I was born and raised in the Philippines. We moved to the U.S. when I was 11-years old. This story took place in the Philippines when I was 7-years old. I can recall some of the stuff that happened to me, but not to the fullest. My uncle retold the story again to me later on when I got a little older. And then from time to time when we have family gatherings, someone in my family would re-tell the story again as it was a bit mind boggling!
The story started when my Dad and I went to visit his sister, my Aunt and my cousins in the province. My Aunt has 3-children; one is my age and the other two are a couple of years older than I was. When we got to their house, I remember my Aunt and cousins came running out of the house to greet us with such joy and excitement.
After the initial visiting, my cousins and I went outside to play Hide & Seek. My older cousin was the seeker while everyone else hid. My Aunt's house was out in the woods. Her house was surrounded by mountains and trees after trees and tall grasses.
There's this belief in the Philippines that most Duwende's [Dwarfs] lives in the forest or a place where there's lots of trees. And if you cross their path, without saying "Tabi-Tabi Po Nuno" (MEANING: Pardon or Excuse me little people) they will cast you a bad spell. It all depends on the Duwende you came across with. Some are nice and some are evil. If you cross an evil Duwende, he/she can cast a death wish on you, some can give you warts all over your body and make you ugly and hideous, so people will be disgusted of you and don't want to be around you.
Back to playing Hide & Seek. My cousin was the seeker and everyone hid. I wanted to hide where my cousin couldn't find me. So I saw this VERY BIG tree, what seemed to be like a hundred year old tree. Around it, I found a little hole and that's where I hid. Without thinking and forgetting what my elders told me about Duwende’s, I forgot to say what we're supposed to say and hid a long time in the tree. After what seemed to be forever hiding, I came out of the hole and went back to where my cousins were. They said that they have given up looking for me, since they didn't find me anywhere.
That evening before dinner, I started not feeling too good. I remember the shivers, the many trips to the bathroom vomiting and after that I can honestly say that I don't remember what else happened. But my Dad and Aunt told me that I was practically in a comma for 3-days. They said that in some cases, I was hallucinating. I would sweat heavily, laughed, cried and sometimes I talk to someone in front of me as if someone was there. But there was no one there. They even took me to a local hospital, but the Doctors couldn't tell my family what was wrong with me.
So my Aunt asked her kids what we did outside. My cousins told my Dad and Aunt, that all we did was played Hide & Seek. They said that I was gone a long time and that they couldn't find where I hid. My Dad and Aunt then knew that maybe I was a victim on an evil Duwende. They took me to an Albularyo (Witch Doctor) to find out what was wrong with me. As my Dad explained to me, he said that as soon as they brought me inside the Witch Doctor's house, the Witch Doctor knew that I was being played or something evil was in my presence.
The Witch Doctor lit a candle. Took a tub and poured about an inch or two of water in it. Then she mixed a few drops of some special oil that comes from a plant with the water. While chanting in some weird language, she took the lit candle and poured the melted wax in the tub with the water and oil. As she poured the wax, a figure started to form. My Uncle said that the melted wax on the water formed a huge tree with the hole. Inside the hole was a human (which was supposed to be me) and around me was about 4 or 5 Duwende's. Some where just standing there staring at me and some looked like they were throwing something at me.
So the Witch Doctor had advised my family to take me back where that big tree was and to say "Tabi-tabi po Nuno" and bring some fruits for offerings. That same day, my Dad and Aunt took me to the tree and excused me from any wrong doings and brought with them plenty of fruits. All I remember was waking up the next day without any recollections of what had happened to me!