Just a few more weeks and the country along with the rest of the entire Christian religion would be celebrating Halloween with a few tricks and a lot treats for kids of all ages. Children would be wearing silly costumes and knock at the doors of households that have prepared candy for this festive night.
However, this was not always the case. In fact, Halloween was celebrated in a very sinister manner. There were human sacrifices involved in the early rituals as well as the invocation of benign and mischievous spirits. Spells and sorcery overwhelm the surrounding air, blanketing entire communities with fear and prayer that the night would soon be over.
Good thing those days of dread were long gone.
However in some places across the globe, there are certain communities that still fear that single night of the year when the gates of hell are reopened and certain spirits take a peek at what’s on the other side of the abyss.
Among the countries that still have a strong belief in the supernatural is the Philippines. Many of the old Filipinos, even those that now live in the US would still attest to the horrors brought by Halloween or any night when the moon is full and the ground seems to fall into stillness.
In this Halloween special, readers would be treated to a few accounts about freakish encounters between men and beasts that are considered Filipino horrors.
A walk to remember
Many Filipinos who went to live in the US in the early days came from farms in the northern island of Luzon. In one of the provinces known as Bicol where coconuts and chilis abound, an old man recounts a close encounter of the unworldly kind.
In the old days, farmers woke up to the rooster’s first crow, which is around 10pm, to go to the field and prepare the land for planting crops. The old man was no different from the rest and went off to the piece of land that he tilled. The moon was full, the sky cloudless.
Suddenly, a patch of darkness covered that old man’s path from above. It created a giant shadow blocking the cool light from the moon. The shadow seemed to follow him as he walked to his farm. Everything became motionless. The crickets that were heard earlier seemed to have hid, scared of what suddenly carpeted the sky. The leaves from the surrounding trees that had been rustling due to the breeze seemed to have grown heavy and were noiseless. The only things that kept moving were the man and the shadow on top of his head.
The old man did not dare lift his head and look at what was on top that rob him of moonlight. He had heard of stories of such encounters before and he really did not pay much attention to them until that fateful night. As he continued to walked to his farm, the air slowly grew dank and a stench of decomposing flesh started to embrace him. It encroached on his skin starting on his nape down to his belly. Alas, he heard the eeriest sound that he would remember for the remainder of his life.
It was like the clicking sound of a house lizard, only slower and much clearer, as if it were human.
A simple dinner
Another story was from the Visayas group of islands, which is widely known for it fresh and succulent seafood; the group of islands is also known for a variety of Filipino horrors. Among these ghouls is the corpse eater.
A group of teenagers were walking home after spending all day at the cemetery. It was already growing dark and people had long since returned to their homes feeling a bit uneasy spending time at the streets at this time of the year.
While the teenagers were walking towards the gate of the cemetery, they saw a group of men. The men’s bodies were dark than usual, in fact it seemed that they were covered in oil. One of the men greeted the teenagers and asked them to join in the small meal that was being prepared.
One of the teenagers immediately turned down the offer after taking a glance at the men. The boy started walking hurriedly and urged his friends to walk faster. The group then decided to stay at the one of their friend’s houses, which was a few block from the cemetery.
They wouldn’t go any further; they refused to proceed to their own homes. It would be better to spend the night under the security of a sturdy roof. The boy who took the lead after turning down the meal at the cemetery finally told his friends the reason why he was so eager to move as far away from the men as possible.
The boy said that he saw one of the men sitting at the corner gnawing at a mutilated hand.
The beast among us
Among the popular Filipino horrors for both the Visayas and Mindanao, is the tale of Maria Labo.
Maria went to work abroad. After coming back to their home, Maria started to act differently. Her husband did not mind the changes on his wife’s behavior and thought it could just have been the result of months being separated from their family since she started working in a another country. He believed that things would soon get back to normal.
It was already too late when he realized how wrong he had been.
One day after coming back from a hard day’s work at the farm, he found his wife had already prepared a sumptuous dish made out of meat and monggo beans. The couple ate a hearty meal. After eating, the man asked where are their kids.
Maria plainly said, they’re mixed in the soup.
The beauty and the beast
Apart from Filipino horrors, the country has a lot to offer to tourists from different countries and from different walks of life.
The Philippines is a major tourist destination for people across the globe who wanted to experience the temperate climate of the tropics contrasted by the cool waters of the beaches this archipelago has to offer.
Tourists can visit the many beaches that spread across the coastline of this country that’s composed of 7,107 islands. Tourist could visit the Ilocos provinces and La Union for some sand and surf in Northern Luzon. Puerto Galera and Boracay dominate the heart of the archipelago. Camiguin and Dinagat are among the beautiful destinations in Mindanao.
The Philippines also offers an abundance of fresh fruits, seafood, and mouth watering dishes that would certainly excite anyone’s palate.
If food and beaches do not tickle the fancy, tourists could go visit historical sites that are located in almost every province of the country. The best place to start with is the National Museum in the capital Manila as well as Intramuros, which is just on the other side of the street.
The Cordilleras offers people a look at the ancient tradition of mummification and the magnificent hanging coffins by the cliffs of the ancient rocks. The iconic Catholic chapels in Bohol and Cebu are among the best preserved in the country before a major earthquake wrought heavy damage to most of them.
These are just among the few spectacular places and gastronomical adventures the Philippines has to offer. Other than that, tourists can also go ahead and start their ghoul hunting on the many provinces where these creatures were rumored to lurk.
These creatures that build the anthology of Filipino horrors are not similar to the monsters seen and glamorized on TV. These creatures were born from legends passed throughout the ages giving a word of warning to the foolhardy who do not believe in such things. These creatures kill and consume their prey for the sheer enjoyment and sinking their teeth in human flesh.
As for those who get a chance encounter with these creatures known locally as aswang, putting up a fight against them is certainly futile. If possible . . . run!
If this compilation of Filipino horrors gave a tingling sensation at the tip of the spine, don’t forget to leave a comment at the bottom of the page.