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Friday, August 20, 2004
(abstracted from Filipinas Magazine by: Charity Beyer-Bagatsing)
(check for Docbeyer1@aol.com)

The Philippines has always possessed a thriving and serious respect for the supernatural. The tracks of an idly fleeing wild boar or the sound of flapping wings are transformed into chilling tales of the unexplained. Every barrio and province has its favorite (or dreaded) spirit. The place where a person succumed to sickness or the house in a gathering mist of suspicious rumros. All it takes is one reliable witness who swear in total sobriety that he or she has witnessed a malevolent being. The following are the mythical creatures that haunt our nightmares, torture our imagination and send a ripple up our spine long after the lights have been truned off.

ANITO -otherwise known as "mamangkis" or "cancaniaos" they share the characteristics of the "matanda sa punso"-- spirit of the mound. they posses the ability to inflict boils and sickness on anyone who bothers them. when walking through the unfamiliar routes people say, "Tabi-tabi po...makikiraan lang" (sir,please move side, I'm, just passing through) children often fall victim to their anger if they accidentally bump into them while playing. parents of afflicted kids leave offerings of fruits under the treee or near a mound of earth ("punso") to appease the invisible spirits. permission is also sought before cutting down trees in the forest.

ASWANG or BRUHA an ordinary witch or sorcerer who can be a woman or a man. this person can change into the form of a black cat, pig, dog or bird with blooshot eyes. at night, it lurks behind bushes waiting for a lonely wayfarer. when a victim is spotted, it appears out of nowhere in the middle of the road intent to overpowering the victim. the aswang drags its hunted prey into a secret lair, gorging the victim's liver and blood. however, it cannot lift anybody who carries a coin. one centavo is enough to make the aswang's plans a failure. garlic is the bitterest foe of the aswangs, the sight of it causes them to flee.

DIWATA or ENGKANTADA-the most famous ones are Maria Makiling and the engkantada of Mount Apo, beautiful ladies with long hair and supernatural powers. to have one as a friend ensures a rich and prosperous life; to have one as an enemy ensures a life of poverty, struggle and ,misery.

DWENDE- "Kaibaan, Ilulid, Cama-cama or Nuno sa Punso" are just a few of their names. they are small creatures, about the size of a one year old child. they live under a small mound or dirt ("punso")on a full moon, one can sometimes see them in the shadows or hear their mystical music playing. they are harmless creatures who befriend virtous humans to whom they render valuable services such as providing information, warning of potential danger and endowing beloved friends with precious gifts. they can also create mischief, cause havoc and can be dangerous if provoked to anger.

KAPRE-a harmless spirit who takes the form of a very white, tall man with a long beard. it prefers to live around dark, big houses or sit in the branches of tall, leafy trees like the mango, sampaloc or balete trees. at night smoke coming from a tree means a Kapre is enjoying his tobacco. it is believed that kapres are afraid of goats and will not disturb anyone unless provoked.

MANANANGGAL-the most feared creature; also known as "wak-wak" in the visayan dialect. common people believe the wak-wak is always a woman. between six or seven o'clock at night this creature finds a secret place near her home. she bends her body down while her legs remain rigid and straight. her hair becomes stiff and her nails run into long sharp claws. her eyes grow bigger and eerily flows, while large bat like wings protrude from her body echoing the sound "wak wak" as it flies along. it preys on the livers of the sick and disobedient children who refuse to come indoors at twilight. they are especially fond of babies in their mothers womb, sucking their blood by using its tongue as a threadlike proboscis which enters through the mother's navel. vigilant eyes, garlic and a pair of scissors or thorny branches should be kept beside a pregnant woman at all times.

MULTO- the souls of the unpardones dead who will wander on the earth unless the living intercede to secure the pardon of God through constant praying. the smell of burning candles indicates their presence day or night. they are reputed to assail the living with red painful bruises. moving one's hands wildly and uttering phrases and prayers from the Bible will cause them to leave.

SIRENA- this capricious female deity can be wicked to the core of extremly kind hearted. it is characterized by its long, black hair, betwiching voice, beautiful facial features and a strong fish like odor. appearing in human form, it comes on land during fiestas and Holy Week. it is afraid of salt, steel, silver or gold as these can inflict a mortal wound on its scaly body. innocent swimmers are dragged to its underwater abode and drowned. it offers victims fish to eat; accepting her offer bring sinstant death. refusing her offer increase the chance of freedom and perhaps a lavish gift of precious jewels.

TIK-TIK- a male aswang, its name is derived from the very noise it makes at night. common people believe this is the aswang turned into a night bird. it is known to perch on top of houses of pregnant mothers and the sick.

TIKBALANG- a creature with legs ectremely long in proportion to its body so that when it sits down, the knees tower over its head. it has three coarse stiff hairs on the top of its head; anyone successful in acquiring the three hairs will have the tikbalang as his personal slave for life. it is strong and fast and abhors the sight of children, dead or alive. it steals the bodies of dead children and buries them deep in the ground. it's harmless and would rather flee than fight, but will cause vomiting to those that mock it.

TIYANAK - it's known to mimic the cry of a baby lost in the forest. symphatetic travelers often stray from their path trying to locate this supposedly abandoned baby, and eventually get lost in the forest. at night, if one listens carefully, one can distainctly hear the malevolent laughter of this creature resonating in the forest. travelers can avoid falling prey to the tiyanak's wiles by wearing gheir shirts backwards and ignoring its misleading cries.
posted by infraternam meam @ 11:24 AM  
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Name: infraternam meam
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About Me: I am now at the prime of my life and have been married for the past 25 years. Sickly at times, but wants to see the elixir vita, so that I will be able to see my grandchildren from my two boys.
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