Danger Below: The Dark Secret Lurking Beneath Liloan

Located in the enchanting embrace of Cebu lies Liloan, dubbed as the “Light of the North.” This picturesque municipality is filled with beautiful architecture, rich histories, and legends that whisper of ancient mysteries. Among these tales, one stands out in the imagination of the townsfolk: the legend of the gigantic fish said to dwell beneath the sacred grounds of the San Fernando El Rey parish.

Photo by Berny B


The very name “Liloan” evokes a sense of intrigue, derived from the Visayan word “Lilo,” meaning whirlpool. It’s a fitting name because the area is renowned for its swirling whirlpools and churning currents that dance on the waters. Yet, the origins of these natural wonders are as diverse as the tales spun around them.

Photo from Canva

Scientific minds may attribute the whirlpools to geological formations and underwater currents, but when you go deeper into the realm of myth and legends, you’ll find interesting ancient lore. According to local tales, the whirlpools are the handiwork of a mystical fish where its physical state remains unseen to mortal eyes.


During the Spanish era, the San Fernando El Rey parish became a landmark in Liloan. But beneath its solemn exterior, tales of mystery rose. There’s talk of tunnels running beneath the church, leading to the waters under the bridge.

Photo by Archie Mercader

Legend says that if you jump or step heavily on the church’s floors, you can feel something beneath: the chambers of the tunnel. And when the water under the bridge starts swirling, locals believe a massive creature is stirring.

Photo from Canva

Some think it might be the “cogtong” or goliath grouper fish—a giant of the sea capable of swallowing prey whole and could grow larger than humans.

Photo from Canva

The tale of the gigantic mythical fish isn’t confined to just Liloan—it’s a story that has spread across other towns in Cebu too. This mystery begs the question: could there truly be a giant, man-eating fish lurking unseen in our waters? And beyond that, how many more unsolved mysteries lie beneath the foundations of our historic churches and parishes?

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Lenie Lañojan
Lenie Lañojan

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