The Snake Man of the Mall
What could be more salacious than the idea of a powerful family hiding a, shall we say, slippery secret? It's said that, at one point, a famous mall in Metro Manila had its dressing rooms haunted by the half-man, half-snake twin of the mall owner. The creature continued to terrorize female customers, until it turned up dead one day and the (presumably Photoshopped) pictures of its carcass circulated on social media.
The most famous spin-off of the legend involved Alice Dixson, a Filipino-American actress who supposedly left the Philippines after surviving an encounter with the creature and being paid off by the creature's family. Dixson has since denied these allegations, but since the Snake Man is now dead, the truth will never be known.
The Haunted Chapel of De La Salle University
Every school in the Philippines has its own set of ghost stories, and the De La Salle University (DLSU) in Manila is no different. Bearing the brunt of bombardments in World War II, the university is unsurprisingly rife with stories about the restless dead.
One of the most famous concerns the Chapel of the Most Blessed Sacrament (MBS) in the St. La Salle Building. During the Japanese Occupation, several La Sallian brothers and civilians took refuge there, only to be gunned down by enemy soldiers. It's said that, if you look closely at the tiles leading to the altar, you'll notice the bloodstains of the victims, and that no matter how much effort was put into trying to remove them, they wouldn't go away.
May Day Eve
In many cultures around the world, mirrors are believed to be the gateway to the dead. Perhaps it's the uncanny valley effect, but there's something chilling about staring at an entity who is you and not you at the same time. As a result, you have stories like Bloody Mary from the West, and May Day Eve in the Philippines.
Every first day of May, so the old folks say, witches come out to work their magic. If, on the midnight of that date, a young woman looks at her reflection via candlelight, she might get lucky and see the face of her future husband. But if she's unlucky, she might see the face of the Devil himself. The famous Filipino writer, Nick Joaquin, wrote a short story playing with this legend, also known as "May Day Eve."
The Headless Reflection
Another local belief about mirrors is illustrated in this chilling tale. One night, a woman was about to go home from work, and hailed a jeepney where she was the lone passenger. This unnerved her somewhat, being a woman out alone at night, but she chose to ignore the feeling since she wanted to go home ASAP.
During the drive, she noticed that the driver kept looking back and forth, back and forth, between her and the mirror. Finally, the jeepney stopped, and she got off. As she was on her way home, however, the driver frantically shouted in Tagalog: "Miss, as soon as you get home, please burn your clothes as soon as possible. I saw your reflection in my rearview mirror, and it was headless."
According to Filipino folklore, if your reflection is headless, or if someone else sees you headless, you will die soon. The best way to counteract this is to burn your clothes, since evil spirits might be using these clothes to wreak their malice on you.
The Bloody Foundation of San Juanico Bridge
San Juanico Bridge is best known as the longest bridge in the Philippines, being the link between the islands of Samar and Leyte. But it's also famous for another, more terrifying reason: Its foundations are said to be strengthened by the blood of numerous street children, thanks to the advice of a manghuhula (fortune teller) consulted by former First Lady Imelda Marcos.
Siopao (Pork Buns) Are Made of Cat Meat
On a more mundane, but no less frightening, note, you have this old folks' tale about a common Filipino-Chinese food. Supposedly, when Filipinos were short of food during World War II, they noticed that they had plenty of cats, and it did not take long for them to put two and two together. Ever since, pork buns were believed to use cat meat as their main ingredient, and pranksters often try to scare their unsuspecting acquaintances away from eating this otherwise delicious dish.
We may never know whether these stories are true (or were true). All we know is that, as these stories get retold over and over again on the Internet, they evolve to suit the needs and fears of our time. Until then, enjoy your Halloween and have fun sharing these stories with your friends!