3 Most Intriguing Stories in Philippine History | P.1

There are stories in history that we don’t get to hear about often. For some reasons, they get buried in the constant flow of events that unfold and happen in our country as the ages pass by. However, in most cases, these stories reemerge and through the lens of whoever is immersed in the story - they get a second life; Albeit, with an added new twist that gives birth to legends, hoaxes and/or controversies. Here are 3 intriguing stories that are passed down through various lenses throughout time.

1. Teleport Express From Manila to Mexico?

In 1593 Gov. Gomez Dasmariñas of Manila was recently assassinated by Chinese pirates and while waiting for a successor, guards were deployed to secure the palace. One of those who served duty was a soldier named Gil Perez. While on duty, he got dizzy and exhausted from the heat and decided to take a nap. He closed his eyes and leaned on the palace wall. When he woke up, Perez was bewildered to find himself in a strangely similar place, but with unfamiliar inhabitants. It was only after he was interrogated by the natives in Spanish that he realized he had woken up in Mexico City’s plaza mayor—9,000 miles away from Manila!

2. La Loba Negra

Photo by Joriben

In October 1719, Governor General Fernando Bustillo was assassinated at the Palacio del Gobernador. The assassins were never determined, although rumors have it that the Dominican priests were the men behind the brutal killing. Fast forward during the chaos of WWII, a novel based on the brutal murder of Governor Bustamante came out of nowhere. It is entitled “La Loba Negra” (The Black She-Wolf) where it narrates the story of how the Governor General’s widow transforms into a wolf by night to kill her husband’s murderers.

The said novel was supposedly written by the priest Jose Burgos. However, historical records suggest the otherwise, thus putting the authenticity of the matter in question. Skeptical of the claims surrounding the novel, historian William Henry Scott made investigations and later discovered that “La Loba Negra” was a hoax. As it turned out, hoaxer Jose E. Marco –the same guy behind the controversial Code of Kalantiaw – fabricated the novel as part of his massive collection of forgeries.

3. The Tasadays

In 1971, Filipino official Manuel Elizalde claimed to have discovered a Stone Age tribe living in isolation in the dense jungles of Cotabato. According to reports, they were described to wear leaves, spoke their own dialect, and only used primitive hunting tools for hunting and gathering. Soon, the newly found “Tasaday” tribe, as they were called, became a worldwide sensation and was featured in various publications such as of Reader’s Digest, National Geographic, and the Associated Press.

Amid the excitement of the scientific community, political upheavals prevented further study on the Tasadays for almost two decades. However, after political issues settled in 1986, the Swiss journalist Oswald Iten was allegedly given a tip to visit the Tasadays. Upon so doing, he was shocked by what he discovered. Contrary to reports made roughly around 20 years earlier, he learned that the supposedly "lost tribe" did not only wear T-shirts and jeans but they also spoke modern local dialects. Upon further investigation, it turns out that the Tasadays were actually T’boli and Manobo farmers bribed to act like cavemen. It was claimed that they would be given gifts, food, etc and even their own helicopter if they act out as cavemen. Eventually, the story of the Tasaday-Stone Age tribe was described and dismissed as the “greatest hoax since Piltdown Man”. However, present-day reports and conversation with the supposed Tasadays tell us that they are real people that were misunderstood, misrepresented and taken advantage of by modern men.

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