also belongs to a Japanese soldier.