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House haunts with tales of horror

/ 12:30 AM October 31, 2015
The Casa de Rodriguez in Barangay Cadlan, Pili, Camarines Sur province, is believed to be haunted with spirits dwelling inside it. JUAN ESCANDOR JR./INQUIRER SOUTHERN LUZON

The Casa de Rodriguez in Barangay Cadlan, Pili, Camarines Sur province, is believed to be haunted with spirits dwelling inside it. JUAN ESCANDOR JR./INQUIRER SOUTHERN LUZON

PILI, Camarines Sur—Tucked in the thickets about 30 meters from a padlocked gate by the side of the national road, a 64-year-old house stands quietly, said to be hiding stories that horror movies are made of.

People who had lived in the house narrate creepy anecdotes of their time in the now unoccupied structure, built in 1951 by Don Susano Rodriguez, whose family owned vast parcels of land in this town.

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The three-story house stands out because of its art deco design featuring a concrete statue of an eagle, its wings spread, perched on top of what appears to be a watchtower.

Concealed by the wild growth of thicket in its sprawling yard, the old house, except for its watchtower, cannot be seen by passersby although it’s just a stone’s throw from the road.

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Carlos Arejola, convenor of the Pili heritage group that operates under the local government unit here, said the house, known as Casa de Rodriguez, in Barangay Cadlan of this town, is believed to be haunted by spirits dwelling inside it.

The last time the house was occupied was in 2008, by Nitz Velarde-Malali, a widow and heir to the house owners. She lived in the house with helpers but left barely a year after moving in because of strange occurrences inside the house, according to Arejola.

“When they cannot take it anymore, because that ‘thing’ was becoming aggressive making its presence felt with heavy breathing sound, they transferred to their new residence,” he said.

Malali has since moved to a house in the town center, he said.

Arejola said Malali confided to him that she was forced to move out of the house when she heard and felt the presence of an entity beside her in bed.

Pao Refalda, 23, who lives just 10 meters from the Casa, said the house is a labyrinthine of rooms. It has a fishpond and a nipa hut stood on its yard.

Nothing unusual. Except for the wailing of a woman at night, almost every night, coming from the uninhabited house, according to Refalda, who watches over the Casa.

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Refalda said the wailing lasts for at least 30 minutes, which makes dogs respond with long simultaneous howls.

He said the last time the wailing was heard was in August. It stopped in September and has not been heard until this month.

Arejola and the Pili heritage group listed Casa as one of the town’s heritage structures.

He said initial information about the original house owner, Rodriguez, paints a sad picture. Rodriguez was supposed to have died penniless with a bank foreclosing the land where the Casa stands.

Stories shared among townsfolk provide some details about Rodriguez’s life, including one that supposedly says he had no children and married a young woman in his sunset years.

Arejola said Rodriquez was a philanthropist who donated huge tracts of land to the government. Among these are lots where now stand the Don Susano Rodriguez Mental Hospital, the elementary and high schools of Cadlan and the Boy Scout campsite.

Rodriguez lived in the Casa until his death in the 1970s. It was bought by Jose Velarde, a longtime mayor of Pili and governor of Camarines Sur, who also died in the third floor room near where the eagle statue is perched.

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TAGS: anecdotes, Camarines Sur, Don Susano Rodriguez, gate, haunt, horror, House, Movies, National Road, padlock, stories, structure, tales
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