History and Culture
Not for the Faint-hearted: 5 of the Most Beautifully Haunted Places in the Philippines
Choose Philippines | Oct 28, 2015
All Saints' Day (November 1) and All Souls' Day (November 2) are usually taken to be a single occassion in the Philippines. In this side of the world, we call it Undas—both a religious and cultural practice in which we pay respect to tombs and graves of departed family members, pray for the deceased, and even reunite with the rest of the clan as we offer candles and flowers.
As long as we are in the subject of family reunions, why not spend this weekend with your loved ones in the most haunted destinations in the Philippines? The catch, they're some of the country's most beautiful places too!
Baguio in northern Luzon was established as a hill station in the 1900. Because it was the location of a number tragic encounters during the Japanese regime and a 7.8-magnitude earthquake in the 1990, a number of lives were lost on its soil and most of its sites are riddled with ghost stories.
Headless ghosts, disturbing shouts, and strange noises are just some of the supernatural things that one can experience in the ruins of this abandoned hotel, or at least that's what locals say.
It was built as a Dominican Retreat House in 1913, then turned into the Colegio del Santissimo Rosario in 1915, only to be reverted to the original plan three years later. It was occupied by refugees, nuns, and soldiers during the World War 2 until it was bombed by American forces on the last days of the Japanese occupation. The retreat house was rebuilt in the late 1940s and was acquired by Diplomat Hotels, Inc. in 1973. It was managed by one Agapito Agpao, a famed Baguio faith healer. When he died, much of the hotel was looted and sacked.
The hill where the majestic Diplomat Hotel used to stand now also houses the Philippines' biggest stone slab of the Ten Commandments.
Laperal White House
The ancestral house owned by the Laperal family was transformed into a garrison by Japanese soldiers and allegedly became a place of death. Caretakers say that the restless spirits of the tortured haunt the house up to this day.
The daunting 3-storey and all-white mansion is hard to miss when stuck in one of Baguio City’s congested roads leading to Wright Park (clogged during the holidays, at the very least). The Victorian-style architecture is a display of the affluence of one of Baguio’s most venerable clans in the 1920s. Lucio Tan purchased the house in 2007 and it now showcases the annual Ifugao Bamboo Art Exhibition through the efforts of the Asin Bamboo Carvers Guild, Philippine Bamboo Foundation, Tan Yan Kee Foundation.
Locals believe that the grieving soul of a raped and tortured girl from decades past now haunt Loakan, the road that leads to Camp John Hay. Dressed in white, the ghost crosses the road or hails at cars, much to the distraction of drivers. In the 50s, Baguio residents attempted to cut down the tree, which is said to be the white lady's home. They failed, however, because of an increase in the already alarming number of accidents in the area.
The mysterious lady is also said to live in a mystic tree, which has been attempted to be cut down several times in the 50s. Public officials were finally able to tear it down in 2002 but it wasn't long before rumors spread that the people behind the act suffered untimely deaths.
Siquijor in Central Visayas is known in Philippine folklore as a place of magic, witchcraft, and sorcery. Healing rituals, incantations, and potions out of herbs and insects exist side by side the province' must-see white sand beaches, mystic caves, and astounding waterfalls.
One of Siquijor's tourism spot riddled with stories is the 400-year-old balete tree in in Brgy. Campalanas in Lazi. It is said to be the oldest and biggest in the island.
To add to the tree's strangeness, a spring can also be found originating from its base. Tourists can take a dip in the cold water after touring the rest of the island's many sights.
Like Siquijor, Capiz in Roxas City is also teeming with stories of mystery, ghosts, and whatnot. This place believed to be the home of aswang is, however, a paradise waiting to be explored. It has virgin waterfalls like the Hinulugan Falls in Pilar, rivers where guests can cruise while having lunch, and a beautiful butterfly sanctuary.
It also boasts of Asia's largest bell housed in the Sta. Monica Church in Pan-ay. Weighing 10.4 tons and measuring 5 feet in height, the ringing bell made from 70 sacks of silver and bronze coins can be heard from as far as eight kilometers away.
Corregidor Island in the southwestern part of Luzon played an important role during the liberation of the Philippines from Japanese forces. Abandoned forts on the island now serve as both a military memorial to soldiers who served during the war and tourist spots that tell about a bit of Philippine history.
Guided tours feature the island's super-sized canons, beautiful ruins, old artillery, Spanish light house, and the historic Malinta tunnel. It also has something in store for overnighters since a night tour package includes the old Corregidor Hospital and laterals of the Malinta Tunnel, which are believed to be haunted.
One of the most photographed sceneries in Camiguin is the large white cross that marks the cemetery driven underwater during the eruption of Mt. Vulcan in 1871.
The volcano continuously erupted until 1875, which submerged areas of Catarman and left only the ruins of the ancient San Roque Church. The volcano erupted again in 1948, which completely buried the cemetery. The cross was built in 1982 above the solidified lava to mark the old gravesite.
Aside from this spot, there are a number of other places to see in this province dubbed as the "Island Born of Fire." One can even tour the whole place for just two days, it is, after all, the Philippines' second smallest province.
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