Balete Drive ghost stories have been around allegedly since the 1950s. The most popular is a “white lady” that haunts the long avenue and seems to target cab drivers in particular—but not exclusively. The hair-raising accounts went through the years, many claiming to have personally seen this mysterious lady. This has somewhat become part of Philippine folklore unofficially. Other ghost tales of Balete Drive include spirit kingdoms, spirit creatures, and haunted houses.
Balete Drive connects the long span between E.Rodriguez and N. Domingo Avenues in New Manila, Quezon City. It’s about 45 minutes travel from Manila via the Cubao route through Espana and E. Rodriguez Avenue. The Balete Drive corner at E. Rodriguez is a bustling business area mushroomed with fast foods and other establishments.
According to some Balete Drive ghost myths a tentacled, gargantuan Balete tree used to stand in the middle of the road. The tragedy began there. Some late night a cab driver was said to have violated a pretty girl on her way home. Since then, the ghost stories started and circulated in the metropolis. Some say the Balete Drive ghost tale was a brainchild of a news reporter who ran out of interesting stories to cover. Others say the Balete Drive ghost tales were testings for a school project on how fast and to what extent rumors would traveler.
Balete trees in Philippine folklore are said to be mysterious. They’re often a haunting place for evil spirits. Another version says they conceal mythical kingdoms unseen to the naked eye. Thus, Balete Drive is said to be a haunting spot for other spirit creatures like Philippine elves (“dwende”), smoking giants (“kapre), other monsters (“malign”), and fairies (“diwata”).
Actually, three haunted houses are said to remain in the vicinity. These are old mansions haunted by wandering spirits of their former owners. The myth is that their rich owners never bequeathed the mansions to anybody to ensure that they never fall in poor people’s hands. So they have become vacant for years, turning out to be what folks call haunted houses.
Also along Balete Drive is a 200 year old house that serves as antique shop, not for ghost stories, but Philippine heritage. It’s called “Bahay Sentenaryo” or Centennial House.
Balete Drive ghost stories are well circulated that they form part of local folklore—it was even a theme of a local movie. Its haunted house and spirit tales or myths thrill the imagination of adults, the young, and even skeptics.