Philippine Places of Legend and Wonder

Story-telling has been a part of us since childhood, and mysterious and mythical places have always been a favorite. It is in our culture. With 7,641 islands and a rich native and colonial history, some places in the Philippines are associated with more than just their natural beauty or fascinating architecture. The beach season may be over, but there are other places to explore. Take a trek, a hike, or even drive around some of these places that are legen… wait for it… dary.

Mile Long Barracks in Corregidor
Mile Long Barracks in Corregidor

CORREGIDOR (Corregidor)

Corregidor is known for being an American military base during World War II. One of the most famous historical places in the Philippines, this fortified island defended the City of Manila from Japanese enemy warships trying to enter via Manila Bay. Today, the entire island is a historical monument full of military armaments used during the war, and other remaining infrastructures of significance in full display.

The island has a network of tunnels that were used as barracks for the soldiers stationed there, and legend has it that there is an old tunnel system that leads to a vault full of gold bars worth almost $23,000 each.

During the Japanese siege of Manila and Bataan, American and Filipino troops, military, and government officials withdrew to the island along with the wealth for safekeeping. Some records state the gold was shipped off the island via the USS Trout SS-202 submarine, but some claim this never happened.

Maria Cristina Falls by Wikipedia
Maria Cristina Falls by Wikipedia

MARIA CRISTINA FALLS (Iligan)

Located in Lanao del Norte, the waterfalls is 98 meters high and is actually the main hydroelectric power source of Mindanao. With two plunges of water next to each other, the Maria Cristina Falls is known as “twin falls” not only because its flow is separated vertically by a rock, but also because it is said to actually be a petrified beautiful maiden with never-ending tears coming from her eyes.

According to one version, Maria Cristina, the adopted daughter of a Sultan, fell in love with a prince. Long story short, they were engaged, and a big wedding feast was soon set. Unbeknown to both was a witch who was also in love with the prince, and jealous of Maria Cristina’s beauty.

A few days before the wedding, Maria Cristina remembered her biological mother and saddened because she missed her. She went to her favorite river to cry away the sadness inside her, but in an unfortunate circumstance, the witch found her in such a state and vowing that her wedding to the prince would never take place, turned her into stone.

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CCP Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino by Nixenzo
CCP Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino by Nixenzo

CULTURAL CENTER OF THE PHILIPPINES (Manila)

The value of real estate in Metro Manila in both the residential and commercial sectors has been steadily becoming stronger. More and more property investors like Lamudi and SM are devoting resources to hop on this growth. With Metro Manila as the political, educational, and financial capital of the Philippines, it is no surprise that also as the cultural center of the country, people from the provinces and from all over the world are relocating to this cosmopolis.

This is the place to experience Philippine urban living at its finest.

The Cultural Center of the Philippines was built in 1969 by National Artist, Leandro V. Locsin during the time of President Ferdinand Marcos’ administration. The entire complex stands at 88 hectares of land and is made mostly of concrete. The building itself is square-shaped, however, its support structures are arched. In front of it by the main entrance is an octagonal pool with fountains and lights. From an aerial point of view, it also looks like a grand and spectacular… toilet bowl.

Rumor has it that architect Leandro Locsin was against the Marcos administration, especially as it was consigned by the infamous first lady, Imelda Marcos. The initial cost of the construction was projected at P15 million, but it ended up reaching almost P50 million. Imelda Marcos and the CCP board at that time even had to borrow $7 million to realize their vision of a national center of arts and culture. This move was highly criticized by the people, including Locsin, as this was seen more as an institution for the elite. It is said that in protest of this extravagance, Locsin designed the CCP to be shaped like a magnificent toilet bowl. Talk about strong symbolism.

Mount Makiling - One of the Highest Peaks in the Philippines
Mount Makiling – One of the Highest Peaks in the Philippines

MOUNT MAKILING (Laguna)

Probably one of the most well-known myths, the dormant volcano (Yes, it is actually a volcano not a mountain) of Mount Makiling is said to be named after a diwata (forest nymph) named Maria Makiling.

With no specific point of reference, the peaks of the volcano are supposed to be Maria’s face and breast with her long hair cascading downwards away from her body. It looks pretty much like a woman lying down.

Men are warned when trekking Mount Makiling. When Maria falls in love with a man, she takes him to her hut hidden deep inside the forest never to be seen again. Even today, men who disappeared while visiting the volcano are attributed to Maria taking them to be her husband.

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