Mystical Nation: 8 Strange Places in the Philippines
The Philippines consists of many islands, which showcases beautiful beaches, evergreen forests, tasty food and friendly locals. Along with the wonderful things that our country offers is a rich and diverse culture associated with mystical tales about monsters, evil spirits, engkantos, giants, and many other magical creatures.
There are many places in the country that are loomed with mystery linked to the creatures we only hear from our grandparents. Others don’t believe in such stories, some even find them ridiculous. But still, there are plenty of people who believe in them, and do rites to protect themselves against evil spirits.
While some are scared to visit mysterious places, others feel drawn to the thrill of knowing if the stories are real or not. If you are up for a challenge and wants to make an unforgettable travel experience, check out some of the mystical places around the country:
Hinatuan Enchanted River, Surigao del Sur
Swim above the bright blue water of Hinatuan River in Surigao del Sur and learn why it is also called “Enchanted River.” Aside from its natural beauty, there are many mysteries revolving around the majestic body of water. The river is supposed to be freshwater, but flowing in the Enchanted river is salt water, which experts find mysterious. They theorize that it might be coming from the sea, but people claim that no one has yet to check the actual depth of the water, so the theory is yet to be confirmed. Locals believe that Hinatuan is made by fairies living in the forest, this explains sightings of mystical creatures like a huge fish that can’t seem to be caught. Wait until 12 noon when all the swimmers are asked to get out of the water. A huge school of fish will float above the water for a feeding frenzy.
Malalison Island, Antique
Antique is infamous for witchcraft and barang. Some residents even say that aswang and manananggal are often seen during the evening. But amid the scary stories revolving around the place, there are beautiful places waiting to be discovered. One of the must see attractions of the province is the Malalison Island. It is a 15-minute boat ride from the municipality of Culasi. The long stretch of the beach will remind you of Calaguas, while a short trek to the island’s grassy hill is reminiscent of Mt. Pulag. At the top of the hill is a majestic view of the island shoreline. Elders in the island are very traditional. They usually do rituals, like Pang Luy-a, on the visitors or tourists to ward off the bad spirits.
Mount Makiling, Laguna
Mount Makiling is a dormant volcano located in Laguna. It is believed to be guarded by Maria Makiling, a fairy or lambana who keeps the green forest of the mountain free from people who wants to destroy it. Legend says some people who have bad motives are not welcome in the mountain. They get lost, or worse, found dead. People, who survived to tell the tale, confirmed the sighting of a beautiful lady that lures them to follow her.
If you are up for an adventure and want to explore the Mt. Makiling, expect a fascinating number of flora and fauna that are endemic to the Philippines. On top of the mountain is a breathtaking view of the Laguna province. After the exploration, you might also want to experience other things Laguna offers.
Corregidor Island, Cavite
One of the bastions of the Philippines against the invading Japanese invasion during the World War II is the Island of Corregidor. It is also known as a place for ghost sightings. There are over 1000 people died during the war, and locals believed that these soldiers continue to haunt the island. Pebbles surrounding the shoreline are tainted with red spots, which is said to come from the blood of the dead soldiers. At night, sound of marching soldiers reverberate throughout the island. Despite the horror stories, many people still visit the quiet island and relive the history of the Philippines-Japanese war. There are plenty of things you can do while visiting the island, the most exciting is the night lateral visit, where you explore the Malinta tunnel and experience what soldiers felt during the war.
Mount Banahaw, Quezon – Laguna
Mount Banahaw is a an active volcano considered as the tallest mountain in the CALABARZON region. This mountain is considered as a Holy Mountain and during holy week, people climb the mountain to attend pilgrimage, offer prayers, and reflect. That was until it was closed in 2004 because of land pollution. In the mountain there are holy sites composed of spring, caves, streams and shrines with biblical references. These sites were revealed to a man named Agripino Lontoc by a voice he identified as Santong Boses. Although Mt. Banahaw is off-limits to trekkers, many mountain climbers and pilgrims still visit the place.
Mount Cristobal, Quezon – Laguna
(credit: Flickr- Jaya)
If Mount Banahaw is considered Holy, its adjacent mountain, Mount Cristobal is known as devil’s mountain. Mt. Banahaw is considered holy because Mt. Cristobal absorbs all the negative energy from it. Because of this, locals believed that Mt. Cristobal harbors a lot of ghosts, and evil spirits. One ghost story tells of a couple who died in the mountain after taking a deadly trail. The couple shows themselves to climbers and lead them to the same trail where they die. Despite of the horrifying tale, mountaineers still brave the mountain because of the thrill of climbing a 5-hour non-stop assault on muddy rain forest.
Isla de Gigantes, Iloilo
Off the coast of Carles and Estancia Town of Iloilo is a group of islands called Islas de Gigantes. The group of islands was once called Sabuluag, but during the Spanish era, legends say that coffins found inside the caves contained giant bone set, that’s why the name of the island was changed to Islas de Gigantes. Today, giants are nowhere to be seen in the place. All that is left is a pristine beaches and interesting system of caves. The most famous part of Isla de Gigantes is the Tangke Salt Water Lagoon, a natural salt water pool, surrounded by steep rock formation. Just don’t be loud when visiting the place, because locals believed that engkantos and spirits protect the area.
Sohoton Cove, Surigao del Norte
Sohoton Cove has a different kind of mystery because it leans on scientific mysteries other than supernatural. Jellyfish stings and that is a fact. But in Sohoton Cove, visitors can dive with thousands of jellyfish without getting killed. You’ll feel transformed into a different world once you see these gelatinous creatures swim with you, while you explore the sparkling emerald-green waters of the lake. The surrounding ecosystem of thick mangrove and endemic birds adds to the enchantment of the lake. If by chance, you are not allowed to swim in the jellyfish sanctuary because of your sunblock, you can explore the Hagukan Cave that only appears during low tide. So, how did the jellyfish appear in the cove? No one knows. But experts suggest that like the Jellyfish Lagoon in Palau, the jellyfish in Sohoton Cove were washed after the sea water began to fill the lagoon with water. Eventually, the creatures lost their sting due to the lack of predator.
Many places in the Philippines are shrouded with tales of mystery and horror. Mysticism and superstitions, after all, are part of our culture. Do the mystery behind these places pique your curiosity? Why not pay them a visit, explore the places and find out how true these urban legends and popular folklore stories are.