Interview: Igan d’Bayan

Writer and artist Igan d’Bayan has been unsettling folks through his art for some time now. His paintings come in different sizes (some larger than life) and tackle different topics, but the one thing that they have in common is that they are mighty spooky. Igan is currently painting a series of inverted crosses. “No, it has nothing to do with Aleister Crowley, Hellraiser, or Slayer sleeve art,” he says, “It has something to do with how the Spaniards conquered our lands bearing crosses. I want to subvert the imagery, not as a form of rebellion against Catholicism, but as a symbolic colonization of the colonizers. I anticipate what the reaction from the moral majority would be.” May God have mercy on Igan D’Bayan’s soul.

Do you believe in ghosts/ elementals and have you seen one?

I grew up in a house in Blumentritt plagued by the inexplicable — apparitions of an old woman in black, dogs howling at invisible visitors, and my kid brother pointing to the attic, kicking and crying, etc. My siblings have had ghostly encounters in one form or another. Not me, though. Ghosts per se, I don’t believe in them. Mysterious presences, yes.

What’s the scariest place you’ve been to?

When I was in Edinburgh, Scotland, I had some time off, so I bought tickets for the Edinburgh Vaults Tour. You get into these tunnels, the city’s South Bridge Vaults, for an hour with other tourists. They padlock the door behind you and you explore Edinburgh’s underbelly. Creepy shit. Bodies were reportedly stored here by serial killers Burke and Hare for those unhinged medical experiments. Our guide acted with much camp. In one part of the tunnel, someone or something brushed past my leg. I loaded up on Guinness before the tour, but no level of tipsiness could take the scare away. Nope. Not going back.

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

Near our old house in Pampanga was a pelota court. People swore that at night, when it was drizzling or when there was a full moon, a ball could be seen bouncing toward and against the white wall. No one could be seen playing, though. The stories get embellished with each retelling. A ghost who exercises and stays fit… Scary then, sounds funny now.

How has your supernatural experiences (even 2nd hand) influenced your work?

My paintings are inspired by horror movies and, more essentially, the evil that men do. Nazi scientists, the Khmer Rouge, the Inquisitors, corrupt Filipino politicians — these are scarier than any freaking ghost.

Any advice for someone who comes face to face with the supernatural?

Run like hell.


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

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