Ilonggo Folklore, Supernatural Stories, and Urban Legends

The bizarre, scary, and supernatural. Here are four Aswang and Ghost Stories in Iloilo City.

Tiniente Gimo

Next to Capiz, Iloilo is also known for menacing mythical creatures called ‘Aswangs’. The aswang is said to be a human-like creature with a preference to feast on human flesh.

There are plenty of aswang stories and accounts from different Iloilo towns but perhaps the most well-known ‘aswang‘ is the man they call Tiniente Gimo (Lieutenant Gimo).

There are numerous stories about this man with a couple being more prominent than others. The common denominator of these stories is that Tiniente Gimo was a kapitan (a town or clan leader) in Dueñas, Iloilo.

It is said that his clan is of an Aswang breed and would eat human flesh when opportunity presents itself. Being the leader, he was the strongest and expected to be the deliverer of flesh to his people.

One of the more popular stories about Tiniente Gimo had been the basis for the horror movie, Shake Rattle and Roll 2.

Maria Labo

Maria Labo is the other popular aswang in Ilonggo folklore. The character is so popular that stories of her have reached other places in Visayas and Mindanao which caused some hysteria to wherever she is rumored to be roaming inconspicuously.

It is said that Maria was an OFW with a terrible experience working as a caregiver abroad. One version claims that she was cursed by her patient who was a vampire. Apparently, her patient needed to pass on the curse to someone else for some reason. There are other versions of Maria Labo’s origins. An upcoming movie based on her legend would show a slightly different version.

Despite all the different origin stories, all seem to involve Maria being hacked (labo in visayan dialect) by her husband after knowing that she had killed and cooked their two children. She got away but her face was hit, severely wounded, and scarred.

Legend has it that Maria Labo is roaming free, looking for her next victims. And she prefers children.

Haunted Lizares Mansion

Ancient large residences are stuff of ghostly stories and Iloilo City has plenty of old mansions, making the city a haven for ‘ghost hunters’ and supernatural enthusiasts.

Arguably, the most popular haunted mansion in Iloilo is the Lizares Mansion. The imposing figure was once owned by sugar barons, the Lizares-Gamboa Family.

When war broke out, the owners fled to safety leaving their residence. Later on, Japanese soldiers occupied the mansion and made it their headquarters. Rumored to be a site for imprisoning and torturing Filipinos, the Lizares Mansion had become a figure of death and despair.

Eventually, the property was acquired by the Dominicans and became part of Angelicum School. But because of its tainted past, reports of ghostly encounters like apparitions of headless ghosts, eerie sounds of tortured souls or feet dragging chains had become common.

The mansion is now known as a huge attraction during Christmas season as it is being fully illuminated with colorful lights. The stigma is being replaced. With the marvelous light show every year, the public is gradually forgetting the horrific past of Lizares Mansion.

Central Philippine University Ghosts and Elves

The university is one of the oldest and largest schools in Iloilo. It is rich in history involving wartime deaths and suffering. The university is also said to be built on elven grounds.

Many of the supernatural incidents are said to happen in Roblee and Valentine halls. The most frequent accounts of ghostly encounters are that of a lady ghost and the headless spirit of Rev. Valentine himself.

Mysteriously moving furniture, lights and faucets turning on and off are just some of the weird things reportedly happening in Central Philippine University grounds. There are also reports of apparitions of elf-like creatures which might be the cause of such things.

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