Starry, starry night, paint your pallet blue and gray. …. I always remember this line from the song Vincent every time I gaze at the sky on a starry night. This is something I enjoy doing to let the time pass when I am with my parents. I missed this one thing when I am in the city. For a night like this can never be appreciated there because the glaring lights upstage the beauty of the night sky.
When I was a little girl, there was no electricity in our barrio. There was no television too. The children’s past time was playing in the street on a moonlit night. We call this game bulan-bulan. “Bulan” means moon in our local dialect. We would make a big circle using water. The older folks let the time pass by sharing about their adventures, their stories of the day and sometimes scary experiences with paranormal things or beings or sometimes, scary characters of the folklores. The most popular were the aswang and the manananggal. According to the old folks, these creatures eat the innards of humans especially the babies and pregnant women. The children like us would listen to them. I on the other hand would feigned that I am not scared at all because if they knew you were scared, they would frightened you more. One time I dared myself. I walked from my grandmother’s house to ours all alone. I told myself that I am not scared and nothing can make me scared. The moonlight was shining so brightly that night that I could not resist watching its beauty. When I looked at the sky, what got my attention was not the moon but to my great horror, a big flying creature! There was only one thing in my mind at that time it was the manananggal! I did not know how I got home. The next thing I knew was that, I was screaming and pounding at the door begging my mother to open it for me because I was so afraid the big monster would eat me. Who would want to be a sumptuous meal of some dreaded being? Not me, never.
It used to be a story of horror for me but not anymore. I am laughing every time I remember it. I realized that what I saw that night was not a manananggal but very big specie of bat commonly known in our dialect as “kabog”. It is one of my favorite stories, which I share with my baby sister.