Famous Filipino Mythical Creatures
Long before vampires and unicorns became popular in the Philippines, the country already has its own set of mythical creatures. Some were adapted into movie characters while others are used to scare stubborn children. Some characters are god-like creatures with beauty and charm while others are what nightmares are made of. I remember going to bed early and ducking under the covers to avoid being eaten by an ‘aswang’, or going home before it gets dark to avoid seeing a ‘kapre’ or a ‘tikbalang’. My grandma used to tell me to always sleep inside the mosquito net, otherwise, a ‘tiktik’ might dangle its tongue and eat my internal organs through my navel.
Up to this day, these creatures are still known to many and some still believe in them although science and reason have invalidated their existence.
Here are some of the most popular mythical creatures in the Philippines.
- Bathala -is the God who created the universe. If the Greeks have Zeus, then the Filipinos have Bathala or Batala.
- Malakas at Maganda -literally the Strong One and Beautiful One. They are the Filipino Adam and Eve who sprung from a bamboo tree pecked by ‘Sarimanok’
- Sarimanok – from ‘sari’ which means colorful cloth and ‘manok’ which means chicken, it is a colorful rooster. It is said that it can bring back the dead except humans. judgment day is believed to come after the rooster stopped to crow.
- Diwata – fair-skinned, good-looking, and sometimes, blonde-haired women. They are lesser goddess that bring blessings or curse upon those who harm the forest and mountains.
- Engkanto – is a male Diwata
- Sirena – is Filipino version of a mermaid, a guardian of the water. They attracts males by their enchanting song then abduct a them and offer to the deities
- Shokoy- are green-skinned humanoids with scales, webbed limbs, and fins. They are also water guardians.
- White lady – a lady in white clothes with long hair but no face, floating and usually appears on bridges or roads
- Kapre – filthy giant who smokes huge cigars
- Tikbalang – half-man, half-horse and said to travels at night to rape mortals. It may sometimes cause travellers to lose their way and in order to contradict this, someone has to wear the shirt inside-out.
- Tiyanak – they are babies who died before receiving baptism rites or aborted fetus and become evil spirits
- Tiktik – black bird with a long tongue and eats newborn or babies inside the womb
- Aswang – shapeshifters and eat humans especially pregnant woman who are about to give birth
- Duwende – goblins,elves or dwarfs. They can provide either good fortune or bad fate
- Mambabarang – witch that uses insects and pests to put spell on the victim
- Mangkukulam – witch who uses dolls to put curse on someone
- Wakwak – a bird-like creature that makes sound by flapping wings while flying and grabs its victims
- Multo – ghosts, some are friendly while others are downright scary and violent
So in case you get to watch some movies or read Filipino comics, you are likely to encounter such creatures.It is not a complete list or other regions might have different images. These creatures are products of imagination and the tales survived the changing times. Such imaginary characters add excitement and makes literature or even culture rich and dynamic. So whether believe in them or not, just imagine how these colorful or scary characters stimulate a child’s imagination, how they curl their toes or smile upon hearing such tales.
Let’s discuss with aimtalk teachers (request with the link of this article)
- Which mythical creature is the most popular in your country? Please share about it.
- Do you believe in the supernatural beings? Please share a supernatural story that you heard as a child.
- Do you think folklores and folktales will still be passed on to the generations to come? Why or why not?
mythical(adj): imagined as myth
dangle(v): make something swing loosely
invalidate(v): show something is wrong
spring from(v): be caused by something
peck(v): hit with a beak
curse(n): a swear word
baptism rites(n): one of Christian religious ceremony
aborted fetus(n): the deliberately ended baby before born
womb(n): the part of a woman’s body where her baby grows before born
encounter(v): meet without planning to
stimulate(v): encourage an activity to develop further
curl their toes: have a very strong and unpleasant feeling