In Samar Island in the Philippines, local folks especially fishermen steer clear from the ports of Biringin City. The mere mention of the place draws fascination and dread because Biringin City is the place of the Engkantos.
Legends say that Biringan is an otherworldly city between Calbayog City and Catarman. The mystic city is hidden before the human eyes thus the title the Hidden City. The magical place suddenly appears and disappears quickly especially during nighttime. Locals held that the city exists in another dimension and has no boundaries. Those who claim to have visited the place or from the place described Biringan as city of tremendous magnificence, highly illuminated and alluring similar to New York or Hong Kong. However, instead of high rise buildings, there are black castles and cathedrals and everything in the city is black such as their cars and their food.
Most of the people consider it the homeland of Engkantos. Engkantos, according to Philippine myth, are environmental spirits in human forms. Some Engkantos appear to be beautiful but have unusual features such as high bridged nose, pointed ears, very fair skin and lack of indentation below the nose and above the upper lip.
Only people who are invited may come to the city – either through abduction by an Engkanto or through a portal. According to folklore, the entries to Biringan existed in the cities of San Jorge, Gandara, Calbayog and Catarman. The door to the mystical place could be a rock, tree or a field.
One story narrated about a bus traversing the night route from Catbalogan City to Tacloban City. When the last passenger took off, two young ladies asked the driver to take them to a destination far from the main itinerary. The driver and conductor agreed when the ladies offered them more than the usual the fare. Upon reaching the destination, the passengers dismounted near a huge tree.
The driver then turned back the vehicle to the highway. However, the road they had taken just a few moments was seemed unfamiliar. Admitting they were lost, they decided to stop and spent the night on the spot. When morning came, the two found themselves and the bus at the backwoods with impossible trail.
Another story related about motorcycle riders riding in tandem who were traveling at night from Western Samar to Eastern Samar. The road was deserted and silent with their motorcycle headlights splitting the darkness ahead. When suddenly as they rounded a sharp curve, they were consumed in a hubbub as if they entered a rush-hour traffic. Despite seeing nothing, they heard blaring of horns from every directions and gushed of wind rocked their vehicle similar to when trailer trucks pass by. Although confused, the driver tried his best to keep his balance.
Other accounts held that construction firms and appliance centers received orders from the residents of the Biringan City. This posed problems during delivery since the address is impossible to locate.
Story say that a shipment of bulldozers, payloaders, graders and dump trucks carried by a cargo ship from Manila docked at the Tacloban Port of Samar. Upon inspections, the custom official was surprised to see Biringan City as the destination. The customs decided to return the cargo to the shipper but it failed to reach Manila. They assumed that the equipment reached its expected target.
Although Biringan City is a hidden city, modern satellite mapping photography could trace bright lights on the spot where the city is believed to be situated. Also, when a Japanese corporation took images of Samar using special satellite, a highly illuminated area was recorded. The Japanese believed it was deposits of gold and uranium so they started mining. But for unknown reasons, the Japanese abandoned the site after few months.
Until today, the legend of Biringan City never ceases to amaze everyone who hears the story of its grandeur and mystery.