4 Philippine Tourist Spots (and the Legendary Love Stories Behind Them)
Who doesn't like love stories? When two people endure hell and high water just to be with each other, you can't help but root for them — even if you know they won't have a "happily ever after." For this Valentine-themed post, we've gathered some of the best Philippine legends on love, and the tourist spots they're tied to.
The Legend of Mayon Volcano Mayon is renowned the world over for its perfect cone shape and slopes that are challenging to climb. Behind that beauty and mystique, however, lies a tragic story. Once, there lived a beautiful maiden named Daragang Magayon, the daughter of Rajah Makusog. She attracted many suitors, who approached her father with gifts, sweet words, and marriage proposals. But it wasn't until a young man named Panganoron saved Magayon from drowning in the Yawa River that the maiden felt the first pangs of love. The lovers were happy at first. Makusog had given them his blessing, and they'd already set out to make wedding preparations. Unfortunately, one man's jealousy was fated to ruin them all. Pagtuga, one of Magayon's former suitors, took Makusog hostage. He then told Magayon that, unless she agreed to marry him, her father would die. Left with no real choice, and out of love for her father, Magayon agreed. Luckily, Panganoron wasn't one to give up so easily. Bringing his soldiers with him, Panganoron challenged Pagtuga to a fight. In the ensuing battle, Panganoron managed to kill Pagtuga, before being killed himself by one of Pagtuga's men. Magayon, seeing her dying lover, rushed to his side, only to be fatally wounded by an arrow. Grieving over his daughter and would-be son-in-law, Makusog buried the lovers side-by-side. Out of the grave rose a mound, which became higher and higher until it became the Mayon Volcano ("Mayon" being the shortened form of "Magayon."). According to the old folks, the clouds that converged on the volcano's peak symbolized Magayon and Panganoron kissing, while the volcano's violent eruptions symbolized Pagtuga raging over his unrequited love.
The Legend of Marinduque If you look at a map of Marinduque province, you'll notice that it's shaped like a human heart. That's why most legends surrounding the island concern the fate of two lovers. In one story, a beautiful princess named Marina fell in love with a fisherman named Gatduke. Due to the differences in the lovers' social statuses, Marina's father forbade their relationship. But, as the old saying goes, forbidden fruit tastes sweeter. When Marina's father realized that the affair continued despite his objections, he ordered Gatduke to be beheaded. Upon learning of her father's order, Marina went to Gatduke the night before his execution. Together, they sailed to the middle of the sea under the moonlight, and jumped into the dark waters, choosing to be together in death than be parted forever. From the spot where they jumped, an island appeared. Because of the island's supposed origins, and its shape resembling that of a human heart, it was named Marinduque, a portmanteau of "Marina" and "Gatduke." If you want to visit the island, we have a list of 8 places to check out in Marinduque.
The Legend of Binangonan Following the previous two stories, the legend of Binangonan starts with a chieftain and his daughter, and ends with tragedy. In a village near Laguna Lake, there lived Gloria, a lakan's daughter who was beautiful inside and out. One night, a storm struck their village, causing a boat to get shipwrecked on their shores. In the boat was the unconscious body of a young man, whom the villagers nursed back to health. As it turns out, the young man's name was Bayani, and he became a good friend of Gloria. Soon, he became her lover as well, and the two were happy for the time being. Sadly, Gloria's father had other plans for his daughter, and ordered Bayani to be decapitated. Once the deed was done, Gloria rushed to her lover's headless corpse, cried tears of anguish, and stabbed herself in the heart. Ever since, the villagers report that on the spot where the lovers perished, their ghosts would appear every night. Because of this, the place eventually became known as binangonan, or "the place where they (the lovers) rose."
The Legend of the Chocolate Hills Many tales about the Chocolate Hills' origins exist, and the romance of Arogo and Aloya is one of them. According to the story, Arogo — a nigh-immortal, youthful giant — fell in love with a beautiful mortal woman named Aloya. Naturally, Aloya outlived her lover, who cried tears of grief that covered the grounds of Bohol. The spots where Arogo's tears fell became the Chocolate Hills, which continue to stand and captivate tourists to this day. Even though all these stories end in tragedy, all of them are also testaments to the power of love. Next time you drop by the destinations above, don't forget the legendary couples who brought them into existence.