Scariest places in Cagayan de Oro? Oh, that’s easy. All you need to do is go to the neighborhood of Yacapin and Burgos Streets or in Barangay Iponan and observe the zombie-like drug addicts sitting around. You can level up the scare by looking for local drug lords.
Oh, you mean scariest as in “Halloween scary?” Well, Cagayan de Oro has always had its share of scariest places coupled with ghost stories. If you still have grandparents, try asking them and they’ll regale you with their stories from their generation. We’ll bet even you parents have heard their generation’s versions. And if you’re the type to sharing a drink or two with friends or cousins around a quiet table at night, we’re sure you’ve heard your fair share.
Former Hall of Justice along Archbishop Hayes Street
The former Hall of Justice was built over the old public cemetery. When the city government decided to relocate the old City Public Cemetery to Bolonsiri Public Cemetery in Camaman-an, of course, people were given time to transfer remains (bones) of buried relatives to Bolonsiri. Others had them transferred to the new private memorial parks. However, some people claim that there are still “unclaimed” bones that remained at the old cemetery and these are the ones that haunt the buildings. Many horror stories would come from security guards or those doing overtime work through the years. However, in January 2015, a fire completely destroyed the Hall of Justice and the buildings were abandoned. In spite of this, horror stories continued even through the black and fire-gutted buildings with weird or unexplained occurrences at night such as the sound of someone encoding on a computer, sounds of people talking, a vision of someone ahead, footsteps, and crying.
Hayes Street beside Xavier University
The portion of Hayes Street beside Xavier University between Corrales Avenue and the former Hall of Justice is rife with stories of white ladies or strange gentlemen hailing rides from, first, the horse-drawn carriages back in olden times, up to the time the motorela made an appearance in the city. This is probably because the right side of this portion of the street used to be where the old City Public Cemetery used to be before it relocated. If you observe closely, some people actually walk fast when crossing this portion of Hayes Street.
Cosmopolitan Funeral Homes along Capistrano Street
Though this one could be termed as a no-brainer, many employees and morticians working or formerly working at the old Cosmopolitan, as well as many old timers, always had their fair share of some ghost stories. But even in the newly renovated Cosmopolitan, many will still attest to hearing sounds of sobbing and crying even when there’s no wake. To add to the creepiness, you hear them inside the comfort room. It’s funny that you seldom hear ghost stories from the three other funeral homes in the city.
The ghosts of Sendong all over the city
After tropical storm Sendong hit Cagayan de Oro with the biggest flash flood in its known modern history in December 2011, it left some 1,268 persons from the city killed or missing. 5 years after the tragedy, people all over the city insist that they still see – or hear – stories of the “ghosts of Sendong” walking around. Common places where these ghost sightings at night occur are usually at the Rodelsa Circle, Tibasak in Macasandig, along the Cagayan River banks on the Burgos Street and City Hall side, and lower Balulang. This is logical probably because these were the areas were the most deaths occurred during the flash floods. The most common stories told by motorela drivers, taxi drivers, and “habal-habal” drivers is getting flagged down in the middle of the night by “persons in dirty or muddy clothes” only to suddenly disappear. Some neighbors in these places swear that on the nights of the Sendong anniversary they would hear people crying and sobbing.
There may be 4 universities now in the city, but the old Ateneo de Cagayan founded in 1933 holds the distinction of being the so-called scariest university with its countless ghost stories. The earliest stories of such to be told started in the 1950’s and 60’s since the old Ateneo became the barracks and battalion headquarters of the Japanese Imperial Forces occupying the city. Because some of the rooms became makeshift prisons or torture chambers, many Cagayanons died at the hands of the Japanese. More Japanese died during the USAAF bombings of the school. People swore at hearing screaming, sobbing, or cries for help, sometimes in the vernacular and some in Nippongo. By the 1980’s and 90’s, more horror stories were told of seeing white ladies or dark figures at comfort room near the clinic before this was renovated, as well as similar stories from the female toilets and locker room near the president’s office, since then also renovated. There were also stories about the ghosts at the old Science Center. A few stories were also told about the ghosts in the old wooden gymnasium which has since been torn down. Today, when Gen-Y students are asked about ghosts in the university, the stories seem to have shifted to the Engineering Building at the old ROTC offices and at the Chapel. The ghosts must have moved shop after the renovations.
The building at the corner of J.R. Borja and Capt. V. Roa Streets in Cogon Market
In the mid-1980’s, Southern Philippines College (SPC) – at that time called Southern de Oro Philippines College – had a school annex at an old building in Cogon Market at the corner of J.R. Borja and Capt. V. Roa Streets in Cogon market for evening secondary and tertiary classes. After a few years, however, the annex was closed. The reason was because class attendance was falling almost to near zero due to actual and real ghost sightings inside the annex. Everything from doors opening and closing, water faucets turning on by themselves, flying books, screaming and crying, actual spiritual sightings, and even whole classes hearing crying and sobbing sounds were being experienced on a regular basis by almost all students, teachers, and employees. At one point, almost a whole class became possessed by spirits and had to be exorcised. However, even after the SPC annex was closed, the old building torn down and replaced, many still swear to ghost sightings in the new building.