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Terrifying Monsters And Urban Myths From The Philippines

Updated April 27, 2020 44.5k views13 items

When thinking of spine-tingling monsters, many might think of Japanese horror stories or Korean urban legends. You may be surprised to find that the Philippines has its fair share of mythic creatures that are as bizarre as they are mortifying. Pranksters, witches, and deathbed stalkers have a place in the line-up of scary creatures prowling around the Southeast Asian country. 

In general, many myths have some kernel of truth to them, like unusual 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 striking fear into people. Compiled in this list are legends of mythical Philippine creatures that will have you checking over your shoulder as you read. 

  • Aswangs

    Photo: H.M.Bec / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

    The Aswang is a monster from Philippine folklore that can shape-shift from a human form into various animals. It has a combination of traits similar to ghouls and vampires, such as feeding on corpses and on the blood of the living. Aswangs are active in both the day and night, typically taking the shape of everyday humans during the day and of Aswang forms at night.

    Aswangs are feared for breaking into houses to feed on people who are sick, 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. Traditional lore suggests that Aswangs can be repelled and slain with items such as garlic, rotten eggs, pineapple plants, dogs, prayer, holy objects, and fire.

  • Sigbin

    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 backward crab walk with its head drooping down. 

    It has the ability to become invisible and drinks the blood of humans. 

  • The Matruculan

    This particular breed of monster impregnates virgins undetected and unseen in the night as they sleep, then returns to slay the woman and consume the fetus.

    Another version of the lore says the Matruculan eats both the mother and unborn child. It’s believed that a husband can protect his wife and child by swinging a butterfly knife or a balisong over her belly during labor. 

  • Manananggal

    Photo: Gian Bernal / Wikimedia Commons / CC0 1.0

    The Manananggal is a type of Aswang that is accompanied by a small bird called a "tik-tik" because of the sound it makes while in flight, although the sound actually gets fainter as it nears. The "tik-tik" accompanies the Manananggal to confuse people. After midnight, this creature takes on the form of a scary monster with a wrinkled face, sharp teeth and claws, and giant wings. It detaches its upper body from its lower body, flying off with only the upper half when hunting.

    To slay one, you must 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. Salt and garlic can be used to ward it off while sunlight will kill it.