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The Ghost of Ayala Underpass in Makati

Don't worry. This ghost is not scary at all. In fact, when I saw it in the photo that I took, I thought of what Philippines like in the past.

10 April 2009. Good Friday. Around 3:00 PM.

I just came from a Thanksgiving Mass celebrated by a friend at St John Bosco Parish Church in Makati. My friend, who was just ordained a priest at the Church of Gesu in Ateneo de Manila University six days ago, had chosen to celebrate his first Mass at Don Bosco in Makati. After the event, I decided to walk home instead of taking a ride.

Like A Ghost Town

The Ayala business district in Makati is a very busy city. However, during Lent, the business district is like a ghost town. And this is what I like so I could take snapshots of Makati when it is almost empty — quiet and peaceful, almost no people in the streets, no honking cars and public buses and jeepneys that block your way.

That day, Good Friday, was one of those beautiful days.

The Ayala Underpass

This is the Ayala underground walkway near Makati and Ayala Avenues intersection. It crosses the Ayala Avenue. Inside, it is a good subject to show perspectives.

As I ambled the underground walkway that day, I was the only one there and I thought it was a good opportunity to take a photo of it empty; ie while there were no pedestrians. I turned my camera on, pressed it on my tummy, then clicked. Viewed the photo afterwards, I thought it was just okay. Then, I continued strolling the streets of Makati while it was peaceful and quiet.

That time, I was just learning how to take pictures with a digital camera. Simply reading tips from professional photographers on the Web, one tip was to have a keen eye on perspective. I thought that the underpass was a good subject for a perspective shot.

The Empty Passage and the Black Woman

Back home, I immediately uploaded to my laptop all the photos I took on that day. Viewing the photos one by one, I was disappointed to see the Ayala underpass snapshot blurry. I remembered that I didn't pause when I took the picture. I took it while walking; or maybe, I forgot to change my settings.

While looking at the photo, something I noticed that shouldn't be there – a figure of a person. So, I zoomed in the photo to examine it further. The figure was that of woman as if peeking from a corner of a wall.

She was a black woman wearing a head wrap, perhaps African or Jamaican, wearing custom clothes common in Africa. If you're familiar with the Mexican soap Marimar, there was a character there named Corazon. How she was costumed in that soap is similar to the woman in the photo that I took. (Google Marimar Corazon to get an idea.)

If you are going to examine the photo, the underpass was empty. It really was when I took this photo. I wanted it empty because it's the reason why I took a snapshot. I didn't want people in the photo. I was more interested in the structure of the underground passage.

Zoom It In To See The Ghost

The photo is blurry so I uploaded the photo in its original state and size so that when you zoom in the section where the ghost is, you can figure out what it looks like. Don't worry. This is one ghost that is not scary at all.

Zoom in the photo and pan to the left. There you will see which I believe is a ghost.

The streaks of light are just reflections caused by the camera settings.

The Strange Thing About The Woman

Imagine yourself peeking behind a corner of a wall avoiding to be seen. You will be slightly bending forward, partly hidden behind the wall while your face is a little bit exposed so that your eyes could peek through the open space. The strange thing about the ghost was that, she was peeking through a solid wall instead of behind the wall. If she was peeking behind the wall, I would have taken a shot of her back. But it is not the case in this photo. She was peeking through a solid wall while her body was in the open.

A Strange Thing Happened While Blogging This

Here's another strange thing. I mentioned that what I saw in the photo was a black woman somewhat in her 50s.

When I examined this photo back in 2009, what I saw was a black woman, perhaps African because of the type of dress she was wearing. I still remember the colour of her head wrap; it was blue with white print, perhaps floral. Her blouse was tucked in under her skirt, which almost touched her ankles. The black woman was overweight, perhaps in her 50s.  In fact, back then, I was thinking that the Spaniards brought with them African slaves; and it is for that reason, why a ghost like of an African woman could be picture taken such as in my photo.

But here's what gave me goosebumps when I was blogging this.

For the purpose of this blog, I cropped the section of my photo where the ghost can be seen so I could present it well to you. To my surprise, the black woman was not there. Instead, it is a woman that you see in the photo now, perhaps Filipino, dressed in the 40s or perhaps 50s.

Believe it or not!


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