MANILA, Philippines - So let’s say you just watched the latest episode of The Walking Dead. Or maybe you’ve read Max Brooks’ “World War Z” and wondered what would happen if zombies did rise from the grave at the Manila North and South Cemeteries and start snacking on brains. Will we ever survive?
The answer to that is a resounding yes. Not only is it a resoundingly bad idea for zombies to start shuffling out of their graves, it would be doubly bad if they start doing it in the Philippines. And that doesn’t just cover your hardworking, Haitian voodoo zombie but all zombies: the George Romero/Robert Kirkman walkers, the Danny Boyle/Zack Snyder sprinters and even those supernatural wall-climbing zombies from the Spanish “Rec” movies.
Here are 6 reasons why the walking dead will be seeing red if they show up in Manila:
1. The environment
Here’s a geography lesson all Filipino kids learn in grade school: The Philippines isn’t made up of one huge landmass - it’s an archipelago composed of 7,107 islands, less during high tide. In other words, Dr. Zomboss and his zombie bobsled team are going to do a lot of swimming if they hope to get their fill of brain food every day. Did I mention we also have lethal marine life in them waters?
They also might like to check the seasons. Summer in the Philippines can get really, really hot, which speeds up decomposition. (This is the reason why you don’t leave food out of the fridge during summer.)
So it doesn’t really matter if the undead are shuffling or doing the two-step, their (undead) lifespan will be even less than 28 days.
Then there’s the rainy season. The Philippines averages about 20 storms a year and that doesn’t include those “habagat” rains that come out of nowhere and flood everything. Floods won’t kill them but it’ll blow a lot of them out to sea. And nobody gets to walk or run very fast when you’re walking through flooded España. So even before a single Pinoy goes postal on the undead, we’re already ticking off how many of them are turning into fish food.
2. Social media
Quick show of hands: who here thought Twitter was extremely useful during the habagat floods last August? Social media proved a lifesaver last August after the hashtag #rescueph allowed Filipinos on the Web to pool together all reports of people who needed rescue or assistance. In that instance, social media became a tool that harnessed a million eyes and hands to tell government where the were needed. It was a crowdsourcing effort that literally saved lives during a disaster.
Now put that real world effort into the imaginary disaster of a zombie apocalypse and the results are the same. Somebody puts up a hashtag, like #zombieph, to report possible zombie sightings - like a zombie on a balloon for instance. They post an Instagram, the MMDA or maybe Jim Paredes get alerted and they report it to the police or the Armed Forces. The fuzz sends troops or a chopper, verify the attack and bang-bang, zombie guy gets a second send-off. Hashtags save the day!
Let’s say the environment and social media isn’t enough to repel the zombie horde. Let’s say more people are getting turned every day after the zombie virus spreads like leptospirosis after the flood. And let’s say you hear they’re already at the next barangay. What to do then?
Here’s what you do: you get a few supplies, take your trusty gulok or samurai sword off the shelf; and then bike, hitch-hike or drive your way to EDSA. There you will see like-minded individuals also making a last stand, like the Alamo. EDSA always brings out the inner Bonifacio in all of us. When those zombies try to attack, they will find out – nobody messes with the Lady.
4. The Church
This one’s for a pesky type of zombie that I’ve only seen in the Jaime Balaguero Rec movies. We’re talking about wall-crawling, ultra-fast zombies that sometimes get a little talky. (That’s just cheating by the way because they’re supposed to be dead.) Anyway, these zombies are supposed to be possessed as well as undead so they’re a little harder to kill. But they do have a weakness and that is the Church. Prayer, rosaries, holy water, crucifixes, chapels – why would a Rec zombie even try to invade Manila when you’re packing that kind of artillery? You spot a Rec zombie and you’ll be on it like Bogart the Explorer or Ramon Bautista killing an aswang.
5. Our own monsters
Here’s my problem with zombies – they’re so foreign. Haitian zombies come from Haiti. Football zombies come from the US. Bringing a real live zombie to Manila is like bringing a different type of mango to Guimaras: it just isn’t allowed. It’s an invasion of a different type of species when we like our own mangoes, thank you very much.
So when these foreign-sounding zombie hordes come knocking, who do you think is going to get mad? The home team, that’s who. I’m talking about the tiktik, the aswang, the tikbalang, the kapre, the tiyanak, the manananggal, the dwende and the rest of their ilk. When the zombies come, don’t be surprised when these guys start popping out like the Riders of Rohan or the Justice League Undead Pinoy edition and put a beatdown on the visiting team. You can even sit back and place bets on who wins.
6. Last but not least is everybody’s favorite: the dancing zombie.
He slips and slides, he’s got a hit record and he’s got backup dancers too!
What do Filipinos do with dancing zombies? Simple. We put them in jail.