The Ghosts of the Manila Film Center Tragedy

The Ghosts of the Manila Film Center Tragedy

This article will be taking a look at the harrowing Manila Film Center tragedy of November the 17th, 1981, and the paranormal activity that followed the incident…


Please Call my Family…

As a man walks past the now abandoned Manila Film Center in the mid 1990’s, he notices a man shuffling towards him gingerly. Without warning, this stranger hands over a calling card and asks the man if he would please call up his family.

A strange request, but the man is intrigued to find out more – he asks why he needs him to phone his family.

The stranger tells him that he needs to relay a message – that he wants them to be informed that he is okay, and he will be free soon.

The man agrees, and phones the stranger’s family up.

When he starts explaining to the family member who he is with, and what their message is…he is suddenly stopped in his tracks. He is told that the man he is talking to died at this location…about a decade earlier…


The Manila Film Center History

The center was finally completed in 1982 and was going to be the main building used in the upcoming 1st Manila International Film Festival, which was organized by Imelda Marcos.

Marcos, the first lady of the Philippines, really liked the idea of mixing in big circles – especially internationally. She wanted her country to follow her ambitious visions…so she rushed the organization of the film center.

The Manila Film Center History
Imelda Marcos Accepting Flowers

The constructions started off pretty well…until Marcos started changing the plans and causing long delays, bypassing safety regulations in some instances.

She eventually managed to get over 4000 workers there, employed in three shifts, working 24 hours a day.

There were constant reports of these workers being ordered to cut corners…so they did…


The Manila Film Center Tragedy

Early morning, on November the 17th, 1981, and tragedy struck the construction area when a large portion of scaffolding collapsed and tipped 169 workers into quick drying cement.

Marcos and the authorities realized that this meant trouble – they had been ignoring safety measures far too frequently. Instead of sending for the emergency services…they simply closed off the area and put up a security blackout.

This blackout lasted for over nine hours in total, before the rescue services could get in. Some workers had managed to get themselves out of the cement, others had died in the fall…and some died stuck in the cement, from their injuries.

The Manila Film Center Tragedy

Marcos indicated that the area was closed off because she thought there was some form of sabotage on the construction…but many people believe she was trying to save face, and still get the building finished in time.

It is estimated that 15 of 169 workers died that day…but the building was eventually finished on time, and the film festival went ahead…


The Haunting

After the festival, the center was turned into a film archive and became quite a popular location…until an earthquake hit it in the mid 1990’s, leaving it abandoned for a decade. It was eventually reopened as a stage for a trans-gender acting and dance group.

We touched on the spirit of stranger who wants visitors to phone home…but there have been many other instances of paranormal activity recorded at the location.

Visitors frequently leave the building in distress after claiming they have heard cries and moans of distress, coming from the concrete foundations of the building. There have also been a handful of reports where witnesses have seen apparitions stuck in concrete partitions and flooring.

Many performers hate the late night rehearsals because the paranormal activity seems to escalate after dark. Many leave early after complaining about a crushing, claustrophobic feeling as they try and work.

If you have any thoughts or opinions on the paranormal activity linked to the Manila Film Center Tragedy, please leave them in the comment section below.