Top 10 Lesser-Known Mythical Creatures in Philippine Folklore

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.” (

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. (

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). (
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. (
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.” (
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. (
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. (
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.” (
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.” (
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
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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I am shocked that there are such known mythical creatures in Philippine folklore. I believe that those creatures are not true and they do not exist. But it somehow adds information to us.

I think having a mythical creature is a one proof that Filipino's have wild imagination.

Is it true that those mythical creatures exist? or it is just part of our imagination?, many people believe that they exist but there are also many people do not believe that those mythical creatures exist in the world.

The more I read this article, the more I get curious and somewhat excited to know if there's such things. I know those common mythical creatures in Philippine Folklore but I never encountered those given names above. I find it really interesting. Filipinos' beliefs and traditions are really cool!

This only proves that when talking about horror, Philippines is indeed much known for such mythical creatures than ghosts and spirits.

This is very informative and creepy at the same time. I haven't heard those creatures mentioned above, except for the Sigbin. The thing about Filipinos is that they are very fond of oral tradition and they can't differentiate the fact and fiction. Remember, to see is to believe.

When I first read this article, it's a little bit creepy but I think these mythical creatures is a part of our imagination. Depends on the person whether to believe it or not.

This article proves that every places in the philippines have their own version of mythical creatures,the question is are they really exist or just part of our huge imagination?But somehow,this mythical creatures help a certain people to be vigilant,be aware and responsible to take good care of the things they didn't own especially on our environment.

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