Before I start, it is my intention not to place any picture of the place we visited (except my drawing below), nor mention any name.
We have nothing against the place, and we don’t want them to be affected in any other way.
1. The Search
The two of us traveled down south-west of Cebu. The destination is Moalboal.
Side note: Foreigner sometimes pronounced this as “Mowl Bowl”. But it is actually (should be) pronounced as “Mo-al-bo-al”.
We normally book our room ahead, but for some reason we didn’t. So we traveled without knowing where to stay.
My girlfriend, browsing the internet, have a prospect on where to stay. She initially chose the XYZ Resort (name withheld) because the pictures in the website looks good.
After a long a drive, we arrive in Moalboal. But not yet in XYZ Resort. We don’t know where the place is.
It’s still 3:30pm, the sun is still up, so we didn’t worry. We grab the GPS and the search started.
We spotted the location in the GPS, but somehow the location says we already pass it.
I remember before when I search for Hidden Paradise Resort, Google map points it to Lapu-Lapu City where it is several kilometers away from the real location.
So we put aside the GPS and asks the locals for directions.
We asked three different people and they pointed out on the same direction.
The place we arrived shows a lot of divers. Lots of structures on each side of the road. The road gets narrower until only one vehicle at a time can pass. Good thing we were the only ones driving at that time.
We arrive at the location. I wasn’t able to enter the gate because we saw tight spaces with other vehicles parking.
I stayed in the vehicle while my girlfriend checked inside. And just for a short while she came back because she was dismayed.
No one’s at the reception, and the place is not the same as what is in the picture.
I also don’t feel like going because of the tight space.
We go back and find another place.
We visited around three resorts. One has a good swimming pool, but no beach — just a body of water with mangrooves.
We visited other resort but the room is too expensive.
It’s almost sunset, and we were already tired.
We search the net one more time and found a prospect location.
This time, we just phoned them. We didn’t check anymore the actual location. Maybe because we’re tired already.
Luckily there are vacant rooms, plus the price is right, and….. there’s a beach.
Finally we can relax.
2. The House
The caretaker, a not-so-old woman, was very kind to us. She showed us to our room.
Another caretaker, a middle-aged guy, told her that the water’s not functioning. We have to move to another room.
And so, the woman gave us a nice deal. All of the available rooms don’t have water except one. But the available room was an expensive one because it includes a kitchen–complete with refrigerator, utensils, and other stuffs.
Though expensive, but she gave it to us with the same price. It’s a privilege because we have our room plus kitchen plus a living room for the same price.
The male caretaker showed us the way.
Upon arriving, I notice it is a big house. Four rooms in it, the caretaker says. Two rooms in the ground floor, and two on the second floor.
He opened the gate. The roller gives a friction-sound the moment he slide the gate open.
A few steps and there’s the main door. It’s also a sliding one.
It’s a bit dim inside the house. And the first thing we notice is the stairs in front of us, leading to the dark second floor.
He switched on the lights. And then apologized because not all switch works. Meaning: not everything will light. There are still dimmed portions.
And the second floor? Still dark.
We move to the living room. In front of us is a LCD TV. The left and right of the TV are doors. These are the two rooms. (The two other room is in the second floor.)
We turn on the TV to make the room more lively. But even the remote won’t work. So I have to do it manually. I just have to manually press the buttons of the TV to change channel and volume.
The caretaker apologizes, and then went out.
We were alone.
I raise the volume of the TV to break the silence.
We happen to look at the left side of the living room. To our surprise there was a baby’s cradle!
What in the world is this cradle doing here! I mean, not every guest brings a baby with them. This should have been kept away and should only be brought in “per-need” basis. Or maybe they will also put some rocking chairs or something?
This cradle thing makes it more eerie.
My girlfriend told me to look what’s inside it because it looks something weird.
I checked, and it is just a grayish bed sheet, crumpled. I set it straight so it won’t be distracting. (But still the cradle is distracting.)
Later on, we decide to go outside to have dinner.
We put all our things to the room and locked it. (Precautionary measure for thieves.)
Once outside, we also lock the main door. I notice the main door has no key hole. I examined and found out that there is a small piece of wire inside. Point it down and it will lock, point it up and it will open. To do that, you need to have a small pointy object (such as keys) to toggle the small wire.
Okay. So we’re out and looking for something to eat.
Never did I mention anything scary to my girlfriend, nor make a scary joke. Otherwise she might not stay in the house and things will go problematic.
3. The Ruckus
We finish our meal and we’re back to the house.
Once inside, I lock the main door, and then close the curtain.
Turning around, there’s that staircase again. That dark staircase.
We never look up. Who knows who might be watching.
And that cradle again…grrr!
I opened the TV and set the volume to break the silence. We also talked other stuffs just to distract ourselves from the house.
After a few talks, we heard something. Not sure if it came from the TV show. But we just ignored it.
Moments later, another sound. It was a thudding sound. It came from the outside.
We focus to the main door. And there was a knock. Shit!
I went towards the main door, hearing every ruckus.
And then I heard someone.
It was the male caretaker after all, calling from the outside.
We are relieved. He was the one knocking all this time.
I swept the curtain away and opened the door. And there’s the caretaker.
He asked not to lock the main door as there are guests coming. He also went to the room–the left door from the TV. (By the way, we stayed in the right–the door right from the TV.)
He went to the left room, opened the door and went inside.
We did not follow, of course. He said he is preparing this room for the guest.
We told him that sounds good so we have company. We both feel relieved.
But on the back of my mind, I was thinking. The check-in time is 2pm. And it was already around 8pm. Who would arrive this late?
The caretaker finished preparing the room. (We didn’t know what he did inside.)
He close the door and then went outside. Before he leaves the house, he reminds us not to lock the main door.
And I was thinking again. Don’t lock the main door? But there was no lock to begin with. I mean, you just have to toggle the small wire to open the main door. You don’t need a key for that. You can even do it with a barbecue stick.
Maybe he didn’t know the trick? But I don’t think he didn’t know considering he is not new here.
By some chance, I went in front of the door of the left room. And I tried opening the door.
It was not locked, and it opened as I turned the knob.
I did not go in. All I saw is that the room is lighted–the lamp is turned on, so does the other lights.
I close the door again.
Well, we continue our TV and the conversation as the scary feeling receded and faded while we enjoy the talk.
After several minutes, right in front of us, the door of the left room just opened on its own.
It just opened right in front of our face!
Astounded for a few seconds, I manage to regain our composure. I have the courage to stand and touch the door knob.
I close it again. (To close it, you have to turn the knob. And so does opening it.)
She feel sleepy. So we turn off the TV and went to the room. I feel nothing scary on our room. That’s a good sign.
She fell asleep, tired from our travel.
I stayed as a guard, as if on duty. I never put off the lights. The whole room is bright.
Eventually, I was able to sleep.
Around 12 midnight, she poke me. Telling me to wake up because it was brown out. The lights are off. All the lights are off. The whole freaking house is dark.
What could have been a bright room is now so dark that even if you put your own hand in front of you, you can’t see it.
Luckily I have a small flashlight in my bag. I put it in the table (yes there is a table in the room). This will lighten up a bit.
She went back to sleep.
In her case, it seems like the fear was overcome by the ‘tiredness’.
She slept, and I was wide awake together with that thin beam of light from the flashlight.
I was thinking. The battery won’t last long if this is used continuously.
So I decided to turn it off. And it’s pitch black again.
The room is dark, and I am still awake. I can’t go back to sleep anymore. I get out of the bed and walk (even if it’s dark).
I sit on the chair (beside the table). I am hungry.
I turn the flashlight on and opened some slice bread. I put it off again, and I ate in the dark.
Sometimes I turned on the flashlight immediately when my girlfriend moves. This is to provide light in case she wakes up.
I turn it off again just to conserve battery power.
I slowly peak at the window–looking at what’s outside. (There’s also a chance that another pair of eyes is peeping on the same window right in front of me. Just an imagination though.)
I open the window a bit to let the air come in. I then attempted to call the caretaker through my mobile phone. But the phone’s signal is weak to none. So I just send a SMS message to the caretaker telling them to bring us candles because it’s dark here.
“Sending failed”, says the notification. I retried and retried until it was successfully sent.
But there was no reply. Maybe because there was no signal. Or the obvious reason is, they are all sleeping.
And then I want to pee. (The toilet room is outside our room. It’s in the living room near the staircase and the cradle.)
I hold it for a while while thinking what to do.
Option A: I bring the flashlight with me, and went out of the room.
Possible effect (imagination): Girlfriend wakes up. Scared and shouts so loud because it was dark.
Option B: I leave the flashlight in the table. Open the door so that the light reach the living room.
Possible effect (imagination): The toilet room is still dark. Light won’t reach there. What if somebody (a real person) is present, knocking me down without my girlfriend knowing what happened to me.
Option C: I let my girlfriend wake up and tell her I will pee so that if something happened to me (like in option B), she will be aware.
Possible effect (imagination): She can’t sleep back. She will be more scared. Sunrise is still far.
So what I did instead, is get my phone. There’s a flashlight in it. Turn it on. Put it in the table.
Grabbed the other flashlight and bring it with me to the toilet room.
I went outside the room. The circle of light emitting from the flashlight is the only thing you can see.
Avoiding to look at the staircase and the cradle, I went immediately to the toilet room–and pee as fast as I can.
I return immediately to the room and locked the door.
A few moments later (around 1:30 am), I fell asleep.
There was a knock on the door. I feel relieved because the voice was from the caretaker. They bring the candles.
I opened the door and was pleased from the candles. They apologize for the inconvenience.
And the I woke up. It was a dream. It is still pitch black.
I go back to sleep.
This time, I’m sure I am not dreaming.
I woke up because I heard somebody’s walking in the living room (outside our room). That sound when our slipper make contact with the floor while walking? That’s the sound I heard.
Maybe it was the guest (yeah right. Guest in the middle of the night).
Or maybe it was the caretaker (the main door was never locked after all).
The sound keeps on going. But I just disregard it and I go back to sleep.
Rise and shine. It is now around 5:30am.
My girlfriend told me she woke up a few hours ago because she heard someone walking. So it seems we are both awake that time.
The caretaker also apologizes for the brown out. She said there was never a brown for the past months, not until today.
It’s morning. Sun rays can be seen outside. I am so happy and relieved. We survived!
There is still no electricity. But who cares. We survived!