Let The Scarries Begin!
I asked my wife two years ago, just after we settled here, whether Halloween was a celebrated event here in the Philippines. Her usual response to these type questions is either “No” or “How do I know?” Given that she has spent the last 28 years of her life living in the U.S. it has become a given that she is not totally in tune with her culture or traditions, or any of the changes therein. Not here in the Philippines anyway. I’m just a slow learner.
While Halloween is not a festival normally practiced in the Philippines, it seems to have become a recent adaptation from American culture, and is becoming celebrated in the more urban areas by throwing Halloween costume parties and letting the children go trick-or-treating. Filipinos in rural areas however, tend to stick to the more traditional All Saints Day or Undas (holiday celebrating the dead) on the first two days of November. Because of the similarities between the two festivals though, Halloween and Undas is slowly being assimilated and is even viewed by some as one celebration. Last year we noticed a popular resort restaurant in Calbayog City threw up a Halloween party, and shortly before that when I was driving into town one morning, I came across a Halloween parade of sorts…well, a bunch of walking dead people anyway. Close enough!
So this year, I’m presented with an opportunity – and I’m bringing it! During my recent trip to Guam a few weeks ago, I happened across a nice freddie kruger mask (Friday the 13th) at K-mart, and it inspired me to want to scare the crap out of a few kids in the village. I shopped around some more, but the “freddie” mask was the most “scary” I could find. It’ll do just fine. I’ll just throw on a hat and these kids won’t know what to think.
Tonight I tested it out twice. I would only allow my head and hat to be seen briefly above the concave opening of our compound wall. I stayed mostly in the shadows and it worked really well. I got two-out-of-two kids running for their life only to turn around from a safe distance to see, whatever it was they thought they seen, was not there. I was already out of sight. As I am writing this, I can hear and see small groups of kids quietly gathering on the street (at a distance) to see if they can catch a glimpse of what their “obviously crazy friend” has described to them. If I could translate the language, I’m sure this is what I was hearing – “It was right there I’m telling you…right there!”
My friend Carl has been talking about throwing up a little haunted house in his barangay…nothing big, but scary enough to break these kids in right and get this festive tradition off to a good start in his village! I might practice some around here as ‘freddie” and head over to his place on Halloween, we’ll see. For now, I’ll just stay in the prepping mode, in the shadows and the confines of the compound walls and there will surely be some tsismis (chatter) on the streets the next few days, I’m certain. I’ve still got a few days to get some really good mileage out of this!
This might even prevent Trick or Treaters…we’ll see. It’s just More Fun in the Philippines!