During my long bus-rides to and from high school when I was younger, I noticed that some bus drivers would habitually
spit out into the street. Some even would stop the entire bus ride for a quick minute to relieve themselves right on the bus
stop! It was quite a sight. The bus driver would board the bus again, while adjusting the large shiny pistol tucked beside
his shiny belt buckle. I thought these were peculia habits (and entertaining I might add) but now that I'm older, I think
I know the reasons behind them.
After his visit with Manolo, Jun knew of another friend that he thought he could stop on his way
to Kanumantag to deliver his bottles of Listerine. He looked up at the sun and towards the road to realize he could proceed
to Enting's nipa house. Enting was an old friend he had known since he was twenty.
"Enting, Enting, this is your friend Jun. May I stay in your house tonight?" He was let in and led
into the only room in Enting's house. He noticed that like at Manolo's house, there were many people. The radio and T.V. volumes
were turned up quite loudly and the smell of strong vinegar and spirits could be smelled from across the room. Jun quickly
realized that he had stumbled into mortuary wake.
"Our old friend Bayong had passed away this afternoon. We want to make sure his body is cleansed
so the busaw do not come to get him." Enting explained. "The busaw had already claimed the corpse of Merced, Bayong's deceased
wife. Bayong had a heart attack when he found out his deceased wife's body was missing."
In the corner of the living room while some people were washing Bayong's body, Jun pondered how to
help his friend deal with the busaw. As he remembered it, the busaw was a ghoul who was also a corpse thief. An aswang who
looked and behaved like ordinary human beings by day, it listened for sounds of death in the evenings, and dwelled in large
trees near cemeteries. It had pointed teeth, hooked nails and a long tongue. It took banana tree trunks to replace the dead
as it stole the corpses out of their coffins. Then, spiriting the corpse off after first turning it into a pig, the busaw
would feast on it and even try to feed it to their human neighbours during the day in order to turn them into ghouls like
To ward the busaw off, the corpse had to be washed completely with vinegar and strong-smelling herbs.
Sharp or shiny metal weapons had to be dangled between the slots in a nipa house's bamboo floor. The busaw are also warded
off by strong noise and sound, such as those that come from the radio or T.V., or from the playing of card games, or the feeding
of large number of wake guests. The busaw also despised salt in all its forms, in food, sweat, spit or even urine.
"Is there anything I can do to help?" Jun asked his friend Enting. "Make some more noise with our
folk here. Let's drink distilled coconut juice, play Pusoy (poker) and relieve yourself wherever you can. That should ward
them off. Long enough, they may just go to another barrio to feed off some other corpse, but at least we'll be rid of them."
"I have some extra vinegar. Here, sprinkle some of this over Bayong's grave for good measure," Jun insisted.
Jun stayed another night before he proceeded on his journey to deliver the Listerine. Jun, Enting and Enting's folk was finally
able to bury Bayong under and close to Enting's house. They reasoned that they could watch over the grave and that the loud
radio, vinegar and shiny metal weapons would make the busaw leave the Bayong alone.
On Jun's sendoff, Enting's folk thanked him with some white chicken, rice and water to bring with
him on his journey. They had also advised Jun to periodically spit and relieve himself along his path to Kanumantag, lest
the busaw gets hungry enough to try and injure him so he dies a slow death and be eaten.