#TabiTabiPo: Your Guide to Unfamiliar Terms and Creatures in Trese

Jun 12, 2021 0 comments



You’ve probably seen it all over social media and even along major highways in the metro but in case you need reminding, Trese is now out on Netflix! This anime-style series is based on a comic series of the same name by Budjette Tan and Kajo Baldisimo. It follows Alexandra Trese, a detective who deals with the supernatural elements in Manila. 


Read: Filipino artists are reclaiming PH's queer mythology at this cultural fest


There are only six episodes in the series (no word thus far on season two!), but it’s easy to get lost if you’re not familiar with Philippine mythology and folklore beyond the aswangmanananggalkapretiyanaktikbalang, and duwende. But hey, don’t worry! This is where we come in. Here’s a quick and brief rundown of some of the unfamiliar terms and supernatural characters you’ll come across in the series.


Babaylan-Mandirigma - a healer and protector


Ibu - The Manobos of Mindanao have their own set of deities that they believe in. One of which is Ibu, the goddess of the underworld. 


Ibwa - A corpse-eating spirit in human form


Kataw - For the Visayans, the sirena or mermaids aren’t the only merfolk that exist. There’s also the kataw, who are believed to be the guardians of the waters. Like mermaids, they assume human forms as well.


Lakan - the paramount leader or ruler



Nuno - You’ve probably heard the term nuno sa punso from the elderly at some point in your life. 

nuno is believed to be a spirit of the elderly who resides in mounds (think of an anthill). This creature finds it disrespectful if you disturb its home, which is why you’re often encouraged to say “tabi-tabi po”. It’s important to note however that the nuno in Trese isn’t considered a nuno sa punso.


Santelmo - Ever heard of the weather phenomena called St. Elmo’s Fire? It’s said that the mythological santelmo is our ancestor’s way of explaining said ball of plasma and electricity. The story behind the santelmo differs depending on who says it. Some say it’s the soul of the dead with unfinished business. Others say they appear in places where accidents happened.


Sigbin - Almost like vampires, the sigbin are nocturnal creatures that prey on their victims at night to suck out their blood. 


Talagbusao - In the local folklore of Bukidnon, Talagbusao is the bloodthirsty god of war. 



White Lady of Balete Drive - If you’re familiar with local urban legends, then you’d know how infamous Balete Drive in New Manila is. It is said that a white lady haunts Balete Drive. The backstory of the white lady differs depending on which version you believe but what these versions have in common is that she was murdered and her spirit lingers on in search for help or justice. 


━━ Written By Bella Javier 
━━  Photo By Netflix


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