In this article we will be looking at the Balete Drive White Lady and the effect it has had on Philippine folklore…
Balete Drive is located in Metro Manila in the Philippines and it links Aurora Boulevard to Rodriguez Avenue.
It’s not what you’d call a fancy street – far from it really! It has very old ancestral homes and commercial buildings along it’s sides.
It’s not exactly a street that will strike fear into the hearts of men either. When I first heard about it I was expecting a Gothic looking street that had dingy old streetlamps – not the case at all!
The street is beautifully lit up with an array of modern street lamps – surely nothing sinister could go on here?
Apparently the street was not always like this. In times gone past there were long lines of Balete trees along this street (hence the name!). They sort of blocked out a lot of the natural light and made the street seem a dark and frightening place.
In Pinoy culture, balete trees, or Ficus benjamina, are regarded as home for spirits and paranormal creatures.
Parents would always try and warn kids off from hanging around near these types of trees as they believed the trees would harm the children.
Here are some of the myths that surround the Balete Trees:
- Each tree is a gateway to a fairy kingdom and children are often enticed in. Once they are in the fairy kingdom they are offered various sweet dishes of temptation. If they eat one of these dishes they become trapped inside the tree for all eternity ( pretty grim really! )
- If you talk about a Balete tree or point your finger at one in conversation then the tree will get mad. The fairies inside the tree will also get insulted and put a life long curse on you
- If you ever damage a Balete tree in any way the fairies will take revenge and kill you!
The Balete Drive White Lady
At some point in the 1950’s the Balete Drive White Lady started to appear on the street. It was quite a terrifying time for superstitious residents in the area and they started to avoid the street like the plague.
She seemed to effect local cab drivers more than anyone else – they would often feel a dark and cold presence within their cab and glimpse in their mirror to see the White Lady staring back at them!
It is thought that the reason she targets cabs is because something bad happened to her involving one.
A common thought is that she was knocked over and killed by a passing cab in a hit-and-run accident.
There is also a report of a girl being abused in the back of a cab on Balete Drive when returning home from school. She was raped inside the cab and then silently killed before her body was dumped in a ditch by the Balete trees.
Another legend surrounding the Balete Drive White Lady is that she actually used to live in one of the ancestral mansions on the road.
She had a very sheltered and miserable life at the hands of her horrible family who eventually killed her.
Her spirit still lives inside one of these homes and appears on the road to cab drivers at exactly 3 am in order to seek their help or to run away from home.
There have been reports of cab drivers being stuck in some sort of ‘loop’ at this time of night. They continuously drive down Balete Drive for hours on end with no hope of escape.
If this happens to a cab driver he is instructed to prayer as hard as possible and wear his shirt inside out to break the ghostly loop!
This legend is taken very seriously and most taxi drivers tend to avoid Balete Drive after midnight. If they have no choice but to use the street they slow down before entering and beep their horns in a plea to pass.
This apparently shows respect to the White Lady and allows a safe passage for the cab and it’s occupants.
Real or Fantasy?
There are many people who believe the White Lady was created by a local newspaper in 1953 because they were running dry on a few stories.
Because of the success of this story other newspapers joined in and the legend grew and grew.
Personally I believe that is horse s**t as I have come across many photographs and reports on this lady of the night. Do a simple search online – you will see what I mean!
If you have any thoughts or opinions on this subject please include them in the comment section below…