Philippine Ghosts, Monsters and Urban Legends

Hello everyone! It’s time for another blog post, and today I’m going to write all about…the scary shit you can find here in my country! Hahaha. Thanks to the person who gave me the idea, you know who you are ^ ^

I haven’t written about all of them of course, simply because there are too many. I’ve only written about the ones I like most or I find the most interesting.

Trivia: I’m interested in this sort of stuff because when I was a kid, my classmates used to tease me that I was one of the aswang. For those who don’t know, the aswang are vampire-like creatures in Philippine folklore. They look physically human, but have strange eyes and sharp teeth and can shape-shift and perform some degree of mind control or influence. I promise I’m 100% human, though!

Read on to find out why they say “it’s more fun in the Philippines!” Have fun. 🙂

Philippine Ghosts

Santelmo

Santelmo is a ball of fire, much like a will-o-the-wisp. It usually chases people around in the forest at night and makes them lost. It’s also a bad omen, signifying death or natural disaster. Of course, this could just be swamp gas, but let’s go with the supernatural explanation for now.

While Lady

White ladies are spirits of dead women who want to avenge their deaths. They are usually quiet and still, although they can cause accidents when suddenly appearing in front of cars, beside people in stairways, etc.

Philippine Monsters

Tiyanak

Tiyanak are babies who were aborted or died before being baptized. You can hear them at night while walking in the forest, crying like human infants. They look like cute, cuddly babies at first – but as soon as you pick them up, they transform into monsters and eat you alive.

Manananggal

Manananggal are beautiful women by day. But by night, they shed the lower half of their body, sprout bat wings and talons, grow fangs and a forked tongue, and have blazing red eyes. They victimize pregnant women by penetrating their bellies with their pointed tongues and sucking the fetus out.

Wakwak/Tiktik

Similar to a mananaggal, a wakwak or tiktik is a creature that loves feeding on a victim’s visceral organs or unborn fetuses. It makes a peculiar sound – either like flapping wings, or a high-pitched ‘tik tik’ cry. When it’s far away, its cry is louder, and when it’s near its victim, it sounds fainter. The fleeing of a wakwak will also indicate the presence of manananggal or other aswang nearby.

Sirena

The mermaids here in the Philippines aren’t nice and friendly like the ones in The Little Mermaid. We have flesh-eating sirens here, luring fishermen to their deaths and then feeding on them. Sometimes, they’ll kidnap a male human and use them for breeding purposes too.

Sigbin

Kind of like a Mexican chupacabra, the sigbin comes out at night to suck blood from its victims. It walks backwards, with its head between its hind legs, and it can reportedly become invisible. It looked like a hornless goat with large ears and a whip-like tail.

It usually kills children and gathers their hearts, which it makes into amulets for its owners. There are certain human families who reportedly own sigbin, keeping them in clay jars and sending them out to kill enemies (personal assassin ftw xP).

Haunted Places

University of the Philippines

The University of the Philippines is the highest educational institution in the country. However, it also has a slew of ghost stories and creepy tales that UP alums are fond of retelling.

One of them is about a girl who took a cab on the way home one night. During the ride home, she was feeling increasingly nervous because the cab driver kept looking at the rearview mirror and was taking a different route than she was used to. She was about to jump out when she noticed that she was in front of her house. The cab driver didn’t accept payment and instructed her to burn all the clothes she was wearing and to visit a priest for a blessing. When she asked why, the driver said that whenever he looked at the rearview mirror, he saw the girl without a head. So to avoid accidents he took a different route.

Another story I like is about a student who was lost one night. UP Diliman is a huge campus, as big as a small village, and you can definitely get turned around quite easily. He kept on asking for instructions but got increasingly lost. One day, his body was found a few feet away from his car, starved to death. His car had clocked thousands of miles. According to popular belief, mischievous spirits had chosen to cruelly tease and make fun of the poor boy. So today, if you’re in UP and a boy inside a car asks for directions how to get back to his dorm, make sure it’s a live human being before answering – or else you’ll end up just like him.

Balete Drive

Balete Drive is a residential area which is actually pretty near to my residence. It’s famous for the recurring apparitions of a lady in white, which is rumoured to be a young girl who was raped and killed by a cab driver, back in the 1950’s.

Now her ghost would often be seen getting into empty cabs or the backseats of cars, and sometimes she stands in the middle of the road causing drivers to swerve suddenly and meet unfortunate accidents.

Baguio Diplomat Hotel 

The Diplomat hotel  used to be a convent or seminary during WWII. During the war, several priests, nuns and residents were killed through beheading and gunfire. It was converted to a hotel afterwards – a creepy hotel, at that. Think dim rooms, big empty hallways, crucifixes and Bibles by the bedside, huge mirrors.

Guests and hotel staff used to complain that the could feel cold air rush past them at all hours of the day, and crying and wailing would be heard at night. There are also ghosts of headless priests, doors and windows slamming shut, flickering lights, and messages written on the mirrors. Fun. :3

Corregidor

Remember the post I made about Corregidor Island? Yes, that place is pretty haunted too, especially the hospital ruins and Malinta Tunnel. In the hospital ruins, you can hear the sounds of normal hospital activity, voices, and crying sounds. Malinta Tunnel, on the otherhand, was an underground headquarters of the US Armed Forces. It has a resident ghost, cold spots, and eerie sounds – even during the daytime. I can confirm – I’ve been there, and inside one of the missile bunkers I felt my skin prickle up. 😛

Kulam (Black Magic/Sorcery)

Kulam is what we call the folk magic performed here in the Philippines. To perform kulam, you need an innate knowledge of Magica Baja (low magic) and ritual accessories such as candles, oils, fire, herbs and spices, and blades.

Kulam is often used for hexing and cursing, but it can also be used for good. We have witch doctors here called albularyo, and they heal people through a mixture of divination, white magic, scrying and incantations. (I don’t recommend seeing a witch doctor if you’re feeling bad though – go to the emergency room! :P)

So there you go! That’s my short list of Philippine ghosts, monsters and urban legends. I hope you enjoyed reading, and thanks for visiting. 🙂

Disclaimer: images not mine unless stated.

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