A Guide to Filipino Myth/Folklore Terms.. and then some
Aswang - most aswangs are depicted as animorphs
and carnivorous. It was also said that Aswangs never attack their
neighbors as they do not want their cover blown. So if your neighbors
are aswangs, be thankful! If not, make sure to have garlic around your
house as it is said to repel aswangs.
Chupacabra - a Spanish goat-sucking animal... oh wait! Wrong site.
- a Filipino cuisine with pork and blood as main ingredients. My
Mexican-American brother-in-law tried and loved it. We didn't tell him
the ingredients; we didn't want to completely turn him off.
- they are translated as dwarves in English. They are small beings
usually dwelling in punso (in english, termite hills?) and shouldn't be
bothered as they might hex you. There are usually two kinds of
dwendes: The Itim (black) and Puti (white). Itim na Dwendes (Black
Dwarves) are depicted as non-friendly creatures and could cause someone
harm while Puting Dwendes (White Dwarves) are generally kind and
reasonable BUT could still be harmful when offended. It is usually
considered respectful to ask for passage to Dwendes when one is in the
jungle/farm/place where trees, grass are abundant. You might easily
kick and step on them, they being so small and all, and before you know
it, you are hexed!
Kapre - giant dark creatures living in trees. They are usually depicted as chewing tobaccos.
- the most interesting Filipino Character for me. The nearest
Manananggal kin in English is Vampire. Manananggals are usually
depicted as women (I've never heard of a man manananggal) and they are
said to be beautiful and they always keep to themselves. They usually
live in Nipa Huts (the creepiness factor would wear off if they live in a
sprawling mansion) and wear old-fashioned Filipino wear -- blusa and
saya. In the morning, they are normal human beings but during full
moon, they grow fangs, leathery wings and could detach themselves! They
hunt and feed while their lower halves are stationed near their house
and they must go back and reattach themselves before the sun rises.
Failure to do so will cause their deaths. Knowing this, the best way to
kill a manananggal is to pour salt on their lower halves... if you have
the courage to find it. Salt prevents the upper and lower bodies of
manananggals to reconnect making them susceptible to sun.
Multo - the Filipino term for ghost. Most extra characters I draw are multos. They are easiest to draw.
Sirena - Filipino mermaid.
- the "centaur"-like Filipino character with a twist. Tikbalangs have
the head and lower bodies of a horse but their torsos are human-like.
They are creatures living in the woods and could cause weary travelers
to get lost and move in circles. The best way to move out of this
"twilight zone" is to put on your shirt inside-out. Almost did that
once when my family and I were in a roadtrip and we seemed to be moving
in circles. Hey, it wouldn't hurt! Also, there is a belief that
whenever it is drizzling and the sun is shining at the same time,
there's a couple of tikbalangs being wed. Doesn't make sense.
- cutie babies who usually dwell on grass-covered fields and cry
pitifully until a childless couple "adopts" them. Once safe in the
haven of their new homes, they turn into Chuckie-type little fellas with
red eyes, tiny, pointed teeth, and secretly kills whoever is in the
household. Their main weapon is their ability to change from monster to
cute babies... people hesitate when killing innocent-looking
creatures. But I would probably be like, "Kill, kill, kill!"
Lady - I know it's not obvious but I have one White Lady Character.
The Principal! Anyway, the term White Ladies might be English but the
origin is Filipino. They are lady ghosts who had tragic deaths, mostly
due to rape. Because of this, they want to find peace but couldn't do
so and mostly scare the pants off of people! When encountering a White
Lady, it's probably best to contact a spiritualist(??) or a priest or
somebody who could talk to them and help them find peace.