With over 7000 Philippine islands brimming with different cultures and stories, the creature-hunting traveler is spoiled for choice. If you’re looking for supernatural thrills, we’ve got a list of Filipino mythical creatures travelers should look out for. Even better, we’ve got locations where you could possibly spot them. Happy hunting!
Your basic Philippine mythical creature is the multo, which is a ghost. There are quite a number of locations in the country where you can go ghost-hunting, but Baguio should be on top of your list. From the Diplomat Hotel, the Laperal Mansion, to Teacher’s Village, you’re sure to have a frightening good time!
Another mythological creature that comes to mind immediately is the aswang, which is a creature that consumes the innards of a cadaver. The term aswang is also used as a catch-all name for various viscera-sucking creatures in Philippine mythology.
While every region has their own version of the aswang, it’s most closely associated with the province of Capiz. In fact, the province has leaned in on this reputation and holds an annual Aswang Festival to celebrate it.
Any promdi knows that if you’ve got an ailment that can’t be explained, it’s probably the fault of a mangkukulam. If you cross a mangkukulam and you’re careless with your personal effects, beware.
They’ll probably perform a “kulam” using your personal effects and a doll or photograph. If you want to go on a mangkukulam hunt, head on over to the island of Siquijor, which has long had the reputation of being the home of mangkukulams.
Just because the creature doesn’t look frightening, it doesn’t mean they aren’t powerful or should be taken lightly. Over the years, diwatas have come to stand for forest spirits who can be benevolent to the good and vengeful to those who cross them. One of the more well-known diwatas is Mariang Makiling, whose mountain you can visit in Laguna.
This creature may not be familiar to people from Luzon, but Boholanos definitely know of the sigbin. It’s said to look like a small kangaroo, with flapping ears, burning eyes, a whip-like tail, and the ability to walk backwards.
During the Holy Week, sigbins are said to go out and hunt for the hearts of children. They’ll then turn these hearts into amulets. If that hasn’t frightened you off, search for sigbins in Bohol.
Technically, the White Lady is a multo. However, she’s popular enough that she’s got her own story and specific haunt. Any Manileño cab driver knows to be careful when picking up a passenger at Balete Drive in Quezon City. As the story goes, they start out picking up a beautiful, long-haired woman in a white dress. But the moment they look back at the White Lady, all they see is a bruised and bloody face.
Being an archipelago, there’s no shortage of water creatures in our mythology. An example of such is the berberoka, who lives in freshwater and preys on fishermen. The berberoka will suck water from lakes until schools of fish become visible to fishermen. Once the fishermen are drawn to the fish, the berberoka will use the water it sucked to drown the helpless victim. If you’re hunting this fearsome creature, head over to Ilocos Norte.
When you hear the word bungisngis, terror isn’t the word you associate with it. After all, it translates to giggling in English. But in Bataan, the bungisngis is a one-eyed creature with huge upper lips, humongous teeth, and tusks that resemble those of an elephant. Even worse, they prey on livestock.
The amomongo is supposedly a hairy white ape that disembowels chickens, goats, and other small animals and then eats their intestines. If you want to see the amomongo, it supposedly lives at the base of Mt. Kanlaon in Negro Occidental.
Arguably the most popular aswang, the manananggal has achieved recognition even beyond our borders. It’s feature in Marvel Anime: Blade and in a novel tie-in to popular television series Supernatural. Fantasy author Neil Gaiman considers it his favorite Filipino mythological creature. While you can probably find them anywhere, their stories originated in the Visayas, specifically in the provinces of Iloilo, Capiz, and Antique.
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