“While sleeping in my condo, I couldn’t move. I dreamt that I was on my bed, and the lights were out. Then I started to feel a presence hovering above me. Suddenly, it grabbed my arm and wouldn’t let go. It was tugging my arm so hard that I was forced to sit up on my bed. I couldn’t see anything though. I felt that the presence started slicing my palm with something extremely sharp. I started to scream and managed to pull my arm. At that moment, I woke up. I was almost relieved until I realized that I was actually seated up, with my arms raised forward exactly as it was in my dream, and my palm was throbbing. I immediately stood up, turned on all the lights, grabbed my rosary, and waited for sunrise.” —Joanna, editor
“I was 12 years old when I first noticed strange things happening to me. It started when I would constantly look behind me after hearing footsteps or seeing shadows at the corner of my eye. I would also dream of people I’ve never met or see figures in the wee hours of the morning, especially at 3 a.m. I grew up thinking that I was just a weird kid with a hyperactive imagination. When I went to college, I started meeting other ‘gifted’ people who would see the exact same things I would see. That’s when I realized that I have what people call the third eye. Now I am able to communicate with some of those ghosts.” —Luna, writer
“I was in college when I finally had my own room. I got an old four-post narra bed from my mom’s childhood home in Old Manila. I had just started sleeping in that room for a couple of nights, and I always kept the light on, because it always felt ‘different’—although I chalked it up to just the new experience of sleeping on my own. One night, after my Lola scolded me about the electricity bill, I turned the light off.
At around 2 a.m., I woke up but could not move my arms and legs. My chest felt so heavy, like something was pressing down on it. I cautiously opened my eyes, and saw a figure in a long white dress standing beside my bed, unmoving. She had no face and very long black hair. I prayed the Our Father, with no recollection if I was praying verbally or it was just in my head. I also kept saying ‘Go away! Go away!’
It was a while before I found myself able to move again. As soon as I could, I sat up and reached for the light switch. When the light turned on, the vision disappeared. I hunted for my St. Benedict medallion among my things and hung it on the bedpost. That medallion hung there until it was time for me to move to another house.” —Maan, writer
“I was up and ready to leave the house at 4 a.m. because I had to be early to school that day. I was at the end of our stairs, fixing my things. When I looked up, there was a headless man in the middle of the stairs. He was wearing a white barong and blue jeans. I froze, and then immediately grabbed my things and ran outside. Years later, my ate told me that she saw a headless man in the middle of our staircase at night. I asked her to describe what he was wearing. She said, ‘White barong and blue jeans.’” —Karla, chef
“My cousin and I went to the same all-girls school when we were younger. In high school, she was sick and absent for a week. When she returned to school and asked her friends what she missed, they all gave her surprised looks. According to them, she was never absent. All her friends said she called out ‘Present!’ each morning at attendance. But throughout that week they did admit that for some reason, ‘she’ never ate lunch with them. Whenever they saw ‘her,’ they found her drawing in her sketchbook (which my cousin really often did), and when they talked together, ‘she’ never said much.
This baffled my cousin a lot. Then she ran into a schoolmate she had to pay back for the money she owed. The schoolmate said she already paid her the week before—the same week she was absent. My cousin still doesn’t know what her doppelganger was up to, but she is glad she helped pay her debts. When Recognition Day came, my cousin didn’t attend because she thought she wasn’t going to receive any award. But she did receive an award—‘Perfect Attendance’ because apparently, she had zero absences that entire year.” —Aileen, author
“Back in my college dorm, I would study until the wee hours of the morning. My room was near the kitchen. One time at around 3 a.m., I heard the microwave turn on by itself. I looked inside the kitchen and nobody was there. —Rach, researcher
“In my house, I often dreamt of a long-haired girl wearing a white dress. Sometimes I would see a dark shadow in front of my door at night. I thought I was just imagining things. This happened for years, from my childhood to adulthood. One day, my cousin’s family visited our house, and I met their new yaya, who has the third eye. She told me there’s a ghost of a 20-year-old girl lurking in our house and that she spoke to her. I prodded for her to tell me more details. The yaya said the girl died by suicide in my room decades ago, and hasn’t crossed over. She did it by hanging in front of my door in my bedroom, which used to be hers.” —Kris, artist
That’s All, Folks
“I’ve been seeing ghosts and other paranormal things since I was young. Some of the most malevolent ghosts I’ve ever encountered are the ones from Tanghalang Francisco Balagtas (formerly known as Folk Arts Theater). It’s true what they say that the ghosts of the workers who were buried underneath the rubble back in the ’80s are still there. During my short stint as a stylist, I once had to do a shoot there. As soon as I arrived, the presence of the angry, dark ghosts welcomed me. They would pop up constantly throughout our shoot, but since I was the only one who could see them that time, I just ignored them and didn’t tell anyone about it. I just wanted the shoot to be over as quickly as possible.
When the shoot finally ended, I was so relieved to leave the theater. The angry ghosts surrounded me and followed me outside. And then they stopped as soon as I reached the stairs exiting the theater. That’s when I realized that they’re stuck there. Unlike other ghosts that can follow you to the car—or worse, to your house—the ghosts of Folk Arts Theater are stuck in that building. They can’t seem to go beyond the stairs.” —Martha, designer
Swing From The Chandelier
“In the middle of my sleep, I heard a loud crash. It was like a giant chandelier fell to the floor. Startled, I jolted up. My heart was still beating fast when I looked around and realized I was in my condo, where there is no chandelier. The only breakable thing in the room was a lamp, and it was still there on the table. The floor was clean.” —Rio, marketing manager
“My brother, a teacher, once taught for a year at a school in our area. During that year, he lived in our house with his own room. There were six of us in the household: my two kids, my husband and I, my brother, and our household helper, Dhen. One day our family (including my brother) went out to watch a movie, leaving Dhen behind because she wasn’t feeling well. Dhen tried cleaning the living room while we were away, but she got tired so she fell asleep on the living room couch. She said had been asleep for about an hour when she woke up to cold hands shaking her.
‘Dhen, gising!’ my brother, wearing black clothes, told her. He didn’t seem to be in a good mood. Dhen sat up on the couch, still groggy. After waking Dhen up, he went to his room. Dhen could hear him arranging things noisily, like he was annoyed. Dhen got up to ask my brother if she could help him. But when she got to his room, it was empty. Everything was untouched. Dhen was confused. Then it started to dawn on her that my brother was actually with us at the movies, and that he wasn’t even dressed in black.
Dhen checked all the doors of the house, and realized one more thing: All the doors were locked from the inside. She was alone. When we all got home at around 7 p.m., we were surprised to see all the lights in the house turned on, and the radio in full volume. Dhen had turned them all on because she didn’t want to hear the dead silence or look into any place that was dark.” —Aileen, author