Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Classes stopped as ‘possessed' students alarm Mindoro school

By Madonna Virola
Southern Luzon Bureau
First Posted 18:42:00 08/20/2008

CALAPAN CITY, Philippines—Classes in a public high school here have been disrupted since August 8 after about 25 students were “possessed” by evil spirits, a school official said Wednesday.

The allegedly haunted students of Pedro Panaligan Memorial National High School experienced "seizures", shortness of breath and were shouting in pain, which generated hysteria in the campus, said school principal Henry Tungol.

Located in the village of Communal, about 50 meters away from the highway, the school has a population of 692 students and has graduates who became scholars and honor students in college, according to school officials.

In past years, there were one or two cases of "seizure" reported but in the last week of July, as many as 25 students were reported having "seizures," Tungol said.

From August 8 until August 19, classes were disrupted because of the disturbances, and other students were joining in the hysteria, he added.

School officials even invited local healers, who "offered" two black pigs to drive away the bad spirits, to no avail.

Affected students have pointed to evil spirits angered by the cutting of a 30- to 40-year-old tree at the backyard of the campus building.

"But that was three or four years ago," said Tungol, now on his sixth year as school head.

A Mass was also conducted in the campus by Fr. Ed Fabella, president of the Divine Word College of Calapan, upon request of some students.

"Periodical exams were postponed on August 14 to 15 and students don't obey our advice to stay home until things return to normal," said Tungol.

One girl told her guardian that it was boring in the house and she was observed pensive with a blank stare and had seizure attacks in the house, he said.

"I even saw a student with patches of pieces of ... intermediate paper on the head and drops of candle wax on the feet after treatment by the faith healer," said the principal.

Tungol said the cases seemed all the more puzzling for the school community as the priest and local faith healers did not seem able to deal with the "spirits."

Due to the worsening cases of "seizure" the school administration is appealing for help from experts.

Asked if they had plans to seek help from the Department of Health or other medical practitioners regarding the case of the children, Tungol said they have yet to do so.

"We're open to whatever will be effective and will heal the students. We want our classes to return to normal as soon as possible," said Tungol.

He asked the cooperation of parents and guardians to be part of the solution and talk with their children.

He also cautioned the public against sensationalizing the issue.


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Thursday, August 7, 2008

Philippine UFO: is there such a thing?

Unlike Mexico, Russia or the US, the Philippines doesn't make the headlines for CNN or FOX News when it comes to alleged UFO sightings. I guess geographically, we are just not as significant as the countries I mentioned earlier. Looking at Google Earth, the Philippines looks like a speck compared to the huge chunks of Russian and American territory sprawled across the face of the globe. More land means more cities and bigger populations. Bigger population means an increased probability of spotting an anomalous flying thing when one goes whizzing by.

Globally, UFO is oftentimes connected to conspiracy theories ranging from the usual alien visitation concept to the more complex US Gov't - Nazi scientists collusion or Reptilians-taking-over-the-world theories. In short, high technology and multi-layered historical cover ups dominate the field. Hereabouts, we're more preoccupied I guess with our Malayan heritage of spooks and critters, shamans and witches that adds a subtle mask of fear to our daily material existence. We don't look to the skies in search of alien phenomena. Instead, we lock our doors and keep our pregnant or sick kinsmen and women close by for fear of an Aswang or Tiktik visitation.

The Philippines is where the concept of Aswang flies the friendly (night) skies.

James Randi, the world-famous illusionist and debunker who, at one time, clashed with our very own Jimmy Licauco, (Mr. Inner Mind himself) lived by the rule of Occam's Razor which postulated that the simplest explanation for everything is usually the closest to the truth. This rule proved effective in exposing and debunking several acts of magic that made us hold our breath but I digress. All I want to say is, it would be very interesting to see Mr. Randi himself offering simple explanations for our menagerie of monsters which has had such a pervasive effect on the Filipino psyche.

So we're all monsters and no UFOs right?


I stumbled upon this video of an alleged UFO, shot in Las Pinas, south of Manila. Tony Israel, the person who shot the video gives a short statement prior to footage of the strange phenomena being shown. Have a look-see and judge for yourself.

Have a look-see and judge for yourself.

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Sunday, August 3, 2008

The Manananggal or Wakwak

The subject of countless movies here in the Philippines, the Manananggal is another type of evil creature in the same league as the Aswang. Legend says the Manananggal is a pretty woman by day that transforms into a vicious, half bodied, viscera-eating monster by nightfall. It is said that the Manananggal will sneak out of her house near midnight to hide in the bushes, or maybe a grove of banana trees. There she rubs her body with a certain type of oil and minutes later, she will sprout bat-like wings and her body gets cut at the waist. The body from the navel down will stay rooted on the spot while the top half will fly around looking for something to eat. With its acute sense of smell, it can smell a sick person or a pregnant woman even miles away.

In some areas in the Philippines particulary the Visayas, the locals call it the Wakwak. The Wakwak is so named for the sound its wing makes while hovering or flying. In the movies it is normally portrayed as flying in an upright position. My father who grew up in Antique, in the island of Panay, says this is not so. He has a relative who saw a Wakwak flying over a bamboo grove. Dad's kin says with all lucidity and sobriety that the thing flew upside down. I just can't imagine the aerodynamics involved with a position like that but it does make sense if you think of a bird out to hunt in the night. It woud be easier to see the big picture if your head hangs below like the gunsights of a bomber plane.

My wife told me that some time ago a group of kids and some elderly menfolk saw what they think was a manananggal here in our little municipality of Pateros. The thing, they said looked like a big umbrella hanging from one of the electrical posts around 7 in the evening. One of the kids saw it and threw stones at it. One of the elders cautioned the kids to stop throwing lest they broke a neighbor's window. When the man looked up, he was terrified as the "umbrella" unfolded to reveal a face and arms. The thing quickly flew away and the kids (and the men) ran in the opposite direction.

I haven't seen a Manananggal (Heck , I'd give everything to see one) nor did my father but my mother has seen one in her teens, out in the rice fields, back in her hometown of Dulag in Eastern Leyte. I can still remember my mother talking about it matter-of-factly. She said she worked alone on the fields and lost all track of time until it was dusk. She was then preparing to untether the buffalo so they can both go home - which was about a kilometer of thick bushes and rice paddies away. She said she had just lit her bamboo torch when she heard the sound that went "Wak...Wak...Wak...Wak..." She unsheathed her bolo (a long machete-like knife) and looked up and around. My mother is a strong woman even at a young age but what she saw unnerved her. She said she saw what she thought was a large, tawny looking bird with sharp, black talons just a few feet above her head. Its flapping wings disturbed the leaves and brushes for yards around. That would've been scary enough when you are alone and it's nightfall and you still have to walk through unlit parts to get home. What struck her though was the looks of the creature's head. She says the thing had a pretty humanoid and feminine face with yellow curly hair. She described its face as looking "like a doll." Its wings were that of a bird, not a bat. And she says by the dancing light of the torches she can tell the thing is staring at her with cold, grey eyes. Mustering all her courage she tried to shoo it away using the torch and bolo. The Wakwak flew away.

That was the first and the last time she saw a Manananggal/Wakwak but to this day, she insists that a Manananggal is different from a Wakwak.

I wouldn't know. I just hope I can see and photograph one nowadays. That'll give the Enquirer a run for it's money hehe.

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