Background: My informant was a Filipino immigrant who came to America when she was 12. She was born and raised in Manila before coming to America, her father seeking out new opportunities. She then got married and moved to Sioux Falls, South Dakota and currently works as a Denial Analyst for the Sanford Health Network, the largest hospital network in the Siouxland area.
Main Piece: My informant told me a story about a young girl that her mother told her about. In the small town of Siquijor Cebu, there was a girl who was a very unhappy girl. When my informant’s mother was a young girl, the girl hanged herself on a tree. When she was growing up, people would say that you should never walk pass the tree when it gets dark out. They say if you do, you will hear the girl crying to this day. These kinds of stories are very commonplace in the area, because there are a lot of people that are said to be crazy. The area is known as the Visayas. It is one of the three major groups of islands of the Philippines, being in the center. According to my informant, people that are not Visayans often refer to the area as a place of witches and mythical creatures because of some of the more remote places where strange things are said to occur. However, what most people view this as is the idea that even if it cannot be proven, we are made aware that there are forces beyond our control. Ghost stories and other supernatural tellings are quite common because of this. The informant says that people now probably don’t believe in this anymore, but maybe that they still remain cautious of that kind of thing, in the case that it is true. Witches putting curses on you, and voodoo stories were quite common when my informant was growing up, and maybe that has changed, but perhaps not. After all, they still believe in injuries and afflictions that only faith healers can heal.
Performance Context: According to my informant, the story originates from her mother, who is from Siquijor Cebu.
My Thoughts: I think it is interesting because it talks a lot about the idea of vengeful spirits. This is a quite common motif in stories throughout the world and the idea that some things cannot be explained is quite common in the fiction of every culture. There is also the strong idea that is shown here and shown in the reaction of many people to many stories that we fear their power. That if we cannot say for certain that they are not true or that they hold no weight, we remain wary, just in case. It’s that just in case that makes these kinds of stories all the more interesting.