“Guardia Civil”: The Ghost of the Army & Navy Club

In the early nineties, I was working for the Army and Navy Club in Manila right beside the US Embassy. This is a social club composed of retired military men and civilians. The building that houses the club, as I have heard from stories was occupied by Spanish Officers prior to its its use by Filipinos and Americans in post World War II.

Being its manager, my working hours were long and flexible so I would most often stay late since the club operates till 1 am or start work very early specially on days when parties and events will be held in some outlets of the Club. Being new to the place, I never entertained any idea of ghosts and supernatural beings even if long time employees would warn me of their existence in several places around the area. I just laughed it off and brushed them aside.

The Manager’s Office is located on the mezzanine of the Cashier’s Office. It had a spiral staircase that fit only one person at a time. The front area was occupied by my secretary while a cubicle separated her desk and my office. A nook where I had a divan which I used for my catnaps when I came to work quite early after going home late the night before, is hidden by a wooden divider. After a long day, when all employees had gone home except for the night duty cashier and front desk clerk downstairs, I would spend an hour or two in my office to rest before I head for home. Lying on the divan, I would hear noises and walking sounds from the stairs up to my desk but when I got up to see who came in, I will find my office empty. I would always ask the people downstairs if anybody had gone up but each time everyone would answer in the negative. In time I got used to it that I learned to ignore them.

Until one Sunday morning, I got really scared out of my wits!  I came in to the office much earlier than usual since there was a scheduled baptismal party at 11 am in the Aguinaldo function hall. I immediately proceeded to the kitchen at 5 am to check on the preparations and inspected the table settings at the hall. I became so busy the whole morning, never noticing that it was almost 11 am. I got really tired that as soon as the guests started coming in, I told the head waiter that I will go up to my office to rest and that he can see me there anytime and wake me up if I’m sleeping if and when I will have to be present at the ongoing party.

In my room, I immediately lied down on the divan and fell asleep fast. Not knowing how long I had been asleep, I felt the presence of someone staring at me. I opened my eyes and was horrified to see a very tall mestizo guy dressed in complete Spanish soldier’s uniform which I only see only in pictures and movies. He was staring at me with such fiery eyes and his bulk and build made me freeze in fright! He held my neck and squeezed it so tight that I was already choking and grasping for breath. My body was already weak and I felt that at any moment I was losing air and will die. I was crying in panic and was so helpless. It was exactly a matter of life and death I know and there’s no other thing left but to accept my fate and utter a prayer for the forgiveness of my sins. At that instance, I suddenly woke up and jolted from where I was lying down. I wasted no time and ran as fast I could to the nearest place where there was a group of employees huddled together. I narrated what happened to me. Not a bit surprised, they retorted back quite casually, how that “ghost” had made its presence felt every time there was a new employee in the club.

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