History and Culture
Bedtime Stories? Consider These Igorot Supernatural Creatures
Choose Philippines | Oct 17, 2019
All illustrations courtesy of Gripo Comics
Gatui Illustration (left) and Gatui Chibi Illustration (right)
The Gatui is described to be an evil chimera of the Ifugao folklore. It has the body of a dog, the wings of a giant bat and a head of a human. It also feeds on souls of the unborn. It is likened to the vampire-like mythical creature ‘Manananggal’
Bingil Illustration (Left) And Bingil Chibi Illustration (Right)
The Bingil is part of Kalinga and Gaddang folklore, which is a dead and unburied person who rose up and spread death and disease. It is similar to the ‘zombies’ of western literature but has large eyes that glow in the dark. A touch of Bingil is lethal.
Binobaan Illustration (Left) And Binobaan Chibi Illustration (Right)
Another mythical creature of Ifugao is the Binobaan. It is a shapeshifting, man-eating giant that lives in the mountains.
Lampong Illustration (Left And Middle) And Lampong Chibi Illustration (Right)
Lampong is a two-foot tall, dwende-like guardian of animals in the forest of Ilongot. The Lampong transforms into a beautiful white dear to lure the hunters away from their original game. Hunters will miss five times before they can have a chance to hit a Lampong. However, anyone who succeeds in wounding a Lampong will fall ill and eventually die.
Pinading Illustration (Left) And Pinading Chibi Illustration (Right)
The Ifugao Pinading can sometimes take on the form of local villagers and join their celebrations. They are guardians of natural environment, residing in rocks, water forms, or sacred trees called patpatayan.
Pili Illustration (Left) And Pili Chibi Illustration (Right)
Pili is often described as a guardian of spirit which is summoned to guard properties against thieves. Its bite will cause great pain and suffering which can only be cured by a ritual involving the offering of a slaughtered chicken.
Bana Illustration (Left) And Bana Chibi Illustration (Right)
Bana is the hero of the Kalinga epic Ullalim which was sang by bards in every tribe of Kalinga. Bana is a dashing warrior, who exhibits superhuman abilities through his many feats of courage and heroism.
Creatures of the night will no longer haunt and strike fear in the hearts of children and adults alike, as a group of artists in Baguio City launched a comic book entitled Gayang (Sibat or Spear) by re-introducing Igorot myths and legends through a comic book launched in June 2019.
[related: Unusual Igorot Rituals For All Souls Day!]
Apart from the hopes of encouraging and boosting the interest of young minds to read comic books again, the main goal is to create a visual presentation of Cordilleran mythical creatures for future generation thus preserving the richness of the region’s belief, culture, and literature.
“Yung mga creatures talaga, yun ang pinaka-purpose namin (The creatures were our main focus) to make designs for these folkloric characters: mga creatures na galing sa folklore na kwento ng mga matatanda (Creatures that were from folklore as told by the elderlies)”, said Gerald ‘Majic’ Asbucan, chairman of Gripo Comics, creator of the comic book Gayang.
The comic book depicts the graphic illustrations of the creatures as well as the “chibified”, a Japanese slang word for “small” or “short,” to appeal to younger readers. The illustrations and designs were made by the groups’ artists with the help of senior high school art students based on extensive research of Igorot myths and legends as well as the Cordilleran elders’ stories.