Halloween does not really exist in the Philippines. But thanks to effective media, Filipinos have come to love this sinister-themed pre-Christmas occasion. Halloween has become an adopted part of modern Filipino culture. More and more people, especially children, dress up and go trick-or-treating on the last night of October. On the other hand, adults dare to visit some of the scariest places in the Philippines for fun and fright.
Even without Halloween, this time of the year still triggers goosebumps among Filipinos. The end of October or the first days of November have everything to do with the supernatural for most Filipinos. As a Catholic country, the Philippines celebrates All Saints’ Day on November 1st, followed by All Souls’ Day. During this period, most Filipinos flock to cemeteries to pay tribute to their deceased family members while others go tombstone hopping or ghost-hunting.
If you’re interested in the latter, here are some of the scariest places in the Philippines that you can explore:
Manila Film Center
In the early 1980s, First Lady Imelda Marcos envisioned staging the first Manila International Film Festival. She decided that a building patterned after the iconic Parthenon would be the best venue for the grandiose occasion. They hastened construction to meet the deadline. Unfortunately, on November 18, 1981, a bizarre accident involving a fallen scaffolding and bodies buried in wet cement occurred. To make things worse, the person in charge allegedly ordered to “pour the cement” over the dead bodies and their living family members who were trying to retrieve the corpses.
The rush to finish the building and the 169 deaths thereafter made the Manila Film Center one of the creepiest and scariest places in the Philippines. At some point, the center became the stage for the Amazing Philippine Theater. To this day, it still stands in the Cultural Center of the Philippines complex. However, a fire severely damaged the building in 2013.
Laperal White House
You’d hardly find White Victorian-inspired houses in the Philippines. And when you do, it’s most likely haunted. For example, Baguio City’s most famous buildings are the creepiest. The Laperal White House has a notorious reputation among visitors and believers of the paranormal world. Some say the mystery lies in what really happened to the Laperal family who owned the house. The Japanese used the house to rape women and torture and murder alleged spies during WWII. The mystery of the house lures hundreds of curious individuals, including media men and film producers capitalizing on its reputation.
Many stories of the Laperal White House scare the living daylights out of people. Some of these include the most common “white lady” peering out of dark windows and invisible babies crying in the middle of the night. And then there’s more sinister banging and noises that suggest there is a poltergeist. A documentary by GMA news a few years back even recorded an eerie voice articulating “nandito kami” (“we are here”).
The Laperal White House is open to the public as a museum. If you ever find yourself in misty Baguio City, make sure you drop by to say Hi to the ghosts.
As if the Laperal White House and the mist aren’t enough, Baguio City is also home to the Diplomat Hotel. This one’s also famous for being one of the scariest places in the Philippines. Constructed in the early 1900s, the building sits atop Dominican Hill. Because of its location, mist almost always envelopes the area. Local Catholics used the building as a seminary and a rest house for the clergy. Years after, someone bought it and turned it into a hotel.
The priests and nuns were beheaded during the war. As a result, headless ghosts appear in the halls, carrying their heads on platters. Reports of banging and agonized screams coming from Dominican Hills abound up to this day. The ruins of the Diplomat Hotel are off-limits to the public. This has only served to spike more interest among paranormal believers. Recently, Cinemalaya produced a film entitled The Diplomat Hotel. The film tells the story of a documentary team meeting the evil that lurks in the famous haunted building.
If you’re traveling in Quezon City between 12 midnight and 3AM, your cab driver will most probably try his best to avoid Balete Drive. Why? It’s because they want to steer clear of a possible encounter with a bloody white lady who suddenly appears in front of vehicles. The sight often causes an accident or a mighty fright, at least.
Balete Drive is known for the huge trees after which it was named. Centuries-old Spanish homes also dot its sidewalks. Even if you’re not in a cab, you’ll be scared to your wit’s end walking along Balete Drive. You’d fear that something supernatural will suddenly jump at you from among the trees. If you don’t already know, Balete trees are said to be dwellings of the creature called “kapre”.
UP Los Banos
They say that each school has its own ghost story and this cannot be any truer than the University of the Philippines Los Banos campus. The huge campus is sprawled over a vast property in the foothills of Mt. Makiling, an equally creepy mountain said to be home to mystical creatures of Filipino legends.
UPLB has witnessed and survived WWII which means it was at one point occupied by the Japanese soldiers and used for their own brand of torture and other crimes. Baker Hall, a former war camp, is said to be haunted by soldiers who were executed via garrote. And if restless ghosts are not enough, UPLB has bridges that take you forever to cross and Balete trees that play host to a kapre.
If you believe in the supernatural, visiting one or two of the scariest places in the Philippines might be your thing. Some of these places might leave you hiding under the covers for a few nights so visit at your own risk. See you around!