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The DLSL Diokno Building’s Unseen Visitor

Even in broad daylight, if I know there is no one working at the place, if I had a choice at all I will not willingly go to the second floor of the Diokno – a.k.a. the MTDC Building in the old days. I cannot and will not even attempt to explain it. The place just simply gives me the creeps.

I had written before that I am not the sort who sees “things”; and God forbid that I ever do because I have no desire whatsoever to see them. That said, when the hairs at the back of my neck start to stand on end and a warm glow starts to envelop the back of my head, then that is the surest sign that there is a presence in the immediate vicinity.

There was this one time when the place was new – I think the building was inaugurated late in 1996 – when Brother Rafael Donato sent me on an errand to the second floor. I think this was in the early evening right after graduation late in March or early April and I do not recall exactly what he sent me there for. All I remember was that I was feeling good rushing up the stairs even if it was dimly lit.

The moment I crossed the door from the landing of the stairs into the space before the second floor’s glass doors, my feet just simply stopped dead on their track. It was as though they wanted to proceed no further. The place was dimly lit and completely deserted; and my skin was just immediately wrapped with goose bumps all over.

I did the sensible thing and went back the way I came from; and made up some lame excuse to appease Brother Rafael. The last thing I wanted was to come face to face with somebody whose feet were not touching the floor.

Over the years, one just sort of heard stories about strange little occurrences at the second floor. For instance, at the HRD Office – which used to be situated at the far corner to the left of the northern end of the floor – members of the staff were still working one early evening when the CD-ROM drive of one of the workstation PCs started behaving strangely.

It would open just before the lady at the desk poked the Eject button; and when the lady tried to push it back in, the drive would slip back even before her fingers even touched the drive. This went on several times until the ladies still at the office – already spooked by the phenomenon – called in the guard to see what he could do.

Of course this was already evening and all the I.T. people had gone home for the day. The guard was probably called in just to offer some male reassurance to an all-female staff. Except, if anything, the moment the guard arrived the CD-ROM drive went crazy and slid in and out of its expansion slot. As though taunting the guard and everyone else in the office...

Fine! There was probably some mechanical explanation that remains undiscovered to this very day. There was, however, this other incident.

Before the second floor was renovated, there used to be this secretarial pool in the middle which was walled in by chest-high dividers and could be accessed by way of swinging doors – one to the west side of the floor and another opposite it about twenty yards away. One evening, the floor was suddenly invaded by the smell of soggy socks as though somebody was walking around the place without his shoes on. Suddenly, the western swinging door swung open and continued to swing this way and that as though somebody just passed through it.

A few seconds later, exactly the same happened to the eastern swinging door; as though whatever it was did not want to walk all the way around and instead took the shortcut by using the swinging doors. If you are thinking this is baloney, you may consider talking to the guy who saw it happen; his office is just a few yards from mine.

More recently, there was this story told by one of the school administrators who occupied the small cubicle next to where the HRD used to hold office. The cubicle has a window through which the old HRD office could be seen.

One Saturday morning, this administrator was working by himself – the second floor was deserted – when from the corner of his eye he thought he saw somebody standing by the window looking down at him. When he turned his head, there was nobody there. The following Monday he filed a request for curtains to cover the creepy window.

Then, of course, one hears stories of the security personnel every now and again scampering up to the upper floors of the same building to investigate the seeming sights of some shadowy figures visible from the ground through the glass walls at the front of the Diokno. Naturally, thorough inspections of the floor would yield absolutely nothing.

In the old days, we all just simply assumed it was probably the earth-bound spirit of the construction worker who was stabbed to death by a fellow worker while the building was still being constructed back in the mid-nineties. However, there was this Graduate School student with a supposed third eye who proposed otherwise.

It was not an earthbound spirit, she told those who wanted to know. Rather, it was an elemental that rose from somewhere near the Zara Building – a.k.a. the I.T. Domain – and crossed to the Diokno through an unseen portal on the wall where the HRD Office used to be.

Of course, this very same student also foretold that one of my officemates at the old External Services would have a baby girl as his firstborn. This was in 2003. The firstborn was very much a boy; and the second one born several years later was also very much a boy. With a batting rate of 0 for 2, you are allowed your own conclusions.

She also did foretell that another male officemate would soon have his third child and that it would be a boy. That officemate’s wife recently became pregnant; so technically she was not wrong. I am not sure, though, that you can call eight years later “soon.” We will also all have to wait another seven months to find out if the third child is a boy.

In my old External Services office near the front gate, I could work alone at any time of the day – or night; it did not bother me at all. In all of the five years that I worked at the second floor of the Diokno, I only managed to stay at my office during a non-working day for a mere two hours. Throughout those mere two hours, I was restless and jumped at the slightest sound.

That said, I know the Brother Lolo and his successor, Br. Mawel, used to work there by themselves deep into the nights. Maybe the unseen visitor just sort of knew who not to play around with; or maybe the two Brothers were just not telling…

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