Tag Archives: la union

True Supernatural Stories: Albatross’ encounters with the unknown

A friend who we’ll call Albatross was nice enough to share their run-ins with strange phenomena. Albatross is no-nonsense, the last person you’d think had stories about the true weird. It was a surprise and a delight to discover that they had stories that they wanted to share.

What got you interested in the supernatural?

This question is a little bit difficult to answer for me. I can’t really say if I would have been interested in it had I not had certain experiences which I felt were supernatural or paranormal in nature.When I was a kid I would occassionally read about ghosts and/or UFO’s, but it wasn’t really until I had my first supernatural experience that a fearful interest emerged. Honestly, I wish that I had no experiences because it would make daily living much easier for me.

What explanation do you have for your experiences, if any?

I cannot really explain the reason for these experiences. Most of them happened during times I did not expect, and one of my most vivid experiences happened after a moment where I had intended to “make contact” with other beings.

It is easy for me to accept that these things happened for reasons that are beyond my ability to comprehend. I just try to keep my mind open about my experiences and also stay 100% truthful when I tell people about them.

Unfortunately, people like to judge others who have experienced these things… which is why I would prefer to remain anonymous.

Story One: The woman near the hotel bathroom
We were staying at a famous hotel in Baguio. I was with my then girlfriend (now wife) around the year 2009 or 2010. It was around 10 pm. We were having an argument about something. Failing to come to a resolution, she decided she would just go to sleep. I then decided to take a shower.

While in the shower, I felt uneasy. I had this feeling that someone was watching me. I looked out of the shower area and saw that nobody was there, but by this stage in my life I kinda knew what it was. I decided to shower in a hurry, constantly looking around to make sure I was alone–and I was.

After drying up and hurrying out of the bathroom, I turned on the TV to a news channel and went to sleep.

After what seemed to be a very short nap, I woke up–in a fetal position in bed. I had left a lamp on, and as I stared at the wall still in the same position, a sudden jolt of fear shot through me. It felt the same as when I was in the bathroom, as if I was being examined or observed by something I was unaware of.

I sat up and look at the corridor heading to the bathroom–and there I saw her. It was a bloated woman, kinda standing there between me and the bathroom. She seemed to really be standing there and was accompanied by heightened feelings of dread. One detail about her that I remember is that I could not see her feet and the top of her head–they were just inexplicably invisible–but everything from her nose to her knees was just right there, right in front of me.

I was literally petrified and unable to move for a few seconds and it engaged me in a deep stare that I could not remove my focus from, until she vanished in thin air.

By then I was profusely sweating, despite the cold night air. I looked at the clock and it read midnight, so I had barely gotten any sleep in.
I jumped under the covers and stayed awake until morning. I woke up my wife several times just to make sure I was there with somebody conscious of what was happening, but of course she saw nothing and just asked me to go to sleep to forget about it.

Until this day I remember it exactly as it happened.

Story Two: Goodness gracious great ball of what the heck was that

We were in my family’s resthouse in La Union, which is located right next to the sea. I had friends over from Manila who were taking a brief respite from the fast paced city life, drinking a few beers and eating fresh seafood on a wide veranda overlooking the coast.

It was night time, and as usual, a long string of visible lights stretched out over the sea’s horizon. Those lights came from tiny lanterns placed on the bangkas of fishermen out fishing at sea–quite a beautiful sight.

One of my friends and I were just talking and admiring the view, when we both noticed this light that was well above the other lights on the horizon. It was a blinding rendition of the color white, the whitest thing I have ever seen in my life, which contrasted with the dull yellow/orange illuminating from the fishermen.

This white ball grew slowly, as if flying towards us from its location. Then, suddenly this light moved to the right, dipped downward, recovered, then zapped up into space in blinding speed. It had performed its maneuver well above the fishermen’s lights, and left me and my friend absolutely flabbergasted.

Story Three: Move along; nothing to see here

The day after the white ball of light experience, my friends left and headed back to Manila. We said our goodbyes and finished what was a great weekend of fun and rest (and a UFO).

That night, my wife was cooking dinner… I was sitting out on the bridge leading to the same veranda where we saw the white ball of light. I was thinking about what we had seen the night before, and I was absolutely perplexed about it.

I remembered I had watched or read somewhere that meditation or something similar to prayer (where one says something and sends it out to the heaven or universe) was a way of being able to communicate with extra terrestrial beings. I thought it was a funny and somewhat absurd idea, but just as I was thinking that, I saw a white ball of light again.

This time, it was swimming its way through the sky, weaving on a controlled flight path that seemed to avoid passing through the stars from my point of view. I found it extremely odd and figured I would give it a try.
I “sent” a message to it, by closing my eyes and thinking “Did I really witness something last night? Were we meant to see you? What are you? What are you doing here?”
In the middle of this exercise, my wife exclaimed that dinner had been served… and so I chuckled at myself for being silly and walked inside. I had dinner, took a shower, then went to bed.

The moment I closed my eyes in bed, it was as if I woke up in another dimension–and for some reason I was standing on the veranda where the sighting happened the night before. Except this time, there was a glow coming from the ocean, which grew brighter and brighter for a few seconds.

Suddenly, from the glowing section of ocean, a disc surfaced from the water and hovered upwards slowly. It was giving off this bright purple and blue gleam. Then it flew off towards the right.

I looked back down into the glow and now there was a magnificent structure underneathe the ocean that I could see. It had what seemed to be glass panels and a brilliant golden framework that I will never forget.

In the blink of an eye, I was inside the structure. I noticed a “man” to my right, but for some reason I could not turn my head to look in his direction. All I could do was kind of notice he was there in my periphery. Instead, there was a small triangle in front of me, which seemed to control where I was looking. Wherever it would move, my head would follow. For some reason, my mind perceived the triangle to be a ‘dog” or “pet” of whatever being was standing next to me. I could not take my eyes off of it.

Then suddenly I received communication directly into my mind. As if the man beside me told me something, or got me to know what he wanted to tell me, without uttering a single word. I can only phrase in our own language what I felt he was saying, since there was no actual verbatim:

“You witnessed one of our activities. Do not worry, it is none of your concern nor is it any of your business. You may not interfere, and there is nothing you can do… but know that we are out here, and we are here to help.”

Once I understood that message… I woke up in my bed in a somewhat violent manner. I thought, “WOW What a dream!”… but when I got up, I noticed I was soaking wet, as if I just emerged from a swim. I checked my bed and only my side of the bed was severely drenched in water.

That’s when I realized the possibility that what I experienced may have been the real thing. I was only told by my best friend, after I told the story to him, that a lot of what I said has also been said by other people who claim to have been “abducted” or who have had an encounter with UFOs or extra terrestrials.

Traveling alone is lonely, but worth it


Many people will tell you to travel alone, will tell you that it is mind-blowing, life-changing, world-shattering. What not a lot of people will tell you is that it can be lonely, even for the most antisocial introvert. The good news is that the loneliness rarely lasts.

First, there is fear.

My first solo trip lasted the whole of one day. I had met up with some friends in Singapore for a concert that was canceled at the last minute. After a fun few days in the Merlion city, they returned to Manila while I continued on to Penang in Malaysia.

“Why Penang?” They asked.

“Food,” was my reply.

Since my funds were limited, I could only afford to go for one day.

I took the bus from Singapore to Butterworth, then took the ferry to Penang, even though the bus was going there anyway. I took a cab from the port to the budget hotel I was staying in for the night. I was frightened the whole time.

Penang is a safe town. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage site and is also known for its food culture. It’s where Malaysians go to eat. I couldn’t have picked a better place for my first solo trip.

I walked around my neighborhood. I had really good milk tea at a random shop. I tried the pancakes. I pointed at whatever I wanted to eat, and it got served to me, freshly made. I found out that a lot of the Chinese in Penang spoke Hokkien, so that’s what I tried to speak when they couldn’t understand English; I ran out of Chinese really fast.

I visited a museum, got there just in time for the last tour of the day. I realized that my hotel was next to a giant pet store that sold everything from dogs and cats to sugar glider and tarantulas to monster fish.

The monster fish fascinated me. There, at the back of the store, next to the fish spa and dog salon, stood a tank filled with fish bigger than an average person. This, I think, was the highlight of my trip.

I had one of the best meals of my life at the airport, in a restaurant that let you assemble your own meal. I picked rice, some sort of curry sauce, and an egg, the whole thing paired with milk tea, always milk tea. And just like that, it was time to fly to Singapore, then Manila.

I was scared the whole time. So scared, I didn’t have time to process anything beyond the extremes of fear and elation. It was uncomfortable, but not too uncomfortable that I didn’t want to try it again.

Next, there is loneliness.

It was a long time before I had the opportunity to travel alone again. I decided to spend a few days in La Union.

I booked a hostel, determined not to leave the resort.

It was heck getting there. I got on the wrong bus, the one that would take eight hours instead of three. The bus broke down in the middle of nowhere, and after an hour of waiting, it was finally decided that we would soldier on, slowly, because the brakes weren’t working, but we wanted to get to where we were going.

I reached the resort in the middle of the night. The bus overshot, so I ended up in the middle of town and had to wake a sleeping tricycle driver up so he could take me to the resort at two in the morning. I am thankful that there was a tricycle driver nearby.

That permission to stay in one place, to not have to explore, see the sights, take in history, be a tourist, was the best thing I had permitted myself to do on that trip: it took away the pressure to ‘achieve’ something and it allowed me to just ‘be.’ But it didn’t stop me from getting lonely.

There were very few people at the resort, which is exactly how I wanted it. The loneliness came as a surprise. I was lying in my bunk when it hit me–a sensation both mental and physical. A hollowness in my chest and an ache in my gut, accompanied by what I can only describe as the mental sensation of falling into an abyss in my brain. It was scary, but it passed, and in a shorter time span than I thought it would, too. That feeling of crushing, despairing loneliness lasted about a couple of minutes, no more than five at most. When it hit, I let it, treating it as more a curiosity than an emotion–I had, after all, never felt it before. I think it was this mindset that helped it pass so quickly. I remember the emotion well, though I have never felt it since.

Finally, there is delight.

I’ve found that the best way for me to enjoy a vacation is to have both nothing and everything planned. This means I have an itinerary that I may or may not follow, depending on my mood.

I booked a trip to Hong Kong to recharge, again expecting not to leave the hostel, but with a list of places to go to just in case I did.

I enjoyed every minute of it.

Though I readied myself for it, the crippling sense of loneliness did not return. I spent the whole trip alone, blissfully alone, bathed in a sense of utter calmness, a simple kind of joy.

Divested of schedule and responsibility, I could, for a short time–and bear with me when I describe this–hear myself feel. The trouble with this kind of self-restoration is that it can be quite addictive. That, once back in ‘real life,’ you cannot help but long for solitude once again.

My Hong Kong trip made me realize why so many people travel alone. It is, I realized, to experience the opposite of loneliness. It is to experience the company of yourself.

Bus station mami is an antidote to a rainy afternoon

It was the first thing that caught my eye at the Capas, Tarlac stopover on the way back to Manila from La Union.

I have a thing for rest stop food, especially if they look like were prepared on the spot, even if ‘on the spot’ means five hours ago.

It was a rainy afternoon, and the bus ac was freezing, so I had been dreaming of noodles all they way home. The mami, bowls filled with already portioned egg noodles topped with strips of raw carrot and pechay and sliced of boiled egg, was just the thing.

The lady behind the counter poured hot (alas, not boiling) chicken soup on everything. The guy beside me, who was eating arroz caldo (chicken congee) pushed a tray of condiments in my direction. I thanked him and proceeded to go to town.

I ate the mami the way they eat noodles in Cagayan Valley–with lots of soy sauce and vinegar. It wasn’t mind-blowing–in fact, it was pretty mediocre, and a bit salty from constant reheating–but I enjoyed the still-crisp vegetables and actually appreciated that the dish contained no meat. The noodles were springy, with the slight alkaline taste that characterizes egg noodles.

Sometimes, what a dish tastes like isn’t an issue; it’s the thought of it, the feeling that it evokes, that make you feel all gooey inside. Such was the case with this bowl of bus stop mami: it’s not the best mami in the world, but it was the best thing that afternoon.

Bus rides to strange places

 

Our stalled bus on the road to La Union.

 

I’ve only traveled locally by bus twice, and both times, I’ve found myself dropped off by the side of an empty provincial road in the middle of a rainy night.

It’s actually not as bad as it sounds unless you’re the excitable sort, which I’m usually not. If you are, then it’s exactly as bad as it sounds, even though you realize, once you’re safe and warm in your hostel bed, that it shouldn’t have been.

Exhibit A: Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte

The first time was on a trip to Pagudpud, a surf town on the northernmost edge of Ilocos Norte. I flew into Laoag, the provincial capital, from Manila, then nervously had a tricycle take me to the bus stop. This was about 10pm. I had never done this before, take a tricycle by myself–at night in a province I had only been to once–to a bus stop I had never been to, to take a chance on getting a ticket to a town I had only seen in pictures.

I thought that getting a ticket would be easy; I didn’t count on everyone and their grandmother wanting to get on the same bus–the last bus for the night. Fortunately, I somehow managed to snag a seat. The bus was crammed full of people, the aisle packed with standing passengers. The trip to Pagudpud took two hours; many passengers were traveling further than that. The bus drove through the highway in light and darkness, through illuminated towns and darkened roads. Somewhere along the journey, it began to rain.

I had gotten directions from the resort to have the bus stop at a sari-sari store called Bong-Bong’s. I had repeated this to the bus driver and conductor when I boarded the bus, before spending the rest of the trip praying that they wouldn’t forget. They didn’t.

They dropped me off at Bong-Bong’s, a shack in the middle of nowhere, around midnight. There was no one in sight. The line of tricycles that the resort assured me would be there wasn’t, all the drivers gone home for the night. The rain hadn’t let up, and though I didn’t have an umbrella, the store had a roof, and that’s where I stayed, messaging friends where I was and how my possessions were to be divided if they couldn’t find me in the morning. An overreaction, to be sure, but it was done in jest. Well, mostly in jest. Okay, partly. The reason I had begun texting people where I was was because I had been trying to call and text the resort, to no avail. Finally, after an hour, someone picked up, and a friendly tricycle driver was roused from his sleep and dispatched to pick me up. Needless to say, he got a big tip.

Exhibit B: San Fernando, La Union

The second time it happened was on a trip to San Fernando, a surf town in La Union. I mistakenly bought tickets to the wrong bus, thinking that I was going to be on the bus that passed through the TPLEX (Tarlac-Pampanga-La Union Expressway), which would have cut a seven-hour trip down to three hours and a half. Instead, I got on a regular bus that passed through Tarlac and Pampanga, before getting to La Union.

I didn’t think much of my mistake because seven hours on the road isn’t so bad, right? Only the trip actually took ten hours, because the bus broke down in Carmen, Pampanga. “Faulty breaks,” the driver said.

We waited by the side of the road for an hour while the driver and conductor tried to get a bus to replace ours. A lot of passengers tried to get a refund, which the conductor couldn’t give because they had bought their tickets at the station and for some reason, they could only get a refund at the place they bought their tickets from. Good logic, Partas Bus.

When no replacement bus arrived, the driver suggested that we drive to the next bus stop, but really slowly, never going beyond 30 kph. Most of us, tired and cranky and just wanting to get where we were going, agreed. A few people who didn’t want to risk death stayed behind. It took another hour to make it to the next bus stop; this was actually faster than expected because the driver lied and actually went past 40 kph. Once at the stop, it was another hour before the poor conductor, working tirelessly, managed to get everyone onto different buses to take them to where they were supposed to go.

The conductor and driver of the bus I got on didn’t know the landmarks that the resort had texted me, so they dropped me off at the San Juan plaza and instructed me to take a trike to the resort. Thankfully, they dropped me off in front of where the tricycles were parked, and it was easy to find a driver that would take me to the resort at 2 am. He got a big tip, too.

The next time I take a bus to a surf town in the north of Luzon, I’m leaving Manila early.