Right in time for Halloween, I went on a ghost hunting trip with Lissa plus ten other people hosted by Ford! We got to tour three haunted places in Manila using the all-new Ford Focus—while learning safety tips to overcome the unique challenges of night-time driving. Most drivers don’t stop to think about how much more difficult night driving is compared to when the sun is up. Anyway, here are some photos from the trip! Happy Halloween!

First stop—Manila Film Center. Legend has it that hundreds of workers were buried alive in here after the upper floor collapsed in 1981! 

The construction was rushed to make it in time for the 1982 Manila International Film Festival. It is said that only a few workers were saved and Former First Lady Imelda Marcos ordered cement to be poured over the bodies to meet her deadline! 

Some of the workers were buried alive in the orchestra. Various ghostly activities were reported on the site including mysterious sounds, voices and poltergeist activity.

Night Driving Tip #1: Before hitting the road, check that all exterior lights work properly and ensure windows and headlights are clean. Dirty windows can add to glare and impair vision, while dirty headlights can greatly reduce efficiency –- as much as 90%.

Next on the list was Manila City Hall. According to the employees, when the clock strikes 6 in the evening, you’d better leave Manila City Hall because you will hear whispers, footsteps and a lot of strange, creepy noises. 

Since it’s the city hall of one of the most bombarded cities in the Philippines during World War II, the people who work there are not surprised that paranormal beings roam the halls. 

Creepy Fact: Manila City Hall is shaped like a coffin with a cross on it when you view it from the top! The structure was rebuilt after the bombing during World War II, the architect deliberately designed it that way to serve as a symbolic coffin for all those who died there. 

Night Driving Tip #2: Use your lights courteously. Don’t flash your high beams at a vehicle with its high beams on, as this will only increase the chance that the other driver won’t be able to see. When following another vehicle, use your low beams to avoid blinding the driver ahead of you.

Night Driving Tip #3: If an oncoming vehicle doesn’t lower beams from high to low, avoid being blinded by diverting your gaze down to the side, using the lane marker or painted median strip as a guide.

Next stop—The ruins of St. Ignatius Church. Destroyed during the Battle of Manila back in 1945, the ruins of the church stand as a horrific memorial to over 60,000 people that died during the liberation of Manila at the end of World War II.

Before that, it was almost burned down when a fire razed Ateneo buildings in 1932. Only the church and the nearby Mission House were saved. 

Night Driving Tip #4: Reduce your speed and increase your following distance. It’s more difficult to judge the speed and distance of other vehicles at night.

Night Driving Tip #5:  If possible, have someone in the car with you. They can help you stay awake with conversation and share driving or look-out duties. Statistics show that lone drivers are more likely to be in accidents and fatal crashes.

Our last stop—The Legarda Mansion. The house was built in 1937 and is now a venue where clients can experience a turn of the century home cooked Filipino meal served in the style of the late 19th century Philippines.

It was one of the first “art deco” houses built in Manila. Dr. Alejandro Roces Legarda and his wife Ramona raised for children (all doctors) under this roof.

The house was occupied at various times by three generations of the Alejandro Legarda clan. It is still used by his children and grandchildren today. 

An OB Gynecologist by profession, Dr. Alejandro Legarda received his patients at his clinic at the ground floor of the Legarda house. Today his x-ray machine and other medical tools still stand. 

The mansion is not haunted (or so I’d like to think) but this part of the house creeps me out! 

A ballerina’s dressing room—which belongs to Dr. Legarda’s two daughters. 

Night Driving Tip #6: Avoid using your vehicle’s interior light while driving. It makes it even harder to see outside of your car. 

Night Driving Tip #7: Prevent fatigue by ensuring good ventilation inside the vehicle and taking frequent breaks to give your eyes a chance to recover from the strain. If feeling tired, take a short nap or brisk walk, or have some caffeine to help you stay alert.

Night Driving Tip #8: Use technology wisely. Trying to operate a cellphone whole driving, especially at night can be an accident-inducing distraction, but a phone can be critical in case you get lost or need to call for help. To take advantage of the benefits without dangers, use a hands-free device or integrated system that is equipped with voice control to help you make calls. 

Night Driving Tip #9: Never drink and drive! Not only does alcohol severely impair your motor skills, it also acts as a depressant. Just one drink can induce fatigue!

Dona Ramona (Tita Moning) excelled in throwing unforgettable dinners. The mansion/restaurant opens by reservation only. No walk-ins are entertained. 

The most significant feature of the dining room, aside from the meal being served is the collection of blue Meissen plates hanging on the wall. Each plate is hand-painted and lined with gold. Each time the Meissen plates were used, the servants were not allowed to touch them! 

Got to drive the all-new Ford Focus! It certainly made driving much more easier and safer! My favorite features are the Active City Stop (helps you avoid a collision—if the system detects the car in front has stopped unexpectedly, it automatically applies the brakes) and the Active Park Assist (helps you parallel park with the touch of a button and without ever touching the steering wheel).

And that wraps up my ghost hunting trip! Ford always puts safety in the forefront. The all-new Ford Focus offers a comprehensive suite of advanced active safety technologies to help drivers maintain safe control of the vehicle and avoid collision situations, which is especially essential for accident-prone night time drivers. Happy Halloween!

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