Thursday, November 24, 2005


Now, this is not a third sexes wonderful recount of an enjoyable male-scouting experience nor a Scientologist's corroboration on an alien encounter. It is merely a look back on one particular time when I actually, yes actually, wished to see a ghost. Not just any ghost, mind you, but one schoolbook-famous ghost, that of our national hero, Gat Jose Rizal.

I'm not a scaredy-cat, but neither am I the adventurous, devil-may care type to wish myself a fright by wanting to lay eyes on a departed person. Thing is, when we were in grade school and we went to Rizal's home in Calamba, I was so enthralled by the place and it's history that I, for one crazy moment, wished that said famous figure would appear. Then, I could see for myself how he looked in his heyday (I wouldn't want to see him in his other-worldly appearance, of course!) and ask him a bunch of questions. Like how it felt to live in those times, all those people in the barong tagalogs and baro't saya, those grand old houses, fine furniture, the guardia sibil and all the other information our kindly history teacher feed us but which we don't really think much about. But, being there and seeing evidence of how people used to live, actually touching things and furniture used by people who lived long ago, made me realize that there is so much more out there. That history is not just a line, a paragraph, or a page in books but rather an actual event, a past made by real people.

The realization was breathtaking. There, under the hot sun and near the wishing well of Rizal's home in Calamba, I made a fervent wish that I see him even for just one second. Preferably, sitting at his study table and looking deep in thought, like maybe in the beginnings of his great literary work, the Noli Me Tangere.

But, alas, it was not to be. I, of course, was thankful. It's one thing to wish to see a ghost in a crowd full of giggling schoolgirls, but to actually see one is a different thing entirely. I may have fainted then and there and that would have caused a definite stir. Something that might not have gone well with our prim and proper nun teachers.

Thus, I went home from an educational field trip in Calamba, Laguna without a ghostly sighting of Rizal. I didn't come home empty-handed, though. I realized three important things: 1) wishing wells are mere money-getting schemes (imagine all those millions of coins out there) and are definitely not real; and 2) history is actually interesting and can be quite fun, too; and, 3) third eye for seeing famous ghosts can't be commanded at will even if was wished with passionate ferocity and under the crazy influence of a hot midday's sun.

Methinks the educational trip has served its purpose after all.


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