10 Most Popular Cebu Urban Legends

Urban Legends are tales that are alleged to be true but have little or no supporting evidence. They generally start in small circles and are then spread in various forms. Urban Legends are usually told with a tinge of mystery and intrigue in order to elicit a good response. And oftentimes, these stories evolve as they are passed from one person to another because of their nature. Cebu has its own share of puzzling, fascinating, and sometimes scary urban legends. Here are 10 of the most popular ones:



Warlito Toledo Alyas Waway

The Urban Legend: According to stories, Warlito Toledo alias Waway was a convicted rapist back in 2002. He was sent to prison but he managed to escape. People say that this was because the cops allowed him to go out at night, enter houses that interest him, and kill everyone inside.

It Gets Crazy: It is said that he especially liked to target pregnant women. If entry is impossible, it is said that Waway would spit on the slippers of the people who live in the house and come back at an opportune time to finish his task. Despite a foolproof manhunt, it is said that the police couldn’t catch Waway because of his talisman which enables him to change his hairstyle at will and prevent detection.

The Effect: Due to the Waway scare, homeowners no longer left slippers and basically all types of footwear outside the house. At the height of the scare, kids went home early and the city streets were already empty after nine.



The Urban Legend: It is said that Minda Mora was a stage actress. She was young and beautiful. Determined to make a name for herself in the local scene, she worked hard to excel in her craft. One night, after a solo rehearsal that ended late at the cultural center of one of the big universities in Cebu, tragedy struck. She was raped and later murdered by three security personnel.

It Gets Crazy: Minda Mora loved the stage so much her spirit never left when she died. It is said that people who were seen heckling a nervous or inexperienced performer during a stage performance later died horrible deaths just days after the performance.

The Effect: Students refrain from heckling or making brash comments during theatrical performances at the cultural center for fear of provoking Minda Mora.



The Urban Legend: At a certain radio show aired by a popular radio station in Cebu, a letter was read about a man who met a homeless child at Plaza Independencia. The man offered the child a pack of peanuts out of pity. To thank the man for what he did, the child asked the man to write the slogan “HIGUGMAA ANG DIOS, KAHADLOKI ANG DIOS” (Love God, Fear God) above his door to save his family.

It Gets Crazy: Homes with a slogan above the door will be spared from a flood that will wipe the earth clean of sins. Like Noah’s flood, the flood will torment earth for forty days and forty nights.

The Effect: After witnessing the devastating effects of the killer Ormoc flashfloods, Cebuanos became very scared. Soon, the story had many versions and almost everyone knew about it. Cebuanos placed the required slogan using various methods. Some were made using neatly cut out stickers while others were painted right above the doorways. Although the flood never came, the slogan that can still be seen in various structures all over the city today is a clear reminder of the mass hysteria that took over Cebu more than two decades ago.



The Urban Legend: According to stories, the Sigbin is a creature that usually appears during the Holy Week. It looks like a hornless goat with big ears that flap when excited or mad. Other stories indicate that it looks like a kangaroo. Sigbins usually like to feast on charcoal. They give off a horrible stench.

It Gets Crazy: In the absence of charcoal, Sigbins target young children with fresh and clean blood. Sigbins do not physically attack their victims. They sip their victim’s blood by attacking the victim’s shadow.

The Effect: Households with young children prepare sacks of charcoal outside the main door during the Holy Week to keep the Sigbin from harming the young members of the family.



current statue of lapu-lapu

The Urban Legend: During the term of Rito de la Serna (1929-1933,) the Municipal Council of Opon approved the construction of a monument honoring Datu Lapu-Lapu. The statue was holding a bow and arrow with the arrow pointing towards the municipal hall. Just a few weeks after the completion of the statue, Rito de la Serna died. Rito de la Serna’s nephew Gregorio de la Serna replaced him. Sometime in 1937, the younger de la Serna was not able to complete his term because he also died in office.

It Gets Crazy: After the death of the two de la Sernas, Simeon Amodia took over the position. However, Amodia, too, died in office in 1937. Due to these deaths, people began to connect these deaths to the statue.

The Effect: In 1938, Mariano Dimataga became the new chief executive of Opon. The renovation of the statue of Lapu-Lapu was one of his first projects. The bow and arrow were removed in place of a wooden pestle. Some people believe that this effectively stopped the ‘curse’ as Dimataga remained in his position for 30 years until his retirement in 1968.



The Urban Legend: Maria Cacao was a goddess who lived in the mountains of Talisay. She and her husband Mangao owned a huge plantation of cacao. Maria Cacao and Mangao were well-known traders. During harvest season, they would ply the Mananga River on their galleon to take their produce to the lungsod.

It Gets Crazy: During one stormy season, when the river water was unusually high, the mast of Maria Cacao’s galleon hit a wooden bridge. The busy bridge was instantly destroyed and numerous people were killed. Talisaynons shunned the couple because of the incident. The couple became reclusive and eventually, they were never seen again. Today, some Talisaynons who dwell along the Mananga River swear that they can still sometimes see the light at the top of the mast of a passing galleon during harvest months.

The Effect: During the rainy season, motorists who cross the Mananga Bridge usually beep their horn as a sign of respect to Maria Cacao and Mangao.



(internet photo)

The Story: According to stories, Cebuano fishermen captured a real live mermaid in Tabuelan. The creature was around 5 feet long. The creature was captured after it was accidentally stuck in a fisherman’s net. The mermaid died after a few hours on land.

It Gets Crazy: The fishermen who captured the creature said that mermaids usually travel in groups of five to ten. They usually appear in areas where there are a lot of fish. This explains why fishermen sometimes see them.

The Effect: A photo of a dead male mermaid in Cebu is considered one of the most spammed photo on the Internet. The spam message states that mermaids are indeed real. The mail also urges believers to forward the photo to family and friends to ‘help open their eyes to the truth.’



The Urban Legend: A doctor in one of the hospitals here in Cebu was waiting for the elevator doors to open. When the elevator opened, the doctor saw two people inside. One was standing and was wearing a white lab gown. The other, a woman, was lying on the floor, unconscious. The doctor hurriedly took the woman to the ER – which was only a few steps from the elevator. When the woman came to, the doctor asked her what happened. She said that she saw a man wearing an orange tag. An orange tag is placed on a person who is already dead. The tag is an indication that the body is now in the morgue awaiting disposal. The doctor didn’t believe her and thought that she was just seeing things.

It Gets Crazy: The doctor returned to the elevator and got in the moment it opened. Inside the elevator, he saw that same guy who was with the unconscious woman earlier. The guy asked the doctor if the woman was okay. He replied that she was fine and proceeded to tell him the woman’s story. He told the other guy that she saw someone wearing an orange tag. The other passenger just chuckled and raised his right arm showing his orange tag. “You mean this?” the man asked. He looked at the guy’s face and realized that it was the same guy who was declared Dead on Arrival just moments before he went to the elevator.

The Effect: It is said that employees of the hospital know this story by heart. After the story of the encounter circulated, many employees refused to use the said elevator. But there have been reports of hospital visitors seeing the same guy with an orange tag.



The Urban Legend: Robina Gokongwei-Pe is the eldest child of John Gokongwei. The older Gokongwei is the founder of JG Summit Holdings, Inc. Their other company Universal Robina Corporation was named after her. According to stories, Robina had a twin brother named Robinson. Robinson, however, was half man-half snake. To satisfy Robinson’s need for blood and flesh, the family decided to build the Robinsons stores and malls.

It Gets Crazy: Robinson would frequent the ladies’ fitting rooms and restrooms. He especially liked to victimize beautiful women. According to some sources, he also liked young children. One rumor even indicated that Robinson once abducted actress Alice Dixson but he fell in love with her and she wasn’t harmed.

The Effect: The story became very popular in the 1990s. Although the story was incredible, many people actually believed it. According to some insiders, the rumor greatly affected the foot traffic at the Robinsons stores and malls. During an ambush interview, Robina was asked to comment on the rumor. She laughed it off and said that they already turned her snake twin into shoes and handbags at Robinsons Department Store.



The Urban Legend: A couple who lived in a mountain barangay lost their carabao one day. That night, as they were getting ready to pray at the altar, they noticed that their Santo Niño statue was gone. The next day, they were surprised to see their carabao outside the house. According to one neighbor, he saw the carabao pass in front of his house. He said that a young boy was riding on the back of the animal. That evening, as they were preparing to sleep, they noticed that their Santo Niño was back. They also noticed that the vestment of the statue was filled with thistles (amorseco.) The couple believed that it was the Santo Niño who brought their carabao back.

It Gets Crazy: There are numerous versions of this famous Cebu urban legend. Some claim that the image now housed at the Basilica would occasionally disappear late at night. And the next morning, the statue would mysteriously reappear with muddy shoes and vestments. Sweets and toys can also be seen littered inside the glass case.

The Effect: Devotees of the Santo Niño believe that these stories simply indicate the nature of the Niño. That he is, after all, a child. This explains why devotees shower the image with children’s gifts like candies, fruits, toys, and children’s clothes. In fact, a complete collection of some of the most expensive gifts for the Niño is now displayed at the Santo Niño Museum.


None of these Cebu urban legends were proven to be true So, don’t believe everything that you read here. They are, after all, just urban legends. 🙂

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