Once there lived beside the sea a couple named Juan and Juana. For a long time they were childless. When Juana was at last with child, they were quite happy. But in her pregnancy, Juana would become very restless if she did not have milkfish to eat every day. So one afternoon, when Juan failed to catch any milkfish, he became very sad. Suddenly, Juan heard his name called. He was greatly surprised when he looked down and saw a shiny milkfish wearing a crown. The milkfish identified himself as the King of Fishes and he asked Juan: "Why do you fish only for milkfish?" Juan told him the reason, and his sorrow at the moment.
The King of Fishes pitied Juan and promised "I’ll give you plenty of milkfish everyday. But in return, you are to deliver your coming child to me when it turns seven years old." Because it was already getting dark and since milkfish was becoming scarce that season, Juan finally agreed. The King of Fishes was true to his word. Even after Juana had given birth, Juan continued to bring home milkfish from the sea. Their child was a lovely girl with very black hair. They loved her and were very happy with her. They called her Maria. When Maria turned seven, Juan went to see the King of Fishes and begged him: "Have pity on us. Can’t you possibly release me from my promise? We love Maria very much, and we can’t bear to part with her." But the King of Fishes was firm, saying "A promise is a promise." With a heavy heart, Juan went home. Since that day, the couple and Maria never went near the sea.
But one day, while Juan was on the farm and Juana was doing the laundry in the river, there came a big wonderful boat. The people immediately flocked to the shore to see it. Maria was alone at the time and was looking out the window. She became curious and joined the rest on the shore. While she was watching the wonderful boat, a big wave rushed up and dragged her to the sea. Immediately, the neighbors told her parents of the incident. Juan and Juana ran to the shore but they were too late. Maria was gone! Every evening after that, the couple would stand by the shore and stare at the deep. They kept hoping that Maria would return. Years passed and still they failed to see her. But one moonlight night, there appeared before the old couple a lovely creature. She had very long black hair, but — while half of her body was that of a beautiful girl, the other half was that of a milkfish. Then they knew that it was Maria, now a mermaid.
Maria grew up to be a very beautiful woman with long black hair and expressive set of brown eyes. She cannot remember that she once was human for the King of Fishes took away all trace of her memory when she was taken suddenly many years ago. She grew up with other mermaids of her kind at the bottom of the sea who took care of raising her as their own. But every full moon she would rise up to the surface to admire the beauty of the earth which she found herself unexplainably drawn into.
The King of Fishes noticed Maria's restlessness and tried to cheer her up by promising to grant whatever wish she wanted. "I would like to be able to walk like the humans," she asked in earnest. The King of Fishes replied, "I will grant your request to walk like the humans but only while the moon is full." And so it was that Maria was able to walk on the "pampang" during full moon. It was during one of her walks that she stumbled upon a young man who was walking alone in the night. She was not aware of her nakedness and the man was surprised to see her. He didn't seem to mind her nakedness too but instead asked her who she was and where she was going. That was the start of the friendship between Maria and her male acquaintance whose name she later discovered as Ramon. Unbeknownst to her, he was in fact, a siokoy - a male sea creature sent by the King of Fishes.
Their friendship quickly blossomed into a romantic relationship and not long afterward Maria conceived and gave birth to a healthy baby boy who looked very much like his father. They were very happy and would often swim together especially on bright moonlit nights. Maria forgot her sadness and was completely happy. One night when the full moon was incredibly bright yellow in color, Maria was aghast to see a crowd of fishermen gathering around a huge fishnet where to their surprise they have caught a most amazing creature - a boy covered with fish scales and terribly distraught. Maria hid herself behind the bushes where she saw the fishermen lift their prize catch to the shore. To her great shock and horror, they started to hit the creature with their paddles and sticks until the poor thing stopped moving. Maria saw everything but cannot believe what happened. They killed her little boy.
Sometime at midnight, the people of the small fishing village were awakened by an eerie wailing coming from out of the sea. It was so haunting and spine-tingling that nary a soul was able to get to sleep for the rest of the night. The following morning, the villagers were shocked to discover the lifeless body of one of the fishermen along the seashore. His body bore scratch marks all over. He apparently drowned the night before while relieving himself after a drinking session with his friends.
Thus the legend began of Maria Karamot as she was henceforth known because her victims bore scratch marks in their bodies. Every now and then, the sea will claim its next drowning victim for no logical explanation. Sometimes, excursionists and out-of-town vacationers will for no reason become the next unwitting victim of the pristine and inviting sea that carries with it the sorrows and pains of a grieving mother still trying to understand why her child was taken away from her.