The village of Guisian in Marinduque
Guisian's main village is situated on a narrow piece of land between the water and a mountain.
Most people who grew up here in Marinduque have heard of stories of gusi (antique jars) filled with gold being unearthed by poor, industrious people who must have done a lot of good in their lives that they are worthy of being led by earthly spirits to secret spots where buried treasures lie. There are even more plentiful stories of such treasures disappearing mysteriously when finders are about ready to pull them out. The gold and precious stones are just suddenly covered with earth and sand by mysterious forces, never to be recovered again no matter how hard the finder might try. It is accepted by many that such buried treasures are zealousy guarded by spirits, with not many willing to dispute that.
In folklores from the northern part of Marinduque such hidden treasure stories are associated with pirates of old. At least two neighboring villages in northern Mogpog (Silangan and Guisian), attribute the origin of their place-names to treasures hidden by pirates. As late as 1881 similar stories would resonate in some records such as one that said Mogpog was “an old village of bandits and of pirates very much feared by their neighbors”. So wrote the French naturalist
Sayao Bay protects the village from furious waves and strong winds.
and explorer, Alfred Marche, whose expedition in the Philippines was considered the first systematic archaeological work in the country.
That is to say, stories related by Marche about spirits and terrors conveyed to him by local people, particularly those about caves and their inhabitants, are still very much around here. One still hears today of spirits coming out of many caves in procession to pay homage to a particular spot in the woods or elsewhere by the sea.
“There’s one cave I know, far from here”, says one “but very dangerous as it is inhabited by large snakes and very few have ventured to explore it, but there you will find primitive writings like they had their own alphabet.” My eyes opened wide hearing that one. Petroglyphs in Marinduque? But who really, really knows?
But going back to pirates, another century later, their stories would eventually merge with accounts of Japanese exploits here during the war. One would suddenly find an empty shell of a bomb beneath the shore, uncovered only now by fierce waves caused by a strong typhoon. Then you wonder if that empty bomb shell had anything to do with a Japanese transport ship
Houses along the coast
Many Marinduque inhabitants are not even aware of this village that has been secluded because of tough roads that are almost not passable during the rainy season.
that sank off the northern coast of Marinduque after it was torpedoed by an American submarine in WW2.
Ashore you might find yourself looking at the blue waters wondering where the ship might have sunk, what cargo she carried or might have unloaded before she was torpedoed? Then you turn around. Your mouth agape, noticing something unusual with some of the rock formations before your eyes. Could these really have been done by the waves tossing and turning for ages? Or deliberately carved or designed treasure signs out of rocks and stones, by human hands? Cement that blended with the environment, poured into rocks and stones that formed patterns for future reference or recovery?
Or, for now, maybe best and safe to just dismiss them as mere figments of your imagination? It could never be that easy to find these things, you might just mutter to yourself.
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