Mount Pinagbanderahan | Encountering the Unknown
“Ruuuuuun” shouts Mang Ador. Gasping for breath, we madly ran through the thick foliage of Mount Pinagbanderahan. “Never look back whatever you see, hear or feel, just run!” I aimlessly followed my guide briskly parting twigs & thorny bushes. We jumped over fallen trees & crawled under decaying logs.
Our footsteps raced against the setting sun as blood from my arms stained the carpet of dried leaves. Finally, after all the running & tugging forces with the unknown, we got out of the forest so weak & distraught.
Mount Pinagbanderahan is truly haunted!
Stories about ghosts, witches and evil possessions are common. But their existence was something I was not ready to accept. Not until this inexplicable experience happened to me in Mt. Mirador, otherwise known as Mount Pinagbanderahan in Quezon Province.
But more than its dizzying pass, Bitukang Manok is cloaked in bizarre folktales. There are stories about hitchhiking ghosts, white ladies crossing the streets & a strange magnetic field that pulls cars on Kilometer 155.
It all began wonderful. Then this.
I regularly took this route when I was on a work assignment in Southern Luzon. In one of those usual stopovers, a guide invited me to climb Mount Pinagbanderahan. Not really geared up for it, but the promise of easy trek wasn’t an issue to go in jeans & loafers.
It all started at the grotto of the Our Lady of the Angels, the patroness of Atimonan. True enough, the trails are clear & mostly paved. There are handrails too.
As we hiked through the woods amidst the bellowing vines and the haunting sounds of the birds, I noticed my guide was throwing lighted matchsticks on our path. He said it is to inform the spirits that we are passing through their territory. Mang Ador cautioned me not to point my finger at anything unusual.
Along the way he whispered that “something” was on our path. Although I did not point at it, I secretly extended my camera lens to take a photo. Vividly, I saw a white mammal with extended ears — too big for a rabbit, too small for a goat.
Then I found a huge & beautiful mushroom. I cleared the grass around it, laid on the ground & went on taking photographs. I never felt anything strange as we proceeded through thick foliage & rock walls.
Then everything turned eerie…
As we were nearing the cave called Cueva Santa, I sat on a boulder to rest. Without any signs of nausea & constricting vision, I suddenly passed out!
Just as I was revived, the unthinkable turned up—–I PASSED OUT AGAIN!
According to my guide, this time I was shuddering & mumbling in a strange language. Then I started to push myself towards the cliff as he fought with my unusual strength. He got me by the seam of my pants to stop me from falling.
Oddly, I could hear him while I was in that struggle. But all I could see was a blinding light.
“I rubbed my oil amulet on you as I prayed so hard to get you back”, narrated Mang Ador. “Your eyes were wide open but your pupils were all gone!”
He said the spirit was so strong that he almost lost his strength. Mang Ador tied me to a huge tree root that broke out from the grounds as he recited orations. When I calmed down he doused me with water & slowly I was back on my consciousness.
Don’t ask, just run!
There was no time to ask for questions about what happened. He immediately dragged me down because I was terribly disoriented & that he could still see “something evil” around me.
“Hurry, don’t look back!” But I felt some unknown force was dragging my legs from moving. He never let go of my hand as his prayers echoed through the depth of the forest. I remember clearly that he was tugging with some unseen strength while throwing incantations.
As soon as we made it safe out of the woods, people hurried to rescue. I was too weak to understand what happened. All I remember was they began to rub my forehead, whispered words into my ears & spat on my head.
After a long eerie silence, one of the older guides offered to drive me down to Lucena City. He made me fist a small thing wrapped in a red cloth. I couldn’t help but cry in fear & exhaustion.
I called my friend to meet me at the hotel. I narrated to her my story. And just as we checked the camera, all those interesting photos like that white mammal, the mushrooms & the cave were surprisingly all gone!
Save for the photos on this story, the rest are nowhere in my memory card.
I learned my lessons the hardest & scariest way. This experience opened my mind to the acceptance of the unseen. Now, I have realized that there is truly a different dimension & that needs no further search for truth.