Freeman Cebu Lifestyle

Haunted places

Daniel Drake Galan - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines – On the subject of haunted places in the Philippines, the Manila Film Center at the Cultural Center of the Philippines Complex in Pasay City is sure to come to mind. It is the site of a horrible accident that cost the lives of many people. Visitors to the building claim to have since heard screams and moans coming from the concrete floors and walls.

The tragedy struck on November 17, 1981, at the height of the building’s construction. Former First Lady Imelda Marcos was rumored to have rushed the construction of the building for the first Manila Film Festival scheduled in January of the following year. At dawn on that fateful day, the ceiling scaffolding of the structure collapsed, sending construction workers down into the freshly-laid concrete below.

With only two months left before the scheduled international film festival, the remaining workers were reportedly ordered to pour cement into the orchestra pit below, burying the fallen workmen, some of whom were still alive.

The dead, their spirits trapped in the building, are believed to be trying to make their presence felt as they continue to seek justice.

Over in Quezon City, the former site of the ill-fated Ozone Disco, on Timog cor. Tomas Morato Avenues, is another widely known haunted place. The burning of the 50-square-meter discotheque rates as the worst fire accident in the Philippines.

On March 18, 1996, shortly after midnight, at the height of the fun a massive fire engulfed the disco, suffocating 160 people to death, mostly high school students who were celebrating end-of-school. The injured numbered 95.

The discotheque had an approved occupancy for only 35 to50 people, but that night it had 40 employees and the logbook showed about 400 people who were in and out of the club at the time. People who lived to tell the story reported that they saw smoke and sparks flying inside the disc jockey’s booth, which they thought was part of the party effects. Many of the bodies were discovered along the narrow corridor leading to a single exit.

Until now, the Ozone Disco is still abandoned and people who pass by the place claim to hear a faint beat of music, voices in agony, and even ghostly figures dancing when night falls.

In Baguio City, the Diplomat Hotel, on Dominican Road, is also said to be haunted. It is the place where nuns and priests were beheaded by the Japanese during World War II. Owing to their gruesome death, the souls of the victims reportedly still roam the area, perhaps waiting for justice to be served them.

In the early 20th century, Diplomat Hotel used to be a seminary that served as a school, monastery and summer retreat house for Dominicans. At the height of the World War II, the seminary was attacked by Japanese forces. Everyone was mercilessly killed, including small children.

After the war, spiritual healer Tony Agpaoa converted the seminary into a hotel. Hotel employees and guests claimed to hear wailing even during daytime. When night would fall, apparitions of headless priests and ghosts carrying their heads on a platter were reportedly seen roaming in the hotel’s corridor. After Agpaoa’s death in 1987, the hotel was closed and later abandoned.

Until now, residents near the Diplomat Hotel are reportedly disturbed by banging of doors and windows, clattering of dishes and screams of people and cries of children. Many say that the haunted fountain, where the babies were said to have been murdered during the war, once flowed with human blood. It is also believed to be the very spot where the dead connect with the living – and is dreaded by many.

Even in Cebu, certain places are said to be haunted. In Cebu City, there’s a mansion at the back of the Capitol building, in the Capitol Site area, where a White Lady is reportedly often sighted and odd sounds are heard at night. The so-called “House on the Hill” has once served as residence of a rich Cebuano clan and drew plenty of visitors. It is now off-limits to outsiders.

The city’s Escario Street also has its haunted house. There is the once-abandoned four-storey here that has recently been turned into a pension house. Stories have it that during the construction of the original house, a worker died every month. Those deaths are believed to be the reason for the unusual experiences in the place, even if it’s located in the midst of a busy commercial district.

Guests and employees have reported sightings of ghosts at the pension house, along with footsteps in the middle of night and mysterious knocks on room doors.

On the provincial side of Cebu, the public cemetery in Barangay Lambusan, in San Remegio town, is said to be the scariest in the place. Human bones are reportedly stacked in a common area, the place being among the poorest in Northern Cebu and many of the surviving kin could no longer pay rent for the tombs of deceased family members.

It is also possible to see skulls and bones scattered here and there in the old cemetery. The place gives visitors the creeps. Sightings of ghosts have also been reported.

These haunted places are just a few to cite. There’s certainly more around to find. Every place in the country has an eerie spot to point to.

References: journal.com.ph, choosephilippines.com

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