When thinking of spine-tingling monsters, most think of Japanese horror stories or creepy Korean urban legends. You may be surprised to find the Philippines has its fair share of mythic creatures that are as bizarre as they are mortifying - not to mention, there's this major baby-eating trend with Filipino monsters. Pranksters, witches, and deathbed stalkers also have a place in the line-up of scary creatures prowling around the Southeast Asian country.
Most myths have some kernel of truth to them, like weird creation stories that explain documented tragedies or natural disasters. However, that's not the case with the urban myths of the Philippines - these tales are woven with the sole intent of terrifying you. Compiled in this list are contemporary legends of mythical Filipino creatures that will have you checking over your shoulder as you read.
The Aswang is a monster from Filipino folklore that can shapeshift from a human form into various animals. They have a combination of traits similar to ghouls and vampires, such as feeding on corpses and on the blood of the living. Aswangs are also active in both the day and night, and are able to turn humans into Aswangs through biting.
Aswangs are feared for breaking into houses to feed on small children and unborn fetuses. Some have an elongated organ that protrudes from their mouths to suck fetuses out of the womb while the mother sleeps. Red- and black-beaded bracelets can be placed on the wrists of newborns as a protective measure against Aswangs. In addition, an Aswang can be repelled and killed with garlic, salt, prayer, holy objects, and when all else fails, decapitation is always a good way to go.
The Sigbin, a type of Aswang, varies by region. It can resemble a reptilian crow or a goat. Its front legs are significantly shorter than its hind legs and it moves in a backwards crabwalk with its head drooping down. It smells pretty foul and can jump high distances. Apparently, they stalk children after sundown, eating all but their hearts. Sigbin hoard the hearts of their victims and craft amulets out of them.
This particularly nasty breed of monster impregnates virgins, then returns to kill the woman and eat the fetus. Another version of the lore says the Matruculan eats both the mother and unborn child. The Matruculan has a higher probability of stealing and eating a baby if it doesn’t have one of its own growing elsewhere. Strangely enough, it’s believed a husband can protect his wife and child by swinging a butterfly knife or a balisong over her belly during labor.
The Manananggal is a type of Aswang that is often called "Tik-tik" as a result of the sound it makes while in flight, although the sound actually gets fainter as she nears. This creature takes on an attractive female form with weathered batwings. She is capable of detaching her upper body from her lower body, flying off with only the upper half when hunting. To kill one, you have to find the monster's lower body and spread salt or ash over the open wound to prevent the two halves of the Manananggal from being whole again.