The Urban Legend of Maria Labo From Iloilo



Maria Labo’s story started normal enough. It originated from Iloilo during the early 1990s. The story  has multiple versions, but the most well-known one is about Maria being an overseas Filipino worker..

Before she became the famed urban legend, Maria was a normal person. She was a loving wife to her husband, and a caring mother to her two children.

send money to the Philippines

In order to support her family, Maria became an OFW and went to Canada to work as a household helper.

It was there that she obtained the curse of being an ‘aswang’.

An ‘aswang’ is the most feared mythical creature in Philippine folklore. Unlike the western vampire, the aswang are day-walkers. They live and walk among humans during the day, but they are shape-shifters at night. This is how they can avoid capture and detention. They eat flesh, mostly innards, livers and hearts.

According to the legend, Maria’s employer is originally the aswang. In order for the employer to finally rest, she needed to pass on her curse as an aswang to another person.

In this case, the person she passed it on to is Maria. However, Maria had no idea that her employer gave her the curse.

When the employer mysteriously died, Maria chose to go home to the Philippines.

It was in the Philippines that the curse took hold of Maria, and she was not able to control her hunger for human flesh.

Acting on her hunger, Maria ended up butchering and cooking both of her two children.

When her husband arrived one afternoon, he saw Maria cooking in the kitchen. He also saw the butchered bodies of their two children and some of their chopped parts were even lying in the refrigerator.

Maria, who was under the influence of the curse, remained unfazed by the arrival of her husband, so much so that she even offered the cooked remains of their children to him.

Enraged and completely blinded by anger because of what he witnessed, Maria’s husband took hold of a bolo and attacked his wife. He was able to inflict a huge slash across Maria’s face. However, Maria was able to escape and survive.

This is where Maria Labo got her name.

‘Labo’ in Ilonggo is a term for the act of slashing one’s bolo.

Maria Labo’s story gained nation-wide fame in the Philippines that her tale was made into a movie with the same name in 2015.

So if you ever see or encounter a woman with a huge gaping scar on her face, well, I think it would be safe to run away as fast as you can.

Poster of the 2015 Maria Labo movie.
Poster of the 2015 Maria Labo movie.

Charlie Pelaez

A one-woman show. Peace. Love. Bacon. And all things geeky.

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