Did you know the Malacanang Palace is filled to the brim with ghost stories? President-elect Rodrigo Duterte even confirms this himself, announcing that he didn't want to sleep in Malacanang "next to the ghosts". He is currently considering going home to Davao at the end of every day.
Former President Benigno Aquino III also seems to believe in the stories, as he has commented on the ominous atmosphere that cloaks the palace, and prefers to reside in Bahay Pangarap instead of the Palace itself.
A considerable bulk of Malacanang ghost stories are provided by the Marcoses, which is reasonable, given how they resided in the Palace for 20 years. Senator Bongbong Marcos hypothesizes that other souls may be the lost souls of people slain during World War II, pointing out that the Japanese Army used Malacañang as headquarters. There is talk of an American chaplain the people call Father Brown - who is either malicious or benevolent, depending on who was retelling the tale - who had allegedly been killed by Japanese troops. However, the Japanese Army had used what is now the US Embassy as their headquarters, not the Palace.
Carlos Quirino recounts how a local soothsayer once stopped by the Palace gates to tell the guards that a severe typhoon would destroy the Palace if any of them would "wear a beard." The tale reached Mrs. Taft, who forbade the servants from growing beards - even the small scraggly mustaches that some of the muchachos had started a trend with.
There have been sightings of apparition of a woman dressed in a black frilly dress, looking out the window at the Pasig window or seated at one of the desks in the Correspondence Office. People have also spoken of moving chairs (also in the Correspondence Office), the gentle scent of flowers wafting through the air, sounds of typing, children playing - and even the sound of someone munching on chicharon.
Across the hall is the Information and Communications Technology Office, of the Department of Science and Technolody. A clairvoyant allegedly saw an old lady stop the flow of sand on an old hour glass.
On the third floor men's restroom of Mabini Hall, a boy crouched in a corner with his head bent down has been reportedly sighted.
The New Executive Building, original home of the San Miguel Brewery, is home to two ghosts - a little girl that follows people around and a little boy moaning and crying at the passage leading to the guesthouse. There are also sightings of a Chinese gentleman standing still at the corner of one of the rooms on the third floor. Finally, a Dopplegänger also allegedly resides in these halls, impersonating people to confuse others, especially between dusk to late at night.
President Benigno S Aquino divulged how the palace guards tell stories of pianos that play music by themselves and of the sound of footsteps up and down the halls.
Irene Marcos shared a story about the "Fabian de la Rosa" painting. It is of a cellist, which hangs in the Music Room. On some nights, the sound of a cello can be heard in the room underneath - and one guard swears he has seen the cellist in that painting turn one of the music pages.
Ruby Roxas, daughter of President Manuel Roxas, shared that their househelp frequently mentioned a lady in white, with long hair, wandering about at night.
Looks like Duterte won't be the only President traipsing about the halls of Malacanang.
President Manuel L. Quezon's ghost seems to like roaming the Malacanang halls. He was reportedly sighted in Mansion House, the Presidential retreat in Baguio, busy cursing colorfully in Spanish.
Raul S. Gonzalez recounted a story his father told him: it was past midnight sometime in August, 1944. His father climbed out of bed, and was pulled by an indescribable urge to leave his house and visit the Malacanang garage. Sounds of a car door opening and slamming shut emanated from inside the garage, coming from President Quezon's Chrysler. His father gave it a quick once-over, found nothing wrong, and returned home to sleep.
A couple of nights later, his father discovered that his beloved President had died at exactly the same time he heard his car's door opening and closing.
His ghost has been sighted in several rooms all over Malacanang Palace - Imee Marcos even spotted him in the Presidential Study, prompting her father to consider holding a séance to summon the former President, who he hoped would advise him concerning troublesome negotiations with the Americans.
Some palace employees continue to claim that the lights in the Quezon Executive Office in Kalayaan Hall switch on late at night on their own.
After the deaths of President Manuel Roxas and Ramon Magsaysay, the house help rarely ventured into the Aguinaldo State Dining Room - some swore they have seen the deceased Presidents "leisurely puffing a long cigar at the cabecera or head of the dining table."
However, between the two presidents only Roxas was a known smoker.
Loyal aides and attendants of the President also haunt the Palace.
There's a Chinese valet from the days of President Roxas who walks about the corridors, and Senator Marcos once retold a tale he heard from an Italian guest who was awakened by a Chinese servant at around 3am, and had been informed to attend Mass with the Marcoses. When they asked around, they discover that the ghost had been known to appear as early as the time of President Manuel Roxas.
President Elpidio Quirino's daughter Vicky, who served as his First Lady, shared that the wing they occupied was haunted - there was a certain balcony where scary noises were heard from at night, and behind the bedrooms was a pasillo going to the laundry room and tableware closet. On that corridor, the Quezon's Chinese cook Aching, reportedly died of a heart attack. He is rumored to be roaming those halls.
US President Dwight D Eisenhower, Field Marshal Douglas MacArthur's principal aide, was assigned in an office in the Executive Building - currently the Presidential Broadcast Studio where Secretary Jesse Robredos wake was held. He recalled that one time during his stay, a mysterious valet brought snacks to his room at midnight. A few decades later, President Ferdinand Marcos would recount stories of a shadowy aide haunting the room he used as his study, who would refuse to respond to summons nor the physical blockades of solid walls.
The enormous balete tree in front of the state entrance is an imposing figure - and the supposed home of a kapre.
A household aide named Mariano Dacuso, now deceased, was taking a break and reading the papers in the Tea House - where a mosque now stands - when he found himself being raised to the ceiling, along with his chair. He politely asked the kapre to bring him back down, then ran to his companions.
There was a cabbie that got a real fright when he asked for a light and looked up to see the kapre chomping on a cigar.
When the social secretary's staff worked overtime typing letters, they would hear someone else typing in the next room - which was empty. Sometimes people reported seeing smoke wafting from the tree.
The Marcos children recall the kapre as mildly malevolent - on dark and humid nights, security personnel were sometimes startled by their fellow guards frantically running about the grounds as though they were being chased by an unseen entity. The victims would later claim the gigantic kapre had awoken them, and then gleefully dropped ashes from his enormous cigar onto their heads. The late Anastasia de Joya Calalang, who served the Palace and lived in the Servant's Quarters during the Commonwealth, insisted to her dying day that she had been chased by the kapre one dark night as she went home, his ruby red eyes forever imprinted on her memory.
The Palace is old, and chock-full of history - it's gone through several residents, skirmishes, wars, reconstructions and several cultural influences, so understandably it's bound to have some unusual activities within its grounds.
Do you also know other Malacanang Palace ghost stories? Share with us!
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