In the city of Davao, Philippines, there is a district (or “barangay”) known as Toril, and there, on an unassuming country road, is a sign that has been scaring visitors for years. Showcasing a creepy outline of a pair of waving children, this yellow road sign instructs passers-by to “please wave back” at any children who might wave at them. But what could possibly be the purpose behind this sign?
The debate online has raged for years, with some who claim to be locals to the area declaring that it’s merely a safety measure to remind people that there is a school nearby, and to slow down and wave at any children they might see in or near the road. Other eyewitnesses deny that there’s a school anywhere near this overgrown road, and that the sign is a warning about dangerous spirits that lurk in the area.
In this video, a Catholic priest, Bishop James Long, attempts his own explanation.
WATCH VIDEO HERE
In this video, Long claims that the sign is meant to warn travelers that this road is haunted by the ghosts of children, who will be none too pleased if their kindly waves are not returned by people passing their way. It’s possible that this local superstition is related to the Filipino legend of the dwende, a spirit of diminutive size who makes its home in caves, trees, and abandoned houses, loves to play with children, and takes offense easily.
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If you’re traveling in the Philippines, you don’t want to anger locals or local spirits! No matter what the true purpose of this sign is, it certainly can’t hurt to give a child a friendly wave of your hand.