By Geneva G. Curato, Patricia Mae C. Magaoay, and Ace Carlo S. Oronia

Note: This is a paper produced under the Internship Program of the IA Center for Intramuros Studies.


Intramuros is perhaps the most well-known Spanish establishment in the Philippines, popular for its many grandiose Spanish architectures and its fortified wall. Since its fortification, the walled city has witnessed several historical events which made it popular to the masses. As such, aside from its popularity due to its long-standing history, Intramuros is also a home of various ghost stories. This paper attempts to study and analyze certain ghost stories about Intramuros and its connection to the history of the said locality. With this, the paper will answer two (2) central questions: (1) the recurring themes found within these ghost stories; and (2) how these stories are utilized in reimagining the history of the Intramuros. Moreover, this paper will also include discussion on the current state of dark tourism in the country as well as its possible effect with the tourism of Intramuros. This paper will use the concept of historical imagination by R.G Collingwood, which argues that historians and students of history unconsciously use imagination in “bridging the gaps between what our authorities (sources) tell us” in order to maintain the continuity of the historical narrative to examine and study how the popular masses unconsciously seek to outright reconstruct the past by reimagining it through ghost stories that are shared through time. This is apparent with some accounts that attempt to historicize these ghost stories such as the story of Randy Topacio’s ghost encounters and others. Furthermore, some of the recurring themes found within these ghost stories are all relating to the history of Intramuros. An account also told about a man seemingly dressed in 19th century European clothing, seen at the Casa Manila which provides a visual glimpse of the time’s material culture. One account dwells about the victims of the war supplementing the community’s horrendous experience during the Second World War.

Keywords: ghost stories; Intramuros; historical re-imagination; dark tourism

To get a copy of the paper email [email protected]

About the Interns

This research paper was completed in July 2021 under the internship of Geneva G. Curato, Patricia Mae C. Magaoay, and Ace Carlo S. Oronia

Geneva G. Curato is a BA History undergraduate student at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines – Manila. With the educational background, skills, and other extra-curricular activities she had, she was able to excel and perform well in her academic life. Her paper was accepted and presented at the 5th Annual National Conference of Local and Oral History at PUP. Beyond that, she is also an active helper of their department by aiding them with her

editing and graphic design abilities. She is also adept in planning, organizing, and conducting programs that contribute to the spread of historical knowledge and cultural importance to the public, evident with their participation in some historical programs of their department. Geneva was the former Deputy Chief for Cataloging of the PUP College of Social Sciences and Development Library and Learning Resource Center, and also the former Associate Editor-in- Chief of Baliktanaw, the PUP Samahan ng mga Mag-aaral ng Kasaysayan official newspaper.

Testimonial: “Working and experiencing as an intern at Intramuros Administration greatly help to further enhance my skills and knowledge especially in my research ability. Being an intern at one of the well-known institutions when it comes to heritage and history is a great achievement and honor that I’ll cherish for the rest of my academic years. This institution brings me closer to my degree course; I was able to further appreciate the value and importance of protecting the historical and cultural heritage that we have. With the help of our supervisor, Mr. Rancho Arcilla, who guide us thoroughly in each step of our project, together with my two colleagues, Ms. Patricia Mae Magaoay and Mr. Ace Carlo Oronia, we were able to create a valuable paper, making our work experience more fulfilling and attainable. This journey not just inculcates new learning and dexterity in me as an individual but also paved the way for my future on becoming someone that will contribute to heightening the historical consciousness of the Filipinos and by bringing them closer to the past.”

Patricia Mae C. Magaoay is an undergraduate student in Polytechnic University of the Philippines-Manila taking up Bachelor of Arts in History. As an avid reader and eager learner of the past, her fascination with history has brought her into the academe in pursuit of knowledge and development of her skills especially relating to the said field. Her interests include criminality and social history, architecture, culture and heritage, classical studies, and the arts. These interests shaped her forte in her outputs and papers such as Mga Hindi Patas na Pagturing sa mga Pilipinong Sundalo ng USAFFE, Bago, Habang, at Pagkatapos ng Digmaan which was presented in a Research Colloquium last 2019. She was also a Feature Editor of Baliktanaw, the official publication of the Department of History in PUP, as well as a member of the Committee of Historical and Cultural Education. Lastly, Patrice is also a Service Scholar of Unbound-ASF which allows her to take part in serving the community in various ways such as organizing webinars, donation drives, and outreach programs.

Testimonial: “Fulfilling my internship in one of the leading institutions in upholding cultural and heritage conservation is an honor and an experience I will carry with me throughout my journey. As I venture towards my career in the future, I will treasure my stay in the Intramuros Administration as an intern, no matter where I will go. Despite the current situation our country is facing because of the pandemic, these hindrances did not stop us in pursuit of knowledge and experience that helped not only us, but also beneficial for both parties. With the generous help and supervision of Mr. Rancho Arcilla, Section Head of Archives and Central Records Section, we accomplished our tasks with his valuable guidance. More importantly, I had acquired much learnings, particularly about heritage preservation and conservation of Intramuros, and for all of that I am ever grateful. Overall, being an intern in the Intramuros Administration was certainly a great help for me as an undergraduate and aspiring scholar of history with great interest in our culture and heritage.”

Ace Carlo S. Oronia is an undergraduate student of BA History at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines in Sta. Mesa, Manila. From 2019 to present, he served as a student assistant for the Institute for Human and Social Development (2019-2021) and College of Social Sciences and Development (present) both under the leadership of Dr. Raul Sebastian. As a student of the PUP Department of History, he already participated in organizing seminars,

training, workshops, conferences, and webinars inside the University. He was also elected as Executive Vice-President of PUP Samahan ng mga Mag-aaral ng Kasaysayan from 2020-2021. Last April 2019, he presented a paper titled “Ang Pagsugpo sa Paglaganap ng Venereal Diseases sa Maynila noong Ika-19 na Dantaon” at the 5th Annual National Conference on Local and Oral History. His research interests are history of public health, environmental history, social history, cultural history, and popular culture.

Testimonial: “I am pleased to be an intern of the Intramuros Administration. Although it is a bit challenging due to the health crisis we are all facing, the whole experience can be described as fun and light. Mr. Rancho Arcilla guided us very well by introducing us to the Intramuros architecture and the Intramuros Administration and helping us in our research by providing insights and sources to be used. Moreover, the final presentation scheduled next week (September 15) will help the interns in terms of building confidence and exposing them on how to talk at conferences. Overall, the internship in IA is great as it honed our research skills. We wanted to see the administration face to face when the time and situation permitted us. Thank you very much!”

Internship Mentor: Rancho Arcilla, M.A.

Learn more about the Internship Program of the Center for Intramuros Studies

Contact us: [email protected]

Interested in applying for an internship at the IA Center for Intramuros Studies? Email us your CV with cover letter via [email protected]. Address your letter to Rancho Arcilla, Coordinator, Center for Intramuros Studies, Intramuros Administration. For more information on our Internship Program go here.

Note: The opinions expressed by our interns in their papers and presentations during their internships with us do not necessarily reflect any statement, stand, or position of the Intramuros Administration or of any of its personnel. Moreover, inclusion of research papers or project proposals in the online database of the Center for Intramuros Studies or the website of the Intramuros Administration do not necessarily constitute as an endorsement.

For more information contact the Center for Intramuros Studies via [email protected]
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