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Sunday, July 5, 2020

Philippine Aswang Folklore: The Fearsome Maria Labo


Venturing into the chilling and often disturbing world of urban legends in the Philippines lies the prominent story of Maria Labo, commonly known in the Iloilo Province as well as its neighboring islands. Her story is continuously whispered among children and echoed from one generation to another as she sparks paralyzing fear in the hearts and minds of the natives on the island. Her sinister scar on her face all the more makes her a spine-chilling creature of the night. Every time her story resonates, the terror continues to live on.

Maria Labo, Aswang
Image: Amino
This popular urban legend revolves around the life of Maria, married to a young man with whom she had two children. As the story goes, Maria Labo worked in Canada as a caregiver to provide for her family. Nevertheless, accounts of the encounters with Maria Labo vary. Some locals say that she got her aswang capabilities from a woman overseas, while others say that she developed it while taking care of an older man in the Philippines. Eventually, Maria Labo went back to her homeland in the Philippines where she stayed in the province of Capiz to take good care of her children and her husband. During those times, she was at peace and content with her life.



Unfortunately, the nagging feeling inside of her lures her into doing wrong and despicable things. Tormented by her malevolent nightmares, sleep always seems to evade her. Worn out and on the verge of madness, she would often pass out during the daytime. Maria Labo’s husband becomes anxious and worried about her health, but as he shows this concern, Maria eventually regained her positive disposition.  This was a massive sign of relief for the family, but as they say, her recovery was just the calm before the storm.

One day, her husband, tired from his daily toil, came home to find Maria cooking as usual. He called out for his two children, yet, no one responded to his call. He turned to Maria to question her, and with an atrocious grin, Maria directed him to the kitchen, particularly pointing to the stove. To his horror, he found his children, chopped and bloody, on the fridge and countertop. He was set to eat his children as the main course for the night.
Maria Labo, Aswang
Image: Legends and Folk Tales Blog
Aghast and overflowing with outrage, Maria Labo’s husband struck her with a bolo – a large cutting tool for farming usually wielded by agricultural workers. This incident paved the way for Maria getting the appellation "labo." Since then, Maria is said to have fled away, roaming south to Visayas and Mindanao, to hunt for susceptible victims in her quest to satiate her desire for human flesh.



It is believed that Maria Labo is a typical story of aswang folklore in the Philippines. Though the story of Maria's acquisition of her aswang abilities is vague, it is said that she has the abilities and features similar to it. She can shape-shift into a pig, bird, or a huge dog to coax its victim, as well as turn into a young or older woman to bait on humans.

Due to her notoriety, there was even a mobile number that became widespread which was said to be owned by Maria Labo. Accordingly, you would hear nothing but incoherent noise when you call this number. She became infamous that parents residing from Western Visayas became uneasy and petrified about a roaming madwoman, dead set on killing and devouring people. Even the local media was jumping on the bandwagon about Maria Labo, making up stories that will undoubtedly add fuel to the fire.


Maria Labo, Aswang
Image: Cinebravo

While many natives believed the story to be accurate, there are still those who are not convinced. Some may say that her story is nothing but a social experiment to see how a single horror story can travel and reach the masses. In recent years, Maria Labo's story has been overpowered by other ghastly paranormal stories but no one can deny the fact that she is the reason why many people would still get chills and nerve-wracking fear as the twilight draws near.


Written by Mic Villamayor, IFY Books

At 27, Mic is staying young and keeping it real. A Mass Communication degree holder from the University of the Philippines, a graduate of San Beda College of Law, and a newly-minted lawyer, she aspires to work with her dad in their law office one day. In her daydreams, she always finds herself traveling the world and frolicking out in the sun. But reality comes up to her and she finds herself reading and writing for her future.

Blogsite: http://­www.micvillamayor.com­/

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