When I was younger my grandfather used to tease and scare me with stories of the Headless Priest. It is very common in our culture to hear about headless catholic priest. This is said to originate from the idea that catholic priests were hunted fr their head a long time ago. There was a tribe in the 18th century in an part of the Philippines called Luzon. Heads were cut off as sacrifices or to make accessories and jewelry. When Spanish priests inhabited this area, the people felt threatened and angered. The Christians were forcing the native people to convert. If they came upon a Catholic priest, an Igorot headhunter would decapitate the priest.
The story goes as follows:
On a dark evening when you walk alone down a road, and a man dressed in a dark robe appears. He will not greet or bless you. Because he has no mouth.
My grandfather would tell me that the headless priest would come to haunt me if I didn’t go to mass every Sunday. The story was usually told to children to make them obey the rules of their parents.
Like my informant mentioned, the motif of a headless priest is common throughout the Philippine culture. There have been several accounts of people actually seeing a headless priest, mostly in private schools, hospitals, cemeteries or old churches.