Lucila Lalu: The Original Chop-Chop Lady



Lucila Lalu- photoThe term chop-chop lady is something most Filipinos would recognize. With English being our second language, some words are borrowed and snuck into our everyday vocabulary, as if we invented the universal language itself.

Now chop-chop lady is anything but pretty – it refers to a body of a woman whose remains are chopped into inappropriately smaller pieces – the head being decapitated (in most cases), torso, limbs, some even do the extra effort of severing each finger and toe – the whole nine yards of mutilation. You get it, right?

As Filipinos, atrocities are like a breakfast value meal at Jollibee – they exist, but you don’t always get ‘em.  News like this appears from time to time, albeit not every day. When we do hear one, the nation automatically huddles into paranoia, in fear of the maniac who’s keen on chopping off humans.

Enter Lucila Lalu.

For the local press, 1967 is the year when Lucila Lalu outranked the Arab-Israeli War on the front pages.

Her case was highly sensationalized, given it happened in 1960s Philippines, and hers was abnormally scary as fuck because they found her legs first, chopped expertly into four pieces and wrapped in a newspaper, in a garbage can on Malabon St., Sta. Cruz. A day later, her body, headless and legless, was found on a vacant lot along Epifanio de los Santos Avenue. It took time, of course, to identify her in the little pieces, but the police managed somehow to get fingerprints off the dead hands which subsequently found to match those in a police clearance file on one Lucila Lalu. The suspects of the case included her 19-year-old lover, Florante Relos, Patrolman Aniano de Vera, and Jose Luis Santiano, a 28-year-old dental student.

For the local press, 1967 is the year when Lucila Lalu outranked the Arab-Israeli War on the front pages.

As the case developed, the sordid side of Lucila’s life rather than her murderer surfaced. Reports poured in that Lucila had other lovers and the police responded by hunting them. The testimony of eager beavers in the case was varied and contradictory. Lucila’s neighbors claimed they saw three men dragging what looked like a body from Lucila’s residence. Vera claimed he saw Lucila hale and hearty hours after the neighbors “had seen” her body being dragged away. A friend of the victim stated that Lucila wanted to end her relationship with Relos, but Relos swears the woman was very much in love with him. And so on, and so forth.

Lucila LaluMay30-67-Full-sf

The police, for their part, theorized on the circumstances behind the murder. From what was left of Lucila, they surmised that the murder could only have been committed by someone familiar with the use of knives and such – say a butcher or a surgeon or at least a pre-med student. The killer must have used a private vehicle to dispose of the torso and legs, and because these were very cold to the touch when found, the remains, the police said, must have been stored in a freezer. These led to speculation that a wealthy man may have been involved in the case, in addition to the earlier and credible theory that the killer must be intelligent, methodical and some sort of professional.

After a week of investigating and prying for information, the police still had no murderer to show before the public. And the victim’s head still had to be recovered. This led not a few people to feel that local sleuths, be they Manila’s finest or our intelligence agents, are not fine enough.

Lucila Lalu-Jun18-67-1-b&w-Full page-sf

On the 15th of June 1967, Santiano, the 28-year old dental student surfaced and confessed to the crime. He recounted and detailed the events that led to the brutal killing. However, a few days later, he retracted and repudiated his confession and insisted on his innocence. But the authorities were firmed on their decision to pursue the case against the new suspect.

In an unsuspecting plot twist, a retired cop, Steve Hodel, claims that his father killed Lucila Lalu. His father is George Hodel, the suspected murderer of Elizabeth Short (The Black Dahlia) in 1947. His father abandoned them and moved to the Philippines, detailing it on his books. Furthermore, handwriting analysis shows connections between George Hodel’s known handwriting and notes written by the Lipstick killer and the Zodiac killer.

Lalu’s case, although Santiano was pinned, is something that can drag on unresolved, as in fact many have in the past. If we consider Steve Hodel’s claims however, does it make me a very sick person if I say… I felt an irrational surge of excitement, knowing George Hodel was once here? 🙂

Here’s a Black Dahlia slideshow (for the lack of Lucila’s body parts):

This slideshow requires JavaScript.



Year-End Blah

I have been afflicted with the disease every budding blogger dreads — slacking.

For the past six months, a lot of unexpected shizms have transpired, which shocked me to a level of what the fuck. I managed to ride on and go with it. After all, life is but a whirlpool of randomness (although those keen on physics might not so happily agree).

So yes, I have been lazy a lot lately; I haven’t logged in ages. I used to have the enthusiasm of a maniacal savant especially in blogging. Documenting what I think is fucked up and beautiful still brings me so much joy and sex drive (yep), but somehow, my lazy self proves otherwise. I haven’t stopped writing though. But most of my thoughts I orgasmed on pen and paper.

The passages after the jump I wrote not long ago — this will be my last entry for this year. It’s highly unlikely of me, but I found myself one day on the porch, visciously writing on the subject I have avoided for so long – LOVE. Surprise, surprise!

Do not, for the love of God, judge. Enjoy, if you can.

No? Go fuck yourself. 🙂


The only language that is never foreign or misunderstood is love. It is is the universal language understood by humanity, and is best spoken without words.

Love is manifested through acts of kindness, acceptance, respect, and tolerance. Yet such actions are more of a rarity these days. All of humanity long to find acceptance of their true self — regardless of one’s race, religion, sexual orientation, and political views. To accept another person whole-heartedly means disregarding everything else, even the tinies negative aspect — because love is unconditional.

With all that is happening these days, it is rather difficult to find love amidst war and hate. Yet the one thing that separates us from all other living things is hope, by means of ‘holding on’.

Hope is something that keeps us alive and bind us in solidarity. It is one of love’s solid elements that create a positive energy among human beings. Most of us have been hurt, frustrated, depressed, and have felt completely useless at some point. Ironically, these emotions, more often than not, are caused by the ones we really care about the most. 

But would you really call it a life if one has never experienced these things? To rise above hopelessness and overcome it is a feeling a person will remember and treasure for the rest of his life. Sharing your victory with family, friends, and loved ones will create a spark of hope, which will eventually unfurl and resonate with the people around you.

The positive energy brought about by love is what the world needs these days. Spread love while you are alive and capable, for it is the only thing that conquers all. 


The Odd Pairing of Edgar Allan Poe & Virginia Clemm

The women associated with Edgar Allan Poe have been far too many – it would be the best lineup yet if there were, at that time, a 19th century version of “The Dating Game”. Fanny, Annie, Sarah Helen, Sarah Elmira, Mary, Marie Louise, Eliza… I really couldn’t care less how they managed to get involved with the great poet, to be honest. I could only point my interest to the woman he actually married – the young and beautiful Virginia Clemm.

Anyone who has read the life (or parts of it) of Edgar Allan Poe KNOWS for sure that Virginia is Poe’s first cousin, and that she was 13 when he, at 26 or 27, married her. By today’s standards, the marriage was a bit odd but for the time, their relationship was not particularly unusual, though she was slightly young (15 years old was a more common marrying age).

These first-hand witnesses all described Virginia as a beautiful, accomplished, charming young woman of great virtue and integrity, who won over everyone in her acquaintance, and who was clearly adored by her husband. If you read all the accounts given by Poe’s acquaintances, particularly the male ones, the impression is given that, if anything, his “child-wife” was considered a damn sight too good for him. Certainly, she gave him the only happy, stable, romantic relationship he ever knew, and was the only one among his real or alleged sweethearts who loved him wholeheartedly and unselfishly.

Several theories about the Poes still circulate: Maria Clemm (the sister of Poe’s father) may have suggested the pairing and hastened the marriage; the couple may not have consummated their marriage; they may have behaved more like brother and sister than husband and wife (Poe nicknamed her “Sissy”). One theatrical version of the Poes suggests that young Virginia had a sexual fetish for horror stories and sought Poe as a husband (making her the aggressor in the relationship). Friends said they didn’t share a bed for at least the first two years of marriage. By all contemporary accounts, Virginia was beautiful and Poe was devoted to her. He once described her as “a wife, whom I loved as no man ever loved before.”

Amidst all these, why has she gotten the worst press of them all?

The fastest reply of any random person hearing the story for the first time would definitely include the words,”but they’re cousins!”, or “…she was 13?!”, and <insert spiteful comment here>.

True, some biographers are hard on the poor girl, but the novelists are even worse. The image of a puerile Virginia vacuously coughing in the background, and further burdening her already bedeviled husband with an unsatisfactory marriage, has been a staple of endless piles of bad fiction.

I refuse to see Virginia that way. This definitely included Poe himself. His August 1835 letter to her and Maria Clemm indisputably proves that Poe desperately loved Virginia and was terrified she might reject him – and unlike the round of engagements-a-go-go he was said to have pursued after her death, he could not have had any ulterior motive in seeking her hand.

The love story of Edgar and Virginia ended rather tragically (she only lived to be 24). Regardless of the malice and scandal these two have caused (then and now), how they saved each other from the demons that surround their lives as cousins and as husband and wife is, in my humble opinion, the most selfless kind of love any human has ever shown.