National artist Eddie Romero has never seen a ghost

If you don’t know who Eddie Romero is, look him up here. I love this man. He directed one of my favorite Filipino movies, and of course, he directed a lot of B Movies in the 70s, has been featured in Pete Tomb’s Mondo Macabro and has been cited as one of Quentin Tarantino’s cinematic influences. He is also a nice man.

Do you believe in ghosts/ elementals and have you seen one? Can you tell us about it?

I have very few dealings with the supernatural.

But do you believe in the supernatural?

You’re asking me as a matter of general principle. I guess so. Of course. I beleive in God. That’s supernatural. But I don’t give it a lot of thought as to the details like spirital things like ghosts and so forth.

But you’ve never seen?

Seen a ghost? No. I wouldn’t know what to do if I saw a ghost.

What’s the scariest place you’ve been to? Why was it scary? Did you end up experiencing anything supernatural there? Do you plan to go back?

I don’t think of things as scary. I’ve been to inner Mongolia. That was scary. I can’t think of a place that I would call scary.

What about WWII?

I’m ashamed to say it but the war wasn’t particularly scary for me. Most of the time, I was in my hometown in Dumaguete, in Cebu, Leyte… I never had direct experience with wartime atrocities and all that. Of course, I saw it all around me, but not atrocities. The Japanese people I got into contact with were very casual. They seemed okay. I guess the atrocities came out of desperation, when they felt that their survival was in question.

Because I’ve been to Japan, of course, quite a number of times. The Japanese are a very cultured, very gentle people. At least until they found out about the Americans (landing). It was a fairly uneventful Japanese occupation. Although I did travel quite a bit. I was in Manila. Basically, I was in Dumaguete. I spent a lot of time in Cebu and Leyte, although what I was doing there, I don’t remember. But I was there, not during liberation but before. The Japanese official in Negros Oriental was Gen. Yamagato. They left after two or three years.

So it was like a vacation?

It wasn’t that pleasant!

What’s the scariest ghost story you’ve heard?

When you say ghost story, I think of The Monkey’s Paw. It was the first one I ever read. In school.

Freshman year of high school, I still remember. (They taught it in literature in Siliman.)


Yvette Natalie U. Tan is a multi-awarded author of horror fiction and the Agriculture section editor of Manila Bulletin.

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