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8 ‘Mysteries’: Philippine beliefs, urban legends you may want to read about

There are just so many mysterious things in the world that needs attention and further investigation. Some may consider such topics as folklore, while others strongly stand by their belief — with or without the involvement of science. In the Philippines alone, a drone can be mistaken for a UFO, a huge bat can be perceived as a vampire, and crocodiles can be elected in the government, and someone who doesn’t go to church as a “worshipper of Satan”.

While we have a long list of mysteries to share, we picked the 8 most interesting ones with supporting links:

1.The divinity of Jose Rizal

Unknown to many, there is a Rizalista cult in the Philippines. Just like how Catholics believe in the Holy Trinity, this religious movement believe in the national hero’s divinity. Albeit history books saying he has been shot to death in 1896, Rizalistas believe that Jose Rizal is still mysteriously alive and will be returning to deliver his followers from oppression at an unknown time.

P.S. I used this for a research in High School and can’t seem to find my book references anymore. If I remember correctly, it was briefly mentioned in Ambeth Ocampo’s Rizal Without The Overcoat, but you can also read about the group here and in Inquirer’s 2015 feature here.

2. Romblon Triangle: “The Devil’s Triangle”

(Map image from Google Maps)

Move over, Bermuda Triangle! The Philippines is also believed to have a “devil’s triangle” of its own, claiming thousands of lives in the past decades. The Romblon Triangle is bounded by the Sibale Island, Tablas Straight, and Sibuyan Sea – creating a triangular shape. Numerous ships sunk or vanished in this area, including the Doña Paz with 4,000 passengers onboard due to different reasons. It’s rumored to be haunted by a “ghost ship” owned by a person named “Lolo Amang” which shows itself to ships that are about to meet its doom, but coastguards say accidents are just due to the riptides. We’ll never know unless someone checks.

3. Mount San Cristobal: “Devil’s Mountain”

Seems like we have a lot of devils in the Philippines, huh? If Mount Banahaw is believed to be the “Holy Mountain”, Mount San Cristobal in the boundary of Laguna and Quezon is rumored to be the “Devil’s Mountain”. People say that creatures would create false paths, causing hikers to lose their way, even as much as taking a human sacrifice each year. We’ve seen stories on social media and blog sites about people who allegedly went missing, but even without official reports published about these, such stories remain to be a popular among hikers.

4. Growing statue of Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria

Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria (Image from Iloilo.net.ph)

After being blessed/”canonically crowned” by Pope John Paul II (now St. John Paul II) in 1981, Jaro’s Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria (Our Lady of the Candles) allegedly started to “miraculously” grow in size. Interviews with residents of Iloilo City also show that people do believe that the unexplained phenomenon surrounding the icon is a sign that families in the district are protected from harm and natural disasters. In fact, there is also a rumor that the icon would disappear from time to time! Filipinos continue to flock to Iloilo during the Jaro Fiesta to gaze upon this growing icon.

5. Ghosts of the Manila Film Center

A popular topic within the Metro! It was during the Manila Film Center’s construction in 1981 when some workers got trapped, hurt, and buried alive in quick-drying cement when a scaffolding collapsed as they were laboriously trying to meet the construction’s deadline. It was said that preparations for the film festival were prioritized over people’s lives, so it was business as usual even after the horrifying incident. People believe that the souls are still trapped within its walls up to this day – haunting visitors and asking for help.

I can still remember how my sister and I would dare each other to run around the building during our morning jogs! We haven’t seen ghosts yet, but there’s something eerie about that building.

6. Flesh-hungry Aswang

(Image from ‘Aswang: A Journey into Myth’ by The Aswang Project on YouTube)

Anyone who grew up in the Philippines would know the aswang – a type of monster in the Philippines known for either eating babies or strangers who walk alone at night. It’s something that parents would use to scare their children when they’re being too naughty, but its origins remain to be unknown. Some say that the family of aswangs came from the land of Siquijor, others say it’s the CIA’s tactic against the Hukbalahap in the 50s, others believe they’re spawns of the devil. Either way, Filipinos will believe what they want to believe at the end.

7. The Manananggal

(Image from ABS-CBN’s ‘Da Adventures of Pedro Penduko’ series)

Not to be confused with the aswang, the manananggal has a distinct feature – this creature’s upper body detaches from the lower half at night as it flies around in search for its prey. Aside from alleged sightings in the Metro, a popular case I know of is the one in 1992 which has reached the attention of both local and foreign news agencies like the Associated Press. This specific case where a woman was allegedly attacked by a manananggal in Tondo happened during election period. Is it a diversionary tactic related to politics, something from people’s imaginations, or are they really out there flying at night? Guess we’ll never know, but believe it or not, some people have already used the manananaggal as a reason for murder.

8. Mass Testing

(“Mass testing” is so rare that we can’t even find an image/video to represent it)

When did the first wave end if the DOH secretary is saying that we’re on the second wave of the pandemic? Are we already experiencing mass testing or targeted testing for the high and mighty? A group of fanatics in the Philippines believe that this isn’t necessary to combat a pandemic, causing more turmoil in the country. In fact, this thing called “mass testing” only ended up testing the patience of many Filipinos for more than two months. Mind-boggling, right? We have so many questions but only fanatics can explain this mysterious creature that people are still hunting down as of this writing.

Have other things you want to add to the list? Comment below or send us a message via Manila Millennial ‘s FacebookTwitter, or Instagram page. Stay safe, everyone!

Note: Topics may or may not be fictional. 

Some can be explained by science but we all know that science will always lose against a close-minded person. Have a nice day. 🙂

9 Replies to “8 ‘Mysteries’: Philippine beliefs, urban legends you may want to read about”

  1. Minsan natatakot nako maniwala sa DOH Ms.Ces kasi sila din nagkakamali sa statements nila. Like now, 2nd wave na. Which is 1st wave lang pala talaga ang Philippines. Nag cause ng panic ang statement nilang to ,yun pala 1st wave pa lang, ngayon nag sorry sila sa pagkakamali nila.

  2. Mahal daw po kasi ang pang-test, hehe, nabasa ko sa isnag blog na umaabot ng 7k ang isang kit. Sa rapid test naman, 700-1500. Kaya siguro di nagpapa-mass testing ng bongga, hehe. Pero di kaya yang amount na yan ng masang Pilipino, one month budget na namin ang 7k!

  3. Correction. Pope St. John Paul II Canonically Crowned the image of Nuestra Señora de Candelaria in 1981 during his week-long visit to the Philippines.

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