As the Christmas season is already in full swing, so are the people out there who would do anything to make extra money even if it meant harming others. I don’t usually post articles like this, but I am just too bothered not to share what happened to my best friend’s sister about a week ago. I, too, have a sister and friends who are still in school and may be potential victims of this gang. It is bad enough for your phone to be taken without your knowledge, but it is way worse to be hypnotized, taken to another city with all your belongings gone upon coming back to your senses. The worst part, you have no memory of how it happened. That’s what happened to my friend’s sister. Please read the account below and I hope it would help you stay cautious and safe this holiday season.
Allow me to share with you what happened to my younger sister yesterday, around 3 pm in Market Market vicinity.
She told me and my husband that she will be meeting up with her boyfriend in Market Market and so we dropped her off in Serendra so she just needs to cross to Market Market. This was around 3pm. A little past 5, I received a call from my mother telling me something happened to my sister, that she was mugged but she’s not aware of the details yet. She just got a call from an unknown number telling her that my sister is in Paranaque, in shock. I called up the number my Mom gave me and was able to talk to my sister – she was scared, crying and desperate.
My husband and I (along with my kids and in-laws) drove to Paranaque to locate her. By this time, my sister was already able to text me her exact location with the help of the staff from the spa. She mentioned the name of the spa and the address, but does not recall how she got there. We arrived to see her crying and shaking. Her story:
She was walking along the vicinity of Market Market, en route to her boyfriend’s house. This gay appeared out of nowhere and talked to her, telling her how he can make her into a model, that there is an event in World Trade Center on Saturday, about how she can earn Php14K in one go and then Php7K every week. After this – my sister doesn’t recall anymore what happened. She thinks that she was maybe hypnotized as she only remembers bits and pieces – that this gay person even stopped for a quick merienda, that she was in a cab with him (she doesn’t recall getting into one though). When she got to her wits, she was already in a spa – taking a shower. She got dressed – rushed out only to find out she already lost her entire bag. In it is an Iphone5 I got for her less than two weeks ago, my personal laptop, a watch, and some other personal items. She ran (almost got hit by a Revo) and tried to go after him – but the guard at the village said he very casually rode a cab.STORY FROM THE SPA OWNERS AND STAFF:
The gay and my sister arrived at the spa around 4:14pm. Their first impression was how are these two related? Why does the girl look “tulala” and lost. Upon arriving, this gay immediately made a scene saying he cannot find his phone in his bag. He shouted at my sister asking her if she missed getting his phone in the cab (giving the people in the spa the impression that they are really together – in fact, with the way he was shouting at my sister, they began to assume my sister is his PA). He asked my sister to ring his number so he can locate it. After this, he told the spa staff that he will have my sister body-scrubbed. He even went inside the room to “check” the facility, the shower room, etc. After this, he already instructed the spa to proceed with the service. My sister, under a spell she doesn’t know then, gladly obliged. Once in the shower, and maybe because that spell was broken when the water hit her face, she came back to her senses, got dressed and rushed back to the spa lobby.
I was able to see the guy as the spa has a CCTV camera in place so his face is very much recognizable. He is tall, dark-skinned and a bit on the heavy side. He was wearing a Tigers shirt and a pair of shorts. I asked for a copy of the footage but the Spa Owners said we should weigh our options first on whether to report this or not as they fear the guy will come back for my sister and even them. They also feel it’s bad for business. They said we are lucky he did not opt to kill my sister and dump her in some remote province.
I agree with them on this – but the part where they are asking not report this is unacceptable to me. We are still discussing within the family and weighing our options. My fear is that this incident happens again to another unsuspecting victim. The guy, by the way, left his bag in the spa, but I checked its contents and I think it’s a bag that was also stolen from another student for it contains exam sheets, quizzes, etc.
Today, my sister is still in shock, she’s at home but crying every now and then. She feels bad that she lost the phone she got for her 18thbirthday, some other stuff I gave her and my laptop. I feel bad worse as technically, I was the one robbed. The laptop contains all of the photos of my son from Day 1 and travel pictures of me and my husband. These things I can no longer duplicate nor replace. I do not know yet the next steps to take, perhaps report it when she’s ready. Or maybe this is the first step – to warn others of this modus operandi.
Let’s all be cautious for these scammers target the most unsuspecting people. Let’s protect our children, our family, our friends and ourselves. I never believed in this hypnotizing thing til this happened. God bless everyone and please pray this guy doesn’t get past this.
Please share this story to create awareness and if ever anyone see the guy in CCTV, please be alert that he may have other company within the vicinity, waiting for potential victims. Again, stay safe everyone.
So, I’ve been sharing this story with my friends and it turned out that this has been going on for quite a while except for the transportation part. One of my friends shared what happened to her older sister who was on her way to deposit the money her husband sent from abroad for their home renovation (about P75,000). While walking, a “friendly” elderly couple approached her and chatted with her as if they were long-time friends. The couple kept talking until she willingly gave all the cash to them. This happened in the morning and she only realized what happened at 4 in the afternoon. Could it be hypnosis?
One elderly friend also shared that there are cases like this in Greenbelt. They would usually approach elderly people and then ask them if they know where to find this or that. Another friend said that young kids who are left unsupervised in arcades are usually victimized by a couple who pretend to be their long-lost relative. They would tap the kid on the forehead and the child would follow them without struggling so they would all look like normal family walking around the mall.
I still find it hard to believe that hypnotism is used for these crimes. It takes training and probably supernatural power to execute such a thing and I don’t think it would only take seconds to come into effect. So when someone left a comment about scopolamine, I immediately looked into it. Apparently, it is hailed as the world’s scariest drug and after reading about it, I definitely agree. From the experiences and stories shared, I think scopolamine has made its way here in the Philippines.
Below are some facts about scopolamine that I found around the net:
- Scopolamine came from borrachero tree which is quite abundant in Colombia (yes, the cocaine capital of the world.) The flowers may look pretty (above photo. The flowers look familiar though. I’m just not sure if that’s the same ones I usually see in cemeteries. Hehe) and the fruits which look like little cacao are then chemically processed into powder form so that it can be used as a pill or can be blown directly to the face of an unsuspecting victim.
- In Colombia, it is the most feared yet prized drug. It has the same value, look and density as cocaine but way, way more dangerous. A gram can kill 10-15 people. Drug overdose causes heart attack. The scary part is that criminals have no idea how much drug a person could tolerate. Some people who have low tolerance suffered from fatal heart attack once exposed to the drug.
- Majority of theft crimes in Colombia involved scopolamine (also known as Devil’s Breath) because it causes the user to obey any command asked of him, as well as memory loss. The robber could easily use this to his advantage. One guy woke up at a city park, badly beaten up with no memory of what happened. All his money were gone, which he withdrew himself from the nearby ATM. His credit cards were charged with cash advances and the bank confirmed that it was him who did the transaction.
- If you watched this video, the crimes are similar to what is happening here. After being exposed to the drug by either unknowingly sniffing it or taken orally (mixed in drinks) the victims willingly (and sometimes, happily) obey the robber. One of the stories from the video was about a guy who woke up in his apartment, confused as to why his apartment was empty. He asked the doorman and he told the guy that he had some friends with him last night and they loaded all his stuff in a van. He asked the doorman why he would do that and the doorman replied, “because you told me to.”
- The drug could be discreetly blown to you or slipped into one’s drink. Some put a small amount on paper with an address written on it so when you look at it, you could have been sniffing the substance. Some elderlies were easily victimized because of their poor vision, they tend to put the paper too close to their face, absorbing more of the substance. Could this be the modus operandi in Greenbelt?
The crime lords of Manila might have invested in this drug. Being exposed to this is like being hypnotized but also putting your health in danger. This is indeed the scariest drug in the world because although you appear articulate to others, your will power is gone. You’re like someone’s puppet, you could be asked to commit a crime as worst as killing someone for someone else and you will be left with no memory of it. It would be hard to report it to the authority since it was hard to prove and the evidences like CCTV footages showed the victim appearing “normal.” It is scarier than hypnotism because there’s no way you could ever avoid this drug…
I was so excited when I have first heard of The Mind Museum. Science is not exactly my most favorite subject but I love going to museums, any museums, that is.
Here’s a short overview of the museum, taken from their website:
The Mind Museum concept is uniquely Filipino. Our exhibition takes off from a narrative that presents science in over 250 interactive exhibits through five interconnected stories. The exhibition spans nature in scale, from the smallest thing in nature to the largest and everything in between: Atom, Earth, Life, Universe and Technology.
Almost all the exhibits in The Mind Museum are originally designed by Filipino artists and fabricators who worked closely with scientists here and abroad to execute science principles or facts clearly and beautifully.
Bryce was only four when we visited but despite his young age, he was able to enjoy the museum especially the part where he got to play “archaeologist.” This coming December, since the vacation will be quite long, why not keep your kids’ minds stimulated by visiting The Mind Museum in Taguig? I’m giving away four passes worth P2100:
- 2 Child/Student* Pass worth P450 each
- 2 Adult Pass Worth P600 each
- Passes are for 3-hour museum visit
- * Private school students up to college. School ID must be presented along with this gift certificate.
Update: Thank you all for joining my first raffle. There will be more to come. …And here’s the lucky winner.
Thanks, Janice! I hope your family had a wonderful time at The Mind Museum.
Some condos, like DMCI, will not turn over the unit to the owner until it has been thoroughly finished. The good thing about it is that you can move in right away. But the downside of not having a choice to leave the unit bare is that you’re pretty much stuck with whatever kind of finish they specified for the project. It’s a homeowners’ dilemma because taking down the brand-new cabinets or re-tiling the floor and bathroom is kinda “nakakahinayang.”
When I was asked to decorate my sister-in-law and friend’s unit in Acacia Estate, the first thing I wanted to change was the kitchen cabinets and countertop. The laminate color was too dark for the unit and so the cabinets made the kitchen look even smaller. And since the kitchen is one of the first areas you see when you enter the unit, I want it to have an impact. But both my clients had very limited budget so having custom-made cabinets was out of the question.
Here’s what I did and what you can do too if you want to give your kitchen a make-over. Both projects cost less than P7,000.
Spot the difference! From vertical to horizontal cabinet handles. Just apply wood filler on the screw holes and proceed with these steps:
- Laminates can definitely be painted over. You don’t need to strip it off since it would damage the surface, making the project even costlier. Prep the surface by sanding it a bit using 220 grit sandpaper. Laminates are too smooth for the paint to adhere onto. Even if it is a textured laminate, sand it still.
- Next prime the surface using flat white latex (water-based paint). I personally don’t want to use oil-based enamel since condos usually have limited ventilation. Enamel odor takes forever to leave the room and you don’t want that.
- Choose any color you want in high/semi-gloss finish. Remember to still use water-based paint.
TIP: Since water-based paint dries much quicker than oil-based one, using a foam or cottom roller would ensure a smoother finish. Paint brush would leave brush marks unless that’s the finish you’re after.
With my sister-in-law’s kitchen (above), the mirror backsplash cost around P4,000 plus the quart of paint for P400+.
For my friend’s unit, I wanted the kitchen to look clean, sort of Scandinavian-inspired. I initially planned on replacing the cabinet doors with melamine board for the glossy look but I realized that I had to replace the entire cabinet too with melamine board and that would go beyond the budget. So again, I had them paint glossy white.
The glass doors looked great with the back of the cabinet painted blue-green. It might still have looked great if they only had white ceramics as contents. But who wastes precious space for such stuff anyway? So to hide the clutter, (because it really shows through despite the frosted glasses) I had the back of the glass painted too. Not bad, eh?
The black countertop was actually just 60x60cm plain black granite tiles laid over the existing granite. I had the left part extended for a cooktop so the gas and trash can could be stored underneath. It looked more customized like that than just placing a gas range in that spot.
Those white little subway tile-like (30x30cm) cost just P23/pc and the black granite tiles were about P150/pc (tiles were from Floor Center.) For this particular project, we spent no more than P8,000 including the tiles adhesive, grout, plywood for the extended countertop, paint and labor.
I really wish I could take better photos because these kitchens look way better in actual. Hehehe!
If you have similar kitchen and are dying to give it a fresh look, go ahead! P10,000 would go a long way. You can paint the cabinet yourself and just ask the help of someone reliable to do the tiling. Lucky you if you have a handy husband!