Hello and welcome to Humor Nation’s top five list. I’ve looked at several mythological creatures of Japanese origin in the previous articles. But there are many monsters from Philippines folklore that are just as interesting and often frightening.
So let’s take a look at the 5 Scariest Mythical Creatures And Beings From Philippine Folklore & Mythology!
The Nuno is depicted in the Philippine mythology stories as a tiny elderly man usually with a long beard. Really he is a goblin who is very protective of his home. The Nuno lives in a dirt mound much like an anthill and puts curses on anyone who might damage or defile it. It does this by spitting on the trespasser, if the Nuno spits on their feet they will experience painful aching swollen feet after they leave. If they urinate on his house they will develop swollen genitals. Other curses include a massive hair growing on the invaders back, turning their urine black or causing them to throw up blood which is nasty.
If a medical condition is untreatable by modern medicine it’s often considered that a Nuno has placed a curse on the patient. A special practitioner called albularyo, he carries out a traditional ceremony, melting candle wax into a spoon, pouring it into water and reading the shape formed by the wax thus informing their suggestions on how to dispel the curse.
Usually this healing process involves an offering of food drink or trinkets to the Nuno. Failing that the patient can ask the Nuno’s forgiveness which usually works. As a last resort though catching a Nuno and crushing its head is a sure way to remove the curse. But it might incur the wrath of the nuno acquaintances. A nuno’s curse if left uncured will end up in some sort of demon possession so dispelling it is important. Still despite all of this it’s said that humans and the Nuno live peacefully as long as humans respect the nuno’s dwelling.
This one is a bit more positive. The name Sarimanok is conjoined of two different words ‘Sari’ meaning garment usually very colorful and ‘Manok’ which means chicken. It is quite a humble name for so revered and beautiful creature. It’s a legendary bird from the mythology of the Maranao people of the Philippines and is an omen of very good fortune. It’s often depicted in art work and has brightly colored wings and a tail with an ornate fish or a scroll in its mouth. A a beautiful leaf and spirals all over its head.
Generally Sarimanok is thought to be a totem that guides people to the spirit world. The origins of this Sarimonak aren’t clear and there are several stories. One such legend tells of a sultan whose daughter one day came across a beautifully colored rooster. This bird transformed into an extremely handsome man who swept the Sultan’s daughter awayn, ever to be seen again. Ever after the sultan would order that idols of this colorful bird, the Sarimonak be created so he would remember his daughter. Sarimonak is used in design motifs logos and coats of arms in the Philippines even to this day.
Aswang is one of the best known mythical creatures in the Philippines. This one goes by many names across the country. This is fitting as it’s a shapeshifter and you can see by the Spanish colonists in the 16th century feared the Aswang so much. It’s hard to describe a shapeshifter obviously, but it usually resembles a regular those shy human during daylight, but by night it can appear as any number of different animals often a hideous doglike form. It transforms in order to hunt its prey, the Aswang is deadly and can stalk its victims silently and quickly. Its shapeshifting allows it to hide in plain sight or in small gaps and it can make a range of sounds to confuse its prey. The favorite food of the Aswang is the livers and hearts of young children or preferably unborn fetuses.
Some Aswangs have exceptionally long noses that they probe into a sleeping mother to lick the fetus from her womb. In some stories Aswang may replace their victim’s body with an effigy carved from wood. This doppelganger lives for a short time in the victim’s place before it dies of unknown illnesses. It’s said that you can tell an Aswang by it’s always bloodshot eyes owing to the fact that it spends so much of the night awake. Additionally if your reflection in their eyes is upside down then they’re probably an Aswang. One even stranger way of seeing through an Aswang’s disguise is to bend over and look at the person through your legs it’s as creepy as it is weird.
Although it seems scary, this creature is fairly benevolent. Tikbalang is said to dwell deep in the mountainous forests of the Philippines. It’s depicted as very tall with long thin arms and very long legs with the body of a human and the head and hooves of a horse. Sometimes though it’s said to have arisen from the spirit of an aborted fetus. It enjoys scaring travelers and well play mischievous pranks on them to frustrate them. As this monster lives in the woods the Tikbalang loves to wait under bridges for travelers who might threaten its kingdom. Usually it will lead the humans off their path and trick them into wasting their time going round and round in circles and getting lost.
It is said that a person can render the Tikbalang’s tricks futile somehow by wearing their shirt inside out. You can avoid the Tikbalang all together by just keeping quiet or by asking politely to pass it by. The Tikbalang isn’t particularly dangerous to humans though and it can even be tamed. According to some stories subduing a Tikbalang requires jumping onto it with a rope, holding on as tight as you can as it thrashes out and waiting for it to tire out becoming your servant. One other story states that if you can pull it’s three golden hairs out from hidden within its mane before it bites you to death then it will also be tamed.
This monster is grotesque and difficult to say and it’s not unlike the Aswang in many ways. The manananggal is a creature that loosely resembles a female human, but frightening and ugly, able to unfurl massive bat wings with which she flies. Another weird feature is that she can segment in half at will, separating her top half from her bottom half as she flies off. As with the Aswang, the favorite food of choice is unborn fetus hearts which the manananggal sucks out from the bellies of sleeping pregnant women. When she can’t eat this she will use her long proboscis to drink a sleeping person’s blood instead reminiscent of vampire behavior.
In fact the vampiric similarities don’t stop there. The manananggal although terrifying has many weaknesses. According to the stories they are repulsed by garlic, salt, light, vinegar, daggers, spices and stingray tails. That’s a lot of ways to get rid of this particular monster. The best way to use these weapons against the manananggal is to wait for her to separate from her lower half, when she does, rub the garlic salt or whatever onto its standing torso. This will then destroy the top half of the creature then it can’t reattach and at daybreak will die. There are quite a lot of films focusing on the manananggal and why not? It’s got to be one of the scariest creatures from the folklore of the Philippines.
Philippine folklore is surely interesting, isn’t it? There are so many mythical creatures, beings, in the Filipino mythology! Do read more about them.