MANILA – Do you believe in the "Ghost Month"?
There is a Chinese belief that one should watch out for bad luck during August, the so-called "ghost month." Based on the 2014 Chinese lunar calendar, "ghost month" this year began July 27 and will end on August 24.
During this period, people are advised not to get married, not to make important decisions about work and businesses, as well as avoid visiting the sick or go to wakes and funerals.
It is believed that the "gates of hell" open during this period, allowing spirits and ghosts to wreak havoc in the world of the living.
Indeed, some of the country's biggest tragedies happened, more or less, during the "Ghost Month," particularly in recent years.
Perhaps novelist Dan Brown was right when he described Manila as the "gates of hell."
Here's a short list of tragedies that happened in August:
1. August 1, 1944: Death of Manuel L. Quezon
The first president of the Philippine Commonwealth Manuel L. Quezon died of tuberculosis on August 1, 1944. His body was buried in Virginia but was later brought to the Philippines and moved to the Quezon Memorial Circle monument in 1979.
2. Aug 21, 1971 – Plaza Miranda bombing
During the Liberal Party’s campaign rally for the mayoralty race in Manila in 1971, hand grenades were reported to have been tossed on stage, causing nine deaths and around 90 injuries involving innocent civilians. The rally was attended by about 4,000 people. Among the injured were senators, including Jovito Salonga, Eddie Ilarde and Eva Estrada-Kalaw, as well as other politicians supporting mayoral candidate Ramon Bagatsing.
3. Aug. 21, 1983 – Assassination of Ninoy Aquino
Upon landing at the then-Manila International Airport after a three-year exile at the United States, former senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. was shot in the head and declared dead that Sunday. Until now, only speculations surround the incident as to who were the real perpetrators for the assassination.
4. Aug 1, 2009 – Death of Corazon Aquino
Former president Corazon Aquino died of colon cancer on August 1, 2009. Aquino played an important part of the country’s history for leading the “People Power” revolution in 1986 and served as the nation’s president from 1986 until 1992.
5. Aug, 23, 2010 – Hostage-taking incident
A tourist bus carrying Hong Kong and Filipino nationals was hijacked by Philippine National Police officer Rolando Mendoza in Rizal Park Manila on Aug. 23, 2010. The incident was broadcast live as officers tried to negotiate with Mendoza to hold fire. The hostage crisis ended the evening of that same day resulting in nine deaths, including the hostage-taker himself.
6. Aug 6-8, 2012 – Habagat
The southwest monsoon, or “habagat,” that hit the country on August 2012 left 94 dead and 3.4 million people affected by the heavy rains and floods. About 40 cities and municipalities all over the country were put under state of calamity.
7. Aug. 16, 2013 - Sinking of MV St. Thomas Aquinas
The passenger ferry operated by 2GO collided with the cargo ship named MV Sulpicio Express Siete off the coast of Talisay City, Cebu and sank. Hundreds of passengers had to jump into the water as the ship began to sink 10 minutes after the collision. At least 75 died as a result of the accident.
8. Aug. 17-21, 2013 – Habagat
Considered worse than the destructive Typhoon Ondoy, the southwest monsoon reminiscent of the one that hit the year before brought a record 600 millimeters of rainfall. By comparison, Ondoy dumped 455 mm of rain, while rainfall during the 2012 habagat was recorded at 472 mm. The habagat of 2013 brought about heavy flooding in Metro Manila and other parts of the country.