Philippine folklore refers to the traditional stories and explanations passed down the country. It includes a list of weirdmythicalcreatures that have stood the test of time. Just mention the terms kapre, aswang, engkanto, tiyanak, and tikbalang and you will get most Filipinos, especially the kids, turning into frightened brats.
The following are some unpopular mythical creatures that have made our mythology even more interesting and—of course—horrific.
1. BAL BAL is scavenger-monster with a thirsty appetite for dead human bodies. “Also known as maninilong among the natives of Catanauan, Quezon, this vampire-like creature prefers to prey on corpses. With a long, razor-sharp claws and a sense of smell that may be 10 times more sensitive than dogs’, Bal Bals easily find its next meal on cemeteries and even funerals.” (filipiknow.net)
2. SIGBIN is one of the creatures in Philippine mythology that “walks backwards with its head lowered between its hind legs, and sucks the blood of its victims through their shadows. It is usually believed to be nocturnal, and to reside in the province of Cebu. (wikipilipinas.org)
3. GAWIGAWEN is a violently aggressive “six-headed giant that owns equally gigantic weapons of war. Its origins can be traced back to an original Tingguian story entitled “Gawigawen" (1916). (filipiknow.net)
4. SARANGAY is a creature that looks like a “bull with a huge muscular body and a jewel attached to its ears.” Half bull and half human, it is the Filipino counterpart of the Greek minotaur. (wikipedia.org)
5. BUNGISNGIS is a giant cyclops claimed to live in Meluz, Orion, Bataan which is described as always laughing. The literal meaning of the “Bungingis” is derived from the Tagalog term “ngisi” which means “to giggle”.
6. AMOMONGO is commonly described “as a large, white, carnivorous ape that is normally shy and reclusive. But in rare cases such as when food is scarce, this beast goes out to hunt.” (sunstar.com)
7. BACONAUA / BAKUNAWA is typically called the dragon in Philippine mythology. Is usually portrayed as a “gargantuan sea serpent, huge enough to have eaten six of the seven moons of our ancient mythology’s skies!” Mythology states that eclipse is a result of Bakunawa trying to eat part of the moon. (jrldorado.deviantart.com)
8. ANI-ANI a hybrid between aswang and kapre. Legends state that “ani-ani is a humanoid that stands about eighteen feet tall and emits a strong, goat-like smell.” Like aswang (vampire), it has the power to shift shape, changing into various forms ranging from carabao and cow to horse and even pig. (filipiknow.net)
9. BERBEROKA is a swamp creature believed in and feared by people from Apayao. It is depicted as ensnaring its victims by drinking enough water in the pond until a number of fish appear into the surface. When the prospects are attracted to the school of fish, “the Berberoka drowns them by immersing them with water and gulping them eventually.” (static.reverse.softlayer.com)
10. PASATSAT comes from the Pangasinense word “satsat”, which means “to stab”. Pasatsats are believed to be ghosts of people who died or were killed in the World War II. “These ghosts usually show up in solitary paths and block passersby. To get rid of such a ghost, one needs to stab (hence pasatsat) the reed mat and unravel it, but doing so will show no presence of a corpse, although the mat will emit a noxious odor, much like that of putrid flesh.” (monstropedia.org)
I personally believe that in almost every region in the Philippines there are different kind of stories such as the various mythical creatures. Although there is no scientific evidence, still some people in some parts of the Philippines believe in their existence.
Ronalyn S. Queja, the contributor, is a graduate from Bagong Silang High School. Her e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Question For Discussion:
What’s your favorite Philippine mythical creature? Why?
Tags: Philippine Literature, English, History Sociology, Araling Panlipunan, Philippine Culture, Panitikan
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