Birthday party in Subic home is fright nightBy Robert Gonzaga
Inquirer Central Luzon
SUBIC BAY FREEPORT—It seems the most natural way to mark a birthday of someone born on Halloween: Bring the fright to the guests.
Rina Legaspi has been celebrating her birthday on October 31 by turning her home at Forest View Leisure Residences here into a haunted dwelling, attracting neighbors and guests dressed in costumes, and engaging in all sorts of ghoulish behavior.
Today, she will be 40 years old.
“Attending trick-or-treat events started when I was a kid living in Olongapo. I was influenced by the Americans who were then based in Subic. So I basically grew up attending Halloween parties until I reached high school,” Legaspi said.
Through the years, her birthday has spawned a tradition, with neighbors coming over for a “Fright Night” party. Guests enter the Legaspi home only through a side door and coming from a virtual graveyard where all sorts of scary creatures roam.
Those brave enough to walk through the “cemetery” are greeted by characters out of the fictional Addams Family, with Legaspi and her relatives dressed like zombies and other monsters.
Feast of fright
And if guests somehow get thirsty or hungry, there is a veritable feast awaiting them—popping eyeball muffins, “lumpong” (crippled) shanghai, earthworms spaghetti, fried double-dead chicken and finger dog.
Only when they survive the entire experience will they get the treats prepared for them at the end of the harrowing tour of the house.
Jen Velarmino, marketing director of SBPhil Development Corp., which manages Forest View at Binictican Heights, said her fellow residents had put the area on the Subic tourism map.
“Forest View has been an active residential community in the Subic Bay Freeport for four years now. This is the third year that we are observing Halloween festival and costume contest. Now our village is known as the ‘Halloween Village,’” she said.
Even guests from Metro Manila and other provinces join the event, she said. “Everybody’s thrilled and waiting for the Legaspi family’s trick-or-treat event.”
‘Plants vs Zombies’
According to Velarmino, this year’s theme is “Plants vs Zombies,” an online game that involves a homeowner using many varieties of plants to fight an army of zombies out to eat human brains.
“Beyond Halloween, the Legaspi family is actively contributing to the spirit of community in our village. Forest View is one place in Subic where residents unite in common causes to help care for the environment,” she said.
The community has its own recycling facility and hires Aeta people as environment caretakers.
“We take good care of our natural environment and as homeowners, it is important to us because our place is also home to unique bird species. That’s why bird-watching groups stay here for their activities. So every year, we plant indigenous trees, not the usual mahogany, to multiply habitat for birds,” Velarmino said.
Legaspi said what she has been doing is not for the faint of heart.
“It’s different how I celebrate [my birthday] when I was younger since my parents would not welcome the idea of having a horror-themed party. It was only when I started my own family and bore my first child, Icy, that I planned my own life and that is including celebrating my birthday the trick-or-treat way,” she said.