By Neal Cruz Philippine Daily Inquirer
This Saturday is All Saints? Day and tonight is Halloween. On Saturday. Filipinos will troop to the cemeteries to pay respect to their dead relatives buried there and see living relatives they have not seen since last All Saints? Day. But tonight, in the exclusive urban villages, Filipinos will party in scary costumes, forgetting that the occasion is to remember the dead and not an excuse for merrymaking.
In the provinces, in the old days, the occasion is marked by what is called ?nangangaluluwa? (literally pretending to be the souls of the dead, going from house to house serenading the living humans). While the attention of the house occupants is centered on the serenaders, some naughty members of the group go to the chicken coop and steal a chicken or two to be cooked later as midnight snack.
The younger ones content themselves with huddling under the moon, if there is one, or under the light of the lamp post and listening to scary stories told by their elders. Philippine folklore is full of mythological monsters that, in the old days, we youngsters believed to be true and really scared us. The most common of these monsters were:
1. ?Manananggal? ? This is a woman with batwings who flies at night looking for prey. The upper part of her torso detaches from the lower part, which is left on the ground while the upper part flies away. She must return to that lower torso before daylight or else she would never be whole again. The way to combat the manananggal is to find that lower torso and put ashes or salt on it. The upper torso will never be able to reattach itself to it again.
Until today, the joke is that manananggal come from Capiz province, and that some Capiz people don?t have to ride airplanes when flying to Manila.
2. ?Capre? ? This is a giant who sits on top of a tree smoking a big cigar to scare people. That?s about all he does: sit there and scare people. He doesn?t eat or kill anybody, but the sight of him there, with that big glowing cigar, is enough to scare any boy to death.
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