In the ’80s, most people doubted the existence of UFOs. They were not yet in mainstream magazines, books or TV. Still, many reliable friends would report sightings of flying saucers in Antipolo, Baguio, and over Banahaw, Quezon. It was speculated that high places still had relatively pure air, and extraterrestrials allegedly have a hard time breathing in polluted areas.
There was even a woman— Chiqui Cuadra—who claimed she was in touch with extraterrestrials, and could make an appointment for you to watch their vessels at a certain time and place. Many believers went to visit her in Lipa, where she then lived.
We asked Chiqui to make a date for us to see the extramundial vessel. The chosen site for three or four of us friends was at 12 o’clock on the sidewalk of Uno restaurant on Sct. Fuentebella, Quezon City, where we were lunching.
On the dot, we were lined up on the sidewalk, staring up at the sky and feeling silly. But indeed, after a few minutes, three UFOs with lights made an appearance for a few minutes, then disappeared. But all of us saw them.
Our common observation was that these vessels do not move like airplanes that follow the straight path. Instead, they move forward, then sideward to disappear into the next dimension. We were so convinced of what we saw. We concluded that the reason people hardly saw flying saucers was that they never bothered to look up at the sky!
That was the year, too, that my son Bey was dying of kidney failure. My husband and I would go to Antipolo where Bey and Lanelle lived and sometimes sleep there. Their house had a kind of tower accessible by a circular staircase, where the sky all around was visible. I liked staying up there.
One night, I was in the tower watching the sky, when an airplane—an honest-to-goodness one—crossed my sight. Next, what looked very much like an airplane flew by slowly, enough for me to pay full attention to it. The “plane” had two normal stationary lights on either wing—but moving in circles around each of these lights was a series of blinking red-white-and-green lights, as on a Christmas tree!
The whole scenario seemed to be instructing me: The first one is an airplane, dummy, this next one is from outer space.
The true airplane drove straight on. The UFO moved forward and later sideward and disappeared from sight as into another dimension. It acted exactly like the flying vehicles we had watched on the sidewalk of Uno.
The next day, I checked with the Philippine Aeronautics, who said they had airplanes with red or green lights on their wings, but no red-green-yellow lights, going on and off, and around in circles, like a Christmas ornament!
Of course, as usual, my family did not believe what I saw.
Through the years, I often wondered, why did outer-space vehicles look different from one another? But, of course! Like vehicles in the world, there were so many kinds—cars, trucks, pedicabs jeeps, trains, and so forth.
Soon, I was ready for the most moving experience of my life. Let me tell you about Pio de Castro. In health, Pio used to come to my house to attend a workshop on dreams being conducted by Tito de Jesus. First, Pio used to go up the walk on his own steam; then, after his first stroke, on crutches; and then, on a wheelchair.
A third stroke laid Pio flat in bed, paralyzed from head to foot. Only his eyes could move. Within a year, he had lost half his weight, his fists balled outward, his legs became sticks.
I wondered why I found time to visit Pio regularly all of his last three years on earth. He was not a close friend, being nearer my much younger sister’s age. Perhaps it was because I believed that suffering is only unbearable when it is meaningless, and I wanted to help him find meaning in his limbo state.
But why? Who was he?? Surely we had some past life together? Mother and son? Teacher and pupil? Colleagues? Best friends? Lovers? (I could not tell until much later).
It was strange having a one-way traffic friendship. I would tell Pio my secrets, I would relate to him every hour of my boring day. (There is no more patient listener than a paralyzed friend.) I would tell him the things I had read of the after-life. I would recount to him fairy tales I could remember.
When I ran out of things to say, I would sing him a song, or dance. And his eyes would shine (Pio was a shiner). Two weeks before he died, I told him: Look closely at my face, Pio, and remember me. I found you in this lifetime. Look for me in the next. He looked intently at me, and then a tear rolled down one eye. I didn’t even know he could cry!
Some months after Pio died, a clairvoyant friend, Nonoy Ozaeta, told me to try to contact Pio, he had a message for me. I immediately began to meditate. A really grand scene unfolded in front of me. It looked somewhat like the Grand Canyon, but deep down in the middle below was a space on which was what looked like a stage. (In life, Pio had been a well-respected theater director.)
The “sets” were even more baffling. There was the Roman Coloseum cheek-to-jowl with the Greek Parthenon. And they didn’t seem to be sets at all, but the real thing! The mountains all around were filled with an audience, and it was a full view wherever you sat. On the seashore were Filipinos dressed in old native costumes, and it seemed they could view the stage from there, too!
A small yellow snake was being pulled on the sand. It was one of the performers—a very shy one—that had to be dragged to join the cast. Then what seemed like huge caravans rumbled by, kicking up a lot of dust. They were in a rush. The show was about to begin.
That was when I spotted Pio in the audience. He was wearing a smart black European coat with the collar standing up to his chin. He was looking regal. I asked him if he was performing, and Pio said, “No, I am the director.” I never saw the play because the vision ended there.
I eventually comprehended why I was being shown that after-life view. Pio wanted to tell me that I was getting along in years, and since I had helped him cross over, he would help me, too. That was the time I was producing the play “Luna, An Aswang Romance,” losing a lot of money on it and feeling very low.
Pio showed me that in the after-life, there was an active theater, too. Only this time there was no rent to pay, no tickets to sell, “and you could request anyone departed, no matter how great, to act or sing” in your production. Pio’s message gave me deep comfort.
Several months later, I had another revelation. I found myself, a little boy, trudging up a snowy forest, following a woodsman with a pile of branches loaded on his back. Then the same scene shifted to a small bedroom in a shack and a bed on which were disheveled bed cloths.
And this was its message: This is the bed where you were born—the son of Pio! (We are believed to be incarnated alternately as female, male, female, etc.) I finally knew what my relationship was to this battered man whom I felt strangely connected to and somehow could not abandon.
A dozen years ago, I couldn’t have written this piece. I would have been too afraid of ridicule by people who claim to be scientific-minded, who would say I merely have a fertile imagination, who do not believe in reincarnation, talking to the dead, ghosts or ETs.
A sixth sense is not given to everyone, just like an ear for music or the ability to draw or write is not for everyone. A third eye can be enlightening or disturbing.
My last encounter with an alternate world was more than three years ago, when I was first diagnosed with Type II diabetes. I had heard so many horror stories about feet being amputated, of excruciating nerve pain, of kidney or heart failure. I was terrified.
One night, I was sitting on my armchair in the sala, as usual. Quite unexpectedly, seven—what shall I call them—fairies? spirits? paraded in the indoor garden quite close to me.
Some were tall, others small, all dressed in gossamer pink or blue flowing garments resembling illustrations in fairytale books. (I thought to myself, it can’t be my imagination. I wouldn’t be so unoriginal as to imagine fairies in pink or blue like that! I’d dress them more inventively!)
Each fairy stopped briefly in front of me and curtsied, as if to pay her respects, then moved on to join the rest. “Did you see them?” I asked my husband, who was having his breakfast about a foot away from me. He didn’t.
Later, I received the fairies’ message. “We always take care of our own.” It took a while for me to assimilate this. I was a part of their fairy tribe? Didn’t that make me a walk-in?
Now, I tell my grandchildren not to be completely attached to material facts, not to always scoff or dismiss everything that seems unreal (like I once did). But also, not to swallow everything that comes their way without question. To be in this world, but to keep eyes, ears and mind open to what the universe may be wanting to share.