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Ghostly Ancestors: Why They Can’t Leave the House Alone - Part I

Updated on October 26, 2012
Grandfather's House
Grandfather's House | Source

Why Ancestors Can’t Leave the House Alone

My grandfather Vicente’s house was built in 1945. It used to be the lot of my great grandparents Perfecto and Amalia, but the house and land title was under my grandpa’s name.

The house of Lolo Perfecto and Lola Amalia used to be just a square house, nothing fancy, not even Spanish type. But the government had it torn down because it was not safe anymore, dilapidated in other words. That's why Lolo Vicente built a new one.

For many many years, the house has been haunted by long deceased family and relatives, so as stories went that there were events with not just ghosts in the house but apparitions as well.

Do negative vibrations such as relatives arguing, ancestral home items missing, or a mere plan of selling or renting the house become unappealing and provoking to the ghosts of our departed ancestors to haunt the house over and over again? Have their spirits really left? Are they trying to bewitch our presence in the house and stimulate an eerie charm to let us know that they are watching and listening? To let us know that they still care?

In my grandfather’s old house which is still standing on the ancestral lot is a recipient of ghostly ancestors who haunt the house.

My great grandparents - Perfecto and Amalia
My great grandparents - Perfecto and Amalia | Source
Perfecto and Amalia's family
Perfecto and Amalia's family | Source
The family owned "Pieta". This Pieta goes out for the procession on Good Friday. On far right, the bedroom windows with capiz shells.
The family owned "Pieta". This Pieta goes out for the procession on Good Friday. On far right, the bedroom windows with capiz shells. | Source
In one of the bedrooms on the second floor of the old house. In this photo: Me with my li'l cousin Kat.
In one of the bedrooms on the second floor of the old house. In this photo: Me with my li'l cousin Kat. | Source
In this photo: Me, my grandpa Vicente and cousin Mye
In this photo: Me, my grandpa Vicente and cousin Mye | Source

Tracking ghosts is fun!

The House

It is a two-storey Spanish house with steps to the first platform, then to a long staircase to an open hall leading to the bedrooms.

The house is white and painting is old and worn. A refreshing breeze makes its way into the house from the sea just steps from my grandpa’s house. The windows open like doors with hooks and its chocolate brown framing frames the capiz shells on the windows. There are three bedrooms on the upper floor with the largest having closets kissing the ceiling. The next sized bedroom is my grandma's where she had spent her years until she rested breathless on her bed. Lola Juliana had a peaceful death. Her dark antique aparador (closet) is still standing in this room with a couple of her very old, fragile dresses made of piña fabric. Piña (see Youtube video) is derived from the Spanish term for pineapple. The fibers from pineapple leaves were used for clothing for women and men especially during the Spanish colonial era.

The kitchen has one large work table and the counter sink is made of cemented structure stretching from wall to wall. On the ground level is another bedroom right beside the entrance to the living room where my Lolo Vicente slept to his very last day. Inside his bedroom is a tall cabinet with see-through glass where the family’s “Pieta” a life-size statue of the mourning Virgin Mary cradling the dying Jesus on her lap is kept, protecting it from dust year after year. The dining room faces the sala (living room area). On the wall adjacent to the family dining table was a heavy and large old mirror (before it mysteriously fell and broke- above a sectional counter where beautiful china and silver cutlery were kept. At present hangs a similar mirror but smaller. The old china and silverware belonging to my grandma had all disappeared and are believed to have been stolen and sold. There is no refrigerator for electricity was scarce in the old days in the island and there is no need to have one since no one is living in the house this present time, but the house has a cooler box where ice is kept when descendants or friends come visit the hometown and stay in the house.

The bathroom is the smallest area in the huge house with a wall that separates the bathroom from the comfort room. There were no faucets before and shower pipes were later added after several years. In the old times and up to this day, a tall bin or barrel is for storing water and a tabo (originally a wooden dipper to scoop water) are still being used. This way, one can still conserve water. I remember in my younger years during my visits to the island that water was scarce. Fresh drinking water was bought from a water vendor pushing his cart house to house. The water used for bathing is taken from my grandpa’s deep well outside the back of the house which is the same source used to launder clothes, wash dishes and rinsing of feet before entering the house. The water sold house to house was mainly for drinking. The water to drink is then transferred into an over-sized clay jar banga which keeps the water cool.

Lighting in the old house when I was a kid was through the usage of Petromax lanterns where one has to pump a kerosene filled lamp to get it lighted. It does cover almost the whole floor for its brightness until it dies down again. Also smaller kerosene and oil glass lamps with flat wicks were available.

Right next to the comfort room or toilet is a single maid’s quarters. Kalay, a completely blind woman was once a house helper of my grandparents and would depend on her young son on some errands, but she perfectly mastered her way around the house like she can see. Her hearing and her sense of knowing is very sharp. She's still alive and still making banig (woven mats- see Youtube video). Even though blind and in her 80's she has very good memory of the names after she had left the house. She just comes around now as a neighbour during the Holy Week season and every time she comes to the house, she begs for money.

There was a square balcony hanging between the two bedrooms upstairs. This balcony had been turned into a small bedroom with jalousie windows. This is has become my favourite bedroom since my family can privately be in one room without having to share it with relatives.

My grandpa’s house is a meeting place where the descendants reunite, gather and celebrate with their families and relatives across oceans and skies around the world.

Find out about the ghost stories in grandpa's old house at



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    • coffeegginmyrice profile image

      Marites Mabugat-Simbajon 5 years ago from Toronto, Ontario

      shiningirisheyes, thank you so much. Yes, the stories I learned way back about my ancestors, makes me proud of our family history.

    • shiningirisheyes profile image

      Shining Irish Eyes 5 years ago from Upstate, New York

      First of all, what an impressive and long colorful family history. I so enjoyed every line of this interesting hub and you pulled me in with the very first sentence and held my attention to the very end.

      Great hub.

    • coffeegginmyrice profile image

      Marites Mabugat-Simbajon 5 years ago from Toronto, Ontario

      Lol! You're being silly, I know. And we get up here at 2 p.m. Dark, gloomy mornings make longer snuggles underneath the sheets...then fried eggs for brunch!

      I've been reading a book about Ghost Stories in Canada and it frightens me imagining the house like ours. Geez, it really gives me the creeps alone with my dog at home in some nights when the household is quiet. I can't go down the basement and I keep the bedroom doors closed. Just imagine how my mind is playing haunting thoughts from the stories I've read.

    • epigramman profile image

      epigramman 5 years ago

      .....and I was too 'freakin' scared to check out your part 2 last night after midnight so I thought I would come back today during daylight hours .....see you when it gets light out - it's still dark here at lake erie time 7:29am - daylight on a day like this may take awhile.

    • coffeegginmyrice profile image

      Marites Mabugat-Simbajon 5 years ago from Toronto, Ontario

      Wow, I can't stop laughing with your crazy antics, you. Love the full moon playing hide and go seek with the clouds...reminds me of my "full moon" childhood games. We go out (the neighbourhood kids) when the moon is full and still play out in the night. No werewolves lurking by the sugarcanes and no witches landing on coconut trees, so we can play.

      Please epiman, don't get Teddy drunk. :)

    • epigramman profile image

      epigramman 5 years ago

      ...well you are the consummate hub writer, Lady Tess, and I absolutely love ghost stories (except the one where I look into the mirror and the mirror says back to me - "You're kidding, right?") and you certainly have put together a world class presentation here to satisfy any ghost hunter or student of the paranormal and beyond - sending warm wishes from lake erie time 10:58pm with Deep Purple's greatest hits and a full moon outside playing hide and go seek with the clouds and two sleeping pussycats who are oblivious there's 'Smoke on the Water'

      p.s. - will return to part 2 when I stop hiding underneath my bed with my Teddybear and a bottle of Jack Daniels

    • coffeegginmyrice profile image

      Marites Mabugat-Simbajon 5 years ago from Toronto, Ontario

      Hi sis! Remember that white floating hanky? I think it was cousin Jess' story to us or to me but not in our lolo's house; it happened at the one of our cousin's ancestral house, a few houses away.

    • coffeegginmyrice profile image

      Marites Mabugat-Simbajon 5 years ago from Toronto, Ontario

      Hehey, aviannovice...thank you!

    • coffeegginmyrice profile image

      Marites Mabugat-Simbajon 5 years ago from Toronto, Ontario

      Hi always exploring! I think our heritage is interesting enough to be carried on generation after generation. I have kept notes of some documentation and old photos via my aunt. I just wish that the house will get some fresh painting and keep the look of the house the way it is. There are several neighbouring houses that had been fully renovated and it takes away the "old essence" of how those houses appear to be from the olden years. There are big old houses that became empty and just rot, but still standing. They possess creepy stories too.

      Thank you, always exploring. Glad you had a good tour of the house.

    • Miswa profile image

      Miswa 5 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Hahaha love this hub! I'm going to give you more ghost stories the next time we visit the house...including the neighborhood haunted houses as well. Hair-raising time!!!

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Going to the next installment...

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 5 years ago from Southern Illinois

      You have an interesting heritage. It must be wonderful to have a family who still socialize at your Grandfather's house. Thank you for the tour of the old house. Delightful read..

    • coffeegginmyrice profile image

      Marites Mabugat-Simbajon 5 years ago from Toronto, Ontario

      I love ghost stories too. Though they freak me out, I guess I'm challenged to face it. I am proud and happy of my roots. Even a very interesting story on the origin of our "family name"...on how it existed.

      Thank you for coming inside the house, Edgar.

    • coffeegginmyrice profile image

      Marites Mabugat-Simbajon 5 years ago from Toronto, Ontario

      Hi Faith Reaper! Thank you so much. Glad you loved it. Our families and relatives are very close-knit. It is during the Holy Week that relatives and families of my grandparents would be coming home from across the seas to meet in one place-- my grandpa's house. I enjoyed the times sitting with the grown-ups listening to whatever ghost story they could contribute or that happened to them in the house.

      Our coming home is mainly to pay observance to the death celebration of Jesus Christ, and because of this, we all get to meet again. Some years have the house very full. In other years, it is only about 2 or 3 families since not every year those from abroad could spend their vacations in the Philippines. The past years, my cousins in my generation play part of helping out dressing the "karo" Pieta float for the Holy Week procession. The men are incharged of constructing the karo. My pa leads them always. The little kids are trained to help out as well because this is a tradition passed on generation to generation. The aunts dress the Virgin Mary and Jesus with new materials (aunts taking turns to sponsor), also, perfume is applied onto cottonballs to cover and give fragrance to Jesus' wounds where we kiss His wounds and say a silent prayer. A cousin applies make-up on the Blessed Mother to deepen the sadness on her face that would benefit a beautiful reflection during the night's procession against lighting. Afterwards, a big dinner feast is shared in the house with the families and their visitors, and the workers and volunteers of the karo. There would be lots of fish and seafood since meat can only be enjoyed after Friday.

    • Edgar Alan Cole profile image

      Edgar Alan Cole 5 years ago

      I love ghost stories. The research you did on the house and your ancestors was incredible. Now I'm ready to continue this story with part two. Thank you for sharing.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 5 years ago from southern USA

      Tess ~ what a lovely and well-written write here. Yes, there are things in this world that are unexplained for sure. This is a great series for this time of year. Your very descriptive and detailed writing brings one to that house, and I love the rich cultural history of your family, and how they all gather together. That is so lovely in and of itself. Voted Way up.

      God bless. In His Love, Faith Reaper