The Disappearing Rock Formations

by Malory Columbretis

I decided to make a new category to accommodate personal stories or anecdotes which I itch to share with you all. This began because I was about to post this story in the NoSleep subreddit but held back because I was uncertain of this story counting as a scary one. I hope you like it!

My family hails from a small town in the Philippines, situated right beside the Pacific Ocean. Despite being devout Roman Catholics, my folks still firmly hold on to traces of animism such as believing in tree spirits, fairies, dwarves, and other folklore stuff, to the point that we communicate with them. Honestly, supernatural encounters have become an ordinary part of our quiet town lives and I’m not even sure if I should begin with this one. Nevertheless, this is one unforgettable story which still keeps me up at night thirteen years later.

My first encounter with these rocks was when I was six. We were vacationing from Manila at the time and were spending the day at the beach in the middle of a cape. At the farther end of the cape is a steep cliff of yellow-white rock with lush trees and vegetation on top. I see it clearly as I type this– the pallid rock with greenery on top, the blue sky and the sea of the same hue– it was enchanting.

My mother was the first to point it out. “Look! It’s like a lady asleep!”, I remember her say in our native tongue.

The rest of us clamored at where and how it looked like a lady asleep. She pointed out that half the face was buried in sand and all we saw were her closed eyes, brow ridge, forehead, and hair of trees and shrubs. Surely enough, the lower portion of the cliff at the edge of the cape formed a pair of bulges that resembled a pair of eyes peacefully closed, with the vegetation right below playing the role of eyelashes. My aunt took a picture of the said rock formation and we spent the rest of the day uneventfully.

The picture my aunt took was developed (as we did not have digital cameras back then) and displayed in the shelf of her dental clinic back in Manila. It proved to be an interesting conversation piece. Acquaintances from our town who’d visit my aunt’s clinic were told of the rock formation. We returned to that beach a lot more times and we’d acknowledge her petrified slumber before going about our business. She was like an expected companion to our beach excursions until 2004.

I was eight when I was stung by jellyfish in the same beach and that was the last time I saw her. When we returned a few months later, the closed eyes on the cliff were gone. We have known the place for ages and there was no way that we were in the wrong beach. We were in the same spot by the same cape, but the rock formation was not there. In its place was just a boring cliff with no peculiar formations to offer. I reasoned that maybe it was eroded, or that there might have been a landslide but the people living nearby could not recall landslides at that cliff. People just noticed that it was gone one day.

I was able to convince myself that it was nothing supernatural and that the people just didn’t notice the erosion or landslide. I was content enough with this explanation until we returned to Manila to find that its picture at my aunt’s dental clinic has gone missing. Perhaps, it must have been a coincidence, but what an eerie one that is!

My family preserved the story of the sleeping lady as a conversation piece long afterwards. The rock has long been gone along with the picture, but the story was repeated to an acquaintance from our hometown. This acquaintance claimed to know of a rock formation just as interesting. It was situated in an islet not far from the cape and took the form of lovers locked in an embrace. He said it was detailed enough to make out the limbs, hair and torsos of a male figure and a female figure kneeling while hugging each other, their faces buried in each other’s shoulders.

My aunt decided to go see it with that family acquaintance. The said acquaintance has been to the spot several times and had no trouble finding it. However, the petrified lovers were also gone. A handful of people also remembered this formation, but they did not notice it turn into a shapeless boulder over time.

So far, those were the only disappearing rock formations we know about in my family, but they were enough to confound us for years to come. I cannot ascertain if both formations were of the same rock type though. I have not returned to our hometown for years mainly because the busy pace of city life has seized me. And like in the rest of the Philippines, people have left our hometown for greener pastures. However, that town is still home to my earliest memories, and in those memories remain things beyond explanation.