Police identified the three men as all being from Siquijor. A concerned citizen noticed that a man was floating inside the narrow pit.
It is not know what treasure the men had been searching for. However, it is likely they were hunting for the legendary Yamashita Treasure. This was a vast fortune in gold, jewels and art looted by the Japanese Imperial Army from Across Southeast Asia during World War Two.
It is widely believed that as the tide of war turned against the Japanese, the fortune was buried in a series of pits across the Philippines. Some believe that part of this wealth has already been retrieved, and made up – at least in part – the vast fortune of the Marcos family. Other (perhaps more fanciful) theories suggest the wealth helped fund America’s Space Race and other Cold War-era projects.
Lured to death by treasure
Police and rescue crews were called to the scene but the opening was so narrow that attempts to retrieve the bodies was futile as the tide was rising, and so was the water level inside the pit.
An investigation into the matter showed that local residents attempted to pull the one floating body from the pit, no knowing there were two others underneath of him.
It is believed that the pit collapsed after water started to rise inside of it – the third person found floating appears to have attempted to rescue the other two without any rational thought to getting back out of the pit.