Life So Mundane in Batangas
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02 October 2010

A Christmas Ghost Story: the Man Wearing a White Robe at the Old Brothers' House

I have been busy uploading pictures to my FB profile, when I chanced upon some that brought back memories of a really, really strange event.

I remember the date to this very day. The 23rd of December, 1990.

Back in the eighties and early nineties, we could not let Christmas pass by without having a team party. Food, flashlight football, parlor games, crazy lip-sync contests, taguan, habulan

That 23rd of December, the first thing I did when I arrived in the early evening for the party was to ask the security personnel if there were any Brothers still in the cloister or the Brothers' House. It was always best to warn the boys, and there were almost 30 of them, to stay away from the place if there were still any still in the house.

Nobody home, I was told… the last Brother left the day before for the holidays…

Good then…!!! We had the campus all to ourselves… You just never can tell what kind of noise 30 boys will make in the middle of the night…

So we had food, we had singing, we had parlor games… and by three in the morning, things were starting to simmer down…

We all went out to the basketball courts to get some air, although a few of the kids decided a game of hide-and-seek would be the perfect tonic to rouse themselves up.

Those of us who stayed behind amused ourselves by telling each other jokes and tall tales, just waiting for dawn so we could all bid each other goodbye, go home and get some sleep…

Pretty soon, three of the lads who went to play hide-and-seek came running back to where we were to tell me that they were just scolded by a Brother right outside the cloister.

A Brother? There were no Brothers in school!!!

But there was this guy in a white robe, they insisted! Who, I asked the breathless boys, would put on a white robe at three in the morning just to tell them to be quiet?

Did they get a good look at his face? They didn’t, there was just this white-clad figure in the dark behind the metal railings…

Classic! Absolutely classic! Ghost story, that is… My guest was that it was Fr. Umali disturbed from his rest. He used to say Holy Mass for the community everyday from the time when I was an elementary kid up till the eighties, when I was already teaching. But he had already passed away…

Creepy night, this… A little later after this incident, while I was watching the stars, I saw this tiny bit of light not only move amongst the stars but zigzag across the sky… before disappearing into the dark…

Maybe, like the kids, I was just seeing things…

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