I almost lost you… Dahil gago ako at duwag… Natakot akong mahalin ka…
Rico Yan (as Lorenz) from the movie "Got 2 Believe (2002)"
Rico Yan was one of the most famous celebrities of his generation, and so the whole nation has deeply mourned on the passing of this young actor who was then only 27 years old. Rico Yan’s body was then brought to Camp Crame in Manila for an autopsy. According to police reports, Rico Yan died of cardiac arrest caused by hemorrhagic pancreatitis (known locally as “bangungot”).
“I’d like to inform the public that the death of Rico Yan was of natural cause. According to doctors, it is an acute hemorrhagic pancreatitis resulting in cardiac arrest. In short, he died in his sleep,”
~~ National Capital Region Police Office chief Director Edgar Aglipay, Yan’s uncle.
What Is Bangungot?
In medical terms, bangungot goes by many names. It can be called acute hemorrhagic pancreatitis, sudden arrhythmic death syndrome or sudden adult death syndrome, and sudden unexpected nocturnal syndrome. Despite the rapid advancement of modern technology, no concrete explanation or cure has been found to solve the mysterious death caused by bangungot.
In a study, Dr. Alvin Majoska (a forensic pathologist) and Erle Stanley Gardner (a book author) have investigated together the strange deaths by nightmare in Honolulu, Hawaii. According to Gardner, they were not able to identify the cause in these series of deaths. The autopsy concluded that there wasn’t any sign of poison and that the vital organs were normal. The victims simply died in their sleep. The shocking revelation is that the unexplainable deaths only happened to young Filipino men at their prime and the night before, they would be heard moaning.
According to an article from the International Journal of Epidemiology dating 1998, the cases of bangungot recorded in Manila in the years 1948-1982 were predominantly male, with the average age of 33 years old, and the average time of death was at 3:00 AM.
From the medical point of view, in order to avoid bangungot, a person should avoid sleeping immediately after eating a heavy meal, especially when combined with alcoholic drinks. Also, having enough sleep (at least 8 hours) is recommended.
The only way to escape the batibat’s spell is for another person to bite the victim’s toe or force the victim to wake up by shaking its legs.
Cruz, V. (2013, October 31). The batibat, the numputol, and other Pinoy creatures that go bump in the night. Retrieved from
Lo, R. (2002, March 31). ‘Bangungot’ kills Rico Yan; Claudine still in shock. Retrieved from https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2002/03/31/155539/145bangungot146-kills-rico-yan- claudine-still-shock
Munger, R.G. and Booton, E.A. ( 1998). Bangungut in Manila: sudden and unexplained death in sleep of adult Filipinos. International Journal of Epidemiology, 27, 677-684. (PDF)