7 Scary Creatures in the Philippines - Global Storybook

7 Scary Creatures in the Philippines

Tanya Marie Porras

Tanya Marie Porras

Tanya Marie Porras is the Local Contributing Writer at Global Storybook (Philippines).
Tanya Marie Porras

In the Philippines, the door to a plethora of myths regarding scary creatures is always ajar.  Amongst the eeriness that many horror films proudly present there are numerous haunting tales – some are brainchildren of the imaginative minds, while others are stories from the real life.  Below is a compilation of the seven scary creatures that are widely believed in the Philippines.


A big number of Filipino movies usually introduce manananggal as a female.  This malevolent vampire-like creature can separate her upper body from her lower body, sprout its bat-like wings, and then start hunting for the unfortunate souls, which she intends to victimize.

If you want to protect yourself from this critter, the wise folks have an advise.  Use salt and some crushed garlic as your protective weapon.  Once a manananggal approaches you – take out your ammunition and sprinkle it onto her body parts.

Seven Scary Creatures in the PhilippinesTiyanak

Before picking up an abandoned baby from the ground, you have to be one hundred percent sure that what you have in front of you is indeed a helpless infant.  For all you know, it could be a tiyanak.

According to a few versions, a tiyanak is a spirit of a baby whose mother died during childbirth.  Meanwhile, others believe that a tiyanak is a self-resurrected aborted fetus who seeks vengeance from the mother.

As an old tale states, an unwary traveler is a favorite victim of a tiyanak.  Once someone picks up what he or she originally thought was an innocent baby, a tiyanak will stop crying, revert to its true nature, and then attack its victim with sharp claws and fangs.

Seven Scary Creatures in the PhilippinesDuwende 

This next creature is usually harmless.  Though swelling, vomiting, and an excessive hair growth are some of the obvious symptoms of getting on the bad side of a duwende.

It normally resides in a mound.  So if you see a random mound – it might be a duwende’s actual home.  Therefore, under no circumstances should you ever disrespect or kick a random mound.  A duwende doesn’t usually put curses on people, but if you make the mistake of destroying its mound – it will make your life very miserable in turn.


A tall, dark, and handsome man seems dreamy.  In the Philippines, such description also fits one of the scariest creatures known in the country – a kapre.

A kapre is not evil by nature.  He is actually quite a good guy.  If you want to be friends with him – go ahead.  He can be found dwelling in giant trees.  He also has a reputation for smoking tobacco while wearing only a small piece of cloth, covering his private area.

This creature normally minds his own business.  All hell will break loose though, if you ever cut down his habitat.

Seven Scary Creatures in the PhilippinesMangkukulam

If you ever happen to see an effigy of yourself, you may be the victim of a mangkukulam.  Stick a needle into that effigy’s arm, and you will experience pain in your arm, as well.  If a mangkukulam decides to drown that effigy of yours, you will also be drowning – despite the absence of a nearby water source.  Basically, whatever happens to that effigy will happen to you.

Arguably, the idea of a mangkukulam seems scary.  According to numerous myths – granted that you do not piss off a mangkukulam for whatever reason, you should be fine.  Besides, to maintain balance on Earth – there’s an antidote.  If you ever become a victim of a mangkukulam, the solution is to visit a healer and he will eliminate the mangkukulam’s power over you.


A random man walking on the street could be nothing but a human being.  Or, he could be an aswang.  That’s actually a century-old dilemma for many Filipinos – differentiating an aswang from a typical human being.  After all, an aswang talks, laughs and dresses like one.

Normally, you’d have a challenging time figuring out if someone is an aswang – except, of course, when it’s meal time.  Unlike a human being, an aswang feeds on internal organs and human flesh.

Seven Scary Creatures in the PhilippinesKalariot

When you’re in a province, try not to be caught off guard if you see a man walking around your house during the night – or maybe you should.  That wandering man might be a kalariot.

Basic logic should advise you not to go near a kalariot.  You shouldn’t even speak out loud about him.  And, while it’s nearly impossible to ignore his disgusting odor, it’s best to “carry on” with whatever you’re doing.  If you ignore him, he will go away.  Otherwise, he might stay and maybe even start considering your home as his own.

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