The Philippines is more than just a tropical paradise, it’s also home to many stories of the strange and paranormal. In this country, we don’t just have the stereotypes like the white lady and headless priests. No, what we have here are something far more terrifying that will make anyone say “It’s creepier in the Philippines!”
Here are some of the creepiest and spine-tingling Philippine monsters and their origins:
Almost every province in the Philippines has their own share of aswang stories and the features of these creatures may even vary. However, the province of Capiz in Western Visayas is the most popular amongst them all as it said to be where the first aswang originated. Aswangs are creatures of the night who feed on unsuspecting victims by sucking their blood dry. They have very scary faces and long tongues. In some versions, they also eat the victim’s flesh and they can shape shift into any form of animal, usually a dog or a pig. If chased, they can fly away.The word Aswang is derived from the Sanskrit word “swan” and “ang” or “Shwan” which means dog and body respectively. One of the most famous stories of the aswang is one of Tiniente Gimo of Barrio Duenas, Iloilo. According to legends, the Tiniente has ruled over the barrio for many years because he is immortal and all of the townsfolk have all been turned into aswangs and anyone who visits their little barrio gets a warm welcome and at night, they eat them.
The Greeks have the “Cyclops” and we Filipinos have the “bungisngis”. It’s also a one eyed monster who allegedly lives in the Bataan area in Luzon. It was called “bungisngis” because of its distinctive giggle. As if the one eye does not make it weird enough, this monster is also described to have long tusks, like those of elephants and an exposed mouth which contains humongous teeth. The Bungisngis is usually interpreted as a dumb giant when it comes to stories. In the Filipino tale “The Three Friends – The Monkey, The Dog and The Carabao, The giant is able to lift the carabao and throw it with such force that it ends knee-deep in the ground. However, despite its strength, the bungisngis is easily outwitted and quickly panics. In the tale of the Three Friends, Monkey’s tricks led him to his death. It is said that when you’re out in the woods at night and hear a laugh out of nowhere, it means that the bungisngis is out to get you. The targeted victims are the only ones who can hear the laughter and that’s probably the last thing they’ll ever hear.
The Bangungot or Batibat
This creature originated in the province of Ilocos. There, they call it the “Batibat”. According to their legends, this creature is a vengeful demon often blamed for nocturnal deaths or those who died in their sleep. They are described as big fat old women who live in trees. It is said that when you cut a Batibat’s tree and used the wood in your home, the demon stays there. Batibats do not allow anyone to sleep near them so when this happens, they transform into their true form and they sit on the chest of the sleeping person until they suffocate. The only way to escape the wrath of the Batibat is to wiggle your toes or bite your thumb to jolt yourself awake.
Aren’t babies adorable? Well, wait till they grow fangs and eat you alive! That’s how the creatures called tiyanak lure their prey. It starts with a very pitiful crying sound of a baby in the middle of the woods (though at this point one should really be running the hell out of there once they hear that creepy crying) and when you find the source of the cry, you’ll see an adorable little baby. Once you pick it up it will grow fangs and become so far from adorable. If you ever managed to run away from it, you better take of your shirt and wear it backwards so it can’t come running after you. These creatures could either be offspring of demons or aborted babies who want revenge towards their mothers. Either way, the lesson here is to never pick up a baby in the middle of the woods. The cry should be enough to scare you off.