I ignored tales about the old Spanish lighthouse. It was on a TV documentary (I think it was ABS-CBN’s Nginig, I’m not so sure) when I first learned about the famous Faro. They were doing a Halloween special featuring the scariest places in the Philippines. I thought it was all a hoax since it has been a yearly presentation and that my guess was they were running out of Halloween stories. Man, was I dead wrong! Let me share my story…
I was coming from the Bangui Windmills when I decided to stop by the Burgos Lighthouse. Actually, I already removed the lighthouse visit from my Ilocos Norte itinerary because the guy from the hotel told me it is inaccessible without an automobile. It all changed when the preacher I met at Bangui told me it was only a kilometer away from the main road. Later, I discovered it was a kilometer of uphill hike.
Before I boarded off the bus, I had the following conversation with the people in the bus:
Me: “Pakibaba ho ako sa may papuntang lighthouse.” (Please drop me off the road to the lighthouse.)
Me: “Kaya ho!” (I’ll be fine!)
Irritated over the lady’s obvious eavesdropping, I hurriedly went off the bus. I was surprised to see all the passengers looking at me with the same look of concern like that of the lady eavesdropper. They were all seemingly worried and uncomfortable.
Elderly Lady: “Balong, mag-iingat ka sa itaas. Mag-iingat ka…” (Son, be cautious at the top. Be very cautious…)
I was very clueless about what the passengers were trying to say for I knew all along that I’ll be fine since there’s a caretaker above the hill. It was too late when I found out.
I started my hike towards the lighthouse. The forest was largely wild making the journey a little hotter than usual. I was all sweaty because of the steep climb. In spite of my condition, I started to have goose bumps. I think that was a sign that forest elves were spying on me while I was ascending.
I arrived at the concrete stairs connecting the lighthouse to the road. The place was scenic. I took my 1st picture of the lighthouse midway through the stairs. Before I reach the entrance, I heard voices of children getting scolded by an elder. Upon hearing the voices, I was somehow relieved of my anxiety knowing that the caretaker was around. I called for the caretaker but he didn’t answer. My guess is that they were about to have their siesta. So as not to bother them, I decided to enter the courtyard and took my 2nd photo there. This courtyard view of the lighthouse has always been featured in many articles and magazines.
I entered the corridor leading to the entrance of the main tower. After I took my 3rd photo, I discovered that the door to the tower was locked. I walked back to the corridor to call on the caretaker. When I was about to knock, I was surprised to see that all four old wooden doors at the corridor were locked. I asked myself “Where the hell is that caretaker staying?”
I stood at the terrace to see the two buildings at the side of courtyard. I then discovered that those were actually storage rooms.
“If those were storage rooms, where did those voices come from?”
I gazed towards the lighthouse’s old gate and saw a huge chain vaulted over it. I realized there was nobody in the place except for me. I then felt a gush of cold wind blow over my left ear. Seconds later I was having goose bumps all over my body. I’m serious! Down to the last hair!
“Damn it! I’m all fucked up!!!”
Just as I was freaking out, I started to hear voices again. This time, the voices were right on my ear. I was hearing them all simultaneously. I can’t understand what they were saying. It was like those whispers being heard on Lost. The children’s voices were filled with pain. They were as if blaming me for something. The elder’s voice was purely madness!
I wasted no time in getting my butt out of there. As I was rushing to get down, I tripped on my tripod and there flew my digital camera. When I was picking the camera, there went the voices again. I hurriedly grabbed my damaged camera and ran like crazy, screaming “Sorry po, sorry po! Hindi na mauulit!”(I’m sorry, I’m sorry! It won’t happen again!) all the way to the bottom of the hill.
Picturesque isn’t it? Don’t let its beauty fool you.
I never thought there will come a time that my digital camera will get damaged, not to mention by supernatural beings. It saddens me to think that it got scratched on my very first travel to document lighthouses here in the Philippines. I hope not all lighthouses in the Philippines are haunted. I really do hope so.