I woke up at around 3:00 am because I had to go pee. I got up immediately, ran to the restroom, and after that, I’d be able to go back to sleep. But, I was wrong. Whenever I try to close my eyes, I could no longer feel sleepy. I thought it would be easier for me to go back to sleep if I turned off the lights in my room, but I’m so used to sleeping with the lights on. So, that’s what I did. I got up and turned off the lights. Then, I went back to bed and I closed my eyes. Still, I no longer feel drowsy.
Then, I thought that I’d just hang out on Facebook for a bit, maybe for sure, I’d feel sleepy again. I reached out at one of my two cell phones sitting on the side table next to me, and I started logging on my Facebook. While I was reading the posts that my friends posted on their walls, I received a PM (private message). I checked the name on my (Facebook) Messenger. I thought, do I know this person? The name indicated was “Lucia Joaquin.”
LUCIA JOAQUIN: Hi.
ENZO CRUZ: Hello.
LUCIA JOAQUIN: Is it okay for us to talk?
ENZO CRUZ: Huh? About what?
LUCIA JOAQUIN: About anything. I don’t have anyone to talk to. I’m feeling lonely.
ENZO CRUZ: Is that so? It’s very rare that I get to find someone online at this hour. Most of my friends are still asleep.
LUCIA JOAQUIN: Why are you awake?
ENZO CRUZ: Actually, I just woke up. I’m trying to get back to sleep, so I just ended up on Facebook.
LUCIA JOAQUIN: Maybe the reason why you woke up because someone else woke you up?
ENZO CRUZ: Huh? What do you mean?
LUCIA JOAQUIN: Oh, nothing. By the way, you’re really handsome. When I saw you, I immediately ended up liking you.
ENZO CRUZ: Huh? Saw me where?
LUCIA JOAQUIN: Here on your photos. I’m looking at them right now.
When I read that Lucia was looking at my photos on Facebook, I went directly to my timeline to see which photos she was looking at. And then, I went to her profile to look at her photos, however, something else got me curious.
ENZO CRUZ: How come your timeline is empty?
LUCIA JOAQUIN: I just recently created my Facebook.
ENZO CRUZ: And your profile pic. It’s really dark.
LUCIA JOAQUIN: It’s really dark in this room.
ENZO CRUZ: Don’t you have flash on your phone’s camera?
LUCIA JOAQUIN: There is.
ENZO CRUZ: Use it, so your photo would be brighter.
LUCIA JOAQUIN: Alright. By the way, I added you under Close Friends 2 here on Facebook, okay?
ENZO CRUZ: Sure. Alright.
LUCIA JOAQUIN: And because we’re Close Friends, we should have a photo together.
ENZO CRUZ: Alright, sure. When we see each other, we’ll have a photo together.
As we continued on chatting on the messenger when from out of the blue, my other phone began to vibrate. I reached for it to see what it was. I got a shock when the phone just flashed right after I unlocked my phone. I began to wonder why it vibrated when no one called or sent me a text. I returned the phone back on the side table.
LUCIA JOAQUIN: Is it okay to know your age?
ENZO CRUZ: Based on how you see me, how old?
LUCIA JOAQUIN:Maybe around 18? Haha!
ENZO CRUZ: You’re teasing me!
LUCIA JOAQUIN: I’m not, that’s how I see you as in your pic!
ENZO CRUZ: Alright, fine, thank you. To be honest, I’m already 25.
LUCIA JOAQUIN: Wow! You really look young!
ENZO CRUZ: Thanks again. How about you, how old are you?
LUCIA JOAQUIN: What’s your guess?
ENZO CRUZ: You’re really hard to guess. Your face is way too dark on your profile pic.
LUCIA JOAQUIN: Is that so? Oh alright, one sec.
ENZO CRUZ: Alright.
LUCIA JOAQUIN: Alright, there you go. I uploaded a new pic. Go ahead and check it out.
ENZO CRUZ: Alright, I’ll go and take a look.
When I went to check out Lucia’s timeline, then I felt my hair rising once I saw the new photo she recently uploaded.
In the photo was her, smiling, while lying down right next to me.
SOURCE: Philippine News
As much as I hate to admit this, speaking as a person of Filipino origin, but I will anyway.
The Philippines has a social problem— a major social problem. I’m not speaking about colonial mentality or crab mentality because everybody knows about that. I am speaking about the Philippines, most especially the younger generation,3 who gets into so many of these pop culture trends, in particular American/Western pop cultures and Korean pop cultures, that the Filipino identity is slowly being disintegrated. It’s a really darn shame because I still feel that we have a very unique and eclectic culture that makes us who we are as Filipinos. It’s so bad sometimes that my fellow Filipinos born and raised here in the States act more Filipino than those who live in the old country. Like dude, what’s so bad about our cultural identity that you can’t even embrace your own?
Anyway, I had to mention that because, to the rest of the world, the Philippines is the “capital country” of everything that deals with social media. For instance, during the early years of cell phones, the Filipinos immersed themselves to just communicating to one another through text messages/SMS. During one of my parents’ past visits to the Philippines around that time,4 my mom felt a little annoyed seeing her grand-nephew and grand-niece5 just texting to each other even though they were sitting next to each other on the couch. It’s so ridiculous, the media here in the States and even at other countries even dubbed the Philippines as The Capital Country of Texting.
Second, when social media moguls like Facebook and Twitter came by, guess what, the Philippines is at it again. The people over there relied so much on social media more than watching the local TV news or even read the newspapers there or even go to the official news sites just for news itself. All of a sudden, TV news, printed news, and news websites6 are suddenly uncool to them because now they can reach out and be all buddy-buddy with some celebrities out there who do use social media. Even local TV shows and contests even use social media and texting to gather votes, regardless if those social media accounts are alternate accounts or fake accounts. It’s so horrible and annoying, they also earned the name: The Capital Country of Social Media.
Lastly, and I’m looking at a number of Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram users out there, the Philippines also leads the most selfie-photogenic people than the rest of the world. I knew a couple of people who would have some unrelated dramatic quote whenever they post a number of (similar and obviously posing like models) selfies. I don’t mind once in awhile selfies, but then selfies per post in every 2-3 minutes like your life depended on it. Now, there’s nothing wrong with being photogenic, but I have seen people who even take selfies of themselves crying (who knows if that was also acting or if they’re really crying) or that they would take selfies of themselves with some injury on their face, etc. etc. etc. And, you guessed it, the world also dubbed the country as The Capital Country of Selfies.
And I’ll even keep on going, and this time, based on my experience. Filipinos, in general, are shy by nature. However, they are not shy when it comes to social media (most of them, not all). I’ve actually being added by random Filipinos for the reasons that I’m friends with someone who’s friends with another person who may friends with that person,7 rather than because we have a common interest or that. Most of them don’t even want to be your friend. They just add you so they can increase their number of “friends” in their Facebook profile. I’ve got a long list of friends on my own Facebook profile, in which half of them I no longer speak anymore,8 but that was because we all had common interests at one point, and there’s nothing wrong with meeting new people and becoming friends who share common interests. But for those who would just add me randomly to their friends list and be expecting me to add them back? Like duuuude… hell no. I ain’t a number, yo. Go create some fake Facebook accounts then you add them to your friends list. Then your numbers can increase.
Ehem, anyway. I’m going off-topic. 😓
I don’t normally post any type of memes on this blog, let alone ones coming from the Philippines, but this particular “horror” short story is a must for the reasons I just mentioned above. Thanks to social media, I feel like a lot of people are getting a lot dumber and naive than ever, thinking that anything in social media is okay because everybody would be “anonymous,” so to speak. What makes me wonder is how this particular social media creepy story would go viral compared to real-life incidents in which someone commits suicide because his/her haters use social media to ruin him/her in public, or that someone becomes humiliated in public around the world because she’s done something stupid and decided to post it on her social media accounts, or a whole lot worse, like getting kidnapped or killed because that person is being way too trusting.
So, in short, you don’t need any spooky entity like Lucia Joaquin to even scare you to death. She didn’t even need to be a ghost or some poltergeist to scare someone off. She could be some deranged obsessive killer looking for her next victim or someone who may be living next door to you who can potentially ruin your life in many other ways that don’t even involve any physical contact or some scare factor.
So, people, be discreet with what you do with your social media accounts. Don’t be so trusting of strangers. I mean, when we were younger, weren’t we taught before to never talk to strangers? It still applies even when you’re an adult. Use your own inner instincts (unless you don’t have any…) and make your own judgment with strangers who would just from out of the blue send you a private (or direct) message without even sending you a message on your wall or on your Twitter timeline.
Really, Enzo? There’s plenty of ways that you can put yourself to sleep. How about reading a book or read some articles on other blogs and news sites. Facebook is not the best way for you to get yourself to sleep. Count some imaginary chickens because we all know sheep doesn’t exist in the Philippines. And of course, you should get very suspicious with someone who would just PM/DM you from out of the blue, coming from a profile that has an empty timeline. It’s happened to my Facebook (family account, not my usual one) and my mom’s Facebook before, and while my mom was unsure of what to do, I simply told her to never speak or respond to any of these private messages coming from people you don’t know.
Yes, folks, the lesson of never talk or trust any strangers still exist. Therefore, we should all keep this in mind at all times with the places we’re unfamiliar with, and of all places, in the internet and social media. You all should be worried about your accounts getting hacked, or even your safety from shady strangers in which you are even too gullible to even notice how shady those people can be. Yes, I’m talking to you, the even-younger “millennial”9 generation of the Philippines… and some adults too who should know better.
Who knows, this new “friend” you may have made over a social media private message may be Lucia Joaquin in disguise.
Pixabay – for both the smartphone and “ghost girl” royalty-free stock photos.
Me – for the editing, hence the watermark.
- “Kuya” and “Ate” are not translated, as they are literally translated as “big/older brother” (like the Japanese oniichan/aniki or the Korean oppa/hyung) and “big/older sister.” (like the Japanese oneechan/anego or the Korean unni/noona) The two characters indicated below are two complete strangers unrelated to each other, so it’s a little awkward to translate those two polite terms referring to two complete strangers. We do use those terms as a term of respect for strangers who are somewhat closer to our ages, so it’s better I leave them out from the translation. [↩]
- On Facebook under “Friends” dropdown, you can make someone your “Close Friends”. I actually missed this drop-down choice myself. [↩]
- and probably those who just wants to go all trendy with the latest trends, even though it doesn’t really suit them… [↩]
- early-mid 2000s [↩]
- they were barely teens back then [↩]
- except for celebrity news sites… grr… 😔 [↩]
- not exaggerating… [↩]
- mainly because they simply disappeared from Facebook altogether, or that I blocked them because they kept sharing and posting stuff that can be potential viruses… don’t even get me started with this… [↩]
- I’m not saying all millennials here… [↩]