Argao is a town located in the southern part. It is considered as one of the heritage towns of Cebu due to the presence of Spanish era churches and houses. In addition, the town is also the home of Lola Pureza who set the standard in the creation of the much-loved Cebuano delicacies, the Peanut Browas, Toasted Mini Mamons, and Butterscotch.
Mt. Binalabag is one of the mountains located in the town of Argao. While many hikers and mountain climbers have already conquered its peak, the mountain was once the center of one of the legends of the town. The mountain is supposed to be the home of a golden horse or a golden cat. The horse or cat would sometimes go down to the town. Even though it was reclusive, residents of the town would see it when it goes down. When the San Miguel Arcangel Parish or the St. Michael Parish Church was under construction, the animal was supposed to be seen at the church every morning. The story also indicates that there was an intricate passageway connecting Mt. Binalabag to the altar of the church.
St. Michael the Archangel is the patron saint of the town. St. Michael the Archangel is tasked in leading the army of heaven against the army of Lucifer. The ceiling of the San Miguel Arcangel Parish has a painting of the battle scene between the archangel and the devil. Residents of the town of Argao love and revere their patron saint as every home in the town has an image of St. Michael the Archangel. St. Michael is considered as a guide, teacher, and leader by the people of Argao. There are three stories or legends showing St. Michael protecting the town.
The second story of St. Michael protecting Argao supposedly happened just before hostilities broke out during the Philippine Revolution. An image of the saint was placed inside one of the cells of the municipal hall. When the revolution was starting, someone supposedly told the head guard to place him outside. The sweet voice came from the cell. Initially the guard did not believe it. After he heard the voice the second time, the guard checked the cell and only found the image. He went back to his post before hearing the voice a third time. The guard told the head of the town who ordered the guard to put the image outside. No one heard the voice after this. A Spanish warship came one day to bombard Argao. But, none of the cannon shells reached the municipal hall, which was located along the coast. The warship left soon after.
Maria Cacao is a diwata or forest goddess living in Mount Lantoy in Argao. According to the legend, Maria Cacao owned a large plantation of cacao. Argao villagers get their cacao from the plantation owned by the diwata. Together with her husband, Mangao, Maria Cacao would bring their products on a galleon going through the Mananga River. They would sell their products to places as far as America. When they returned to Argao, they would bring with back golden utensils and plates from these places. The villagers of Argao would borrow these plates and utensils from Maria Cacao, who would readily lend it to them as long as they return them on the agreed day.
Do you know of any myths and legends in your hometown? Tell us about it on the comments section below.