Interlude #3 – Something Spooky


(Music starts)

            Hello everyone! Kumusta ka? Welcome to today’s episode, and as you can probably tell from the title, it’s going to be a special episode celebrating the season. Because I can. Also I do like the holiday, even if I’m not good at being scary. Regardless, it’s still a chance to get together with friends, wear whatever you want and enjoy some free candy. It’s great.

(Music fades out and new music fades in)

            Of course, that’s one part of Halloween. The other part is the frightful: the monsters and ghouls who take this opportunity to come out into the world and dance. Or at least, this is the time of year when we stop and think of them. The implications of their stories not so much, but personal reflection is something that never comes easy.

            Setting that somewhat snarky comment aside, the Philippines has plenty of scary stories and creatures that go bump in the night, if you will. Certainly far too many to be crammed into just one episode. But there’s time for all of that later. For now, in honor of Halloween (Music cuts) how about a spooky story?

(Music fades in and gradually fades out)

            If our moms find out about this we are going to die. Seriously. They will kill us. That’s the only possible punishment for breaking literally every rule they’ve made. Well not literally every single one. Just the only ones that matter.

            We’re out long after dark, driving around alone together in a car my mom doesn’t know I borrowed. Stole, maybe. Stole, technically.

            But at least, Mark knows how to drive, though. He’s a great driver, and with him behind the wheel, for the longest time, I didn’t think we were in any danger. I don’t feel afraid when I’m with him. I trust Mark. Fully. I trust him with my life, and it doesn’t matter what my mom says.

            Or it didn’t before. It doesn’t usually. But it will when I get home.

            I glance at the clock on the dash board just as it strikes two. The bright blue light jumps out from the black interior.

(Music fades out and new music fades in)

            We’ve never been out this late. We’ve never seen the world this way. And I’m really scared. I try to look past the trees, but I can only see the ones that line the road. Everything else is a mystery.

            I turn to Mark and say, “We need to go back.”

            He had been smiling. When I said that, his face dropped. He didn’t thought this far ahead. And to be fair, neither did I. Now we were scrambling.

            “I’ll drive you home,” he says.

            “How are you going to get home?” I ask.

            He doesn’t answer.

            “You can’t walk home. Not this late. You wouldn’t make it home in time. And you can’t take the car. It has to be where my mom left it.”

            That’s our only chance. Really. It might not make a difference. Maybe Mom already knows what I’ve done or maybe she’ll figure it out using some other piece of evidence I unknowingly left lying around. But if the car isn’t out front, my chance of getting out of this is completely gone.

            Mark says nothing. His silences are hard to read, but we’ve been dating for almost a year, and I think I’m as fluent as I will ever get with this language.

            “It’s not safe,” he says.

            “Neither is being caught,” I reply.

            I only know I’ve won when he turns onto his street. With that, this argument over.

(Music fades out and new music fades in) Night Loops.

            Mark turns the headlights off as we weave through his barrio. The tire crush the road at what feels like an inconceivable volume. It only feels loud; it’s not loud. But the world has gone so quiet, in almost an unreal way. Or at least, this isn’t our world anymore, the world we’ve always known. Like this isn’t the real world anymore. And I guess by some standard, it’s a different one. One that we aren’t supposed to be seeing. And that’s the problem.

            He pulls up in front of his neighbor’s house. The neighbor that is the heaviest sleeper. (chuckles) We’ve done this before, just never this this late. In sync, we climb out of the car. It’s a burst of motion that then stops when we ease the car door shut. Mark leaves his ajar, but I don’t have that luxury. It needs to be shut now so that it can stay shut later. I give my door a gently push. (Music cut)

            And a miracle. It shuts silently. I exhale.

(New music fades in)

            Mark gestures for me to hurry. He can’t leave just yet. Not until he sees that I’m safely back in the car. And I love him for that. I wish other people could see him like this. I… I know he can be harsh and abrasive, but deep down, he’s a good guy. At least he loves me. I slip around the hood, past him and into the car. Before I shut the door, he puts his hand on my shoulder, beckoning me to wait.

            “Be safe,” he whispers. “And don’t stop for anyone. Don’t pick up anyone.”

            He kisses me check as his final, silent goodbye.


            I can drive. Technically. But in so many ways, I shouldn’t be. I struggle under the best of circumstances, but now I’m navigating the small, cramped streets of a barrio in darkness. I’m not confident that I’m going the right way. But I don’t have a choice. I can’t turn around

            Someone will see me if I turn around. The street’s too tight for that. And someone will see if I turn the headlights on. I quickly remind myself that someone will definitely see me if I get into a crash, but I guess I could just not crash. That’s always an option. Okay, that’s actually what I need to do, but it’s just going to be what I have to do. There’s, there’s no way around it, right? I just have to get home, I remind myself. I. Just. Need. To. Get. Home.


            I’m holding my breath. I don’t realize it until I turn onto the main road, and I release it. Because now, this will be the easy part. It’s just straight for a little ways, and I can do it with my headlights on. In fact, I need to do it with my headlights on. There shouldn’t be any tricycles out this late, but you never know for sure. Maybe a driver struck a deal with someone who did have a reason to be out this late. Tricycles can be hard to be seen even in the light. They’re so natural here that they just blend into the lines of the rest of the world, as to be unseen by my untrained eye.

            No, I tell myself, I need my lights.

            So I turn then on. (Music fades out and new music fades in) and that’s when I see her: this tall, slender woman walking down the street. Which—in and of itself—is an odd sight for this time of night, but it wasn’t impossible. It was… to put it politely.

            But what was odd was her attire. It was unlike what you would expect for a woman walking out this late. She was dressed in an all white and immaculately clean long dress. Her long hair fell neatly down her back. And honestly, while I couldn’t be sure, she looked like she was just about my age. Then again, I didn’t have the best angle. The most telling is a person’s face, and hers was turned away from me. But she wasn’t that old. She wasn’t like my Inay. She… She was just like me. Or close enough.


            I should stop. I need to stop. Clearly she needs a ride somewhere or someplace safer than the open road. Inay always did say that the streets at night were no place for a young woman. But that’s part of my problem. I’m a young woman on the streets alone at night, where my mother doesn’t want me to be.

            My breath catches, and my heart pounds as I am seemingly torn apart. I need to help her. God would hold me accountable for not helping her. I would hold myself accountable for not helping her. But on the other hand of that selfish coin, I am afraid. Only for my own sake. And despite how not great that reason it, that seems to be the only thing that matters. I know I should stop. I know I have to stop, but I can’t bring myself to do it. My heart is pounding far too strongly in my chest. My throat feels too tight. I… I…

            I slow down the car. To give me a chance to think. To delay the moment when I have to decide if I’m going to pick her up or just drive past. I hear the tires push into the road but not her footsteps as I watch her go. I watch her carefully at first. The headlights of my car shine out on the street in front of her, and even though she must seem them, she doesn’t react. She certainly doesn’t turn to frantically wave me down. So does she not want a ride then? Maybe her destination isn’t that far away after all. Maybe she doesn’t need a ride.

            Or maybe she’s scared of who the driver is. That’s how I would be.

            And just like that, I’m trying to put myself in her position, and even though I know that I’d hope a solo woman driving would stop for me I decide against it.

            With a sharp breath, I close my eyes—confidently that I can slowly roll down a straight street without my vision. It’s still not wise. But I don’t want to see her. I’m ashamed of what I’m about to do just to sneak home and not face punishment for my many other sins. Like I deserve to (sigh) I don’t like the person I’m becoming. And I’ll, I’ll change. I’ll be better next time. I won’t sneak out anymore. Or at least, I won’t take the car or come home so late. Or…

(Music fades out and new music fades in)

            I feel the rush of cold night air first. And then the sound of the door opening registers in my mind. So I hadn’t shut the car door properly before. That raises so many other problems. Because when can I close that door properly? Never. And Mom always checks the car doors when we come home, so she’ll know for sure they had been locked. I really didn’t think this through. I’m dead no matter what.

            And… And I could have helped the girl.

            I open my eyes and glance towards the passenger door, but it’s shut. Completely. And the breeze has stopped. Confused, I glance up towards the rearview mirror.

            And there she is. The woman from the rode, looking down with her hair shielding her face. She had clearly just jumped into the backseat, but why? And how? Was I going that slow? It didn’t feel like it. Maybe she was just quick. And desperate. Probably desperate. My heart clenches. I should have just pulled over. My bed has been made for a few hours yet. I need to just lie in it.

            And so I ask her. “Is there some place I can take you?”

            She says nothing.

            I ask again.

            This time, She turns her face upwards. (Music cuts) And that the last thing I remember—will ever remember—is the sight of a woman’s face marred and caked with her blood pouring from her eyes and the sound of my tires swerving before everything went black.

(New music fades in)

            As a concept The While Lady is a global phenomenon, particularly in rural areas. As an entity, she is typically a woman dressed in all white who wanders an area, and she stands as the manifestation of feminine grief and purity before death. You see, usually, she’s either lost a husband or child and through this loss has been bound to the earth. The purity typically denotes that she herself was merely the victim of the crime or spurned by a lover rather than being the perpetrator of some grand revenge.

            In the Philippines, the White Lady is a pretty popular figure amongst parents and cab drivers. For different reasons, obviously. Her myth is told to children as a sort of boogie man one specifically for deterring the children from being out on the streets at night, and cab drivers tell her tale as a warning to other drivers as well as bonding over a shared canon of occupational stories.


            Basically, there’s two version of what happened to the While Lady that made her into the White Lady. In both she starts out as a typical woman, just a young woman, tyring to live her life. She’s not evil, she’s not bad, she just is normal. One account has her being a victim of the Japanese occupation during the Second World War. She was viciously attacked by soldiers, and not realizing or not wanting to accept that she died in such a vicious way, she is left wandering the streets in search of a ride home. In some versions of the story, she just got into a bad car accident. But same thing, not realizing or accepting that she has gone, she is still trying to get home.

            Regardless of how she got to be the White Lady, she’ll either hail down a cab or climb into a car for a ride, but she won’t tell you where she’s going. She enters the car silently. Often times she appears without announcement, without anything to tell you she has come. You just glance into the review mirror to see her bruised and bloodied face staring back at you, and in shock and terror, you crash the car.

            See, she’s not a vicious spirit. Your reaction is what quite literally what kills you. And there’s something poetic about that. The world is full of horrors and misfortunes, but your fear and need to escape from them is truly what gets you in the end.

            As for a direct source. There isn’t a clear one, obviously. This is a global phenomenon, with countless communities coming up with their own version of the apparition. And in some ways, that’s truth of the various White Ladies of the Philippines.

            The most cynical would say that this was a manufactured tale in the 1950s. That theory is out there. To what end was this story manufactured? To give a reporter of someone of the sort attention. Or it’s an organic marriage of many of the other local version of this tale. Which made it particularly fitting for a show like this one.

(Music fades out and new music fades in)

This has been a production of Miscellany Media Studios. Thanks for listening! If you like what you heard, consider subscribing, we’re on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Player FM, and other players. Find us and transcripts at or on Twitter @miscellanymedia for updates on current and future projects, including Night and Ink. Do you want to maximize your productivity? Do you want to create all the things while balancing your day job and personal wellbeing? Let us sort through the advice found across multiple dimensions and bring you the best and the worst, if it’s funny.