Occupation: Hair Dresser
Residence: New York, NY
Date of Performance/Collection: March 2012
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s): Tagalog
My informant told me this story while we were having lunch and discussing ghosts. When he was a kid he used to spend every summer in the Philippines. “You’re going to love this one!” he began, laughing loudly. “When my grandparents lived in an apartment in Manila my grandma used to tell me and my siblings this story. I used to think she told it to us just to scare us, since we were kids” Loud laughter, “but now I’m not so sure. So in her apartment building, during the chinese invasion, there was a newlywed couple that just moved into their apartment. They were killed together in the apartment, I think decapitated, by the Chinese and there is this well directly across the street…they dumped their body in the well. Next to the well is a giant mango tree and supposedly every once in a while you can see the couple sitting at the top of the tree, holding hands. And sometimes at night all of the doorbells in the apartment building ring at the same time, and it isn’t actually possible for someone to ring all the doorbells at once. Which is really creepy, it gives me the chills.” nervous laughter. He explains once again, “But at the time I really thought she was just trying to scare us.”
There are many ghost stories in Manila dealing with deaths that occurred during the chinese invasion, these stories could be a way to connect to that important and brutal piece of Filipino history. It also creates a life after death where the couple who was killed are still able to be together, leaving a somber, yet happy ending to a brutal story.