A House With A Story: Do You Believe in Ghosts?

I am a descendant of the Atega family.

Let me repeat that for clarification — I am a descendant of the Atega family. Now, you’ve heard it twice. What’s the big deal?

Well, you see, I am currently residing at the famed Atega household in Cabadbaran City, a barangay in Mindanao. We’ve been coming here for years because this house is our ancestral home, passed down through generations from the start of the my ancestors’ copra (coconut) business.

Before coming to the house, we stopped by our ancestors’ grave site, a small, gated area where all of my ancestors have been buried, including the original owner of the house, my great-great-grandfather.

The house has been featured in books, magazines, and articles because of its history as well as its inner beauty. The house has been well-kept since its establishment in 1904 by my great-great grandfather, Don Andres Atega. His father, Pedro Garcia, moved to the Philippines from Spain to share his faith as a friar.

Chandeliers, dark hardwood floors, original furnishings, and ornate imports embellish the house from ceiling to floor. On top of that, the architecture of the house is extremely unique, an amalgamation of European and Filipino elements.

Around the house, old photos dating back to the early 1900s can be spotted, as well as paintings of the original owners.

There are also original letters and journals of my great-great-great grandfather’s, which are written in Spanish.

Through its time the house has served not only as a home to over seven generations of people, but also as a WWII hospital, a jail, an embalming site, and a bar. Many people died or were killed here, as the house was used not only to house people, but as a headquarters for the Japanese military during WWII. Now, needless to say, there have been plenty of stories of the supernatural surrounding this mysterious house.

One of the stories involves a particular guest waking up in the middle of the night screaming, his bed levitating over six feet off the ground. There are also rumors that a woman in white is seen often around the house and the surrounding town — her name is Roberta and she is one of my grandfather’s many wives. Aside from that, stories of moving furniture, clinking chain noises, and other supernatural elements are not uncommon among my relatives who live here.

While we were looking around the house, one of my uncles offered to let us see one of the haunted rooms. It looked like something out of a movie, with its dusty cobwebs and vintage linens. It looked as if no one had been in the room for decades.

They usually keep these rooms locked and off-limits because they are “haunted;” that is, most of the unexplainable occurrences of the house have happened here.

I’ll be staying here for two nights, and in this time I hope to hear and see more of the character and stories that this house has to offer. Ancestry is a very important thing here in the Philippines, and I’m learning a lot about mine by staying in the very bedroom where my great-grandmother lived.

I won’t go too much into my family history because it’s pretty extensive (though if anyone’s actually interested to hear more I’d be happy to chat with you!). But just take my word for it — this house certainly has a “living” vibe to it from the many stories that lie within its walls.

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22 comments

  1. This was a pretty interesting account and a part of me wishes that my family was still living in our ancestral country for the full effect. 😀 Alas, we’re in the States so I’m only left with stories.

    The topic of ghosts is open-ended for me. Half of me believe in the supernatural and the other half… isn’t against it but is more like it’s waiting for the phenomena to be proven. Do share if anything happens! ^^

    1. Thanks so much for your comment! I’ll definitely be posting if something interesting happens. I’m just eager to see what happens while I’m here and hear even more stories about the place.

      ~Kay

  2. Such an amazing thing it is to have that much of your family history still in tact and accessible. The pictures are amazing; I love the furniture in the first photo – just beautiful and all done by hand I’m sure.

    1. Thanks so much for stopping by and for your kind comment. And yes, it’s absolutely amazing here, much better in person. The furniture is so ornate and intricate — definitely not easy to come by in our modern world! I’m so intrigued and I can’t wait to learn more over the next few days.

      ~Kay

  3. I love homes like this. I need to get to Ireland, where my grandmother says we still have a house standing so that I can see and feel the energy that I know must fill the place. I do believe in ghosts and I get chills whenever I travel/visit places here in the States that have seen more than their fair share. The stories they could tell….I would sit and listen for days. Thanks for getting me thinking and for the inspiration.

    Sara

    1. Sara,

      You’re welcome! I appreciate your comment. I agree, there is certainly an energy here that is present when you walk around the rooms. I think you would find it absolutely fascinating!

      ~Kay

  4. I’m glad to discover your blog. Thanks for visiting mine. Ancestral homes are rare in my world, where relocating and travelling is the norm. I’m trying to imagine how that feels, to walk in the footsteps of family ghosts.

    1. AJ,

      It’s truly a unique feeling, staying in the very place that my great-great grandparents lived. Thanks so much for commenting and following!

      ~Kay

  5. What an interesting story; I got a little shiver just reading it. There is a house in Ireland where my grandfather was born that is considered to be the ‘ancestral home’ in my family. It has been sold out of the family, but it’s a bit of a pilgrimage to go back there.
    You have some great stories and photos on here – thanks for visiting and liking our blog so I got to come see yours!

    1. Wow, that certainly sounds amazing. Have you been there before?

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I really admire and enjoy your blog and I’m so glad I found it. I followed it immediately because I’m so excited to see more! 🙂

      ~Kay

      1. No, I haven’t been. Yet. It’s definitely on our list of must do things while we’re travelling. My parents and brother have all been, so I’m the one who is missing out.
        I’m glad you are enjoying the blog. It’s really fun travelling, and I’m also really enjoying just sitting down and writing some of the stories for people to read! I’ve added your blog to my bookmarks list as well, so am looking forward to more of your stories as well!

  6. Wow, another interesting post. What a great blog!

    1. Erin,

      Thanks so much for all of your kind comments! I really, truly appreciate them 🙂

      ~Kay

  7. Excellent – I love the fact that there is so much family history connected to the house, and it still continues – something rarely experienced these days. Good for you Kay.

    1. Emilio,

      Thanks so much for your comment. I feel really lucky to have a family so invested in our history and genealogy. There are so many wonderful stories and legends that have been preserved through people, not to mention all of the original artifacts from the house. It’s truly a one-of-a-kind experience to see it all in person!

      ~Kay

  8. Wow…. Great post. We wish we could’ve gone and see this house and hear about the history while we were in the Philippines

    1. Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting! If you’re ever in Cabadbaran, definitely stop by. It’s not open to the public normally but if you call ahead, my relatives who live there are usually happy to show people around! It’s truly a fascinating place with a lot of cool history.

      ~Kay

  9. Wow! That was quite a story. Hope you don’t get spooked out

  10. I’m not sure if I’ve seen one but I certainly do believe in ghosts.

  11. Interesting story and thanks for visiting my blog.

    1. Thank you so much for stopping by. I’m definitely following your blog for future updates!!

      ~Kay

  12. I loved reading your story! So fascinating. Well done.

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