Over 240 Creatures & Mythical Beings from Philippine Folklore & Mythology
I have dozens of different resources that I use when I am researching the mythical beings of the Philippines. I often lament about what a pain in the butt it is to pull them all out every time I get curious about a mythical being. I thought, wouldn’t it be wonderful if a place existed where I could access the names of all the known creatures and the regions from which they come? I decided it was time that somebody took on the task – so here it is! There are over 200 mythical beings listed and, with your help, I hope to continue adding to this list.
If you notice one is missing, please comment below or send us a message in the following format:
“CREATURE NAME – (Region) Short description”.
These creatures can be confusing to say the least. First, there are just so many! With over 7000 islands, 20 different regional languages and 120 dialects, it’s actually a surprise there aren’t more.
ABAT/ AWOK – (Waray) Big red bulging eyes, fingers long and bony, and dishevelled hair. Detaches from lower body. Extremely dangerous.
ADA – (Tagalog) A variety of elemental beings. Most are capricious and tend to be malevolent to humans.
AGALON HAYOPAN – (Bicol) Aswangs that live right by the river and don’t hunt humans themselves. Instead, they employ crocodiles to kill people and bring the quarry to them.
AGHOY – (Waray) Fair-haired, handsome, male or female resembling 20-year-old person, barefoot, dressed like villager. Friendly to humans visiting them, eating their food. Knocks at door, gives friends medicinal herbs, roots, and oils. Seen and heard only by its friends and guides people to locate lost articles. Dire consequences follow acceptance of gifts from it.
AGTA – (Waray) On September 18, 1963, Virginia Taglucop told folklorist Maximo Ramos that she and her sister were walking on a lonely footpath in Barrio Palanas, Masbate, in 1957 when they saw an agta sitting under a big santol tree (Sandoricum koetjape). The creature stood and walked toward them for a distance of twenty-five meters before they ran away. The creature was black and twice as tall as an ordinary man. The agta of the East Visayas “are said to live in mangroves and . . . swampy places.” The most frequented home of demons in the Philippines is the Ficus indica, commonly known as the balete tree. The agta reported to have been seen in Barrio Palanas, Masbate, by the above informant carried a rattan cane, but this is the only creature shown by the data to be provided with this elegant appurtenance. The Agta reported most often in Leyte smoked a large cigar and it can usually be seen in a standing position. Benilda Moreno (from Barrio Gabas, Baybay, Leyte) said that an agta once ordered some night fishermen not to proceed, blocking their river route with large trees which it had knocked down to give force to its demand. Virginia Taglucop reported seeing an agta smoke, between eight in the evening and four the next morning, under a santol tree in which it resided. Although they share similar traits, the Agta should not be considered a ‘variety’ of kapre, but instead one of the many tall, black, tree dwellers that have been (mis)classified under that umbrella term.
ALAN – (Tinguian) The Alan is a mysterious race of small, deformed half-human, half-avian creatures. Their elongated fingers and feet are said to point backwards, which they use to hang upside down from trees with. As horrific as this may sound, they are relatively harmless. They are even rumoured to adopt children who have been lost in the jungle. They are said to procreate by collecting menstrual blood, aborted fetuses, and afterbirth from humans, which they form into Alan children. (Learn more about the Alan)
ALLAWAIG – (Ilokano) A ball of fire which doesn’t burn things. People who follow it by night are lured into pits or swamps where they die.
AMALANHIG – (Western Visayas) A zombie that rises from the dead and feeds upon humans. Their power is transferable, just like that of Aswangs, by the use of a black stone. The heir will swallow the stone, and protrude it for the next generation of Amaranhigs. (Learn more about the Amalanhig)
AMOMONGO – (Western Visayas) A hairy, wild, man-sized ape with long nails that terrorizes solitary villages.
ANDUDUNO – (Bicol) In Bicolano folklore, an Aswang that could smell if a person is terminally ill. It prowls outside or under the house of the victim and uses its very long, snake-like tongue to lick the sick person until the victim dies. Sometimes it waits outside the house of a dying person. Once that person dies and has been buried, it digs up and eats the corpse.
ANGGITAY – (Western Visayas) A beautiful half-female, half-horse, also has a horn like that of a unicorn, appears when it rains in a cloudless sky.
ANGONGOLOOD – (Bicol) A creature in Bicolano folklore said to look like a gorilla and inhabits swamps and riverbanks where attacks fishermen and boatmen. It jumps on and hugs the unsuspecting victim which it turns into a tree. The creature is spooked away with noise created by striking the sides of a boat.
ANI-ANI – (Zambals) Much like a Kapre, yet apparently 18 feet tall. Blocks travelers paths. He can change into a man or beast.
ANNANI – (Ibanag) Small beings that live in trees close to humans. It is believed that they may be unknowingly stepped on, so some people offer food such as pig, rice cakes, coconut milk, sugar, basi, cigar, betel chew. The Annani, however, are said to favor the uncooked head of carabao.
ANSISIT – (Ilokano) Small as a three year old boy. He naps on anthills. He does not like farmers plowing the land. He will pinch your skin and make it blue, or even give you scabies, fever and chills.
ARIMAONGA – (Maranao) A huge lion that lives up in the sky. It swallows the moon when it gets playful, thus producing a lunar eclipse. …The lion is said to be carried by a chariot. When one of its wheels gets destroyed, it deviates from its regular path, thus explaining the solar eclipse.
ASWANG – (Witch Aspects: Bicol, Cebu, Eastern Visayas)
(Were-Beast Aspects: Bicol, Cebu, Western Visayas, Luzon)
(Viscera Sucker Aspect: Bicol, Luzon)
(Blood sucker Aspect: Bicol, Cebu, Visayas, Ilokano,)
(Ghoul Aspect: Many areas in the Philippines)
Shapeshifting demon, humanlike by day but transform into different monstrous form at night. By day, they look like a beautiful, silent maidens dwelling in a simple nipa hut, but by night Bird they become a terrible fiend that feeds to human flesh and blood. They can make humans be like them whenever they serve flesh food (which is actually human flesh) and whenever you swallow something inflicted by their saliva. Their power can be also transferred just like that of Amaranhig. They harass and eat awake humans at night, especially pregnant women who are about to give birth. Aswangs can change from a human to an animal form, usually as a bat, a pig or a black dog. Some aswangs can change form at will, others through the use of foul oils concocted by evil magicians. Aswangs appear at night to prey upon unwary travelers or sleeping people. It is said that they have a peculiar liking for the taste of human liver. The myth of the Aswang is popular in the Visayas, especially in provinces such as Capiz, Antique, and Iloilo. Aswangs also have a peculiar liking for the fetus of pregnant women and are said to find their quarry by the scent of the mother, which to the aswang smells like ripe jackfruit. Upon finding the house of the pregnant mother, the aswang alights on the roof from where it stretches its tongue until it is as thin as a thread and uses it to enter the womb and feast on the fetus.
The term Aswang can also be considered as a generic name for Filipino vampiric creatures, such as Manananggal, Tiktik and many more. (Learn more about the Aswang)
ASWANG NA GALA – (Eastern Visayas) (Wandering Aswang) A psychic blood sucker, it feeds directly on the energy of sick, weary, stressed, or dying persons. It appears very human, with some working in hospitals as nurses to feed on the patients. An Aswang na Gala can be identified by staring into its eyes, which reflect images upside-down. Sometimes it feeds on the life force of the fetus inside an expectant mother’s womb.
ASWANG NA LUPAD – (Eastern Visayas) It is distinct from other flying Aswangs because it keeps its human form and does not need wings to fly. After taking its clothes off, it applies under its armpits a green ointment made of herbs and fat, before rising into the night. It rides the current, as though swimming on its back, in search of a fresh corpse. Finding one, it takes only the liver and swiftly departs. It is never known to feed on living men, although reported cases of dead farm animals with missing livers have been blamed on the Aswang na Lupad. Citrus fruits take away its ability to fly.
ASWANG SA KALIBONAN – (Eastern Visayas) (Aswang of the Forest, Aswang sa Talon) An ancient Aswang who lives away from humans and resides in the deepest part of the forest. This Aswang is powerful and is feared as well as respected by other Aswangs. It keeps a lot of black chicks which it uses to turn normal humans into Aswangs. It has a hairy body. Underling Aswangs share their spoils to the Aswang sa Kalibonan.
BAGAT – (Western Visayas) In Western Visayas folklore, Aswangs or other beings that turn into fantastic or terrifying creatures to scare or waylay travelers anytime they want. Some may even chase the terrified victim just for the fun of it. One way to discourage the Bagat is to wrestle one and bite its thumb hard until it submits and begs to be freed.
BAG-ONG YANGGAW – (Western Visayas) Humans who have just been turned into Aswangs. Having just acquired their abilities, the Bag-ong Yanggaw are weaker than other Aswangs but still fast and strong enough to kill a human. They can shape-shift into an animal but for a limited time only as their concentration is not yet fully developed. Having acquired an insatiable appetite for humans, they could be careless sometimes which often results to foiled attacks. Some may even doubt their selves, desperately clinging to their humanity, and seek to be rid of their condition.
BAKUNAWA – (Western Visayas) Sometimes a deity that was represented as a serpentine dragon, according to Filipino mythology. He has two sets of wings, whiskers, a red tongue, and a mouth ‘the size of a lake.’ The Filipinos once thought that the Bakunawa lived in the sea at a time when the world had seven moons that the serpents, being fascinated by their light, would rise out of the sea into the sky and consume the moons. Thus, the serpents were the cause of lunar eclipses. To prevent the world from becoming dark the people would run out of their homes, taking their pots and pans, to make the most noise they could in order to scare the Bakunawa so they would stop eating the moons, and give them the moonlight back. But in some versions, these serpents also devour the sun in which case also cause the solar eclipse. (Learn more about Bakunawa)
BALBAL – (Tagbunua) A monster that steals corpses from its grave, and has a foul breath. Replaces corpse with banana stalk that exactly resembles the deceased.
BALIKWAD – (Tagalog) A creature that eats babies.
BALINOK & BALINSOGO – (Bagobo) Husband and wife who love blood and cause people to run amok.
BANGKILAN – (Palawan) Powerful female Aswangs who could turn into big black boars. They are so powerful they could turn a normal human into an Aswang through a kiss. In Cuyonen, Bangkilan means fierce pig or boar.
BANGUNGOT – (Tagalog) It takes the form of an old, fat woman residing in trees, and is very vengeful. Most punishments they endure includes suffocation. They punish people who cut the tree to where they dwell. Whoever rests or sleeps on the wooden bench or bed which came from the wood of her tree, will die by sitting over that person. The only way to escape her is to press hardly the thumb toe of that human sleeping on it. (learn more)
BANNOG – (Ilokano, Tinguian) A huge bird with strong legs and talons that can life a carabao. It carries large animals off to feed its young.
BANTAY – (Pangansinan) An old man living in a large tree. He turns into a white rooster that grows bigger and smaller. It stops people from going near a tree, or blocks their path so they can’t pass.
BANWAANON – (Cebu) – Meaning ‘of the forest’. They are sometimes called Katsila from ‘Castilian’ (shortened to kastila) meaning Spaniard. The Banwaanon only appear to people that they choose and help people who help them. They are said to have Caucasian features and coloring.
BARANGAN – (Eastern Visayas) You will know if you are cursed by Barangan if you will see a white centipede in your house. Albularyos are called to reverse their curse. The Barangan is a witch who uses insects and spirits, and any material to enter the body of anyone they hate and come out disgustingly.
BARAS – (Pangansinan) Tall, dark and hideous. Lives in the deep woods. He steals women carries them off to his home. When they awaken, they are terrified and go insane.
BATIBAT – (Iloko) – It takes the form of an old, fat woman residing in trees, and is very vengeful. Most punishments they endure includes suffocation. They punish people who cut the tree to where they dwell. Whoever rests or sleeps on the wooden bench or bed which came from the wood of her tree, will die by sitting over that person. The only way to escape her is to press hardly the thumb toe of that human sleeping on it. (learn more)
BAWA – (Western Visayas) A creature living in a sky cave. It flies out and swallows the moon when the food is scarce. Also known as Baua / Calulundan.
BERBALANG – (Sulu) A winged monster with slanted eyes that digs up the graves then eat the corpses of the dead person.
BERBEROKA – (Apayao) A swamp creature that lures victims by sucking water in the pond to pool fish together, attracting fishermen, who then drown in the process.
BENTOHANGIN– (Sulod, Panay) According to the Sulod tribe in Panay island they are half-human, half-horse-like creatures similar to the Centaur of Greek Mythology. But unlike their Greek counterpart, these creatures have a horse-like head and have the ability to fly.
BINANGUNAN – (Kapampangan) A blood sucker in Kapampangan folklore, that could suck a child’s blood even without having physical contact with the victim. This blood sucker doesn’t kill its victim at once but feeds off him/her for days or weeks until the victim finally succumbs to a severe condition. With the victim in near death, the blood sucker moves on to another child to feed on.
BINOBAAN – (Ifugao) Has a thunderous voice, cannibalistic, gets men drunk and then open them up to eat.
BOROKA – (Iloko) A pretty woman with the wings of a bird. Detaches lower body at midnight and goes on raids. Eats the liver and hearts of its victims, but makes boys her housekeeper. Devours children.
BUBUU – (Western Visayas) An aggressive kind of Aswang. In order to deceive its victims with its presence it makes a sound similar to that of a hen laying eggs.
BUNGISNGIS – (Tagalog) One-eyed giant who is always laughing, is strong, but dim-witted. This Philippine folklore giant lives in forest and woods. It is a happy and a playful cyclops.
BURING CATANDA – (Bicol) It is similar to Agta and Kapre, who were dark-complexioned, hairy-skinned giant, and looks like either an old man or woman with a very long hair. The behavior of this creature depends on how people treat them. If you do unpleasing things to them, they can be vengeful while if you do good to them, they can give you a reward. They are also depicted like engkantos with a distinct black skin.
BURULAKAW – (Western Visayas) These beings, according to old folks in central Panay, are women barely three feet tall and have fire for hair. They fly and travel horizontally in a sloping manner starting from a point of origin usually a stream or a shallow well and disappear upon reaching the destination. It is believed they are messengers of the Encanto.
BUSAW – (Mindanao) The Busaw was a ghoul and corpse thief. An evil spirit who looked and behaved like ordinary human beings by day, it listened for sounds of death in the evenings and dwelled in large trees near cemeteries. It has pointed teeth, hooked nails, and a long tongue. It took banana tree trunks to replace the dead as it stole the corpses out of their coffins. Then, spiriting the corpse off after first turning it into a pig, the Busaw would feast on it and even try to feed it to their human neighbors during the day in order to turn them into ghouls like itself. To ward the Busaw off, all corpses should be washed completely with vinegar and strong-smelling herbs. Salt is also a Busaw repellent.
BUSO – (Bagobo, Bukidnon) A black shadow. Lives in big branches and cemeteries. Dig up bodies after a funeral and eats everything but the bones. Can be seen at night if certain rituals are followed.
BUWAYA – (Many regions as a crocodile) It was a Tagalog saurian, mottled-skin, monster with coffin-like saddle on its back. It usually lives in a cave in the deep sea. Whenever it catches a victim, the coffin-like saddle serves as its bag. (learn more)
BUYAGAN – (Waray) Witches in Eastern Visayas believed to have been born at sunrise and has an evil tongue especially on Fridays. They employ curses to harm a person. When they appreciate a person’s appearance, that person will have skin diseases like warts, acne, or scabies.
CALAG – (Western Visayas) Scared off by noise. Bursts corpses belly open by touching the coffin.
CALANGET – (Gaddang) A small earth spirit in the ground, in a mound, or woods and fields. Makes whizzing sound when responding to shaman’s call. Regarded as “the true owner of the land”. Inflicts harm on those who disturb its home.
CARANGO – (Ibanag) A small earth spirit in the ground, in a mound, or woods and fields. Makes whizzing sound when responding to shaman’s call. Regarded as “the true owner of the land”. Inflicts harm on those who disturb its home.
DALAKETNON – (Waray) A beautiful elitists, said to control the Aswang, Manananggal, Amalanhig, Tikitik, Bal-bal, and Wakwak, and are powerful and evil spirits. They dwell in the so-called Dalaket.
DANGGA or AGITOT – (Capiz) Another blood sucker-like variant of the Aswang known in Panit-an, Capiz. This creature is described as a very attractive gay man who roams at night in search of a woman. When he finds one, he will seduce her, only to violate her and suck her blood later. The Dangga has one habit that seems outrageous and outright hilarious. It is said that he is easily distracted by freshly drawn seminal fluid thrown at him. He will halt the assault on the woman and, instead, take his time lapping up the fluid, giving the victim ample time to escape.
DARUANAK – (Bicol) In Bicolano folklore, a gigantic turtle-like but hairy sea monster. Once it lived on land but because of its gradual growth it took to the sea in order to move freely.
DAYAMDAM – (Agusan) The tiniest folk you could ever see. You must ask their permission to gather fruit or fell forest trees.
DILA – Drawn to those who are ill, this spirit passes through the bamboo flooring of provincial houses, then licks the sick and dying to death.
DIWATA – (Many regions) An environmental spirits with ability to take on human form, forest spirits or forest spirits. Mostly females who dwells in trees, mountains, seas, etc., also believed to be gods or demigods (the Marias – Maria Makiling; Maria Sinukuan; and Maria Cacao)
DUMADAY-O aka LAWODNON, PURO-ANON – (Antique) According to Antique province folks, human-looking beings that come from the sea. They bring with them illness and pestilence as they set foot on the beach.
DUWENDE – (Cebuano, Tagalog) Mischievous little creatures who can shower good or bad luck to mankind. Duwende are goblins, hobgoblins, forest spirits or small earth spirits. They are little creatures who can provide good fortune or bad fate to humans. In the Philippines, duwendes frequently live in houses, in trees, underground, termite like a mound or an ant hill (punso), and in rural areas. They are known to be either good or mischievous, depending on how homeowners treat them. They usually come out at 12 noon for an hour and during the night. Filipinos always mutter words (“tabi-tabi po” or “bari-bari apo ma ka ilabas kami apo”) asking them to excuse themselves for bothering the Duwendes. Filipinos would leave food on the floor so that the duwende residing (or guarding) the house would not be angry with them.They also take your things and laugh at you when you try to find it.They give it back when they feel like it, or when you tell them to please give it back.
EBWA – (Tinggian) Evil Spirit. Is kept away from corpses for 9 days and nights by a constant fire.
EKEK – Ekek are creatures who are bird-like humans. They are winged-humans who at night search for victims. They hunger for flesh and blood.
GABUNAN – (Western Visayas) They are the experienced, oldest, strongest, and most cunning Aswangs. They usually don’t shape-shift into animals and remain strong and powerful during the day. They could attack a human even before sunset, pouncing on the victim, strangling him or breaking his neck. Most Gabunan are so swift you won’t see them coming. They fly without wings, sailing the night winds in search of a victim. Some Gabunan don’t kill their victim on the spot. Instead, they keep him tied and locked up. They then turn a tree or banana trunk or a bundle of twigs into a copy of the victim and order it to go home. Upon arriving home, the copy with get sick and later die, a sign for the Gabunan to slaughter the real victim. They could even steal a baby unnoticed, replacing it with a piglet or large fish that has been made to look like the victim. The oldest of Gabunans have coal-black skin, bloodshot eyes, protruding fangs, and long white disheveled hair when in their true form.
GAKI – A giant crab said to cause earthquakes.
GARUDA – (Maranao) Winged monster, big teeth, huge talons that can carry six men. Lives under the sea. Decimates the countryside with cannibalistic raids. Looks more like an eagle in the air, and a man when in his lair.
GAWIGAWEN – (Tingguian) A Tingguian mythical giant with six heads. It wields a spear and a head-axe the size of half the sky.
GISURAB – (Isneg) Huge man-eating human. Lives in cave or forest home near villages. Will hit his leg and behead himself if children wish him to do so.
HANTU DEMON – (Sulu) A evil spirit or demon, notorious for possessing people and driving them to insanity (many types of hantu).
HIGANTE – (Tagalog) Huge man
HUBOT – (Western Visayas) Aswang variants in Western Visayas that fly at night in the form of bird-like but with leathery, bat-like wings.
HUKLOBAN – (Tagalog) A witch who could kill anyone simply by pointing a finger at him and without using any potion. It could destroy a house by merely saying so. The Hukloban appear as a very old, crooked woman.
IBINGAN – (Bicol) A huge and venomous, many-horned red serpent with a prominent crest on its head and dorsal fin on its back. In Bicolano folklore, it is said to guard a cave occupied by water spirits and sea maids. It stations itself at the mouth of the said cave and crushes intruders with its powerful tail.
IKUGAN – (Manobo) Huge, fierce man. Has a tail and skin covered with soft hair. Lives in trees and has monkey-like behavior.
INLABLABBUUT – (Ifugao) A huge monster that can transform to the size of a man. Lures women back to his home, then transforms to the monster and threatens to eat them if they leave.
IQUI – (Tagalog) Detaches lower body and goes on raids. Eats the liver of its victims, but uses a long tongue to suck out the bowels.
KAGKAG – (Romblon) A race of ghouls that comes out at moon rise and moon set. They listen for the sounds of other ghouls, then follow them to find freshly buried corpses. Once a cadaver has been found, they place it over a large banana leaf and proceed to celebrate in anticipation of their feasting. They cut the body into pieces and share it among all the members of their group. To hide they have the power to take on the form of animals. KAGKAGS are apparently repulsed by seaweed and spices.
KAHOYNON – (Waray) Wood-folk/Of the woods/Forest people. They are extremely attractive and give favour to those they deem worthy. Other stories say they are invisible spirits living a parallel human existence – fishing, farming, marrying etc.
KALAG – (Visayas) A Ghost.
KALANGET – (Ifugao) A small earth spirit in the ground, in a mound, or woods and fields. Makes whizzing sound when responding to shaman’s call. Regarded as “the true owner of the land”. Inflicts harm on those who disturm its home.
KALAPAW – (Isneg) Breaks tall coconut trees. His son wrecks fences and tears up rivers.
KALARIOT – (Pampangan) Tall, dark and hideous. Lives in the deep woods. He steals women carries them off to his home. When they awaken, they are terrified and go insane.
KAMANAN – DAPLAK – (Zambals) Tiny mythical people who live in trees over mountain brooks. They will put sweet wild flowers beside infants who are left alone.
KANTANOD – An Aswang that appears and acts like an ordinary person. When it sees a pregnant woman, it follows her at home where it would sit hidden outside or sneak inside the house unnoticed, hiding in the shadows by turning into a pitch-black form and sniff the scent of the unborn child. When it leaves, the baby inside the victim’s womb would also be gone, which result to severe pain and bleeding with the mother. It is assumed the Kantanod is not actually present in the vicinity but employs its astral body to spirit away the fetus.
KAPAPUAN – (Western Visayas) These entities are the roaming spirits of deceased ancestors in Panay Island.
KAPEROSA – (Tagalog) Female ghosts often seen wearing flowing white robes or gowns. Their long black hair cover their faces. Some may be seen without heads or with rotting flesh. The most popular are the White Ladies of Balete Drive and of Loacan Road in Baguio.
KAPRE – (Many regions) Kapre is a filthy, black, hairy giant spirit who likes to smoke huge rolls of cigars, and hide within and atop large trees, particularly the balete and old acacia or mango trees. A Filipino Bigfoot, it scares away little children who play at night. If you’re stuck in a place and you keep going around in circles, you’re said to be played around by a Kapre. To escape its control, you must remove your t-shirt, and wear it inside-out. They usually depicted with a cigar as large as the trunk of a tree. (Learn more about the Kapre)
KATAMBAY – (Bicol) A guardian spirit who protects humans, he is tall and muscular with long dark hair and wears a red “pudong” with gold ornaments. he acts like a guardian angel in times of need.
KATAW – (Cebuano, Hiligaynon) Reigning rulers of the oceans, and has ability to manipulate water. Sinks ships and drowns sailors. Can lure men with her physical charms.
KATATAOAN – Anitos that take the form of humans and sometimes giants. They can disappear at will and only reveal themselves to deserving humans. Sometimes they ride a boat that travels in the air to pick up the bodies of those who died.
KIBAAN – (Ilokano) Mischievous fair-skinned beings with teeth of gold. Their heels point forward and toes behind. They have long hair but are the size of a two-year old child. They can be found in the Bangar tree, in bushes and small trees frequented by “alitaptap” or fireflies at night. By its frustration, it is kept in a mortal’s yard. It keeps the ground under its tree home well swept. It has a kitchen where a spicy odor emanates from after sunset. It sings in small groups on vines in groves while strumming tiny guitars. The Kibaan steal yam from fire, but is fooled by stones roasted in place of the tubers .It gives mortal friends a magic pot, purse, hat, net chain, goat, whip and/or drum.
KIMAT – (Tinguian) A lightning demon that takes the form of a white dog.
KIRBAS – (Ilokano) Tall, dark and hideous. Lives in the deep woods. He steals women carries them off to his home. When they awaken, they are terrified and go insane.
KIWIG – (Aklan) Looks like a stooped dog, cat or pig. Fiery eyes and coarse tangled hair. It kills people and eats them raw. It fears long, loose hair.
KOROKOTO – (Eastern Visayas) A shape-shifting Aswang in Eastern Visayas and Northern Mindanao that could turn into a dog or a cat. When it walks in its human form its feet do not touch the ground. It hides behind bushes or trees in the woods and pounces on unsuspecting victims. It wrestles the victim, drags him home, and cooks him. Its name is derived from the sound it makes.
KULARIUT – (Pampanga) In Pampanga, this is an elusive creature with big eyes, a white beard, and black furred. A harmless creature, it lives in bamboo groves or in the forest. If a house is located nearby, it quietly watches the household members while they slept.
KUMAKATOK – (Luzon, Visayas) Three-hooded spirits that knocks on your door which signals that someone will die the other day after. One of them resembles that of a female, and the other two looks like old people. There’s one point in time when residents of Luzon and Visayas painted white cross or write a cross using a white chalk on their doors to scare or to ward off these trio.
KUMAO – (Iloko, Isneg) Bleeds children to death by pulling out their finger-nails. Eats women and follows their companion home.
KURIPAP – Another form of Tiyanak. This one has the shape of a newly-born child but looks hideous with an umbilical cord still attached to it.
KURITA – (Maguindanao) Many limbed monster who eats all of the creatures he can find. Digs claws into hero’s flesh.
LAGTAW – (Sulu) tall black demon with huge eyes. It hides in the knots of trees and comes out to frighten boys and girls.
LAHO – (Luzon, Pampanga) A serpent that swallows the moon and causes eclipses
LAKI – (Bikolano) A bipedal creature in Bicolano folklore that has a knack for scaring night travelers with its shrill, piercing voice but generally harmless. It has hooves for feet, goat-like legs, and a hairy body. Its face is that of a man but ugly.
LAMAN LUPA – (Luzon) Invisible little people. Owns the land and it may be used by persons only under certain conditions. Lives in communities, follows human trails out of hills, receives offerings before and after planting & harvest, partakes of proficiency gifts from humans.
LAMBANA – (Tagalog) A small fairy-like creature living in the forest. There are many depictions of them: a gruesome small goblin with a dragonfly wings at their back, and a little fairy sometimes of dragonfly or butterfly wings with or without a firefly’s glow.
LAMPONG – (Ilongot) One-eyed white deer. When first seen, becomes two feet tall. Later wears tall, black, two-peaked cap. Bright-eyed, long-bearded.
LEWENRI – (Romblon) Handsome people who will appear to boys and girls by moonlight. They may also appear at dawn, noon and dusk. They make frightful shrill sounds and play sad or joyful music as they laugh, cry and sing. They help the humble and punish the proud.
LITAO – (Ilokano) A tiny man who inhabits the bark of trees that grow along the river according to Ilocano folklore.
LOLID or LULID – (Ilongo) According to Ilonggo folklore, a creature that resembles a cross between a newborn puppy and a piglet with white, leathery hide, an unusually long body, and very short legs (some have no limbs at all). They burrow underground like earthworms and usually reside in mounds or in hills where during full moon their grunts or laughter could be heard. Others claim that the Lolid looks like an wrinkly-skinned infant without limbs and has a big head.
LUTAO – (Mindanao) Reanimated corpses in Mindanao, who have done something wrong when they were alive. They appear in their funeral dress with their heads turned to one side appearing as if they have broken necks.
MAGINDARA – (Bicol) Bikolano myths paint the Magindara in extremes; they are either said to be guardian deities of Bikolano fishermen, or “aswang ng dagat” who will eat adult humans but do not harm children (a sharp difference from Tagalog sirena myths that show children as their preferred sacrifices). They are briefly mentioned in the Ibalon. Beautiful but vicious creatures of the sea, they have colorful and sharp scales, and enchanting voices that can lure fishermen to their deaths, or draw them to their rescue. Some believe that the Magindara can summon aswang at will.
MAGITALONAN – (Kulaman) Spirits that inhabit rocks and trees.
MAGKUKUTUD – (Kapampangan) A self-segmenting flier in Kapampangan folklore similar in appearance to the Manananggal. Its only difference is that it lays eggs, which when cracked open contain human body parts and organs. It also has a habit of digging out freshly-buried cadavers which it takes home and cooks.
MAGTITI-LAOK NGA BILAKAK – (Licuan-Baay,Abra) A serpent whose scream sounds like a very loud and haunting rooster’s morning call. It does this to scare and prevent hunters and loggers from entering the mountain.
MAGTITIMA – (Bukidnon) Invisible being. Given offering of white chicken. Gives mortals permission to cut wood.
MAHOMANAY – (Bagabo) A forest animal guardian. Some picture her a beautiful diwata just like Maria Makiling, with a long hair and a Filipina feature.
MALAKAT – (Waray) In human form until it attacks – eyes fiery, saliva flowing, nails grow long and sharp, and her hair grows into the nose, ears, eyes and mouth of its victim to completely silence them. Cannibalistic.
MAMBABARANG – (Bicol) You will know if you are Nabarang (cursed by Mambabarang) if you will see a white centipede in your house. Albularyos are called to reverse their curse. Mambabarang (summoner) is a witch who uses insects and spirits, and any material to enter the body of anyone they hate and come out disgustingly. A Mambabarang is a kind of a mangkukulam. Mambabarangs are ordinary human beings with black magic who torture and later kill their victims by infesting their bodies with insects. They are different from Mangkukulams – the latter only inflict pain or illness. Mambabarangs use a strand of hair from their chosen victim and tie it to the bugs or worms which they will use as a medium. When they pick the bug, the victim immediately experiences the intended effect.
MAMBUBUNO – (Zambals) A fish like human with a double tail and large black slimy scales. When a fisherman sees her, he can’t help but follow to her cave. He does not get wet or drown, unless he decides to leave her.
MAMELEU – (Western Visayas) A sea serpent with body and head as large as that of a water buffalo. It also possesses two white horns, and its body stretches up to thirty fathoms long. It has eyes torch-like, fire jets in them; long teeth; and large resistant scales.
MAMUMUYAG – (Western Visayas) She is known for her hostile glance and can give various ailments to those she hates. She is known to give a twisted mouth or painful tumors. She doesn’t join in community activities and people are afraid to pass her house.
MANANANEM – (Pangasinan) She goes out to harm her enemies when the moon is full. She gives chills and fever. She keep a tiny doll under her fireplace that she pricks where she wants her victims to suffer. She also picks up the earth of her victims footprints and roasts them in a clay pot to cause high fevers.
MANANANGGAL – (Bikol, Tagalog) A flying fiend, and carries only half its body, bodies are cut in half at night. Some says, like Aswang, by day, they are beautiful maidens living in a nipa hut, by night, they rub a kind of oil to their whole body which gives them the power to separate themselves into two – the upper part which she carries with bat-like wings, and the lower part which they live, then goes back to connect its upper part before the dawn.
Manananggal is an aswang that can fly after separating itself from the lower half of its body. It eats babies and fetuses from a mother’s womb. It eats babies by means of passing their long tongue through a small hole from the roof of a house. The sharp end of the tongue touches the mother’s navel to suck the blood of the fetus or unborn child.
A manananggal can also be a sorceress that visits villages and barrios. To feed, the self-segmenter chooses an isolated place where she will leave her lower torso while she hunts at night.Bird When she separates from her lower torso, she then gains her ability to fly. She then goes off in search of houses where pregnant women reside. Upon choosing a suitable victim, the Manananggal alights on the house and inserts her tongue through the roof. The tongue is long, hollow and extremely flexible. She uses it to puncture the womb of the sleeping woman and to suck out the fetus. At other times, she seduces men with her beauty and lures them to a private place before eating them alive. She usually eats the insides, like the heart, stomach or the liver. Sunlight is deadly to the Manananggal when she is in her monstrous form. Should her two halves still be separate with the coming of dawn, she will be destroyed. According to legend, to destroy the Manananggal, one should search for the lower torso that she leaves behind during her nightly hunts. Salt, ash, and/or garlic should then be placed on the exposed flesh, preventing the monster from combining again and leaving it vulnerable to sunlight. Small containers of salt, ash, and raw rice, and the smell of burning rubber are said to deter the Manananggal from approaching one’s house. (learn more)
MANANGILAW or MANANG HILAW – (Bikolano) Hairy humanoid giants in the mountains and caves of Bicol. Generally described as having big feet, bodies covered in black hair, deep voices, and vicious-looking faces, these shy and harmless beasts use vines, which some wrap around their waist like belts, to catch fish and shrimp in the river or hunt small animals. In the 1980’s two Manangilaw, a mother and a child, were allegedly captured by soldiers patrolling in Mount Isarog. The two beasts were chained to train wagons for 15 days and were fed with live chicken and cow’s blood. Nobody knows what became of the said creatures.
MANAUL – (Negros) The manaul is a mythical king who became a bird. He was believed to have caused the seas and the skies to fight against each other. The clash between the seas and skies resulted to the formation of the Philippine islands.
MANBUKAY – (Western Visayas) Fair-complexioned male Encantos that frequent shallow wells. They wait for maidens to fetch water from the well and attempt to spirit away the victims to their kingdom. Sometimes some court the maidens first for weeks, enticing them with various gifts.
MANDURUGO – (Tagalog) Pretty woman by day, winged monster by night. Intermarries with humans. Attacks the jugular of its sleeping victims by night. Becomes powerless by day. Said to live in Capiz.
MANGALAYO aka ALLAWIG – (Sulod, Panay) Sulod natives in Panay Island tell of a flying ball of fire that appears at night and chases lone travelers.
Known as Allawig in other parts of the country it is said to lead travelers astray into dangerous paths like cliffs or holes in the ground.
MANGALOK – (Palawan, Western Visayas) Invisible by day and a fair skinned woman by night. Lives in trees deep in the jungle. Drapes wings over a branch and hair over her face to sleep. Hides under victims mats. She eats the bowels of children, pulls the entrails out of the sick, the liver of fresh corpses, but prefers babies and human rectum.
MANGGAGAMOD – (Ilokano) She goes out to harm her enemies when the moon is full. She gives chills and fever. She keep a tiny doll under her fireplace that she pricks where she wants her victims to suffer. She also picks up the earth of her victims footprints and roasts them in a clay pot to cause high fevers.
MANGINGILAW – (Western Visayas) An anthropoid giant in Iloilo’s forests with a hairy body, very long hair, and bog teeth. Despite being a wild beast, it is said that some actually wear animal hide to cover their private parts. The Mangingilaw is vicious and prefers to eat its prey raw especially humans. Its name is based on the local word ‘kilaw’, meaning ‘food prepared raw’. Also there is a local delicacy referred to as ‘kilawin’, its main ingredient is either raw fish or pork.
MANGKUKULAM – (Tagalog, Ilokano, Pampangos etc.) They are witches that cast evil spells to cause harm to human and/or plagues. They use a doll (Vooddoo Doll) with a hair strand on it then cast spells to for a curse.
Mangkukulam or bruha are witches, wizards, bruho, or sorcerers who cast evil spells to humans. This kind of witch uses dark magic.
The difference between a mambabarang and a mangkukulam is that the mambabarang uses magical insects to bring harm to his victims. These insects are released after incantations, when they will search for their supposed victim and burrow under the skin, impregnating her. After some time, matruculans return to the house to kill the pregnant mother, open her abdomen, and eat the growing fetus.
MANGKUKUSINO – (Kapampangan) A Kapampangan witch who could put poison, small metal objects, or even small live animals inside the body of a person without making direct contact with the victim.
MANGLILILI – (Kapampangan) In Kapampangan folklore, an invisible creature or entity said to lead lone travelers astray. Those who lose their way wander in the forest or in the mountain for hours and even days.
MANGMANGKIK – (Ilokano) According to Ilocanos, a spirit living in the innermost part of trees. It is often asked through a ritual for permission to penetrate a forest.
MANINIBLOT – (Zambals) She goes out to harm her enemies when the moon is full. She gives chills and fever. She keep a tiny doll under her fireplace that she pricks where she wants her victims to suffer. She also picks up the earth of her victims footprints and roasts them in a clay pot to cause high fevers.
MANGMANGKIT – (Iloko) Bird the size of a very large bat, eyes like a carbuncle, head of a lizard, tail hairy and harp tongue. Feet as large as a man’s and feet of a monkey. Introduces tongue into female victims and sucks the bowels.
MANINILONG – (Tagalog) An Aswang in Catanauan, Quezon believed to prowl under nipa houses to victimize the household. It uses its long, thread-like tongue to suck the fetus of a sleeping pregnant woman or licks and eats the phlegm discharged by a sick person or one who suffers tuberculosis.
MANIOKAN – (Kulaman) Generally evil spirits that resemble snakes.
MANLALAYOG – (Waray) Generally described as a woman whose hair grows very long and wire-like at night. With her hair, she strangles or suffocates a person while draining the victim’s life force which results in death. Life force from its victims keeps the Manlalayog young and strong.
MANSALAUAN – (Cebuano) Invisible tree spirit. Is upset when tree-home is felled without permission.
MANSUSOPSOP – (Pampanga) Similar to the ghoul aspect of the aswang, the Mansusopsop is a ghoul in Philippine Folklore that preys on pregnant women. This creature hovers over the rooftop and finds any opening for its long, thread-like tongue to pass until it reaches the stomach of its victim, sucking the blood and fetus until the victim dies.
MANTAHUNGAL – (Tagbanua) Cow-like in body and voice but hornless. Shaggy coat of hair. Monstrous mouth with two pairs of huge tusklike incisors.
MANTIW – (Western Visayas) Giant spirits in Iloilo over thirty feet tall. They are usually seen roaming the fields or leaning against a coconut or Buri tree alone while whistling melodiously. People who have allegedly seen a Mantiw describe it as having a fair complexion, wide shoulders, and a tall aquiline nose. Also, a male Mantiw has an incredibly long penis and large, dangling scrotum. Although peaceful, a Mantiw is easily offended when a human whistles along with it. It will grab the nuisance human, carry him to the tallest coconut tree, and leave him on top with no means of climbing down.
MANTRUCULAN – (Tagalog) A monstrous creature in Luzon the size of a man. It has long hair, a hideous face, and sharp claws. This creature will maul a pregnant women to death in order to eat the fetus inside the victim’s womb. It is also known to impregnate virgins after which it leaves and only returns when the woman is at the peak of her pregnancy to eat its own spawn.
MANUHIGWIT – (Visayas) An evil witch, not unlike the Mangkukulam in other regions. Believed to cause curses or hexes on others.
MARISPIS – (Western Visayas) Beings in Western Visayas that make cricket-like sounds where their deep, sharp eerie chirps presage the coming of a ghost, sickness, or death.
MARUKPUK – (Iloilo) Spirits of the dead that haunt bamboo groves in Iloilo. The frequent sound of breaking bamboo, twigs, and rustling of bamboo leaves despite the absence of a strong wind announce their presence.
MATANDA SA PUNSO – (Tagalog) Lives in a tree or termite mound. Steals pretty girls from villages and offers jewels or gold for them to live with him.
MOTOG – A male Aswang who shape-shifts into a humanoid creature with a boar’s head.
MULTO – (Tagalog) A Ghost.
MUNTIANAK – (Bagobo) An infant-like creatures that eat the living and terrify children.
MURUKPOK – (Western Visayas) A diminutive being almost three feet tall with dark skin, curly hair and looks somewhat cross-eyed. It is usually seen strolling the Iloilo countryside with a red cowl on its head. It walks with a cane while a bow and a quiver of arrows is strung over its shoulder. The Murukpok is malevolent and very powerful. By just pointing its cane at someone, that person will fall ill. Instant death befalls those who get hit with the cane.
MUTYA – (Many regions) A banana flower will grow and bend at midnight. Stand under it and catch the jewel that falls in your mouth. Put it under your tongue. A dark creature will try to snatch it from you. If you keep the jewel, you will become the strongest of men. If you lose it, you will go crazy.
MUWA – (Central Panay) These beings from Central Panay folklore and mythology are known for hoarding food provisions such as palay (rice) and other harvested crops. They reside in remote areas and may appear as old men or women. When in their true form, they have very long, kinky, greasy hair and hair also cover their whole body like the alleged Wildman of China and Indonesia. They reside in bamboo groves in their bamboo palaces. Despite their appearance and the fact that they eat humans, the Muwa are civilized and have a culture of their own mostly based on agriculture. It is said that any farmer who fails to invite them during the pre-harvest rite called Pangkuyang would have his crops harvested ahead by the Muwa.
NAGINED, MAGKABURAK, and ARAPAYAN – (Bicol) The powerful trinity of demons in the Ibalong Epic, said to be three powerfully built handsome men with tattoos covering their faces and whole body. It is said that when they talk they all speak in the same time, and that their true form is a three headed demon. They are demons invoked when one wants to do harm. Even Asuang asks for their help when he wants to cause chaos.
NANGANGATOK – – (Tagalog) The Nangangatok are usually invisible spirits that are harbingers of terrible things to come. People are advised to peek through the window first when someone knocks before opening their doors or they might let the Nangangatok inside their house.
NUNO SA PUNSO – (Tagalog) Nuno sa punso (literally, goblin of the mound) are goblins or forest spirits who live within mysterious lumps of soil (ant hills). They can provide a person who steps on their shelter with good luck or misfortune, in some case, inflicting harsh punishments to those who offend them. People who are punished are called Namatanda, and must be brought to an Albularyo (Shaman), to heal the punishment.
Superstitious Filipinos, when passing by a mound, will ask the resident nuno’s permission to let them pass with the phrase, “Tabi-tabi po”. Strange and sudden illnesses that befall a person are sometimes attributed to nunos.
OMAYAN – (Bagabo) Invisible little people. Owns the land and it may be used by persons only under certain conditions. Lives in communities, follows human trails out of hills, receives offerings before and after planting & harvest, partakes of proficiency gifts from humans.
ONGLO – (Waray) Large and frightful. He lives in dark nipa swamps. he uses his huge ‘hard as stone’ elbows and knees to break shellfish. You can tell he is eating when you hear the shells of tuway (clams) being broken.
PALASEKAN – (Ilongot) Invisible tree spirit. Whistles to convey messages for people to stay home at night. Offended when tree-home is felled.
PARADUNO – (Camarines) They look like humans and love the smell of rotting flesh. They lie on their bellies on the roofs of the dead with their tongue hanging out. People musn’t say someone is about to die, or the paranduno may show up and hasten the death of the sick.
PASATSAT – (Pangasinan) A ghost of a dead person who died in a tragic way, especially those who died in Japanese Era (World War II). This kind of ghost usually shows to passersby in a solitary paths in the forest or even in cities. In order for the ghost to stop haunting, someone should stab the coffin or the reed mat where the body of this ghost was buried. It will show no sign of the body but a putrid flesh can be smelled.
PIRITAY – A shape-shifting creature that waylays a person around noon or at sunset by appearing to be someone familiar or attention-worthy to the victim. Anyone who follows it will find himself in a unfamiliar place and that he has been gone for hours.
PONGO – (Bikolano) Another ape-like creature from Bicolano folklore. This one resembles an Orangutan but twice bigger than a male gorilla and a lot faster than a regular Orangutan.
POO – (Waray) Waray folks tell of an Aswang that appears as an ordinary human. It only comes out when the moon is full, making a sound from which its name is derived. When it makes the sound a fourth time it means it’s already inside the victim’s house. It steals infants whose parents have fallen asleep.
POPO – (Bicol) Tall and slender with a tail, a scary creature that snorts like a pig and is said his eyes could cause pain and even kill. He drains human and animals of their energy. He is one of Aswangs creatures.
PUGOT – (Iloko, Pampanga) Headless, shape-shifting creature, usually that of a black, gigantic headless ghost, can move at great speeds, feeds on snakes and insects, usually harmless to humans. They said it was a friar of Spanish Era, beheaded once and still searching for its head.
PUGOT MAMU – (Iloko, Pampanga) Similar to the Pugot, it is also a headless mythical being. However, the Pugot Mamu is said to eat children through a hole in its neck which acts as a mouth.
PUTING BABA – Subterranean, white skinned goblin-like creatures with very long chins. They make their chins protrude on the surface of the ground, making them appear as stones or mushrooms. Whosoever makes the mistake of tripping on them or picking them up is pulled underground.
PUTOT – (Iloilo) Small Goblin-like underground dwellers in Iloilo with truncated body parts. Some only have one leg, one arm, or no limbs at all and move by means of rolling.
RABOT – (Bicol) Half-human half-beast. Rabot is an ugly monster with a loud booming voice. Some say he is the son of the trinity of demons Nagined, Arapayan and Magkaburak with a human who they raped over and over again. He was given the gift to turn people to stone with his eyes. He was killed by Bantog using a bolo in the Ibalong Epic.
RAGIT-RAGIT – (Romblon) Tiny beings with eyes that cannot wink. They live forever and never grow old. Only infants less than a year old can see them. If a baby is left outdoors after dark, the Ragit-Ragit will steal it or make it ill.
SANGKABAGI – (Ilokano) The old folks in Ilocos believe in a being that rides on a flying boat and roams in the middle of the night in search of corpses to take to its lair in the underworld.
SANTELMO – ( Tagalog, Visayan) It is a fireball seen by dozens of Filipinos, especially those living in the Sierra Madre Mountains. It was scientifically explained as electric fields which have diverged from the lines. However, the sightings were reported since the Spanish era (16th-19th centuries). There were also sightings in the Alps and Himalayas.
SARANGAY – (Ibanags) A half-human, half-bull, with a jewel attached to ears, will kill if jewel is stolen.
SARIMAO – (Bicol) The Sarimao were avenging monsters in the Ibalong Epic that were brutally fierce, ugly, and ruinous. They went after evildoers, usually to those with hidden guilt, who could not be brought to justice. Handyong exiled the Sarimao to Mount Kulasi. Their human equivalents are believed to be those who take the law into their own hands, who have suffered injustice.
SARIMANOK – (Maranao) A Sarimanok is a magical, mythical flaming bird who brings good luck to anyone who are able to catch it. Some say it is a pet of Engkantos. A Sarimanok known as Magaul is associated with the legend of Malakas and Maganda. Magaul was the Sarimanok bird that pecked the bamboo from where Malakas and Maganda were born from.
SARINAGO – (Bagobo) Spirits who steal rice.
SARUL – (Western Visayas) Spirit beings that take the form of animals and insects, frequenting places passed by travelers or peddlers in Iloilo.
SARUT – (Tagalog) Its name literally meaning ‘pest’ or ‘salot’ in Tagalog, this is a human who, according to ancient Ilonggo folklore, turns into a dog-like creature that attacks lone travelers. It also feeds on the livestock and poultry animals of a farm or a village which amounts to large losses, hence the name Sarut.
SIGBIN – (Waray) A cross-breed between goat, dog, and kangaroo said to suck blood out of its victims from shadows.
SIGBINAN – (Waray) A person or a family who own Sigbins. They keep these creatures inside clay jars and feed them with charcoal. They have the power to command the Sigbins to harm or steal from anyone. This is the reason why Sigbinans are generally wealthy.
SILAGAN – (Catanduanes) Hates men in white. Tears out victim’s liver and entrails through their anus.
SINAN BABOY – Creatures that resemble wild pigs and are usually found under mango trees. Usually, small in size, they would sometimes pass through the legs of a person unnoticed. When angered they could grow to immense size and trample a person to death.
SIRENA – (Iloko, Ilongot, Tagalog etc.) Sirena is a mermaid, a sea creature with a human upper body and a fish tail instead of lower extremities. They attract fishermen and tourists. Sirenas are reportedly often seen ashore by fishermen, especially in the towns bordering the Pacific Ocean. (learn more)
SIRING – (Bagobo) Ugly man with curly hair and long nails. Lures boys wandering the woods by assuming the likeness of their father. Feeds them worms. Is thwarted by red pepper. Also said to be spirits inhabiting caves, cliffs, and dangerous places and who also impersonate family members.
SIYAM-SIYAM – (Iloilo) In mid to late 19th century Iloilo, travelers on horseback or carriage told of encountering a restless spirit at night. The spirit at first appeared as a normal human and asked to hitch a ride. On the way it would talk casually and confess of its nine sins that it committed nine times. Then the hitchhiker will turn into a skeleton in tatters and ask for the nearest church and disappear while the travelers screamed their heads off. In one story, Siyam-Siyam finally found peace when he encountered a friar.
SIYOKOY – (Tagalog) A sea creatures with fish-like bodies and long, green tentacles that drown mortals. Siyokoys are mermen, sea creatures that have a human form and scaled bodies. The Siyokoy is the male counterpart of the Sirena. The lower extremities of a Philippine merman can either be a fishtail or scaled legs and webbed feet. They could also have long, green tentacles. They drown mortals for food. Siyokoys have gill slits, are colored brown or green, and have scaly skin, comparable to that of a fish.
SUMARANG – (Iloko) Big man with large eyes and wide nose as big as two feet put together.
TA-AWI – (Maranao) A monster that travels faster than the wind. Makes a thunderous noise when it is close. Performs cannibalistic raids but can’t digest the eyeballs of its victims.
TAGAMALING – (Bagabo) Ogre like creatures which becomes cannibalistic every other month.
TAGARESO – (Bagabo) Low spirits who cause people to become angry and do evil deeds or cause insanity.
TAHAMALING – (Bagabo) A red complexioned earth spirit. Lives in balete trees. Keeper of animals.
TALAHIANG – (Zamboanga) Dark, 12 feet tall with large muscles. Makes travelers lose their way. Afraid of loud noise.
TAMAWO – (Western Visayas) They live in large dark nunok trees. Beautiful, tiny beings that steal infants from people’s yards. They offer black rice and yellow root to children. If they accept, they will never be seen again.
TAMBALUSLOS – (Bicolano) A tall humanoid creature from Bicol. Generally black in complexion, it has long and thin legs with big joints, hooves, long thin arms and fingers, and a mane that runs from the back of the head down to its buttocks. It also has wide protruding lips like an ape. Another strange feature of this creature is that it has a long wrinkled penis and loose testicles which dangle on the ground. The creature’s name is derived from this feature which is referred to as ‘luslus’ which means ‘loose and hanging’. The Tambaluslos chases people who wander in the woods. The only way to escape it is to take off your clothes and wear them upside-down. The creature finds this act very hilarious and it will laugh so much that its wide lips would cover its face, therefore preventing it from seeing the victim who in turn will have ample time to escape.
TAMBANOKANO – (Mandaya) One of the children of the Sun and Moon, was a giant crab names “Tambanokano”. He is so powerful that every time he open and closes his eyes lightening flashes. He lives in a large hole at the bottom of the ocean. When the tide goes out, it is because he has left the hole and the water rushes in to fill it. His moving about causes great waves which crash on the shore. The crab is quarrelsome, like his father; and sometimes becomes so angry with his mother (the Moon), that he tries to swallow her. In the version of the Manobos, the ‘Tambanakua’ is a huge tarantula or a scorpion.
TANDAYAG NA OPON – (Bicol) Is a huge black boar with tusks as big as a mans arms. He lives in the hills of Lingyon. He attacked the rice fields and plants of Linza and was killed by Baltog in the Ibalong Epic.
TARABUSAO – (Maguindanao, Maranao) A very large, ugly man who crashes through the forest making the trees moves. Yells loudly when drawing close to his home.
TAWONG LIPOD – (Bicol) A race of mythological creatures in Philippine mythology, most prevalent in Bicol area they are the court servants and handmaidens of the lunar gods Bulan and Haliya. They are beautiful, supernatural beings, youthful and elegant, and superb in the art of dancing. They are the nymphs of the winds and clouds forever loyal to the moon gods. The story of how the lunar gods Haliya and Bulan descended is one that concerns them, for stories tell that it was the ”Tawong Lipod” (wind people) who convinced Haliya who in return convinced Bulan to go down and bathe in the waters of Ibalon (Bicol).
TAYHO – (Western Visayas) A creature in Western Visayan folklore similar to the Centaur of Greek mythology except this one has an animal-looking face and more swift. It is said that a Tayho is an offspring of a female water buffalo and a giant male Agta.
THALON – (Zamboanga Del Sur) The Thalon is an obscure creature in Philippine Folklore. From its origins in Zamboanga Del Sur, its myth has not spread to the other parts of the Philippines. Unlike most monsters in Philippine folklore, the attitude of the Thalon is based on its gender, either being a simple trickster spirit if male, or a terrible man-eating beast if female.
TIBSUKAN – (Central Panay) A creature in Central Panay folklore that appears as a piglet with an extra-long snout which it uses to burrow underground where it prefers to live. Any human who disturbs it will get ill. Some Encantos and witches who wish to make a human ill or even die would make a Tibsukan burrow and live under the house of the victim.
TAWANG LUPA – (Mindanao) Invisible little people. Owns the land and it may be used by persons only under certain conditions. Lives in communities, follows human trails out of hills, receives offerings before and after planting & harvest, partakes of proficiency gifts from humans.
TIBURONES/ Triburon – (Bikol) A shark, with razor sharp teeth, that can fly and circle its prey from the air. ‘Tiburon’ is Spanish for ‘shark’, most English translations of the Ibalon use this name for the creature (Triburon). In Bikol, these creatures are known as Pating na Pakpakan. In the Ibalon epic, they were tamed by the warrior-hero Handyong.
TIGBANUA – (Bagobo) Worst of all the buso (dark spirits). Cannibalistic. It fears dogs.
TIGMAMANUKAN – (Tagalog) A bird of omen, usually letting travelers know to expect good or bad luck.
TIKBALANG – (Tagalog and other regions) A half-man and half-horse creature, terrorizes women. Actually, they are summoned by shamans or landlords to secure and protect their house. It has a horse’s head, the body of a human but with the feet of the horse. It travels at night to rape female mortals. The raped women will then give birth to more tikbalang. They are also believed to cause travelers to lose their way particularly in mountainous or forest areas. Tikbalangs are very playful with people, and they usually make a person imagine things that aren’t real. Sometimes a Tikbalang will drive a person crazy.
Legends say that when rain falls while the sun is shining or in a clear sky, there is a wedding between two Tikbalangs.
Since horses only arrived in the Philippine archipelago during the Spanish colonization (thus, the borrowed term ‘kabayo’), there is a theory that the image of a half-horse, half-man creature was propagated by the conquistadors to keep the natives afraid of the night. There are stories claiming that the Tikbalang are actually half-bird, half-man creatures, much like the Japanese tengu.
It is sometimes believed to be a transformation of an aborted fetus which has been sent to earth from limbo. (Learn more about the Tikbalang)
TIKTIK – (Western Visayas) A kind of Aswang. There are two kinds of Tiktik. The one who eats fetuses, and the one who warns people of the presence of Aswang in their place.
TIMU-TIMU – (Iloilo) An ape-like ogre deep in the forests of Iloilo. Its mouth can gape so wide it can chew a human whole. Its name means ‘likes to chew’ or ‘always chews’.
TIRTIRIS – (Ilokano) Little folk with gold teeth and shimmering silk clothes embroidered with gold thread. They dance and sign and make friends with humans. They will add rice to yields. People who hurt them get sore eyes and skin rashes.
TIYANAK – (Tagalog) An infant-like creatures that eat the living and terrify children. There origin (some says) are aborted fetuses from mother’s womb who took revenge of not giving them birth, or babies who died before receiving baptism. After death, they go to a place known as Limbo, a chamber of Hell which unbaptized dead people fall into and are transformed into evil spirits. These phantasms return into the mortal realm in the form of goblins to eat living victims. The tiyanak can also be the offspring of a woman and a demon. It can also be an aborted fetus which comes back to take revenge on its mother. Most Tiyanaks are said to live in forests. If they see a human, they transform into what looks like a normal baby. When the person notices the Tiyanak and comes near to take a look at it, the Tiyanak changes back to its true form and eats its prey.
The true origin of Tiyanak came from the Malaysian creature, Pontianak or Mantianak – a female viscera. They share many similarities, but the Pontianak is the mother who died while pregnant, Tianak is the ghost of the child, not the mother herself.
Whenever we hear Tiyanak, the first thing which come to our mind is an innocent-looking baby, but according to some, they look like dwendes (small earth spirit). You can kill this monster by means of any pointed instruments, more specifically pointed metal made of silver.
TIYU-AN – (Capiz) A flightless variant of the Manananggal originating from Capiz. This one doesn’t have wings and doesn’t split her body in half. Instead, the Tiyu-an jumps on the roof of a victim or enters the house unnoticed. It will then extend its tongue into a very long and thin proboscis and pierce the belly of a pregnant woman and suck the blood of the fetus inside. In some cases it will lick and sniff a severely ill person, sucking the life force until the victim dies. The Tiyu-an is only female and owns a puppy that never grows old. It is said the puppy, which is passed from one generation to another is actually the master from whom she got her powers. When this mutt licks the Tiyu-an, its telling her that it is hungry and it’s time for her to hunt.
TUBTUB – (Antique) An Aswang variant in Libertad, Antique.
TULAYHANG – (Central Panay) According to Central Panay folks, a creature that resembles an Umang-Umang or mud crab. It usually lives underground on riverbanks where it bores a hole. Most Tulayhang are pets of the Encantos and whoever disturbs them in their hole will suffer a terrible illness.
TULUNG/ TUWUNG – (Negrito) The Negrito version of the Tikbalang.
TUPONG-TUPONG – (Bicolano) A humanoid creature in ancient Bicol that could stretch its body. It could be as tall as a tree or as short as a child if it wanted.
UGAW – (Pangansinan) Beings which move quickly and are hard to see. If they discover where you keep your rice, they will steal some of it. They know by the spillage some people leave by their bins.
UGKOY – (Waray) Usually seen in rivers during floods. Drags victims by their feet (like a crocodile) into the water.
UKO or OKO – (Tagalog) Ape-like creatures in Luzon that abduct and eat children. They live in caves where they take their victims.
UMANGOB – A dog-like ghoul that eats only the thumbs and big toes of the dead.
UNGGA-UNGGA or WUWUG – (Visayas) (also spelled Wowog) The Ungga-Ungga of Negros, known as Wuwug in Eastern Visayas, is a self-segmenting viscera-sucker that has an appearance similar to that of the Penanggal of Indonesia. Like the latter, it separates at the neck and the wingless head hovers off with its entrails dangling in the air, leaving the body behind. Unlike the Penanggal, this creature is not exclusively female.
UNGLOC – (Western Visayas) A black-complexioned giant spirit with long, pointed teeth and lives in a cave in the mountains of Western Visayas. The Ungloc can talk and understands human language but is stupid enough to be fooled by a child. When it succeeds in catching a child, it will bring the victim to its domain and, through magic will turn the hapless youngster into a coconut for later consumption.
UNGMANAN – (Bicol) The unseen dweller of nature is found near strange rock formations, water, and misshapen trees. If you disrespect nature, you disrespect the Ungmanan which will cause you sickness. The sickness will not be fatal, but you will need to visit an albularyo (healer) who will perform the ritual of “santigwar” to heal you.
UNGO – (Waray) A hairy giant spirit. Walks toward humans. Wanders alone at night. Seen standing still and alone. Orders fishermen not to fish abroad in the dark from 8:00 p.m.- 4:00 a.m.
UNGO – (Zamboanga) A woman by day, but a flying beast by night. She flies out of a secret hole in her roof in order to steal corpses. She cooks it, then gives some to her neighbors. If they eat the human flesh, they will also become an ungo.
WAKWAK – (Surigao) A human, bird-like creatures flying in the night sky in search for flesh and blood. It could be a witch itself, or night bird belonging to a witch. Also said to be a blood sucker like creature who can take the form of a night bird. (learn more)
WHITE LADY – (Manila) A modern kind of ghost, particularly those living in Balete Drive in Quezon City.
WIRWIR – (Apayao) Tirelessly searches for the freshly dead. Lives on corpses it exhumes.
YASAW – (Bicol) Another creature of the night and minion of aswang, Yasaw are like children but are dark skinned and has claws, the are beloved by or they are playful and like to frighten humans but they only scare, they do not harm to humans.
Ramos, Maximo D. The Aswang Complex in Philippine Folklore. Phoenix Publishing, 1990
Ramos, Maximo D. The Creatures of Philippine Lower Mythology. Phoenix Publishing, 1990
Ramos, Maximo D. Philippine Demonological Beings and Their Cultural Bearings. Phoenix Publishing, 1990
Ramos, Maximo D. The Creatures of Midnight. Phoenix Publishing, 1990
Ramos, Maximo D. Legends of Lower Gods. Phoenix Publishing, 1990
Anima, Nid. Witchcraft Filipino-Style. Omar Publications, 1978
Blare and Robertson, eds. The Philippine Islands
Kintanar, Thelma B. & Associates. U.P. Cultural Dictionary for Filipinos Second Edition, 2009
Magos, Alicia P. Seven Layers of the Panayanon Universe. Iloilo: A Rich and Noble Land. 2007
Torres-Campos, Felicisima. Mga Ginto sa Iloilo. Apostol Printers Co., 1990
Art & Fiction : Philippine Folklore and Mythology
Philippine Urban Legends Blog
Jordan is a Canadian documentary director/ producer. He made the 2011 feature length documentary THE ASWANG PHENOMENON - an exploration of the aswang myth and its effects on Philippine society. Currently he is in post production for "The Aswang Project" web-series, which will feature 6 myths from the Philippines. The TIKBALANG, KAPRE and BAKUNAWA episodes are available to watch on YouTube.
Latest posts by Jordan Clark (see all)
- Death Beliefs and Practices Among the Sulod of Central Panay - February 8, 2018
- PRINCESS URDUJA: Finding the legendary 14th-century Philippine heroine - December 14, 2017
- BINUKOT: Women Secluded and Veiled in Philippine History - December 8, 2017