10 Most Horrifying Creatures in Philippine Folklore

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Philippine folklore is filled with gruesome and frightening creatures guaranteed to cause fear and terror among the populace.



The Manananggal butchers human prey and feasts on its heart and liver. Imagine seeing a half-bodied, flying creature with wild, flaming eyes and sharp teeth, hungrily searching for its next victim. A manananggal is a beautiful female by day who turns into blood-devouring monster at night. At midnight, especially on a full moon, it applies a special oil on its body while chanting a prayer. Fangs, claws, and wings emerge until the manananggal separates from its upper torso, usually with its guts hanging out.


Tikbalang The Philippine Demon Horse Commons.jpg

Walking past big, old trees, and suddenly smelling a whiff of tobacco would alert the unwary to the sight of the Tikbalang! The tikbalang is half-human, half-horse. It commonly plays tricks on its victims, scaring them away or leading them astray from their paths.


Aswang, common form.jpg

Beware of strange people following you around, because you'll never know which one is real and which one would prey on your guts and organs. Aswang usually assume the countenance of ordinary humans, but, being shape shifters, they also have the ability to transform into a wild, voracious beast once they find prospective victims. They can take the form of a dog, boar, bull or any animal, and they prey on weaker victims like children and old people, but will also attack any single unguarded individual.


When wandering in or near forested areas, be on the alert when you hear the sound of an infant crying. Don't try to look for it, lest you be the victim of the Tiyanak. The tiyanak is vampiric in nature and begins its monstrous life as an aborted or dead fetus that was not baptized before burial. Evil spirits possess the infant's body and use it to kill by eating the victim's inner organs and drinking its blood.


Stay clear of abandoned structures or old, big trees for you might encounter a freaky monster carrying decapitated heads. Called the Pugot, this monster manifests itself as a self-beheaded ghost, or as a headless giant waiting in lonely places to behead its unlucky victim.

Nuno sa Punso

Never ever play on anthills for you might disturb the Nuno sa Punso. These dwarf-like creatures (duwende or encantado) curse disrespectful passersby who even inadvertently disturb or destroy their habitation. So the next time you wander into unfamiliar territory, tread carefully and don't forget to ask permission and say tabi-tabi po mga nuno.


Kapre of Philippine Folklore Commons.jpg

A Kapre is a huge terrifying beast with glowing eyes which is found dwelling in large trees or abandoned houses and ruins. It is usually depicted smoking a leg-sized cigar that never burns out.


The Mangkukulam's favorite implements for maiming, torturing and sometimes killing its chosen victims are the karayom at manyika (needle and doll). The doll serves as the effigy of the victim; upon pricking it with the cursed needle, the victim instantly feels pain through the effects of malicious, imitative magic. The Mngkukulam will usually focus on the victim's heart or vital organs. What sets the Mangkukulam apart from the rest of the ghouls and monsters in this list is that the Mangkukulam is an ordinary human being albeit twisted by evil.


The Wak-wak is a bird-like creature that comes out at night looking for victims. The sound the Wak-wak makes is usually associated with the presence of an Unglu (vampire); other folkloric sources indicate that the Wak-wak may itself be a form of the Unglu.


The Sigbin is a ghoul in Philippine Mythology that roams for prey at night, sucking the blood off their would-be victims by using their shadows. The creature walks backwards with their heads lowered between their hind legs. The Sigbin is dog-like in appearance so beware of strange dogs!



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