5 Philippine mythological creatures you might not know about

Aug 17, 2022 0 comments


We bet most of you have already heard of creatures from Philippine folklore like manananggal, kapre, tikbalang, and nuno sa punso. Many films, whether old or new, have already revolved around these entities, especially the favorite and famous aswang. But, what’s very interesting about our country is that we have so many islands that bear hundreds of cultures and languages—including probably hundreds of creatures, stories, and myths that we have probably never heard of yet. 


Ergo, here are some treasurable finds from Edgar Calabia Samar’s non-fiction book, Mga Nilalang na Kagila-gilalas, that could be added to your knowledge!


Daligmatá, a lamanlupa from Visayas (Bisaya)




Tabi-tabi po,” we say when encountering an unfamiliar land to ask permission for the possible mythological inhabitants around. Often known as mga lamanlupa (kaibaan in Pangasinan; tamyaw in Waray), these are the spirits that guard our lands or even what’s under it. And one of these spirits is the Daligmatá from the Bisayan culture.


The Daligmatá takes form as an animal with skin covered by countless shining eyes that can only see at night. Although this lamanlupa can be very helpful in looking for lost things, it can also be the one to steal souls from a person who’s dreaming. 


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


Ongló, a halimaw from Visayas (Waray)

This giant mythological creature wanders around the swamps of the Philippines to scavenge for its favorite food called tuway (clam). With its hairy demeanor, strong elbows, and rock-hard knees—not only can it help open the shells of clams, but it also causes anyone nearby to itch immediately. And if you happen to smell something very unpleasant, you’ll never know, the Ongló might be somewhere close. 


Dánag, an aswang from Luzon (Isneg)




It’s no doubt that aswangs are the most popular group of mythological creatures in the Philippines. But aside from the manananggal, mangkukulam, and mambabarang, there are so many types of aswangs out there. And that includes the Dánag from the Isneg culture in the northern Cordillera of Luzon. 


Legend says Dánags used to help people and were able to live harmoniously beside them. But one time, a human pricked their finger on a kawayan and a Dánag helped them by sucking out the kawayan from its finger. From then on, this Dánag tasted how sweet human blood is and shared the news to its fellow Dánags. And that’s when they became aswangs


Tahamáling, an anito from Mindanao (Bagobo)




Guardian of the forest and carer of animals, you may mistake this spirit for a female human living in a balete tree among the lands of the Bagobos. But the difference is that this anito has red skin. And as a forest guardian, this mythological creature needs to be wooed with offerings first before they grant you permission to hunt animals. If they deem you worthy of punishment, they will punish you. And if they deem you worthy of forgiveness, they can forgive you. 


Mebuyan, a diwata from Mindanao (Bagobo)




Choosing to live in the underworld lies the goddess, Mebuyan, whose body is covered with multiple breasts for babies, who unfortunately passed away. This motherly diwata nurses these babies until their spirits are ready to move onto the underworld of the Bagobos, Gimokudan, to join the spirits of their own families and “live” peacefully surrounded by their loved ones.



━━ Written By  Storm Masongsong


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