Meet the Terrors of the Town: A Halloween Huddle Recap

20 Nov 2023

Double, double, toil and trouble. Hear our tale of a folkloric Halloween huddle! 

From Nuno to Kapre, Diversify’s October huddle celebrated all things Filipino Folklore! Halloween huddles have consistently been one of our most anticipated huddles year-after-year. This huddle, lovingly titled “Townsfolk Terrors”, is dedicated to the cryptids and urban legends passed down to us from our parents and their parents before them.

Folktales have evolved and changed with every retelling, but it has never watered down. To this day, we see a new take on classic monsters and stories, all loved and memorised by heart.

Filipino Urban Folklore

Before we get down to it, let’s start our tale from the roots. The Philippines has a rich folkloric history that can be traced all the way back to the precolonial era. Similar to myths and legends, folktales were a way to make sense of an unfamiliar world before science was established. The lessons and warnings imbued in the story are what made folktales distinct. Fear being a classic, albeit outdated, medium for lessons.

The Mananaggal with her other half!

The folkloric elements featured in our Halloween huddle brings an air of childhood nostalgia. The classic Manananggal is a creature of the night who would pose as a regular woman. She has the ability to separate herself from the torso and sprout bat-like wings to fly. Despite her eerie sight, she taught kids not to roam around at night for fear of being chased by the flying creature. While the Nuno sa Punso (old man of the mound), dwarf-like creatures that live in anthills or termite mounds, ask you to say “tabi-tabi po” or “excuse me” before stepping on grassy areas. They taught a valuable lesson in respecting the environment. Because if you don’t…then they have quite the trick for you.

The Spooky Happenings Around the Diversify Town

Our Diversify teams outdid themselves for this year’s Halloween huddle! From site-wide decorations to fantastic storytelling at their respective bays. It felt like all Diversify buildings were transformed into one huge Halloween town.

Trick or treat, give them something good to eat!

The first thing that made the frightful festivities a delight were the trick-or-treaters! It’s been a few years since we opened our Diversify doors to trick-or-treaters, but we finally brought the tradition back. We saw cute costumes from the classic vampire to more contemporary characters like Russel, from the Disney movie Up! Regardless of their costume, the kids had a fantastic time going from bay to bay, asking for candy and doling out the Halloween spirit!

Ghostly Halloween Huddle Games 

 What’s scarier than the unknown? Our folks at The Curve challenged their teams to a game of Saling Tiktik! The title is a play on the cryptid Tiktik (a flying creature that eats foetuses straight from the mother’s womb) and “Saling Ket Ket ” which is a Filipino slang for someone who pretends to be part of the group. The challenge is to guess which of five different people drank a disgusting mystery drink – we’re talking soda and soy sauce, here. Whoever drank the gross drink has to hide their expression and fool everyone. Hey, even just hearing about what they had to drink made us grimace.

Meanwhile, our virtual Halloween huddle had a fantastic horror movie-inspired game! The Philippines is home to some of the scariest movies in cinema history. Which is why we tasked our teams to identify the horror movie based on a short clip! As classic as these movies are, it wasn’t difficult to name them. The true challenge lies in keeping our eyes open through the jumpscares!

Bringing the Urban Legends to Life!

Diversify had 3 major Halloween competitions for October that we hold annually, so brace yourselves for an abundance of creative creations. 

First up, the annual home-office transformation during our WFH huddle is always a treat to watch. This competition is only a recent addition to our huddles during the pandemic. Since then, it’s become a permanent staple to see the before and after transformations of our folks’ office space. This year’s competition is themed “Ghoulsify”, which means the challenge is to turn their spaces and themselves into a ghoulish sight! The winner of this competition decked out their desk space with creepy lights, images of classic figures of urban legends, and even turned herself into one! Congratulations to our extremely talented Ghoulsify winner, Jo Ann Velasco!

Jo Ann brought the haunting to her own house with this Ghoulsify entry!

Up next, the Creatures of the Night costume contest brought the cryptids to the huddle. We have such iconic figures across the Philippine urban legend mythos. As a result, we were eager to know who will greet us as soon as we stepped into the office.

The winning Creature of the Night from Twenty-Five Seven, Era!

Walking into the pantry felt like you were in a different world where mysterious entities and beasts roam the office floor. The Manananggal was definitely a costume staple, one of our favourites was a costume duo where one played the limbs and the other played the torso! We also had an Aswang in the mix who used red paint to give us a splash. Another favourite was the Tikbalang from Twenty-Five Seven’s Tikbalang, who made a horse head using paper – how they did it was pure creative ingenuity. You can check out the winners and their costumes over at our Diversify Facebook Page!

The Annual Design-Your-Bay Halloween Huddle Contest!

The theme of folklore and urban legends really spoke to our teams with their different versions of horror stories passed around our town. Our theme for the annual contest is “Portal Into the Folkloric”. During the huddle, we challenged our teams to transport us into a different realm – one of creatures and cryptids. To tell these stories in their own, Diversify way. 

Re-telling these stories through the Design-Your-Bay competition was truly a sight to see. Although the judging was tough, our top 3 absolutely stood out and gave us a terrifying performance. 

Dive into our Top Three Portals into the Folkloric

The Dimensyon. Taking our 3rd spot is an anthology of classic horror stories from our folks at Twenty-Five Seven’s 9th floor. The narrator, an undead nun, leads you across different paths as she recounts tales from the beyond. During their presentation, hands from the unknown (under their desks) tried to grab the judges, and limbs tethered from torsos unexpectedly ran and chased us!

Go through the Dimensyon, and see if you can stomach the scares.

Bahay ni Lola. At our 2nd spot, the Bahay ni Lola (Lola’s House) team at 1Nito Cebu evoked the feeling of stumbling into an abandoned house. Their presentation revolved around a house haunted by unearthly presence, and the visitors who entered but never returned. 

If you step into Lola’s House, do you think you can leave?

Town of Folklore Terror. Taking first place is Twenty-Five Seven’s 10th floor! They transformed their entire office floor into a town of folkloric wonder. The narrator gave us a tour through tiny tales that connected into a full tapestry of storytelling. They managed to bring terror to the town with creatures and eerie sound effects. For example, the Tikbalang, half-man/half-horse stomped across the crowd, leaving the judges in awe with bone-chilling visual effects.  

A home in the Town, terrorised by zombies!

However, they also recognised the inherent whimsy in Filipino Folklore. Before crossing a threshold, the judges were blocked by a bunch of Nuno sa Punso. The only way that we could pass through was by yelling out “Tabi-tabi po!” together as a group. Their passion didn’t just make a design, but an experience for anyone who had the pleasure to visit the Town.

What’s Next after the Halloween Huddle?

Check out our YEP Manila Recap!

Well, that’s one of our last stops before we close out 2023! We recently wrapped up our Year End Party in Manila, so stay tuned for recap on that one. Our official last stop before 2024, is the Year End Party in Cebu! We’re eager to see how our Diversify Cebu team will top their second YEP based on last years’ event. Until the next one, folks!