Aswang - they are entrail eating creatures that disguise themselves as humans, but can shape-shift into a big raven or bear-like dog. they have long tongues and like to feast on unborn fetuses (ewww). i remember during the peak season of the aswangs was in the '90s where tabloids were even spreading news that there was a captured manananggal (see below) in Manila. but it was never proven. my lola (grandmother) has often said to encounter an aswang close to their house when my aunt was pregnant. a huge dog was standing near their house but when she scared it away, it leapt on a high wall which was impossible for an ordinary dog to leap for. then when my lola looked at the other side of the wall, the dog was no more and a man was walking away from where the dog could have landed.
Manananggal - this is like a variant of aswang, usually a lady who can separate her torso from her lower portions and sprout big bat-like wings. they were also in vogue during the '90s and favorite meals also include fetuses.
Tikbalang - if Greeks had centaurs, the Philippines has tikbalang, a man with a horse's head. they are also said to be entrail eaters. my great grandfather once saw a tikbalang while going ome from the rice fields, though the creature did not harm him.
Dwende - we also had elves, and they were called dwende. black and red meant evil dwende, and white meant good. evil ones often meant harm and/or bad luck to humans, while whites were said to bring good fortune.
Syokoy - a humanoid fish, or fish-like human, whichever you prefer to describe it, the ugly male counterparts of mermaids, they drag men to the sea to eat them.
|all illustrations by Ea of Popkingarb|
Kapre - hairy giants who reside in balete (indian rubber tree) or other big trees and smoke tobacco. they sometimes kidnap maidens to wed them or play pranks on people, but are generally shy creatures. a wife of a friend was once introduced to a kapre, and she said he was indeed tall, and that he made and recited poems.
these are just some of the creatures of stories i have grown up with. i'm proud that i got to know them, though only from afar (i don't think i'm ready to mingle with them), and i will also pass the stories to my son because it's part of our rich yet endangered culture.