Nuno sa Punso

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Philippine Mythology
Title: Nuno sa Punso
Description: Philippine ghoul
Gender: Male/Female
Region: Philippines
Equivalent: Duwende (dwarf) or encantado

A nuno sa punso, also known as duwende, is a dwarf-like creature in Philippine Mythology, referred to as encantado.



The actual size of the nuno is disputed. Some claim that it is invisible to the human eye, while others claim it is about the size of a small insect. Its appearance is that of an old man. The word "nuno" is also how old relatives or great-grandparents are referred to in certain dialects.


The nuno lives in an anthill called a punso. It will harm those who disturb or damage its punso. If someone were to trample or kick the nuno's home, the offender's foot would swell.

Nuno sa punso are also found in other places, such as under large rocks or trees, along riverbanks, inside caves, or even people's backyards.


Nuno have the ability to curse trespassers. It is said that people who purposely trample around in tall grassy areas or urinate on suspected nuno anthills in order to display dominance over the nuno are likely to become victims of curses. A curse may induce the following symptoms:

  • Swelling or pain in any part of the body
  • Vomiting blood
  • Urinating black liquid
  • Excessive hair growth on the back

If the trespasser is within range, the nuno can spit at them. The effects of the curse are localized to where the spit lands on the person's body. For example, if the nuno decides to spit at the trespasser's stomach, they will have stomach problems; if the spit lands on the elbow, they will have elbow joint pains, or possibly have their arm fall off.

The worst punishment a nuno can enact is possession. This would cause the victim to act as though insane and possibly hurt themself or others.


It is a popular belief that if modern medicine is unable to cure a certain illness, then the illness was likely brought on by a nuno. The victim should then be brought to an albularyo (practitioner of traditional medicine). The albularyo will do a simple ceremony called tawas in which a piece of a candle is melted on a disc or spoon. Once melted, the wax is poured into water. An image will appear in the wax, either that of a nuno or of a certain place or situation. The albularyo will interpret the image to determine the possible cause of the sickness.

In order to be cured, the victim's family will provide an offering to the nuno such as fruit or other food, drinks, or material goods. If the victim is still not cured, it may be necessary to personally ask the nuno's forgiveness.

It is also possible to kill the nuno by catching it and crushing its head between one's fingers. This will remove any enchantment cast by that particular nuno. However, this method is not recommended because it is likely to evoke the wrath of that nuno's friends and relatives.

To avoid the wrath of a nuno, children are always reminded not to play outside between noon and 3pm. They are also asked to be in the house by six in the evening. Though children are free to play, they are cautioned not to be noisy in places where a nuno might dwell. They are further cautioned to ask permission to pass by such places, especially in an unfamiliar area, by saying "tabi tabi po" ("please let me pass by" or "please move out of the way").




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