Access was limited at the back, through a wooden staircase leading to a small reception area, where you must remove your shoes before entering. From there is a short hallway leading to the room where Ingkong, my grandfather's mother, lived.
I don't remember much of her. I was too young. But that house drew me in. During summer, when we were deported to the province, I would usually go to the old house and just wander its perimeters. Even then, I felt that there was more to that house than the wooden balcony and hallway we were permitted to enter.
There was one time I was able to enter that forbidden place beyond the bolted door by the hallway. Once, I chanced Ingkong's helper cleaning inside, and I crossed to her side. Instead of throwing me out, she told me to watch my steps, as the floor boards were creaking, and weak at some parts.
Inside was another hallway, larger than the one leading to Ingkong's. To the right were rows of capiz windows, and at the end was a pair of bolted doors. There was another door to the left of where I was standing; more mysteries to unravel, if one were bold enough.
Only muted light was able to penetrate those capiz windows, giving the hallway the forlorn atmosphere of the forgotten. I dared not touch anything for fear that I disturb the sleep of the house, equally scared and excited that the house would awake and tell me its stories.
The old house is long gone, torn to its foundations and buried in memory. I can't even remember which side of the family belonged to that house, nor where it used to stand. But every once in a while, it appears to me in the vagueness of dreams and fading recollection.