‘To see is to believe.’ We have always been taught to rely our decisions based on facts and first-hand experiences; however, there are instances that would always go beyond what the human mind can conceive and explain. There are so many things that science and researches cannot back up; hence we are often led to a familiar adage that goes: ‘To believe is to see.’
Going to the mountains is a cultural immersion that allows people to learn about the lives, tradition, and beliefs of the locals living in the area. And what makes every adventure remarkable are the experiences – as well as the stories – made known and felt by the mountains. Thereupon I posted, on Dakilanglaagan’s Facebook page, an invitation to travelers on their most haunting encounter in the mountains. Stories were shortlisted (by yours truly) and edited to fit a hundred word flash fiction. Nobody’s certain if they’re real and if you’re really doubting the exactitude of the story, please refer to the last phrase on the previous paragraph.
- Invisible Companions (Mt. Pulag)
He was about to sleep after a whole day of trail running from Akiki jump-off to Saddle Camp when he heard a group of campers nearing his tent. Totally spent from the day’s activity, he did not bother checking the group and slept right away, allowing the newcomers to continue their festive mood as they set their tents and prepared dinner. Excited to exchange thoughts and experiences the day after, he go out of the tent early morning just to find out that he was camping alone. He then decided to pack up and see if they descended earlier but was totally intrigued when the DENR representative in the Ranger Station shared that nobody but him hiked that day.
- The Giving Tree (Alto Peak)
She woke up early to document the sunrise when she noticed a group of hikers camping several meters away from the campsite. Trying to be friendly, she approached the group – who was preparing breakfast and coffee – and inquired why didn’t they join them on the campsite. The organizer of the group shared that upon their arrival – which was almost midnight – they noticed that the only surviving tree near the site was glowing (because of fireflies). Had it been the only reason, they could have pursued and shared the site with her group. However, they noticed somebody so tall and dark getting down from the tree and started roaming around as if checking everyone on their respective tents.
- The Lonely Boy (Mandalagan)
Nobody can really trace why the campsite was named ‘Lonely Boy’. But I saw him sitting alone on the roots of those mother trees while I was trying to answer the call of nature past three in the morning. Our eyes met and my body froze for a moment. He was meters far but I can vividly recall and hear what he whispered: ‘Why did you abort me?’
- Child’s Play (Bandilaan)
She took a deep breath as she tried to organize her thoughts for her vlog. Just when she’s about to greet her audience as an introduction, she heard children laughing on the background. Her eyebrows almost met upon looking down from the top of the tower when she found out that she’s all alone. Trying to shrug off her speculations, she continued her interrupted vlogging when she heard a loud squeal from below. Again, there was none but here. That time, she felt a tinge of cold air on her nape so she immediately went down to see the tricycle driver who was waiting for her. The driver noticed her silence. He tried to strike a conversation by sharing urban legends in Siquijor such as the three children who died on an accident in Bandilaan.
- Until Death do us Part (Kanlaon)
It’s difficult not to hear them complain about his sudden announcement of immediate departure from Margaha Valley. They wouldn’t understand and he didn’t mind getting misunderstood. He knew that the group he was guiding would want to take more photos of the aforementioned place but every time they ask him to take a photo of them he would always see visions of him and her joining the pictorial. Come to think of it, they loved taking photos of themselves too – which ultimately led them to death. She was trying to take a selfie from the edge of the cliff when she slipped; he tried saving her but fell also in the process. And he was there. He was their guide. He saw how death feasted on them.
- Cold as You (Talinis)
While her comrades where busy with socials, she was there on the corner fetching water in order to wash the dishes. Sadly, they weren’t blessed with a clearing. Dark casted as fog enveloped the whole campsite. Just when she’s about to endure the cold waters of Lake Nailig, as she’s almost done with assigned task, she felt a much colder thing tracing her hand. Curious, she adjusted her headlamp and tried to check what it was but there was none. She tried to dismiss such thought when again, she felt a cold thing tracing her hand. It’s as if a very cold hand did touch her! She left all utensils and ran towards her comrades.
- More than One (Tres Marias)
The guide scratched his head after the head count. His forehead knotted and uneasiness was all over his face. He counted six participants; but why are there seven people in the photo that he captured? And why was he in the photo when he was the one who took it? It was not a groufie.
- The Right Direction (Hibok-hibok)
Worried faces of his co-hikers welcomed him in the crater campsite. Of course, they’d be worried as he arrived an hour later than them. They thought he got lost. Actually, he did. Good thing their guide waited for him and gave him instructions on how to reach the summit. But upon second gaze, the guide on the campsite didn’t look like the guy who gave him the directions.
- Time-lapse (Janagdan)
After setting-up his tripod and camera, he left his gadgets and went to his group to share snacks with them. While they drown on crazy conversations, his camera was tasked to record a time-lapse of the sunset and the movement of the water in the lake. When everyone was ready to proceed with the hike he dismounted his gadget and tried to go over for a quick review. It was perfectly captured but when he reached the middle part, the video turned pitch black. He thought the camera died but the video continued. The black thing moved farther and farther from the screen of the camera until it reached the middle part of the lake and vanished into thin air. Weird. He reviewed it and the result was the same so he consulted his friends. They saw a perfectly captured sunset and the slow movement of the water in the lake.
- Shadows (Osmena Peak)
They were busy preparing for dinner when he noticed a shadow inside his tent. He asked his girlfriend if she or one of her friends got inside the tent, but everybody was out. Afraid that a stranger might robbed them off, he checked and found no one. He went back to the group to continue cooking when he glimpsed such shadow again. He checked but, again, no one was there. For the third time, he fixed his eyes on the tent and even asked his girlfriend to look the same way. The shadows appeared again. He then decided to buy his own tent next time and never borrow from the equipment of his dead cousin.
- Ghost Hunting (Maculot)
Three of them decided to go around the area and hunt for ghosts. They tried inviting their other two members but they were too tired for their games. They stayed outside until midnight but found nothing so they decided to return to the campsite only to find the other two members on a single tent. Their faces were as pale as ice and they were crying like there’s no tomorrow. The day after they shared that they waited for us outside the tent when they heard screeches nearby. It was followed by footsteps and nobody else was there. Afraid, they decided to share tent and waited for the footsteps to stop. It didn’t until we arrived.
- Thou shall pass (Naupa)
She was leading her colleagues for that late night trek when she noticed that nobody was trailing behind her. She waited and realized that she was going way to fast. When her comrades arrived she decided to chill and slow down the pacing. They then got the rhythm. They were about to cross the small river when she noticed the group came to a halt. Worried that she’d gone to fast again, she waited for them but they didn’t trailed behind her. Finally, she asked them what was wrong. The third on line pointed on her direction. She looked ahead of her and saw a long-haired lady passed. It could have been a local, but surely she didn’t see her feet landing neither on the water nor on land.
- Playlist (Chalet Hill)
Spotify has always been his constant companion, especially on nights when he and his friends get to spend time away from the city. Sadly, he forgot to charge his portable speakers. It ran out of battery almost ten in the evening. With nothing else to do, he decided to sleep. The day after his friends were commenting on the choice of songs he played, most especially the ones after midnight. He wondered what song did they hear.
How about you? Did you have a similar experience? Feel free to share below! If you want to read more haunting stories of unworldly encounters, feel free to check your nearest bookstore – particularly Precious Hearts Pages – and look for the books below. I’ve written some of my accounts on Mga Kwento sa Dilim: A Collection of Bizarre Philippine Ghost Stories. You can also check some of my stories on Wattpad title Playlist ni Kamatayan. Have a fruitful week ahead and always remember: To believe is to see.