Ghost stories are usually more fun in the Philippines because we have a lot of historical sites left to us by our colonizers. We are nearly surrounded by old churches, buildings, hotels and even cemeteries. These places are usually where Philippine ghost stories come from. And these stories usually starts when someone from our neighborhood would pass by an old place and say he heard,saw or felt something horrifying and then the story would spread around like a wildfire and gets passed on from one generation to another and eventually change over time.
And while the story changes it gets better with reflect to what’s happening around the society. But why can’t these stories get to the silver screen? I don’t know. Maybe because nowadays most people prefer watching mistress movies, cornball slapstick comedy or romcoms from song titles.
I really love the horror genre and I’m so happy that Christopher Ad Castillo would continue his father’s unfinished movie ‘Bahay Ng Lagim’ and will be doing a psychological horror film set in The Diplomat Hotel of Baguio City for Cinemalaya 2013. It’s the first two upcoming Filipino horror films I’ve learned about this year and I hope they’ll get commercial screenings if ever I can’t make it to Cinemalaya or a special screening. Chos.
The Diplomat Hotel is one of those famous haunted places here in the Philippines. It is located on the Dominican Hill of Baguio City and previously called such, The Diplomat Hotel was originally a vacation house in Baguio when the American authorities were encouraging people to come here. Sometime in 1915 the vacation house was opened as a school called Collegio del Santissimo Rosario but was closed after 2 years due to very small enrollment. During the WWII, The Diplomat Hotel was occupied by refugees who were later bombed out of the hotel leaving extensive damage. Reconstruction started in 1947 and 26 years later Diplomat Hotels, Inc acquired ownership and remodeled the interior into a 33 bedroom hotel. Unfortunately, in the 80’s the hotel ceased operations due to the death of one of its majority stockholders.
In an interview with Edwin P. Sallan of InterAksyon.com, Christopher Ad Castillo mentioned that as much as the film “is a psychological horror thriller, there is also an underlying social commentary that weaves its way throughout. It is how the media controls and manipulates every being and fabric of our existence. They can install a person on a throne and just as quick, yank that chair underneath.”
“It reflects on the abundance of folklore that our country has accumulated in its catalog. A story that started with the forefathers would be immensely altered by the time it reaches the young generation. The monster would be bigger, the curse would be stronger, and the evil more real, it would be used to make us go to bed when told or the evil would come after us. It always worked on me as a kid.”He added. (More of this Interview at Interkasyon)
No cast were announced but the producers are moving quickly to assemble the cast for The Diplomat Hotel. In fact, the production is still looking for actors who can play a boy and a girl, both between 9 to 11 years old, and a 22-year old punk rocker and are all able to work under Baguio’s cold weather. Email (firstname.lastname@example.org) for casting inquiries.