For more than two decades, I had contemplated the supposed wisdom of the advice given to me by my graduate professor in Creative Writing, Dr. Resil Mojares of the University of San Carlos, Cebu City. His suggestion was for me to put certain events into writing. But the contents of what I am to narrate, particularly the villains, have been affording me with second thoughts, hence the long delay.

His encouragement stemmed from our class interactions regarding the need for authentic materials that could reinforce and document our extant regional oralities, either as realistic fiction or folkloric fantasy. Since I happened to have had those materials in memory, I shared them with the group. At hearing these, Dr. Mojares excitedly urged me to pen them, stressing that this first-hand series of experiences that our family went through in dealing with unseen beings and supernatural occurrences are, indeed, authentic.

But inwardly, having become a Bible-believing Christian years after those ‘encounters’, I’ve been questioning its wisdom. I find such a project akin to the act of glorifying those demons and evil spirits that had harassed us on several occasions before. Imagine documenting their bullying and the display of their powers! This could cause readers to continually fear them in worshipful regard, knowing that what they did to our family, they could do the same to others.

I then decided to just keep it to myself instead of spreading it far and wide. My siblings and I find it enough that we recall those experiences via storytelling during our occasional get-togethers, with our children, nephews, and nieces as our audience.

But lately, I realized that keeping it to ourselves is one of selfishness. The stories are worth-sharing and, for sure, readers may find them worthwhile. While I used to think of divulging them as a glorification of evil, I now look at it as a form of exposé that could warn people against the cunning of demons and evil spirits. It could also caution them with the fact that these unseen beings exist, manifesting their presence and powers in many ways.

Once penned, the book would then comprise episodes of our family’s actual experiences with numerous balu, or paranormal activities, way back when we were still young, and living in a certain remote place in Samar. It would tentatively assume the title: Beyond Superstitions, to underscore the fact that, while people’s traditional beliefs in supernatural beings and occurrences are considered superstitions, our experiences, being first-hand and authentic, far exceed those unfounded beliefs.

Those experiences further confirm, as far as we know, that such beings are not just products of imagination. No wonder for even the Bible itself can attest to their existence. They could be fearsome and troublesome, yes, but only if we allow them to be such to us, if we do not draw nigh to the omnipotent one, God himself, for help. Apart from him, we could be their objects of attack, almost singled out at certain times. Like they did to us, hence my renewed desire to write them down.