Mythical Creatures of the Philippines

Metro Manila

Belle Piccio
Belle Piccio | Oct 10, 2013

creatures1 (photo from the 2012 Indie film, Corazon: Ang Unang Aswang)

The most feared mythical creature by Filipinos. Aswang is a legendary humanoid, human-like by day and transforms into a monster/cannibal with an appetite for human flesh at night. A Filipino ghoul and shape-shifter, they can change from human to animal form through their own will or with the use of foul concocted oil.


creatures2 (photo from

Engkantos, or engkantadas, are nature fairies and spirits. They are said to be angels who revolted with Lucifer against the Lord. When the angels of God drove them out of heaven, some fell on earth. Those who fell in the forest or thick woods and lived in trees are the engkantos. They are mostly beautiful, with so much grace and charm that they attract many people. The dwelling place of the engkanto may look like a large rock or trees but to their human friends, their house can appear as beautiful palaces. They also like to live in large trees like the balete where they can also put their belongings.


creatures3 (photo from

Kapre – is a grimy tall, dark giant that smoke huge rolls of cigar or tobacco who hides and lives atop large trees, particularly on big old mango, acacia or balete. It is the Filipino equivalent of Bigfoot. Kapres do not harm humans but is friendly and loves to fool around. They may contact people to offer friendship or if attracted to a woman. Kapres like to scare away or play pranks to vacationers/travelers and children playing at night. If you find yourself stuck in a place or going around in circles, you might have been played by a kapre, when this happens, remove your top and wear it inside-out.


creatures4 (photo by Gian Bernal from Wikipedia)

Mananggal – is a special type of aswang who has the ability to fly after separating itself from its lower half body. And like most aswangs, are females. It is a night bat-winged creature that flies on top of houses and prey on pregnant women for fetuses. They extend their long, sharp tongues from the rooftop to the navels of their victims. “Mananggal” is taken from the Filipino word “tanggal” which means “to separate” or “to remove”. It appears human during the day, and at night, it leaves its lower torso in an isolated place when they hunt. If you find a lower half of the manananggal, drench it with spices or vinegar or salt.


creatures1 (photo from the, Multo sa Watchtower ng Moro by jayako)

“Multo” is the Filipino word for ghost. It comes from the Spanish word muerto, meaning “dead”. Multo are spirits of the deceased that remain in the living world to handle unfinished business, seek revenge, or search for a means to communicate with their loved ones. A multo may also be seeking a replacement so that it can live again.

Nuno sa Punso

creatures1 (photo from the Pasionista,

A “nuno” or “nuno sa punso” is a dwarf-like creature or goblin in Philippine folklore which lives in an anthill or termite mound. The term “nuno sa punso” means ancestor or grandparent of the anthill. It is described as a small old man with a long beard. It is ill-tempered and easily gets angered. If someone disturbs, especially kicks, his mound, the nuno would put curse on that person. In effect, the offender would have swollen foot or pain on any part of his body, experience vomiting blood, urinate black liquid, inflict illness, and have excessive hair growth on the back.


creatures5 (photo from

Sigbin or sigben is said to be another form of aswang. It has the appearance of a kangaroo, Tasmanian devil or a hornless goat but with spotty fur. It has very large ears which it can clap and a long, flexible tail that can be used as whip. It also has a wide mouth with large fangs. It walks backwards with its head lowered between its hind legs. This creature has the ability to become invisible, but its presence is still detectable by the nauseating odor it emits.

Sirena and Siyokoy

Sirenas and Siyokoys are the mythical creatures of the ocean. The Sirena is a beautiful female with a human upper body and a fish tail for its lower half instead of legs. They attract fishermen and tourists, and lure them to the sea, with its mesmerizing beauty. The Siyokoy is its male counterpart with a scaled human body, gills on its neck, and either fishtails, scaled legs or webbed feet. They drown humans for consumption.


creatures5 (photo from atanbz of

Tikbalang – is a mythical creature which is half-man and half-horse. It has the body of a human, head and feet of a horse. It appears on the night of full moon looking for a female prey to rape and bear its offspring in order give birth to more tikbalangs. Just like kapres, tikbalangs are playful creatures. They like to trick travelers into getting lost in forest and mountain areas and make them imagine things that are not real making some become crazy.



(photo from

It is a bird that serves as a spotter for its aswang master. The Tiktik makes a loud “tik-tik-tik” chirp that serves as a warning. The loud sound means that the aswang is still far but when it gets fainter it means that it’s getting closer to its victim. Some says that the Tiktik is the aswang’s alter ego.



(photo from

Tiyanak is also known as Impakto. They are said to be babies who died without or before receiving baptism rites. It can also be the offspring of a mortal woman and a demon, or an aborted fetus who comes back to seek revenge on its mother. Disguised as a normal baby, it reveals itself and monstrous form once you’ve become its prey.

White Lady

creatures6 (Angelica Panganiban in the 2006 movie, White Lady)

They are wandering spirits of women who died of injustice seeking for revenge or closure. They are depicted as dressed in white, with long hair, a beautiful face covered in blood and is floating on air. You’ll see them through mirrors or you can spot them in houses or even at the road when you’re driving and ride at your backseat.

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