LIST: 7 Underrated Filipino Supernatural Creatures You Never Know
With the Netflix’s adaptation of popular Filipino horror comic Trese premiering on the streaming platform on June 11, lots of people suddenly became more interested in delving into the Philippine underworld. Sure, the aswang, kapre, white lady, and duwende (elf or dwarf) are shown in movies and TV shows every now and then, but our rich and underrated folklore is more than those entities. In fact, there are many terrifying and intriguing mythical creatures that need more love and exposure. Below are some of our underrated supernatural creatures that will scare you to death. you’ve been warned!
Also read: Guide to Filipino Mythologial Creatures
IMAGE from Philippine Spirits
Kataws the guardians of the water. In Visayan folklore, they are believed to be the highest-ranking among the other merpeople, including the sirena (mermaid), sireno (merman), and siyokoy. Like their underwater brethren, kataws have gills and fins across their bodies.
According to folk tales, they have the ability to control water and can even freeze it into ice. These marine creatures disguise themselves as fishermen asking for help. When approached by mortals, the kataws sentence them to a watery death.
IMAGE from Pinterest
More popular in the remote areas of Abra, Apayao, and Ilocos Norte, this ogre-like creature uses deceptive tactics to catch its prey before eating them alive. The berberoka would go to a pond or river and suck up all the water. In some variations, it would try to trap its victims by lying on a river and morphing into something bigger to stop the river flow instead.
This would then lead to drying up the land and leave fish scattered on the dried river bed. As the clueless victims began to run and pick up the fishes, the berberoka would then release the water it had been holding. As they are caught in the surging waves and struggled to stay afloat, it would then pick them up to eat.
IMAGE from Yowjin/Artstation
One of the most obscure mythical creatures in the Philippines, the ani-ani is a foul-smelling, eighteen feet tall monster that has long legs and sharp nails. Just like the aswang, the ani-ani also possesses the power of shape-shifting. It has the power to change into various animals such as cows, horses, and pigs.
The thing that sets ani-ani apart from the aswang is its diet —they don’t suck blood. Instead, ani-ani are mostly known to block the path of walking travelers and usually seen smoking while sitting on a large tree branch —characteristics reminiscent of the more popular kapre.
IMAGE from Mythus
Bungisngis is a one-eyed giant like the fabled Greek cyclops reportedly living in Orion, Bataan where it was known for laughing, hence the name. According to local folklore, it is a cannibal giant with huge upper lips, massive teeth, and two long tusks similar to those of elephants. Fortunately, despite its terrifying appearance, it is dumb enough to be tricked, even by animals, as in the case of the monkey in the story Three Friends.
IMAGE from Mythus
The batibat is a vengeful entity found in Ilocano folklore. It takes the form of an old, morbidly obese spirit that lives in trees. They usually come in contact with humans when the trees in which they reside are cut down and made homeless, especially when their tree is made into a support post for a house. This causes them to migrate and inhabit what is left of their tree. The batibat forbids anyone from sleeping near its post.
When a person does, the batibat transforms into its true form and attacks the person by suffocating its victim and invading their dream space, causing sleep paralysis and nightmares. This condition lends itself to the Ilocano word for a nightmare: batibat (bangungot in Filipino). To ward off the batibat, one should bite one’s thumb or wiggle one’s toes. By doing those things, the person will awaken from the nightmare induced by the creature.
IMAGE from Mythus
The sigbin is to Visayans what chupacabra is to Latin Americans. Folk tales depict the sigbins as hornless goats that similar to small kangaroos. This creature also has flapping ears, burning eyes, and whip-like tail. In some stories, its feet are facing the wrong way, which is why it walks backwards.
Although most people regard sigbins as an urban legend, eye-witness accounts from various parts of the country seem to prove otherwise. Some residents of Roxas City, Capiz claimed that their animals were killed by a strange, blood-sucking monster. However, experts dismissed the claims, explaining that they could be one of the new cat-fox species recently discovered in Borneo.
IMAGE from Cryptid Wiki
The amomongo is described as a hairy white ape living at the base of Mt. Kanlaon in Negro Occidental. Using its long, sharp nails, this enigmatic “ape” disembowels its victims (mostly livestock and other small animals) and eats their intestines. Just like the bigfoot or yeti, the existence of Amomongo is still shrouded in mystery. Experts claim that amomongo is an albino gorilla but with no species of ape native to the Philippines, it’s hard to confirm the beast’s real identity.
Written by Paolo Mabuyo