Pandora: The Wawa Dam Lady

Wawa Dam (also known as Montalban Dam) is a gravity dam constructed over the Marikina River in the municipality of Rodriguez in Rizal province, Philippines. The slightly arched dam is situated in the 360-metre (1,180 ft) high Montalban Gorge or Wawa Gorge, a water gap in the Sierra Madre Mountains, east of Manila.[1]

It was built in 1909 during the American colonial era to provide the water needs for Metro Manila. It used to be the only source of water for Manila until Angat Dam was built and Wawa was abandoned. Due to insufficiency of water supply for Metro Manila, there was a strong clamor to reuse the dam.[1]

The Wawa Dam was famous for being the site of Bernardo Carpio's legend. (I'm not talking about Bernardo del Carpio, the legendary hero of medieval Kingdom of Asturias, who squeezed Orlando to death. I'm talking about the Filipino version of him.)

Legend has it, at the time of Spanish Era, Bernardo Carpio was trapped between two great rocks. An engkantado (or some say an albularyo) planned to trap him. They induced him to go to the mountains of Montalban, Rizal. When he was in the middle of the two mountains, the engkantado caused the two to grind with each other. Some legends say he was killed after that, others say he survived but struggling to push away the two mountains. According to the locals, whenever he moves an earthquake comes (for me it is because the legend is set in the West Valley Fault System where earthquakes often occur).

Well, that's a local folklore, but that's not what were focusing here.

Aside of that legend, another one rosed but more recent than the legend of Bernardo Carpio. It started in 2007, when someone died there for some reason. Local folks claimed that the reason of the death was a lady in white.

The Story

The Wawa Dam has claimed the lives of over 40 people starting 2007 according to a local. An engkanto named, Pandora was the reason behind the deaths. Every holy week, almost 15 to 16 people died in the dam.

According to a local legend, Pandora is a queen of the mountains in a kingdom where all of them are female. She was a beautiful, long-haired woman with a natural Filipino complexion (what we called as kayumangging kaligatan). Her first victim was just gathering logs in the forest, then she put him away to his tracks then lost in the woods. He was never found till then.

However, her story varies from one person to another. Some believe she was an engkanto, some of them suggest she was just a mortal girl.

The natives knew many stories of why she was doing this. Those story imply only one point - she wants to avenge something.
  • One story tells that she had once a lover, but this guy became unfaithful to her. Thus she spurned him. Then started to revenge over every people.

  • According to another story, she was just a simple mortal girl who became a rape victim. The suspect brought her to the nearest cave, then there she was molested and killed. After that, she claimed lives of every man.

  • Another story combined the two, she is a beautiful fairy who was raped by a mortal and seek revenge by drowning men on her waters.

  • Because there is no male engkanto in there kingdom, they get mortal men.

  • If one of the stories is true, I prefer to believe the second one. Well, not because it is possible, but also ,they said, they often hear a voice of a girl crying at night. Maybe, because of her grief. I also suspect them to be a different individual. What I mean is there are two of them there. But what makes it incredible is the similarities of those people who died there - all of them are first born, as what the locals said, and it happens every time an owl coos. That's the reason why they always advise a first born not to swim there. The survivors claimed that someone or something was pulling them down to the depths of the water whether they're in the shallow part or not.

    Television Appearance

    The story of Pandora was featured in a GMA Network Halloween television series entitled Elemento.

    She was portrayed by Ms. Solenn Heusaff.

    A tour guide and environmentalist played by Carlos Agassi, investigates the mystery behind the Wawa river. In the end, he sacrificed his life to Pandora to cleanse and take away the curse in her so that she will stop taking lives of innocent people.[2]

    Last Updated: October 27, 2014


    Image Source:

    You may also visit:

    The Mysterious Death of Julie Vega
    Mt. Apo's Venado Lake
    San Juan, La Union Ghosts
    Cantilan's Malitangtang Bridge