Friday, August 23, 2013

National Geographic Channel Presents “I Wouldn’t Go In There”

Trails Unlimited has been mostly featuring my past and present outdoor fitness experiences as well as the fitness goals I want to pursue in the future. But, apart from those, my blog also features other stuff like food, tech and a little bit of anything under the sun once in a while. Recently, I attended a unique blogging event that transcended my usual beat. I was invited not only to view, but also to get a chance to experience, the world of the Paranormal.

Representatives of the National Geographic Channel and 15 members of the media traveled all the way to Clark Airbase, Pampanga to view a special screening of the channel’s newest investigative series dubbed “I wouldn’t go in there”. This NGC original TV series is a collection of documented stories of the most haunted places in Asia. Hosted by renowned travel blogger and explorer, Robert Joe, he and a team of Paranormal experts will walk audiences through the most eerie places where most people would not dare to go.

The special screening featured one of the places that an international association of paranormal experts has officially declared as one of the most haunted in our country. The site  is no other than the old abandoned Clark Airbase Hospital inside the former US military base. The group was scheduled to view the screening in the afternoon but due to unexplained technical and logistic setbacks, the viewing was delayed and we ended up staying there until nightfall. 

Despite the interruptions, our group proceeded to the event where we were ushered by the members of the Esoteric Society of the Philippines. They briefed us about certain restrictions and initiated a meditative protection ritual to cover us from the entities that might harm us during our visit.  The viewing area was set inside what used to be the hospital’s lobby. The paranormal experts have made some preparations earlier that day such as setting-up sacred candles in the four corners of the viewing area to ward off the possible presence of any negative entities. 

As we watched the segment, night time has fallen so the technical team tried to switch on the perimeter lights but failed. Our only light sources were the candles and the light emitted by the TV screens. The episode is a rehash of Philippine history. It was very informative and enlightening to learn that the province of Pampanga was the birth place of the first Japanese Kamikaze pilots. These pilots were the “hard-core” ones who sacrificed themselves to fly fighter airplanes carrying bombs and who drove the planes straight to the US naval ships during the Second World War. This Japanese tactic was a desperate measure to keep the allied forces from entering Philippine soil. 

From the documentary, I also learned that the hospital was built by the US government with a budget of 4.5 million dollars during the 60’s. It was said to be one of the most sophisticated hospitals at that time with the latest medical equipment. After the US troops left in 1991, the facilities inside Clark Airbase were auctioned-out to private enterprises. Barracks were turned into 7-11 stores, some buildings became International schools and some became hotels. In spite of its sophisticated structure, one establishment was left out. No one wanted to buy and develop the Clark Airbase Hospital.

The segment also revealed that the hospital was where most of the casualties of the Vietnam War were sent. We heard the testimony of a retired security guard who witnessed and shared a detailed account on how hundreds of body bags, with some containing only body parts, were processed and brought into the hospital every night. He shared that the morgue could not accommodate so much dead bodies so the management made part of the basement as an extension of the morgue and the carcasses of dead soldiers were just dumped there until they were processed and sent to the US to be claimed by their families. From there I began to realize why the hospital was haunted and most likely why it was left to be abandoned.  

I tried my best to keep my attention on the show but, at times, I can’t help but take quick peeks in the dark hall ways and rooms around the hospital while stealing some quick shots using my camera hoping to capture something unusual through my lens. As soon as the film ended and the host and the president of NGC Philippines, Mr. Jude Torcuato has thanked everyone, the lights surprisingly finally turned on.

At dinner, all of us shared our experiences. Some felt something eerie, some say they saw something in the shadows and some heard something unusual. Me? I didn’t feel or see anything at all. And so did the security guard we interviewed who has been guarding the hospital for the past thirteen years.    

So, what’s my take on these paranormal issues? I believe in them but, honestly, I just try not to be bothered by them or make a big fuss out of it. If it’s something that is the work of the enemy, one should be cautious at all times because their frequent attacks are not limited within the dark shadows. They happen too in our daily normal lives when we encounter temptations to do the wrong things every minute of the day, most especially at times when a person is left idle and no one is watching. For me, those are also situations where we shouldn’t dare go.

National Geographic Channel’s “I wouldn’t go there” premiers August 23, 2013, Friday 6:00pm.  

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