Scarier than Fiction: Popular Ghostly Legends in the Philippines

up diliman abelardo hallPhoto from Wikimedia Commons

The Phantom Musicians of UP Diliman

Apparently, UP’s long tradition of honor and excellence is still carried well into the after life. For the sake of students’ safety, a curfew was set in the UP College of Music. At 8 p.m., a bell rings and those still inside the building must exit it before the guard locks it down. Before the curfew was imposed, some music majors would practice until the wee hours of the morning.

Alumni of UP’s College of Music didn’t have a curfew back then but they did have ghostly cues when they should head home. Once they started to hear someone playing, singing, or dancing to accompany their solitary playing, it was time to leave. You wouldn’t want to see who it was that was eerily making music with you, wouldn’t you?

manila-film-centerPhoto from Philippine Urban Legends

“Pour the cement”: Ghosts of the Manila Film Center

In 1981, the Manila Film Center was constructed because of the plans of then First Lady Imelda Marcos to hold an International Film Festival in Manila. The construction of the center was rushed in an effort to complete it by the inauguration of the film festival.

On November 18, 1981, around 3:00 a.m., the half-finished Manila Film Center gave way when a scaffolding of an upper floor collapsed and fell over an unknown number of construction workers. It was said that 26 construction workers were killed and 36 others were injured. Other accounts say only 15 were killed but rumor had it that 168 died.

Construction was not halted to rescue survivors and retrieve the bodies of dead workmen. Instead, Betty Benitez, who was in charge of the project, was believed to have ordered cement to be poured into the orchestra, entombing the fallen workmen. Some workers were buried alive. A few months after the tragedy, Betty died in a car crash en route to Tagaytay.

Various ghostly activities were reported on the site including mysterious sounds, voices, and poltergeist activity. People hear cries and moans, see apparitions, as well as bleeding walls and arms sticking out from under doors.

Imee Marcos, the first lady’s daughter, called in a medium for them to communicate with the dead buried beneath the Manila Film Center. The medium went into a trance and claimed, “Now there are 169. Betty is with us.”

ghost nunPhoto from Scary Nun Halloween Tutorial 2013 | JairooAlvaarez

The Three Ghost Legends of La Union

The quiet town of San Fernando in La Union has three well-known ghost legends: a headless nun, a faceless cigar smoker, and a mysterious smiling white lady.

Legend has it that the ghost nun was killed and beheaded by the Japanese and her convent was burned down. If one passes by the convent at midnight, they will hear the eerie sound of a bell tolling which signals the approach of the nun from behind.

Another strange ghost is the Devil Cigar Man or Devilman. During the period of the second World War, young men from the town would go around an abandoned manhole, where they would smoke cigars.

Once, a stranger appeared with long hair and a braided beard. His face was overshadowed by a large brimmed straw hat. He came to the young men who were smoking, asking for a light. When the young men lent a lit cigar, the mysterious man looked up to light his. The young men were shocked to find that the Devilman did not have a face.

The laughing white lady is said to appear at midnight in the ruins of an old watch tower that dates to pre-Hispanic times. The ghost is rumored to have no eyes, only empty gaping sockets. Many claim to hear her maniacal ghostly laughter. It is said that the smiling white lady is particularly likely to be seen by handsome young men. It would be flattering for those who see her if she weren’t so frightening.

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Hitchhiker: The White Lady of Balete Drive

The infamous mysterious white lady of Balete Drive is probably one of the most well-known ghosts in Philippine pop culture. For decades, it has been believed that she haunts this street, hitching a ride on unsuspecting drivers.

Some have claimed to see her about to cross the road. Drivers who see her slow down to let her pass and she mysteriously disappears. On other accounts, when drivers see that she won’t cross, they’ll speed up and suddenly they’ll find her right in front of the car, or in the passenger seat. Spooky.

One version of the tale of her origin is that she was a woman who was violated at the same spot by Japanese soldiers during World War II. Her assailants were never caught, and her vengeful ghost remains to this day. Other versions say that she was driving along Balete Drive when she crashed.

Whoever she may have been, one thing is clear. When driving along Balete Drive, be wary when looking at your rear view mirror.


Do you know any other popular ghost stories? Share them in the comments below!



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