Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Ghosts of Death March

 Dear insansapinas,
The Ghost of Death March was published in BS last year. 

I received an e-mail from Silver,  a former co-writer in BS with this message:
 pinadala nung tiga GMA News

Trixie Labutay October 27 at 7:27am Report
hi im patricia from kapuso mo jessica soho we are interested in your death march ghost story lasy year may we know the exact place in angeles city pampanga this is airing this october 30 i hope to hear from you.

She gave her number. If she read the writer's background, she would know that I do not reside in the Philippines. Pinayinusa na po ako. But I used my other name kasi. But I called her. I did not divulge my real name which is pusa. (pinayinusa, silly). I have pusong mamon naman sa mga researchers kasi naging researcher din ako. Huwag nga lang plagiarist. Whoops di na naman nakatiis.

To answer the question, the place was near McArthur Highway and was near the Carmelite Sisters Convent. That was all I could remember because I intended to join the nunnery at that age when I was still very religious. May Maria von Trapp syndrome din ako. toinkkk

Anyway those who were not able to read the article, I am reposting it here. English ang sulat ko kasi kanan ang sumulat. Kaliwete ako pag Tagalog. mwhehe

Let me describe first the march of death from Bataan to Cabanatuan. (wikipedia)

The march, involving the forcible transfer of 75,000 American and Filipino prisoners of war captured by the Japanese in the Philippines from the Bataan peninsula to prison camps, was characterized by wide-ranging physical abuse and murder, and resulted in very high fatalities inflicted upon the prisoners and civilians along the route by the armed forces of the Empire of Japan. Beheadings, cut throats and casual shootings were the more common and merciful actions — compared to bayonet stabbings, rapes, disembowelments, numerous rifle butt beatings and a deliberate refusal to allow the prisoners food or water while keeping them continually marching for nearly a week (for the slowest survivors like General Jacob Vass) in tropical heat. Falling down or inability to continue moving was tantamount to a death sentence, as was any degree of protest or expression of displeasure.
This I never knew before this ghostly encounter of the souls who perished in the march.

We lived in Angeles City when I was growing up. My father was hired as Chief Mechanic and part of the perks was free housing for him to relocate from Manila.

For some reasons that were never shared to us by our parents, we moved to another place and rented a newly-built split level house in a place that was being developed as a subdivision. At that time that we transferred, there were only two completed units,both of them already occupied. The third was still under construction.
For three mornings in a row, the adults in the breakfast table buzzed with ghost and other scary stories. Following their conversations for the past days, while savoring the pandesal soaked in hot chocolate (some things that they would never allow if they were not busy talking), I gathered that these were all about those strange sounds that suddenly permeated the place coming from nowhere at exactly every 12 midnight.

Sounds of digging,shouting, crying, marching sounds such as heavy thumping of boots; gunshots, bodies falling…I mentally took note of the time. It was 12 o clock. I would not dare remain awake at that time. I was not yet aware  of my ” ghost radar” so I was just an ordinary kid who was scared of dark and Casper’s unfriendly relatives.

That night, I slept early but woke up in the middle of the night. All the lights were out and the adults were pretty quiet. I could see the luminous clock hands from our alarm clock. It was 10 to 12. I remembered the story. I pulled up my blanket as if it could block noises and stop ghosts that I imagined to be circling my bed. I heard the digging sound. At first, I thought it was emanating from the unit under construction. But who in the hell would work at that time of the night.Then came the shouts and the gunshots and the sounds of falling of bodies. I was about to shout and run to my parents’ bed when my mom covered my mouth and said sssh. So, they were looking out of the partly opened windows. They had been doing that for successive nights and they could not just pinpoint a specific direction where the noises were coming from.

We saw the people in the other house. They too were awake and looking out. The noises became louder. The feeling that there was a multitude of people walking got past us. I was holding on to the skirt of my mom. The loud cries of anguish, the conversations in different languages;Japanese and Pilipino were the most audible ones such as Bakero…Takbo na…Ayan na.. ..were heard by all of us. It seemed that,that night when all of us were awake, the spirits of the soldiers who were in the DEATH MARCH relived history for us.

The owner/developer explained to my parents that our place seemed to be in the path of the Death March going to Tarlac in World War 2. He had the place blessed by a priest.
Except for the digging sound, we never heard of the “Death March” again. Howlings of the dogs at night, however warned the residents that there were souls meandering in the area.

The Ca t


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