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Huwebes, Mayo 5, 2011

An Aswang in my Midst Chapter 1: The Adventure Begins

Credits to story owner: Aswang Story | Blogger

I was born and raised in Manila. My parents have spent their hard-earned money to bring us to exclusive schools. I went to La Salle Greenhills, an all-boy school in the middle of the metropolis. Up until today, La Salle Greenhills is known to be one of the best schools for Primary and Secondary Level education.

Since I was young, I heard many horror stories. Some from my grandparents. Some from friends and relatives. But as I grew older, I found them all entertaining. Some stories told to me by my brother, Neil, were the only ones that really got my hair standing. Though they were actual accounts by my brother, I still considered them entertaining.

One of these horror stories that truly entertained me were stories of "Aswangs" or creatures that are humans by day and are said to turn into animals at night when they start hunting for their prey. According to common stories, "Aswangs" feed on farm animals, young children and unborn children. "Aswangs" were said to look for pregnant women and eat their unborn child while they were asleep. They are said to have long tongues that would slowly go through holes and spaces on the roof of the house and can slice its way into the stomach of the sleeping mother.

Entertaining isn't it? Well, not until I had a taste of my own experience.

Tablas Island, Romblon Province. This island about fifty nautical miles from the province of Batangas is the largest of the three major islands of the province. The sole province under Region 4A, Tablas Island can be reached by boat or by plane. But due to the insufficient number of travelers to the island, there are only about two flights that go in and out of Tablas. The more common means of traveling to the island is by "Ro-Ro" or Roll-On, Roll-Off vessels which are basically ships that can accommodate vehicles in its hull while passengers stay in the upper decks. These vessels are slow, uncomfortable, and most of the time, overloaded with passengers. Most of the trips to Tablas Island leaves Batangas City at 5 o'clock in the afternoon and gets to the island at 3 o'clock early in the morning if the weather is good.

I was the Assistant Vice President for Operations for an agri-business company. I was tasked to start up a Virgin Coconut Mill in the town of Calatrava which was about an hour jeepney ride from Tablas' center-city, Odiongan. I was bound for the island mid-November 2008 and was actually a little excited about it. I have never been to any part of Romblon and this to me was an adventure. I was to meet up with my staff in Calatrava.

The adventure trip actually turned bad as soon as I stepped into the "Ro-Ro". I paid the full fare and was given a ticket to get on board. However, I noticed that my ticket had no seat number. I then realized that the ship was overloaded. Since I had no seat, I had to settle myself to sit on a bench attached to one of the dining tables of the ship's eating area together with three strangers sitting in front and beside me. I felt so bad. I hated it! I asked myself, "What is a Lasallite like me doing is a hell-hole like this?" But when I saw that many had to sit on the staircase and beside the railings of the ship, I thought, I was lucky already. No wonder there are a lot of maritime accidents in the Philippines!

The ship started to sail for Romblon at around 5:40pm. As I stood beside the port-side railings to view Batangas Bay, I saw dolphins swimming beside our ship as we slowly left for the sea. The sun was setting and I already started to miss my family. It was a time to reflect actually. I started to think if this kind of job was something I wanted to do for a long time. But as I look way ahead towards the horizon, I told myself that it was just the start of my journey. I will decide when I get through it later.

(End of Chapter 1)

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