It’s so hot here in the Philippines.
Emma, Enzo, Jhun, and I arrived at Zambales.
We’re from Manila and we planned a trip to this place to visit Emma’s grandpa.
My name is Angela Reed, half-American, half-Filipino. It’s been two years since my family moved here from the States.
I met my friends here in college. They have really weird names. Well, except Emma.
As soon as we arrived, we greeted Emma’s grandpa. They did the thing Filipinos do to respect the elderly. They touch the back of the elder’s hand to your forehead. They call it mano. They also say “opo” in between sentences when talking to elders. And they also have titles for their older brothers and sisters, kuya and ate, respectively.
So I did the mano thing too. After that, we prepared the food. They have the “Adobo”, or chicken and pork cooked in soy sauce and vinegar, and, of course, rice. The Filipino meal is never complete without rice.
After eating, I asked them to explore the forest, even though it was already nighttime. (Emma’s grandpa didn’t have a television.) That’s when Emma’s lola, or grandma, spoke. “No!” she said, “Never venture the forest at night. Even during the day, it’s still dangerous. Tikbalangs, Kapres, and Tiyanaks lurk deep inside.”
“The what?” I asked curiously.
“Those are Filipino monsters,” said Enzo.
“Lola, those aren’t real,” said Emma.
“I’ve seen them. I’ve seen them all. They’re real!” Emma’s grandma insisted.
And because we didn’t want to disrespect them, we stayed home. Later that night, I asked Emma.
“What were those monsters again?”
“Oh, don’t believe my lola. You know old people believe in superstitions.”
“I know. But I just want to know a little more about them. What were they again? Tik- um…” I tried hard to remember what her grandma said.
“Tikbalang? Yeah, those are half-man, half-horse monsters that supposedly get travelers in the forest lost. They say turning your shirt inside-out will help you find your way out.”
“Cool. What about that Capri?”
“Not Capri. It’s Kapre,” she said. “Giants who smoke tobacco and live in trees called balete. They’re hairy and beastly.” Emma looked at her watch. “I think we should go to bed now. It’s past 1 AM and I’m really sleepy.”
So we went to sleep but I woke up after a little while. Everyone else was still sleeping. Something was stuck in my mind. There’s another monster that Emma’s grandma mentioned. What was it again?
Out of curiosity, I ventured by myself into the forest.
Minutes seemed like hours. I started to get bored. There was nothing but mosquitoes.
Then I heard a cry.
It was soft and innocent.
I recognized it. A baby! A baby was crying in the middle of the forest! I hurriedly searched for the crying baby.
My heart thudded louder. Why the hell would someone leave a baby here?
I searched. I ran. I could hear it. I’m getting closer.
I found it. It’s an infant. An adorable little baby boy crying. Lost. Alone.
I picked up the little baby. He’s so adorable!
Suddenly he stopped crying. He stared at me.
Then he chuckled. How cute.
He chucked again. Louder and louder. Like he’d never stop. My smile faded.
His tiny laugh slowly turned into a sharp cackle. His cute little brown eyes turned red and grew bigger. His skin turned rough, nails grew into claws, his limbs stretched, and fangs grew out of his mouth.
It bit my hand.
I screamed louder. I flung the demon away from me and ran as fast as I could.
I was crying so much. I lost a finger. And I was deceived by an ugly devil!
I ran for a long time. I’m lost, I thought.
What would I do if it was after me? Wait. I recalled what Emma told me.
It was ridiculous. But then again, so was the baby demon.
I turned my shirt inside-out and ran.
And before I knew it, I reached Emma’s house.
I started screaming and crying for help.
My cries woke everyone up. Emma's grandparents calmed me down and I told them everything that happened in the forest.
"It's a Tiyanak," Emma's lolo, or grandpa, said. "They are demons who disguise themselves as infants and deceive the unwary. Good thing they seldom kill people."
Written by Spikesterino