Let me tell you my Halloween story.
I am a scaredy cat and I’m an insomniac. My hometown also happens to be Lazi, Siquijor, and if you’re a Filipino, the word “Siquijor” can easily be associated with “scary.” When I’m at home, I sleep with my parents (yes, I know, I’m 27, but my siblings and I still sleep with our parents) in our small living room in a mat although my sister and I share a bedroom and we have a bunk bed. Whenever I’m home, my mother would prepare our bunk bed so I can comfortably sleep there but I never do because I’ve told her many times that I’m scared because there is someone who walks around the house at night. I have actually not seen nor felt anyone but I’m just really scared.
One Oct. 31, there was a bayle (dance) in our town’s social center and I actually slept in the lower bed of the bunk bed. I was not scared at all, or I was just tired. I was happily sleeping into the night when suddenly, someone grabbed my head from the window!!!
I screamed the loudest scream, which woke the whole neighborhood (exaggeration) and ran as fast as I can to the living room (only about 5 big steps away) to snuggle close to my parents, hugging my blanket tight. I felt like I was going to faint and I told my mother then that it’s true, someone really walks around the house at night!!! And she agreed!!! And my heart was beating so fast, I don’t know if I should sleep or never blink.
Well, you know what? Someone also actually got scared when I screamed. Because I screamed so loud, I did not hear when someone said, “Ay, sorry, Te Psych.”
My sister’s boyfriend was outside the bedroom and because we open our windows, he thought he’d scare my sister. He did not realize that it was me who was sleeping at the lower bed, instead of my sister. He was also in full witch costume, with a really messy hair.
My point is, I’m a scaredy cat, and I had a funny Halloween years back. And I no longer sleep in the bedroom except when I have company and my mother no longer forces me to sleep in the bedroom. My other point is, Siquijor is not a scary place because of spirits and invisible elements. It is a beautiful place, a peaceful place where people trust each other. The island, despite it’s frequent brown-outs and really dark skies and canopy of trees, and silence, is not a scary place. It’s just that sometimes, people do things that scare other people — and I don’t mean just grabbing somebody’s head as a Halloween joke. People commit crimes, and that’s what makes the island, or any place, scary.
See? It’s so beautiful, it’s almost heartbreaking. Every time I look at this photo (by my boyfriend, btw), I’m always reminded of why I feel so lucky growing up in Lazi. Because it’s just beautiful, and that the invisible elements/spirits are not the ones that make the island scary, but ourselves, and our capacity to do harm to other people.