The thought that I was not alone exploring this infamous haunted house in Baguio made it less daunting. Plus the fact that a Bamboo Carving exhibit was ongoing that day, made the place more inviting.
Excitement grew as we drew near the house. For the past two decades, I have been hankering to enter this house. Since college, I have often wondered how it looks inside, or how it feels inside this dreaded place. Perhaps, it is that sense of curiosity that motivated me to go inside--and I had that rare chance that I should not let slip away.
As soon as we entered the wrought iron gate and registered for the supposedly bamboo exhibit (which I did not mind at all), I wanted to go first but something kept me. It was a crazy thought. No one should fear exploring the house in broad daylight.
I must admit, that at my age, I am not that daring seeing or feeling ghostly apparitions. Thank heavens that I can only sense but cannot see. So the most practical option was to wait for company so I lingered a bit infront of the house. After a few photos of the exterior, we were all ready to go inside.
As I stepped through the beautiful varnished door leading to the receiving area, a whiff of cold air greeted me. Had I not been familiar with Baguio temperature, especially when one is inside any house, I would have mistaken this for something "different". But then, it could have been actually a "greeting". I do not know.
What was more surprising was that fact that once bubbly and noisy group of travel bloggers has turned sober. Uhmmm, perhaps, they also wanted to become quiet to "feel" and prove if the place is really haunted after all. (Smile!) Then I heard one say something like "it feels eerie"--indeed, it felt eerie! But I just blurted out, "Maybe it is just psychological," because of the urban legend that it is haunted. So there--I made a self-assurance that it is NOT.
Honestly, once you get inside, the fear of the house suddenly vanishes. Why not? The interior is beautiful and well maintained--at least the living area, the family room parallel to the living area and the dining room. The wooden panels are varnished and shiny. In its entirety, it gives a hint that the house was inhabited by someone who had a fine taste. If I am not mistaken, this is a remnant of Victorian Architecture.
Typical of the Western-inspired houses, it is compartmentalized into smaller rooms--the receiving area (sala), a family room, a tiled kitchen, a dining room on the left, and an adjoining breakfast nook at the far end. I love the breakfast nook at the far end of the dining area because it is airy and bright.
On the second floor are the rooms. A winding stairs will lead you to a common comfort room on the left and a narrow corridor straight ahead. The entry to the corridor is separated by a squeaking fan-type screen door before one can enter the bedrooms--which makes it appear like a horror movie sound effect! There are four bedrooms, with the master's bedroom occupying the biggest space. It has its own fireplace, a small veranda and an adjoining bathroom. The three other rooms are quite similar.
The highest part of the house is the attic room on the left (facing the house) that is accessible through a narrow winding staircase. It is so narrow that only one person can pass through it at a time. For me, this is the best part of the house as it is well-lit, and has a good view of the street and right side of the lot.
While I enjoyed appreciating the architecture there were some things I did not choose to see or do.
I avoided the dark corners. Yes, even at noontime, there are dark corners. Even with a company, I did not linger inside the rooms. As a result, I realized later that I had very few and badly composed photos of this parts of the house. The kitchen looked clean and bright, but a peep was enough--no photos, either.
I did not even see what is inside the toilet and bath. The breakfast nook looked harmless, but I avoided it. It felt it was "not just right" being there. I had a feeling that it is the special place for the the former dwellers of the house--humans or otherwise.
I did not look through the mirror in the dining area for fear of seeing an unexpected reflection or image. It was a welcome relief too that there are no other mirrors or portraits hung on the walls.
On top of it all, I just looked straight. I did not look through the corner of my eyes because of the irrational feeling that I might see someone lurking at me which I was least expecting to happen. Yes, even if it was on broad daylight, with a company of several people I recognize this as an irrational thought. Honestly, the whole time I was there, I felt like I was on my toes--my movements were limited and always wary about raising my voice. Perhaps, it could be just me, or the fact that we were only visitors, and should behave properly.
But did I feel a presence? I will not tell. It might keep you from having that unique experience when exploring the place, which is now open to the public, at least throughout the duration of the exhibit.
At least, now I can rave about it. I have conquered and explored Baguio's famous haunted house. I just hope that the new owner, business magnate Lucio Tan, will not tear the property down but rather endeavor to preserve this Baguio Heritage.
Finally, I would say, I have demystified Laperal House--it carries that scary feeling, but once you get inside, it will be gone (at least for a while).
See more photos at Baguio City | Laperal House