In the Philippines, there are many urban legends that are still popular and even other people will be surprised upon knowing that what they believe as real were actually not true. For example, many Filipinos still believe that Agapito Flores is the one who invented the fluorescent lamp. According to the story, Agapito Flores sold his idea about fluorescent to foreigners because he doesn’t have enough money to continue on his invention. It is said the word fluorescent derives from his last name Flores, as a way of thanking him for his discovery.
While according to some research, fluorescent lamp is a product of 79 years of development of the lightning method that began with the invention of the electric bulb by Thomas Edison. The term fluorescence first cropped up as early as 1852 when English mathematician-physicist George Gabriel Stokes discovered a luminous material called "fluorspar", which he coined with "essence". The National Academy of Science and Technology also dismissed Flores being the inventor of fluorescent lamp as a myth. There are also other inventors who claimed credits for developing fluorescent lamp such as French physicist A. E. Becquerel (1867), Nikola Tesla, Albert Hall (1927), Mark Winsor and Edmund Germer.
Aside from the fluorescent lamp inventor, we also have different urban legends and creepy stories that we believe are true. So let’s now talk about the Ten Famous Urban Legends in the Philippines.
Number 10. There were people in Cabanatuan that have been secretly marked with 666.
Cabanatuan is a city in the province of Nueva Ecija with a total population of 272,676 (as of 2010). The city is very popular for being the home of more than 30,000 tricycles. With this, Cabanatuan is dubbed as the “Tricycle Capital of the Philippines”. In addition, it has earned the moniker “Gateway to the North”.
Years ago, stories began to circulate (through text messages and mouth-to-mouth) that there were residents in Cabanatuan that were secretly marked with 666. Of course when other people heard about it, they really freaked out. According to the story that some of them agree to marked 666 because they will receive P50,000 monthly. Well, that’s really a huge amount of money.
But this story remains as story with no proof. There was no news about it or reliable source of information that will prove it to be true. As I research online, I only found blogs and facebook posts about it but no credible sources. If we examined the sources of this story (blogs and posts on social media), no one claim it to be true and this story began to circulate through text messages with no direct source of information.
Number 9. Tiniente Gimo; The first Aswang in the Philippines
This is actually a very popular legend which has been passed from generations to generations and even featured in program such as Kapuso Mo Jessica Soho. Teniente Gimo is a real-life lieutenant during the Spanish era in the Philippines. Gimo was known to be first aswang in the country and originated in Dueñas, Iloilo, Philippines.
There were many versions of the story. And the famous version was that Teniente Gimo had a daughter named Maria. Maria invited her two friends to their house. There were many foods served during their dinner as if there was a celebration. After eating, Maria and her friends decided to sleep. But before Maria and her friends sleep, they swapped personal belongings. Maria borrowed a necklace from one of her friend and wears it then go to sleep.
That night Gimo was targeting Maria’s friend who was wearing the necklace. Gimo checked the bedroom and hit the head of the girl who wore the necklace. Then, morning came and Gimo realized whom he had eaten, it was actually his daughter. Nobody knows what happens to Maria’s friends. There are people who believe that they are the one who spread the story.
Number 8. Jose Rizal is the father of Adolf Hitler
Some people claims that Jose Rizal is the biological father of Adolf Hitler. This is because Adolf Hitler resembles some kind of physical appearance and intellectual personalities as of Jose Rizal. People said that if we gonna look at Rizal and Hitler’s photographs there are lots of similarities which conclude their ideas that Rizal is the real father of Adolf Hitler.
But this story is not true. Jose Rizal was born on June 19,1861 and died on December 31,1896 while Adolf Hitler was born on April 20, 1889 in Braunau am Inn, Austria-Hungary and died on April 30, 1945. I decided to check the timeline of Jose Rizal’s travels that will contradict the claim that he was the father of Adolf Hitler.
- June 3, 1887 to June 23, 1887 Rizal was in Basel, Switzerland.
- June 27, 1887 to June 30, 1887 Rizal was in Rome, Italy.
- July 1, 1887 to July 3, 1887 Rizal was in France.
- July 4, 1887 to August 3, 1887 Rizal was bound for Philippines.
- August 5, 1887 to February 3, 1888 Rizal stayed in the Philippines for 6 months.
- Feb 8, 1888 to Feb 22, 1888 Rizal was in Hongkong.
- Feb 28, 1888 to April 13, 1888 Rizal was in Japan.
- April 28, 1888 to May 13, 1888 Rizal was in America.
- May 16, 1888 to May 25 1888 Rizal was in Liverpool.
- June 2, 1888 to August 18, 1888 Rizal was in London.
- September 4, 1888 to September 10, Rizal was in Paris.
- September 19, 1888 to December 11, 1888 Rizal back to London.
- December 13, 1888 Rizal back in Spain.
- December 24, 1888 to March 15, 1889 Rizal back in London after 12 days visit in Spain.
- March 19, 1889 to January 3, 1980 Rizal was in Paris and founded Kidlat Club.
Back to the story, Hitler might be conceived by his mother between June and July 1888. But there was no record that Jose Rizal travelled to Germany or Austria on that dates. Therefore, Rizal is not the father of Adolf Hitler.
Number 7. Warlito Toledo alyas Waway
Waway is believed to have supernatural powers. There are different versions of stories circulating in the province of Cebu. It is said that Waway is a killer who targeted pregnant women while other version says that he can enter inside your house by just spitting your slippers that were left outside and will kill all your family members. Due to the stories about Waway spitting slippers to enter inside a house, homeowners no longer leaves slippers. There are also stories that Waway can change his face and police cannot detect him.
The truth is Warlito “Waway” Toledo is just an ordinary fugitive. A statement was release by Cebu police wherein it states his records at the Danao court (Cebu). According to this record that on November 8, 1989 Warlito was charged with reckless imprudence resulting to homicide. He was arrested on December 1, 1999 for a rape case that was filed on September 10, 1996. These cases were later settled out of court. In September 2002, another rape case was filed against Waway. Thus, he fled and his whereabouts are never unknown. Although a lot rumors spread around Cebu that in 2005 he was engaged in another rape case but there is no case filed against him with that date.
Whether Waway possess supernatural powers or not, people should always be careful.
Number 6. White lady in Balete Drive
Many of you might be familiar with the story about a white lady seen in Balete Drive. According to people who had seen this white lady that she has a long hair wearing a white dress that covers with blood stains. It is believe that a young woman was rape in the location by Japanese soldiers during the World War II, and the woman’s ghost remains because she seeks for revenge.
In 1988, a Filipino movie was produced based on the alleged ghost that appears on Balete Drive. It is titled “Hiwaga sa Balete Drive” with the white lady portrayed by singer-actress Zsa Zsa Padilla.
Number 5. San Juanico bridge has a bloody foundation
San Juanico bridge is part of the Pan-Philippine Highway and stretches from Samar to Leyte across the San Juanico Strait in the Philippines. Its longest length is a steel girder viaduct built on reinforced concrete piers, and its main span is of an arch-shaped truss design.
According to the stories that circulated that during the construction of the bridge Imelda Marcos consulted a manghuhula. The manghuhula (fortune teller) said that the bridge would never be finished unless the blood of children will be spilled on the foundation. The reason why Imelda Marcos ordered to kidnapped street children and their throats were slit on the bridge’s location. Another version of stories states that the bodies of children are dropped to the cement mixer.
Honestly, I've heard this story on my mom. Although there is no proof but because during that time there are many cases related to kidnapping people concluded that the kids who were kidnapped were sacrificed for the strong foundation of San Juanico bridge.
Number 4. Biringan "The Lost City"
Biringan is known as an invisible city in Samar, Philippines. They say Biringan is the legendary home of the encantos (enchanted ones) and half-encanto, half-human progeny. The encantos are most likely elementals, as old as the mountains and rivers in the area. They are apparently shape changers because they have been reported to appear in whatever form they wish, human or not. But in human form, their distinguishing characteristic is the lack of the philtrum, the indentation below the nose and above the upper lip.
Whether it is real or not, the only people who can prove it are the ones that they said were abducted by encantos.
Number 3. "My Way" curse song
“My Way” is a song popularized by Frank Sinatra. Some Filipinos believe that whoever sings “My Way” on karaoke bar are being killed. This was because a huge number of killing incidents are being connected to singing “My Way” in karaoke bar. The song has been removed from the playlists in karaoke machines in some bars in the Philippines since 2007.
Roland B. Tolentino, a pop culture expert at the University of the Philippines explains that karaoke bars in the Philippines can often be very violent, with fights often sparked over poor singing or the singing of boring songs, and the noticed number of killings connected to singing of the song may simply reflect its popularity in a violent environment. But he added that the song's "triumphalist" theme might also be a factor.
Believe it or not! Be careful when you are hanging out with friends in a Karaoke bar. Not because of singing "My Way" but because of drunk people that may harm you.
Number 2. Half-human, Half-snake in Robinsons Mall (twin brother of Robina Gokongwei)
Robina Gokongwei-Pe is the eldest child of John Gokongwei. The Gokongwei’s is the founder of JG Summit Holdings, Inc. They also owned the Universal Robina Corporation which was named after her.
According to the story, Robina has a twin brother named Robinson who was actually a half-man half-snake. It is said that the Gonkongwei’s decided to build the Robinsons stores and malls to satisfy Robinson’s need for blood and flesh. In addition, stories circulated that Robinsons only eat women and one of his victims was actress Alice Dixson who had escaped during the attacked. The Gokongwei’s was said to pay Dixson a huge amount of money so she will zip her mouth and leave the country.
This legend is very popular throughout 1990’s and until today but there is no proof that the half-man half-snake really exist.
Number 1. Romblon triangle
Romblon is an archipelago province of the Philippines located in the MIMAROPA region. Romblon triangle lies in the Sibuyan Sea, south of Marinduque and Quezon, east of Mindoro, north of Panay and west of Masbate.
According to the story that almost 40 shipping vessel disaster happened in the area since 80’s with unexplained reasons. What makes it scary is that some people are trying to connect it with Bermuda Triangle. Although the Philippine Coast Guard clarified that this disaster might be due to natural phenomenon such as high tides, heavy typhoons, outcome of its navigational potentials and topographic features.
Arensshi from Philippines on July 13, 2020:
Urban Legends are truly interesting. These are some good prompts for horror stories. By the way, I still believed that Agapito Flores was the one who invented the flourescent lamp Haha. Thnks for the info!
Dale Anderson from The High Seas on December 03, 2017:
Hey interesting hub. I searched for tiny people in flores after seeing a youtube documentary on them and found this article. Nice surprise.
Lin from USA on November 07, 2015:
Very interesting hub, I enjoyed reading it a lot. I love urban legends and myths throughout the world so this was a great read!
minato from The Far East on October 18, 2015:
I enjoyed reading your hub. I can fully relate with the stories and hearsays you outlined. Like you, I don't believe in superstitious beliefs, and I try to find reliable sources, if any, before I believe in something.