Maria Labo



Ever since, stories about aswangs in the Philippines were always pointed to the Visayan islands, most especially in the Provinces of Iloilo, Capiz, Antique, and Aklan, as the origination. The known legend about Tiniente Gimo and Maria Labo came from them.

Maria Labo was the name used to refer to the female vampire who came from Iloilo or Capiz (others suggest from Sorsogon). She was popularized by the story that she murdered her two sons and then cooked them. She was recognizable by her huge scar across her face, thus she got her name. Aside of the provinces in Panay Island, her story is also famous in other neighboring provinces like Cebu. She even reached the city of Davao.

Legend



It's my professor who gave me an idea about her. He even gave me the popular text message that terrorized people who receive it. Well, I also searched some of her stories and collected them here just to make a clear and whole tale about her life. When I found the Ang Tatlong Katauhan ni Maria Labo, it made me understand what actually happened to her. Until now, I am in search of the said article in a newspaper that made her popular.

[Taken from Internet:]

A young woman named Maria went to Canada as a caregiver. There, she took care of an old man which, according to rumors, was possessed by the so-called "vampire" (some "aswang") curse.

When the old man died, he passed the curse (some say, his powers) to Maria. Finding no luck in Canada, Maria went home. It was then that her thirst for human flesh started. When her husband, a policeman, went home one night, he looked for their kids. The deranged Maria pointed to the stove where she had cooked their children. Enraged, her husband struck her with a bolo ("labo") where she obtained a scar on her face, earning her the moniker Maria Labo.

They said she fled to Visayas, then to Mindanao, in a quest to satiate her hunger for human flesh and viscera. Like a typical aswang, she has the ability to change her appearance. Sometimes she appears as a beautiful young lady. At other times, she appears as an old woman.


[Taken from a Text Message:]

She was recently a saleslady in a mall (I don't know where specifically in the Philippines she is now), living as a normal person, and whenever you remember abruptly about her at exactly 3 in the morning and afternoon, she'll suddenly appear in front of you then kill you. Some said she has a cell phone number. (I don't know what will happen if you'll call her.)


[Taken from a Book:[1] ]

Ang Tatlong Katauhan ni Maria Labo
By: Abelardo Gajarion

1. Mula nang naging malaganap ang militarisasyon sa kanayunan naging magulo na ang probinsiya ng Sorsogon. Walang masaganang ani ang mga magsasaka't mangingisda. Maraming maliliit na negosyo ang nagsara. Hindi makapasok sa eskwela ang mga bata. Halos hindi na nga makalabas ng bahay ang mga tao. Lahat nahihintay na lang na mabagsakan ng isang bomba, para sabay-sabay na mamatay. Maliban kay Maria Labo.

Malapit sa paanan ng bundok, malayo sa kabayanan, nakatira sa maliit na bahay na yari sa cogon at kawayan ang mag-asawang Maria at Ermin Labo. Mayroon silang dalwang anak, sina Pablo at Rosalinda. Si Ermin ay isang magsasaka habang si Maria naman ang naglalako ng mga ani sa kabayanan.

Mula nang mawalan ng ani ang kanilang gulayan, ipinasya ni Maria na sumama sa kaibigang naghahanap ng domestic helper papuntang Espanya. Naisip niyang mas marami ang kanyan kikitain sa pagtatrabaho sa ibang bansa kaysa sa paglalako ng gulay na hindi na nga niya nagagawa dahil sa kaguluhan sa kanilang bayan.

Isinangla nila ang kanilang lupang sakahan at ang kinatatayuan ng kanilang bahay para pambayad sa kanyang placement fee. Pagkalipas ng tatlong buwan, lumipad si Maria papuntang Espanya.


2. Sa isang lumang mansion, sa isang bayan na malayun-malayo sa siyudad napadpad si Maria. Bumaba siya mula sa isang kakarag-karag na bus sa tapat ng isang malaki at lumang-lumang gate na bakal. Napupuluputan ito ng mga gumagapang na halaman. Ayon sa agency na nagpadala sa kanya, isang matandang lalaki at isang katiwala na lang ang nakatira sa mansion na kanyang magtatrabahuan.

Pumasok siya sa gate na bahagyang nakabukas. Tanaw niya mula sa kinatatayuan ang kulay abong mansion. Bago makarating roon, kinailangan munang maglakad ni Maria ng halos dalawang kilometro. Maalikabok ang daan na nililinyahan ng malalaking puno sa magkabilang tabi.

Pagdating sa tapat ng mansion, nagulat pa si Maria nang makitang halos tatlong beses na mas matangkad sa kanya ang pintuang gawa sa matigas na kahoy na may mga ukit-ukit na ubas at mga bulaklak. Gawa sa bato ang buong mansion. Napansin niyang halos hanggang tuhod na niya ang mga damo sa bakuran. Halos mapuno na rin ng mga gumagapang na halaman ang kanang bahagi nga mansion.

Kumatok siya gamit ang bilog na bakal na nakasabit mula sa sabitan na hugis ulo ng leon. Luminga-linga siya, nagbabakasakaling may tao siyang makikita, ngunit walang sumalubong sa kanya. Matapos ang halos limang minutong paghihintay, kusang bumukas ang pinto. Bumukas ito nang mabagal na mabagal at gumawa ito ng nakakarindi at nakakangilong ingay na parang bang matagal na itong nakasara at noon lamang nabuksan. Wala siyang makitang tao sa loob sa kanyang pagpasok.

Hindi niya nakita ang matandang lalaki na kanina pa siya taimtim na tinititigan mula pa lang nang pumasok siya sa gate at maglakad patungo sa bahay.

Hola, como estas? bati sa kanya ng isang lalaki mula sa kaliwang bahagi ng mansion.

Napaigtad si Maria sa gulat. Hindi niya inasahang lalabas na lang bigla ang isang lalaking may magarang-magarang kasuotan.

Soy Eduardo. Que te llamas?


Hindi alam ni Maria ang isasagot.

Comprendes Espanol?

Umiling-iling na lamang si Maria. Kung hindi man wala, katiting lamang ang kanyang nalalaman sa wikang Espanyol. Tinitigan muna siya ng lalaki bago nagpumilit magsalita ng Ingles.

Follow. Follow.

Si Eduardo ang katiwala ng mansion. Matagal-tagal na rin siyang naninilbihan doon. Nagbabalak na siyang umalis, ngunit hindi niyo iyon magawa hangga't hindi pa niya napipili ang tamang babaeng mag-aalaga sa kanyang amo.

Inabot sila ng kalahating araw para lamang libutin ang buong mansion. Inisa-isa nila ang bawat kwarto. At sa bawat kwarto ipinaliwanag ni Eduardo ang mga takdang gawain ni Maria. Pautal-utal na Ingles ang ginamit ni Eduardo, maging iyon ay hindi gaanong naintindihan ni Maria.

Tienes hambre? E, are you, e, starved?

Hindi alam ni Maria kung ano ang isasagot kaya tumango na lang siya. Nahalata ni Eduardo na hindi naintindihan ng kanyang kausap ang sinabi niya. Doon niya nalaman na natagpuan na niya ang babaeng matagal na niyang hinahanap.

Senor Gustavo wants to ... e, hablar ... e, speak to you ...

Tatlong buwan na ring nagtatrabaho sa mansion si Maria, ngunit hirap na hirap pa rin silang magkaintindihan at magkausap. Mas madali na lang para sa kanila ang magsenyasan.

Sa loob ng tatlong buwang iyon, dalawang beses pa lang nakakapasok si Maria sa kwarto ng among si Gustavo. Sabi ni Eduardo, sa pautal-utal na tagpi-tagping kwento, si Gustavo ay matagal nang may karamdaman. Maselan ang kalagayan nito kaya hindi pwedeng makita ng maraming tao.

Noong unang pagkakataon na nakapasok si Maria sa kwarto ni Gustavo halos hindi rin sila nagkita. Ipinakilala lang siya ni Eduardo, ngunit doon lamang sila nakatayo sa pintuan. Madilim ang bahagi ng kama kung saan nakaratay si Gustavo kaya hindi halos naaninag ni Maria ang mukha ng matandang lalaki.

Nang ikalawang pagkakataon, nakapasok at nakalapit na si Maria kay Gustavo. Kinuha niya ang arinola sa tabi ng kama ng amo. Kulu-kulubot na ang balat nito. Manipis na manipis na ang maputing buhok sa ulo. Halos puti na lahat ang mga mata nito. Bago siya umalis tinanong si Maria ni Gustavo. Mahinang-mahina ang boses nito, halos hindi na marinig ni Maria.

Are you Filipina?

Tumango si Maria, naintindihan niya ang tanging tanong na itinanong sa kanya ng amo.

A, opo, si, si, Senor Gustavo. I am Filipina.

Nagtataka si Maria. Iniisip niya ang mga posibleng dahilan kung bakit siya pinatawag ni Gustavo gayong nariyan naman si Eduardo para ibigay anuman ang pangangailangan ng amo. Iniwan niya ang nililinis sa kusina para pumunta sa kwarto ng amo. Bago makalabas ng kusina, pinaalalahanan pa siya ni Eduardo.

Maria, nunca, e, do not go out of the room if Senor Gustavo, e, is not asleep yet.

Marahang kumatok saka pumasok si Maria sa kwarto ni Gustavo. Lumapit siya sa matanda. Sinenyasan siya nitong lumapit. Tila may ibubulong ang kanyang amo. Dahan-dahan niyang inilapit ang kanyang mukha sa mukha ni Gustavo.

Kabadong-kabado si Maria. Hindi man lang niya nahulaan na ang pagpasok niyang iyon ay ang kanyang huli. Dahil paglabas niya, hindi na siya ang dati.


3. Malaki ang nagbago sa pamilya ni Maria simula nang bumalik siya galing Espanya. Dalawang buwan na rin ang nakakaraan mula nang bumalik siya sa bayan nila sa Sorsogon.

Inggit na inggit ang mga tao nang dumating siya. Apat na buwan lang siyang namalagi sa Espanya, ngunit marami siyang dala-dalang pasalubong. Marami siyang dalang mamahaling mga plato, kubyertos, at kandelabra. Nabawi nila agad ang lupang isinangla at nakapagpagawa sila ng bagong bahay.

Ngunit, ang ipinagtataka ng lahat ay kung bakit ni hindi man lang nila makita si Maria na lumabas ng bahay. Lagi silang nag-aabang na luluwas sa bayan si Maria ngunit hindi man lang nila ito matiyempuhan.

Gayon din si Ermin at ang kanyang mga anak. Takang-taka sila sa panlalamig ni Maria sa kanila. Hindi ito gaanong nagsasalita bagamat nananatili pa rin itong maasikaso at mapagbigay. Kapag gabi, sa kama, naririnig ni Ermin ang impit nitong pag-iyak. Kapag hinahawakan siya ni Ermin para aluhin napapaso ito dahil sa sobrang lamig ng kanyang katawan. Para siyang yelo sa lamig. Kinukumutan siya ni Ermin at niyayakap, ngunit pakiramdam nito para lamang itong yumayakap sa hangin.

Minsan, isang hatinggabi, napabalikwas si Ermin nang marining niyang pumapalahaw sa bintana si Maria. Nang magmulat siya't hinanap ang asawa nagulat siya nang makitang duguan ang katawan ni Maria. Laslas ang leeg nito at sumisirit mula doon ang napakaraming dugo. Hindi siya nagpahalatang gising bagama't takot na takot na siya. Nakita niyang tumagos sa pader ang katawan ni Maria. Nangilabot siya. Nagkunwari siyang tulog nang lapitan siya ng kanyang asawa. Alam niyang nilapitan siya nito at tinitigan ang kanyang mukha. Naaamoy ni Ermin ang lansa ng dugo at ang amoy ng naaagnas na katawan. Ipinagdasal niyang sana panaginip lang ang lahat. At kung binabangungot man siya, sana magising na siya, at sana normal pa rin ang lahat.

Paggising niya kinabukasan, wala si Maria sa kanyang tabi. Hinanap niya ito sa buong kabahayan ngunit hindi niya ito nakita. Tinanong niya ang kanyang mga anak kung nakita nila si Maria ngunit hindi nila ito nakita simula ng nakaraang gabi.

Ikinuwento ng kanyang dalawang anak na nanaginip silang nakita nila ang kanilang ina na umiiyak sa kwarto nila. Duguan ang buong katawan nito. Laslas ang leeg at sumisirit ang dugo mula dito. Nilapitan sila at hinalikan ng kanilang ina, tapos paggising nila, walang anumang bakas na nagpunta nga roon si Maria.

Kinilabutan si Ermin. Pare-pareho nilang nakita si Maria ng nakaraang gabi sa pare-parehong sitwasyong. Takang-taka pa rin siya kung saan naroon ang kanyang asawa. At habang tumatagal lalo siyang kinakabahan sa mga bagay na maaari niyang matuklasan.

Mag-aalas siyete ng gabi, wala pa rin si Maria, nang biglang may kumatok sa kanilang pintuan. Dali-daling tumayo si Ermin para pagbuksan ang pinto. Inaasahan niyang si Maria na iyon. Ngunit, nang kanyang pagbuksan, bumungad sa kanya ang dalawang lalaking dayuhan.

Ang dalawang lalaki ay mula sa Spanish Embassy. Ibinalita nila na noong isang araw. natagpuan ang bangkay ni Maria Labo na naaagnas sa ilalim ng kama ng amo nito sa Espanya. Ang among si Gustavo ay dating magaling na doktor na nabaliw dahil iniwan ng kanyang Filipinang asawa.

Nasa mental hospital na si Gustavo habang ang katiwala naman nitong si Eduardo ay nakulong sa pagtatakip sa krimen ng kanyang amo.

Hindi makuhang magsalita ni Ermin. Tiningnan niya ang buong kabahayan, inisip niya kung paanong patay na si Maria nang mahigit dalawang buwan, gayong dala-dala pa niya ang mga pera't kagamitan na nakikita niya sa paligid ng bahay. Hindi siya naniwala sa dalawang lalaki. Pinaalis niya ang mga ito at pinagsisigawan.

Hinintay niya si Maria. Inisip niyang nagbakasyon lang ito sa kung saan at babalik na rin pagtagal-tagal. Hinintay niya nang hinintay ang kanyang asawa. Pagkalipas ng isang linggo dumating si Maria, ngunit, isa nang naaagnas na bangkay.





The Three Faces of Maria Labo
By: Abelardo Gajarion
[translated]

1. As militarization became widespread in the barrios, it caused disarray to the province of Sorsogon. Farmers and fishers have no abundant harvests; many small businesses closed; children can't go to their schools, and people can't almost go out of their houses. All of them were waiting a bomb to fall on their place, so they'll die together, except Maria Labo.

Maria and Ermin Labo resided in a small hut made of cogon and bamboo which was located near the foot of the mountain far from the village. They had two children, namely Pablo and Rosalinda. Ermin is a farmer while Maria was a vendor of their harvests in the village.

When they got no abundant harvest in their vegetable farm, Maria decided to go to her friend who was searching for domestic helpers who wanted to go to Spain. She thought she may earn more money by working overseas than selling vegetable which she can't even do because of the war in their province.

They mortgaged their farmland, as well as the place where their house stood, to obtain money as payment for her placement fee. Three months later, she was sent to Spain.


2. Maria was brought in an old mansion in a village far from the city. She went down from a bus and stood in the front of a big and old iron gate. It was twined by crawling plants. According to the agency who sent her, only an old man and his trustee were living in the mansion where she's going to work.

She entered the gate which is partly open. Far from where she stood, she can see the whole gray mansion. She needed to walk almost two kilometers before arriving the mansion. The road was dusty, aligned with large trees on both sides.

Upon arriving at the front of the mansion, Maria was surprised seeing a large door, almost three times of her height, made of wood decorated with sculpted grapes and flowers. The whole mansion is made of cement. She noticed the grasses in its garden have grown as tall as her knee. The right side of the mansion was almost covered by creeping plants.

She knocked the door using the round metal hanging on the lion head door knocker. She gazed in all directions, thinking she will find someone, however, no one welcomed her. After five minutes of waiting, the door just opened voluntarily. It opened very slowly and it made an unpleasant sound as if it was closed for so long and it was opened for the first time. Upon entering the door, she saw no one.

She didn't see the old man who devotedly watch her from the time she entered the gate and while she's walking towards the mansion.

Hola, como estas? (Hello, how are you?) Greeted by the man who appeared from the left corner of the mansion.

Maria was startled. She, unexpectedly, didn't think a man wearing a beautiful attire will just appear from nowhere.

Soy Eduardo. Que te llamas? (I'm Eduardo. What's your name?)

Maria didn't know what to answer.

Comprendes Espanol? (Can you understand Spanish?)

She just shook her head. Whether she knows Spanish or none at all, surely she knew a little. The guy stared at her first before speaking in English.

Follow. Follow.

Eduardo was the trustee of the mansion. He worked there for many years. He was planning to quit now, but he can't do it till he finds the right woman to take care of his master.

They took half a day to finish walking around the mansion. They inspect and visited every room while Eduardo explained to Maria her job. He stammeringly used English, even Maria can't understand much.

Tienes hambre? (Are you hungry?) E, are you, e starved?

Maria didn't know what to answer so she just nod. Eduardo noticed that Maria don't understand him. So he concluded that he found the girl he was searching for.

Senor Gustavo wants to . . . e, hablar . . . e, speak to you . . .


It was three months since Maria started to work there, but still they have difficulty in understanding and talking with each other. So it's easier for them to use sign language instead.

Within that three months, she had had a chance to go inside Mister Gustavo's room only two times. Eduardo said, in stammering and patching story, Mister Gustavo was sick for so many years ago, until now. It was very intricate, that's why no one must see him.

The first time Maria had a chance to go inside Gustavo's room, they even got no chance of seeing each other. Eduardo just introduces her, however, they're only standing in the door. The area where Gustavo was resting was very dark which made it difficult for her to clearly see the face of the old man.

In the second time, Maria got a chance to go nearer to Mr. Gustavo. She just get the urinal beside her master. His skin was wrinkled. His hair was so thin. His eyes are almost white. Before she departed, Gustavo asked her. His voice was so low which Maria can't almost hear.

Are you Filipina?

Maria nodded, she understood the small question of her master.

A, opo, si, si, Senor Gustavo. I am Filipina.

Maria wondered why she was called by Gustavo even though Eduardo was there to give his orders of whatever he needs. She thought some possible reasons. She left her work in the kitchen just to go to his room. Before going out of the kitchen, Eduardo gave her some warnings.

Maria, nunca (never), e, do not go out of the room if Senor Gustavo, e, is not asleep yet.

She knocked slowly at the door of Mr. Gustavo's room. She went near to the old man. He signaled her to go nearer. It seemed her master was whispering something. Slowly, she brought her face nearer to Mr. Gustavo's.

Maria was very nervous. She didn't even predict that it'll be her last. Because when she go out, she'll be different from normal.

3There have been many changes in Maria's family since she came back from Spain. It was two months after she went back to Sorsogon, her province.

All the people are very jealous of her when she arrived home. She had spent four months in the Spain, but she had brought many pasalubong (take homes) for that short time. She brought up expensive plates, utensils, and candelabra. The mortgage of their land was paid and they had built a new house.

However, they (their neighbors) wondered why they haven't seen Maria went out of their house. They often wait her go out to walk around the town, but they have no chance of seeing her.

Likewise, Ermin and his children didn't go outdoors too. They are wondering very much of Maria's coldness to them. She's not talking, but she still remain caring and giving. At night, on the bed, Ermin hear her repressed cry. Whenever he attempts to touch her for comfort, he always feel, as if, burned by the coldness of her body. She seemed like an ice. Ermin blanketed and hugged her, but he felt somewhat like he was just hugging on a wind.


One night, Ermin jump up while hearing Maria squealing at the window. When he woke up to see his wife, he was frightened seeing her soaked in blood. Her neck was slashed and blood spits on it. He went back from lying on the bed not noticeably awake, although he was very scared. He saw Maria passed through the wall. He was terrorized. He pretended to sleep when she went near him. He knew that she went close to him and stared at his face. He smelled the bad odor of the blood and the rotten flesh. He prayed that all were just a dream. And if he's in a nightmare, he prayed he'll wake up and wished everything are back to normal.


When he woke up the next day, Maria was not on her side. He looked at her anywhere in the house, but he found her nowhere. He also asked his children if they saw her, but like him, they didn't, starting last night.

The children told Ermin that they dreamt of their mother crying in their room. Her body was full of blood. Her neck was slashed and the blood oozes out from it. She went near them and kissed each of them, then when they woke up, they saw nothing or even saw any evidence that their mother went there.

Ermin felt horrified. All of them saw Maria last night in the same situation. Still, he was wondering where his wife might be. Time passed by, he felt more and more nervous about things he might discover.


Seven o'clock in the evening, still, Maria was not home, when suddenly, they heard someone knocks at the door. Hastely, Ermin got up to open it. He hoped it was Maria. But, when he opened, there was two foreigner standing.

The two men came from the Spanish Embassy. They informed him that they saw the dead body of Maria Labo rotten under her master's bed in the Spain. Mr. Gustavo was an excellent doctor who became mad because his Filipina wife departed him.

Now, Mr. Gustavo was brought to the mental hospital while his trustee, Eduardo, was put in prison from hiding the crime done by his master.

Ermin was speechless. He looks at the whole house. He can't imagine that Maria was dead for almost two months, in spite all the moneys and things she brought home. He didn't believe them. So he angrily told them to go away.


He waited for Maria. He just think that she was on a vacation and she'll be home soon. He waited her wife for a long time. After some weeks Maria came, now . . . a rotten corpse.


Variations



Because of this variation of Maria Labó's legends, the story about her became unbelievable.
  • Maria Labo was a simple beautiful young girl who was raped by village men. Swearing revenge, she is said to roam the fringes of small towns victimizing young men.

  • She was an OFW who acquired vampiric powers from the old man she took care in Canada. When she went home, she found herself wanting to eat human flesh. Thus, she killed her own children.

  • Some version, Maria Labó was just a human being without any supernatural powers, however, she was a cannibal who ate her own two sons.

  • Yet another version, she was an OFW who was killed by a Spanish old man. She went home as a ghost.

  • Other version says that she came from Iloilo, some from Capiz and yet from Sorsogon.


  • About this



    The story of Maria Labó has found its way in the local newspapers and true ghost story books so most probably, this story is partly true. It took fame in the midst of 2003. This story caused a stir in the city some 5 years ago. But according to the story Ang Tatlong Katauhan Ni Maria Labo (as shown above), she was not actually an aswang (vampire) but a victim of murder by a madman overseas. She came back with her moneys and things, not as a human, but a ghost. Before she departed her family, she'd put them first in good place.

    It seems her influence to many people stays till now, and even stories of her personal life are rumored.

    Conclusion



    According to the text message, whenever you remember her every 3:00 am or pm, she'll appear after you and will kill you. For me, it's impossible for her to visit every person in the same time in different places whenever she is remembered. There could be hundreds or thousands of people who might think of her. Then the question is - who would she visit first? And perhaps, the reason why her story became more horrible (that she transformed into a vampire) because of how she'd gone home as a ghost.

    Last Updated: February 11, 2014

    Sources:
    [1] The Best of True Philippine Ghost Stories. 2008. Alexie Cruz Ed. PSICOM Publishing Inc.
    http://iloilocityboy.blogspot.com/

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