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    Ghost Stories from the Philippines

    Admin Tomzki
    Admin Tomzki

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    Ghost Stories from the Philippines

    Post  Admin Tomzki on Sat Jun 22, 2013 3:45 am

    Ghost Stories from the Philippines
    Strange as it may seem, Filipinos love exchanging ghost stories, especially their personal “sighting” experiences. When I was a child, I remember how my sisters and our neighborhood friends would gather outside after dinner when it was dark and the moon and the silhouette of rooftops and trees were all we could see. Them being the older ones, they would talk about ghosts (multo or engkanto), and tell about The White Lady and other mythical legends.
    As in other cultures, Filipinos who believe in ghosts think they exist to finish a mission or a task, to take revenge, or to seek a replacement so they can live again. Some say these spirits return because of suicide or a violent death. I have heard more stories of people “feeling” the presence of ghosts rather than actually “seeing” them. But no matter what the nature of the experience was, the story was usually told with the conviction that it was true.
    Back then, there was a house along our street which people called a “haunted house” because no one lived there for a while, and because a person had died there. When my playmates passed by it, some would say they saw through the fence an old man that seemed to glide, or sometimes a “white lady” with its back turned on them. They thought these were ghosts because no one actually lived there.
    Another playmate said that she was biking late in the afternoon, and when she passed by the house, she suddenly felt that there were hands pushing her bike, causing her to speed up uncontrollably until she fell off her bike. I found that so scary that I hardly passed by that haunted house when it was already dark, or when I was alone.
    During Undas, ghost tales become the common stories coming out of the lips of many, especially while they are in the cemeteries, in the company of the dead. They do not feel afraid to do so because the place is crowded, lit up and alive.
    At the cemeteries, people generally talk about fond memories of their dead loved ones – first, how they impacted their lives, and then instances of their apparitions, if any have occurred. As for my family, we talk about my father, who died four years ago. We mostly talk about the dreams we have at night about him. Personally, I have dreamt of him several times, and he was so alive in all those, as though he had not really passed away.
    We also once talked about an old aunt who used to live with us and then died of old age. That was because one night, just a few days after she died, we heard slow footsteps downstairs. It was the same pace and the same sound of her slippers when she was still alive.
    We also talk about ghost appearances from old homes (especially Spanish homes), schools (most public schools here are decades old and some were previously graveyards or refuge camps for soldiers during the Japanese/American/Spanish eras), hospitals, old churches (some of which are also formerly graveyards) and other old places.
    The high school that I went to, Sorsogon National High School, has its own share of stories as well. It was built in 1908. Filipino guerillas/rebels captured by the Japanese during the Japanese occupation in Sorsogon were incarcerated here, some until their deaths.
    I have heard stories from my parents, both of whom were former teachers in this school, about the piano at the library on the second floor, which played even when the library was already closed and locked. My father also said he and some other teachers would hear, just before the school closed, when it was empty, the sound of footsteps, and the sounds of someone scrubbing the floors.
    Beside the main building there also stands a tall, sturdy tree that is probably as old as the school itself, believed by people to have a resident kapre - a Philippine mythical creature described as a hairy, bearded, nearly giant-like tobacco-smoking tree dweller. This tree had withstood the strongest typhoons and earthquakes. Some even said that not even a leaf fell from it after a super typhoon we had more than 20 years ago.
    Here are some other stories unique to Quezon City.
    The White Lady of Balete Drive

    Balete Drive is a street in New Manila, Quezon City, where there is an abundance of balete trees. According to Philippine folk legend,balete trees are a favorite dwelling place of ghosts and other mythical beings. There is also a row of haunted houses here, built way back during the 19th century Spanish era.
    Mention Balete Drive and the thought of a white lady will usually come to mind. This is because this street is known for apparitions of a white lady, believed by locals and paranormal experts alike to have been raped by Japanese soldiers during the Second World War. Apparently, a white lady is someone who died a violent death and continues to haunt the vicinity where the crime happened, but with no harmful intent. Witnesses of the white lady at Balete Drive describe the apparition as someone dressed in a white gown, with long hair, and with no face visible.
    One belief is that there used to be a big balete tree standing in the middle of the road, from which a tragedy happened. A cab driver was said to have murdered a girl who was on her way home. From this, stories circulated about the white lady of Balete Drive and many claim that she appears to cab drivers.
    Motorists who use this street at night have been advised to take a different route, especially if they are alone, and not to look back or in any mirrors.
    Balete Drive was so famous that a film was adapted from this urban legend in 1988, titled Mystery on Balete Drive. It is still shown in local TV channels as part of their Halloween specials.
    While many are sold on stories of the white lady from Balete Drive, there are also people who don’t believe. Some, including paranormal investigators, view it as a hoax in an attempt to establish a popular urban legend. In fact, the Balete Drive today has become a commercial area kept busy with fast foods and other business establishments. Still, in many parts of the country, there are still Filipinos who believe and who claim to have seen white ladies.
    Araneta Avenue
    This long strip in Quezon City is known for its rows of funeral-service establishments. Not as popular as Balete Drive, the stories I hear from this place are those from family members who stay at the funeral parlors to watch over the dead and to usher the visitors.
    The stories mostly come from those who claim to have the “third eye.” Some say they see the spirit of the dead person seated somewhere, blending with the visitors. Others claim to see a child playing around, who is not really a member of the family. Others who do not believe the story, or who are too scared to actually believe it, try to laugh it off or dismiss it in order to focus spending their remaining moments with the dead.

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