A childhood in the Philippines long before television and the Internet was a time of wild imaginings, fueled in no small part by the stories passed on through generations about supernatural beings. Not for us, those wimpy and commercial ghouls and ghosts of western Halloween. The creatures of our childhood were hardcore scary and evil: flying half-bodies searching for fetuses, hairy giants stomping on little children, human-like insects demanding respect from passersby, and then of course the mysterious lady-in-white who would hitch a ride whenever she pleases and disappear just as mysteriously.
So present were these supernatural beings in our consciousness that we — or at least I — continue to this day to tread gingerly in the dark, especially when we're back in the provinces (they seem to be real only in the rural areas), half expecting awakwak (a female witch from Cebu and Bohol who flies at night looking for prey) to spook me.
Who knows what long-lasting psychological scars have been inflicted by these supernatural fears on generations of Filipinos. But who cares? Believing in these creatures that "go bump in the night" has some benefits. It keeps us rooted to our culture; it links us to our Asian neighbors and makes for more fun stories to bequeath to our grandchildren.
An eventful Todos los Santos to you all.