Text and Photos by Iñigo S. Roces
There were footsteps just a few meters from my workstation, yet at the late hour of 12 midnight, it’s not likely anyone was left in the office but me. The main editorial office of the Manila Bulletin, though brightly lit, seemed empty.
These were likely the poltergeist I had been warned about by paranormal expert, Jade Martin. Just an hour earlier, I had participated in her Intramuros Ghost Ride, upon the invitation of Ford Philippines. Not one easily spooked, and with the starting point just a short walk from the office, I figured what harm could there be? Little did I know of the havoc such a paranormal tour would wreak on my psyche.
The Intramuros Ghost Walk is hosted by paranormal investigator Jade Martin and her colleagues from the Center for Paranormal Studies. The venue is Intramuros, being one of the oldest cities in the Philippines and a tumultuous history spanning Spanish, American and Japanese occupation eras.
While the tour typically involves walking within the walled city, Ford Philippines brought along their Ford Ecosport compact SUVs. The small yet maneuverable vehicles proved a perfect fit for the narrow streets and bumpy cobblestone roads of the old city.
We wouldn’t be in the cars the whole time as some sights simply had to be inspected by foot. The tour brought us to some of the walled city’s most famous locales, this time under the cover of night, to explore both their natural and paranormal history.
The walking tour does not promise any sightings, though hearing tales of bizarre teleportations, tragic unrequited love stories, and families and lovers torn apart by war, one can’t help but feel a chill as the hairs on the back of one’s neck and arms begin to stand on end.
It seemed every dark corner and abandoned building in the locale had a story. Besides the typical ghosts and apparitions, Martin also explains the many kinds of supernatural entities, from poltergeist to kapres and tikbalangs, otherworldly portals, and even elementals.
One such residual haunting she mentioned, much to my chagrin, were the noted poltergeist at the Manila Bulletin office. Characterized by objects moving of their own accord, these are actually the result of stressful and angry situations imprinted by the living into the venue.
The interesting tour spanned an hour and a half with the aid of the Ford Ecosport. Though those that will take the normal walking tour should set aside at least three hours. For more information about the Intramuros Ghost Walk, visit their Facebook page: Intramuros Ghost Walk.
After hearing about the many sightings, it’s clear that it’s Martin’s love for Manila’s oldest city, its rich culture and historic buildings that keeps her coming back for each tour. It may not spook every guest, but it definitely leaves each one with a greater appreciation for the area.
As for me, it’s time to wrap up the article and head home. The sounds of footsteps are getting more frequent by the minute.