The Thalon, A Subanon Myth

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.

A depiction of a monster that matches the Thalon description

The Thalon is a dog-like creature with the feet of a human. Its 4 human feet point backwards and it walks the way a normal dog would. Its fur is always black and its face can range from human to beast-like. Its appearance is the same whether male or female. The Thalon usually looks for its prey as soon as the sun goes down, or by 5pm. If it is dark outside the Thalon will not be seen, but its presence will be felt when if is near. It is only when the Thalon is in close proximity that a person can see it. The Thalon makes a distinctive “kao kao” noise.

 

Illustration by Leandro Geniston from https://www.facebook.com/PhilippineSpirits

Illustration by Leandro Geniston from https://www.facebook.com/PhilippineSpirits


Mhenamad Thalon – The Male Thalon

 The Mhanamad is the male Thalon. Among the two kinds of Thalon this one is the mischievous monster. It does not directly harm its victims and only seeks to scare them. They do not announce their presence and follow their target usually trailing behind or to the side. Their preferred targets are foreigners, or people not from the area of his territory. To deal with a Mhenamad Thalon one simply shouts at it, as if scolding it or taunting it into battle. It is a cowardly creature and will run away as soon as this happens.
 
The Mhenamad Thalon is the more common of the two varieties of Thalon.

 

Illustration by Leandro Geniston from https://www.facebook.com/PhilippineSpirits


Thamad Thalon – The Female Thalon 

 The Thamad Thalon is the female Thalon. They are more malicious compared to their male counterparts. They harm their intended victims and seek to eat them. From far away the Thamad Thalon announces her presence, the victim will hear a scream as if from a mountain top before the Thamad Thalon stalks her prey. It is no use fighting a Thamad Thalon unless with a Gbelyan, one must run from a Thamad Thalon and hope they are fast enough.

Capture and Cure

 It is not advised to capture a Thalon. Those that capture a Thalon are struck with sickness immediately following the confinement of the Thalon. If a person is sick because of a Thalon they must seek the guidance of a Gbelyan a sort of priest of the Subanon. They are oracles and advisors to the Datu or chief. They can be male or female and are the only ones with the power to fight off spirits, they can see the Thalon from afar and do battle with them to cure an ailing person afflicted by the Thalon

Sources:

“The Terror of the Thalon” by Karl Gaverza. 2014. Can be accessed at https://www.academia.edu/9822122/Myths_of_the_Philippines_The_Terror_of_the_Thalon

ALSO READ:Creatures & Mythical Beings from Philippine Folklore & Mythology



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Karl Gaverza

Speculative fiction writer. Philippine folklore and heritage researcher.

Author of The Spirits of the Philippine Archipelago.

Currently in the middle of fixing up an encyclopedia of Philippine Mythical creatures.