The White Lady – Philippines

When I was little, all of the stories I was told tended to be very supernatural oriented, as the culture in the Philippines tends to be very superstitious.  There were a lot of ghosts, exorcisms, and other spooky stuff.  So I remember a story that my dad, grandpa, used to tell me, which was an account of something he actually saw when he was a teenager.  I didn’t know this was even a folktale until much later in life. 

He said he was walking along the road with his friend at night, it was dark, and he felt like there was somebody behind him.  So he looked behind him, and he said it was a lady with dark hair, long dark hair, wearing all white.   She was wearing a long white dress, and he thought she was real. He yelled to her, and he said she was just kind of floating and coming towards him, so he and his friends started to run.  And I remember he told me that story when I was a little girl, so I went into the closet with my friends and I swore if we just sat there and waited we would see the lady in the white dress. 

Then I started looking at Filipino folklore stories – I even bought you and your brother a book, but you found it to be very boring – and I came upon a story called “The White Lady”  and it is a very popular folklore ghost story that the Filipinos tell.  It is about a Caucasian-European descent female  that had been killed on the side of the road by a taxi driver.  And she appears as this ghost in a long white dress with long dark hair.  However, she is sighted all over the Philippines, and continues to be seen by many Filipinos, whether it’s in the mountains, on the road, by the beach, so I don’t know.  Apparently grandpa saw the white lady in the white dress.

I remember that because ever since grandpa told me that story, I’ve been afraid of walking alone by myself in the dark.  So I always sleep with a small night light or a candle or something whenever Dad is gone and I have to sleep by myself.  When people tend to Westernize, or come to America, they don’t seem to talk about the ghosts anymore.  And when I was little, I remember seeing voodoo dolls.  I didn’t know what they were then, I didn’t figure it out until I was much older.  Witch doctors were huge as well.  So superstition huge in the islands.  But once they come to America the superstition seems to evaporate – which is a good thing.

Like I said in one of the earlier posts (“The Crying Lady – Mexico”), superstitious/ghost stories resonate with children of young ages.  As seen by my mother, the effect of this story has stayed with her: she is still afraid to be alone in the dark.  I didn’t even know that.  But according to my mother, these Filipino superstitions seem to evaporate as the later generations come to America.  She told me that she used to be much more afraid when she was actually in the Philippines, but now that she lives in America, she feels like the stories only apply to those living in the Philippines. But her fear didn’t completely go away.   I myself am SUCH a baby when it comes to scary stories, so if I lived in the Philippines I would probably sleep with the lights on every day.  That’s probably why my parents never told us scary stories, showed us scary movies, and discouraged me and my brother from sharing scary stories with each other.  And it’s not like we really lived by anywhere “haunted,” because I feel like superstitious/ghost stories in the United States if very dependent on location, while stories in the Philippines, such as this one, transcend throughout the whole country.