IT’S All Hallow's Eve once more. The night is believed to hold something hair-raising, spine tingling, if not horrific occurrences. It is the festival of the dead, the end of the lighter half and the beginning of the darker half for the Celts.
Here in our country, as we are the most devout Catholic nation in this part of the world, we are as superstitious. Proof of which is the Pinoy folklore. It lists gruesome and frightening creatures scary enough to make us lose sleep, gives us nightmares and is commercially viable enough to rake in profits when it hits the big screen (think: Shake, Rattle & Roll's installment that made Mother Lily's cash register go ka-ching!)
We have come to believe, in one way or another, that we or someone we know have had an encounter with the creatures of the other world. Their stories were told and as the accounts are passed through generations, the tales grow more horrifying.
But little do we know that we are in the company of such creatures. Yes, they take the form of humans and it can be your neighbor, a politician, a friend, worse, your best friend, worst, you relative. When they attack, the circumstances may not be as gory as Quentin Terentino's red-fluid gushing scenes but, boy, it can be so evil. It will rip your heart and your being apart and may turn you into the living dead if intervention is not administered. Consider yourself lucky if you have unmasked the villain before it strikes, you are spared from the misery.
Such savage creatures are not listed in the Philippines most horrifying folklore creatures. But they bear the resemblance in deed as their counterparts in the parallel plane. Prayer is powerful but how well do you really know the person beside you on the pew.
The beautiful female by day you admire may be the half-bodied, gut-dangling flying monster that butchers human prey, devours blood and feasts on the heart and liver on the night of a full moon. The modern manananggal in the city may be the funniest person you know, entertaining, and everybody's best friend. It can milk you dry slowly until you have nothing more to offer and expect to discarded once you are of no use. If you do cross it, expect a fierce retaliation, your confessed deepest secrets may be its best ammunition and this will rip you to shreds if broadcasted like shrills in the night. Guess who?
The smell of tobacco while passing by big, old trees is a sign that you may be in the company of a half-human, half-horse being. The tikbalang is believed to play tricks on its victims, either scare or lead them astray from their paths. Not too different from the modern day cigarette-puffing (on designated areas only please), counterfeit luxury brand toting, towering in stilettos socialite wannabe. Oh, it loves to have fun indeed at other people's expense. Trick or treating is not only saved for the Halloween. Dum-dee-dum.
The aswangs are teeming. These shape shifters look human and can turn into a form of an animal it chooses to be. They prey and feed on the flesh of the weak, the children, the aged and the unguarded. Recently, it came from afar and tried to settle in our city. Its human and snouted animal form bears likeness. It did prey on the weak and their hard-earned moolah, or so it thought it did. Its scheme was quickly uncovered and was driven away. Pray it doesn't return for we have too many local aswangs to deal with as it is. Who are these?
They cry like infants yearning for TLC. But its more than your TLC they want from you, try your liver, innards and blood. These are the tiyanaks and we have them around but they grew up to be career-oriented vampires. They yak about, complain endlessly, tell lies to feed their illusions of grandeur, gossip like it’s their oxygen and spread rumors covertly while keeping an innocent, straight and pretty-as-a-baby (?) face. They have started to believe the lies they woven are true. Can it get any scarier? Aha! I see you smiling. You know?
Not too far away is the Nuno sa Punso. It sits quietly on its mound but please do not disturb. Once you disrespect it and carelessly wander into its beloved territory without your "tabi-tabi po", beware! Its tongue can lash out harmful one-liners like a curse that no modern medicine can remedy. Who, you ask?
Their eyes glow terrifyingly when crossed and smoke with steam are expelled. The Kapre is a huge terrifying beast that dwells in large trees and smokes a leg-sized cigar that never burns out. The neo-kapres, in turn, live in respectable houses and are they are big.. and powerful in their industry. Irk these smoke-puffers and prepare for a chew out that will make you wish for the earth to open up and swallow you in whole. Smile!
Ang karayum at manyika, the mangkukulam's favorite tools for maiming, torturing and killing its chosen victims. They are human but twisted and evil. Pricking dolls with pins will manifest pain on the chosen victim. Our mangkukulam uses the tongue as the weapon. Sweet if you are user-friendly and deadly if you are lucrative but elusive and unattainable. But a lot of times, it just loves pricking people with pins... behind their backs. La-la-la...
Like the Wak-wak, a bird-like creature that comes out at night looking for victims to feed on, the present day night flyers are "mababa ang lipad" and rumored bleeders. They can kill slowly but surely. Even after being tested positive with the HIV virus, they continue to scour the streets of the city to infect the population. How do we stop these wak-waks?
And finally, the ghoul we know as sigbin, dog-like blood-suckers that walk backwards with their heads between their hind legs and the rumored cure to HIV/AIDS. But catching them is next to impossible if there is truth to the claim. Unlike the wak-wak or the typical sigbin, the dogs we have now can roam by day and are born to the earth as humans. Their sole goal is make everyone's existence as unbearable as possible, hence the expression "ka iro" which can mean filthy, literally or figuratively. You know of one?
We co-exist with these creatures but they are far from mythical. They live and breathe like us. How we rid of our own aswangs and the other creatures that plague us with their energy-sucking, time-consuming presence will take will power and prayers. But until you have identifies who is what, then be afraid... be very afraid.