Growing up as a child, you may experience being told about ghosts and scary stories. You may also watch gruesome movies that give you goosebumps. There are many scary stories around the world. However, you may be surprised to know that there are a lot of ghost and horror stories in the Philippines, even during earlier times.
Filipino horror and ghost stories will always give you goosebumps and leave you scared once you have heard of it. These stories are about ghosts, white ladies, scary white houses, kapres, maligno, and many more. Most of these stories came from Filipino folktales which were told even before the colonization.
You may be familiar with other countries’ stories about zombies, ghosts, and other paranormal activities. However, the Philippines has diverse scary stories and monsters to share. Each may be distinct from one to another, but each has an exciting story to share. Keep on reading to know more about scary Filipino stories.
White Lady: The White Lady of Balete Drive
Typically a white lady is a Multo. Manileño Cab drivers mostly share the famous stories about the White Lady. They share horrifying stories in the Balete Drive in Quezon City. They say that random black long-haired women wearing long white dresses would ride in the cab. They glance at the woman’s face; she is pale white-skinned with a bloody face.
The story of the white lady goes with random taxi drivers who experienced being hunted in Balete Drive. Though this place is residential, motorists are often haunted here, mainly near the giant Balete tree. The overhanging vines of the tree add spookiness to the site. However, since it is a residential area, it is inevitable for taxi drivers to pass Balete Drive.
The story centers when one driver stops at the Balete tree to pick up a passenger; the driver is working overtime, so he still picks up passengers though it’s midnight. The passenger went inside his cab and told the driver of her destination.
The lady with a white dress is silent in the backseat, and the driver doesn’t mind that since he is focusing on his driving, eager to arrive at the destination. However, to the great surprise of the driver, there was no passenger in the backseat as they arrived at their destination.
Moreover, the stories about the white lady spread across the place, and more drivers share the same stories. The identity of the lady wearing a long white dress with long hair is unknown. There are speculations that maybe this woman has been assaulted and wanted to take revenge.
There are a lot of White Lady stories in the Balete Drive and some provinces in Visayas and Mindanao. It is primarily seen in the dark streets or a Balete tree. Ancient stories would say that white ladies or some supernatural beings mostly live in a Balete tree. That is why most people tend to walk near a Balete tree during the night to fear seeing a white lady.
Aswangs: The Story of Teniente Gimo
One of the scary mythical creatures in the Philippines are the Aswangs. They are flesh-eating mythical creatures. Aswang are shapeshifters and can transform themselves and disguise as a pig, wolf, dog, and strange-looking animal. There is no consistent description of the appearance of Aswang since it varies from region to region.
I want to share a famous aswang story in the Philippines, which happens in Iloilo City. The story is about Teniente Gimo and the aswangs in the village. Teniente Gimo is an official in the barangay, and the villagers in their place often held large fiestas to lure unsuspecting humans into becoming their victims.
When fiestas are held, they would ask their guests to come and eat in their place and ask them to sleep with them at night. One time the village had a large fiesta, and one of Teniente Gimo’s daughters invited many of her friends.
When nighttime came, all of them were sleeping, then one of her friends woke up. She heard a group of people with muffled voices discussing their plans of how to get all of them cooked and eaten. She was terrified. It happens that one of Teniente Gimo’s daughters is sleeping beside her. She switched her place. She placed her watch on Teniente Gimo’s daughter.
Teniente Gimo and some men went inside the room and eventually sacked the visitors and his daughter. They did not notice that they took the aswang daughter of Teniente Gimo. They took all of the visitors, including the daughter of Teniente, and cooked it in the kitchen, ready to be eaten. However, the surviving visitor sneaked and ran away from the village as fast as possible and never returned.
Aswang is based on hearsay, and this monster commonly lurks at night looking for a victim. During the day, it turns into a human to keep its identity hidden, observing its next target. Aswang usually creeps in your roof, and you may hear the sound “Tik-tik-tik,” signaling it is ready to devour you.
To protect yourself from the Aswang, you need to keep a Buntot Pagi (stingray’s tail) to dispel their presence. You can also use salt, garlic, and ginger to deter them away since they are afraid of it.
Kapre is called the tree giants, depicted to stay in tall trees all the time while smoking tobacco. Ordinary people can’t see them and tend to trick them once you step into their dwellings, like in the forest. People believed that Kapre was responsible for those who lost track while venturing in the woods in rural areas. Many thought that Kapre mostly lived in an old Balete Tree.
Not too long ago, mountain climbers were attempting to climb the mountains in Batangas. All of them are geared with compasses and maps. They are just following the trail instructed to follow. However, they tend to get lost over and over again. They decide to leave marks on routes that they have already passed, only to find out that they repeatedly pass away in the same place. It seems like someone is playing tricks on them.
Then they were able to bump into an old villager man. They shared their stories about being lost. The older man performed a ritual and gave homage to the Kapre to stop playing a trick on the mountain climbers. After that, the mountain climbers were able to find the right path again.
Kapres are not as brutal as the aswang since some Kapres share friendships with some locals. However, they are very playful and tend to play tricks, especially if you are not living in the local area.
Tikbalang is a bipedal horse that lurks at night in forests and mountains in the Philippines. Filipino ancestors believed that these Tikbalangs were aborted fetuses that came from limbo and turned to be Tikbalangs. Tikbalang loves to trick travelers into losing track of their path. No matter where the travelers go, he will hardly find the correct direction. Tikbalangs can also turn invisible in the human eye and can also disguise themselves as human.
Tibalangs looks like a combination of a horse and a human; it is tan-skinned and has light hair. When traveling in a forest and you suspect a Tikbalang may trick you by losing the correct direction, you need to turn your shirt inside out. This way, you will be able to see the right path.
I’d like to share the story of someone who happens to experience seeing a tikbalang. It happened in Antique when two of his brothers quarreled outside their nipa hut in the middle of the night. He can shout from here to there when their mother asks them to stop fighting, take a rest, and change their clothes. The two brothers followed.
A few hours after their quarrel, there are big thuds surrounding the house. He checked his two brothers, and they were asleep already. He tried to sneak at the backdoor to check what it was. Then his mother stopped and whispered that it was a Tikbalang. The thuds did not stop, which seems like the Tikbaling is playing like a crazy horse.
In the morning, there are lots of holes in their yard. It looks like the footsteps of a big horse. However, people are questioning since there is no horse in their area. People are puzzled, and they say it’s the Tikbalang since it is playful and mischievous that it can play around your backyard.
Tyanak is considered to be a vampire baby in the Philippines. Tyanaks would lure their victims by crying like a baby in the forests or jungle to victimize travelers. Most Filipinos believed that Tyanaks are unbaptized infants. In some beliefs, Tyanaks are the babies inside the mother’s womb when the mother dies during childbirth and the unborn child. There is a belief that Tyanaks are the fetuses aborted by their mothers seeking revenge in the modern-day.
Kumakatok is about three scary robbers. They tend to knock on the door of the sleeping households to bring bad omens. Kumakatoks used to obtain death omens, usually to the eldest child of the family. Most Filipinos tend to mark a cross on their doorstep to deter away from the trio.
The appearance of the trio is hard to describe since they were robbed. However, one of the members is a girl, and the two are older men. There is a belief that Kumakatok was reduced during World War II since many destroyed buildings gave them fewer doors to knock on.
If you have an unexplainable illness, that may be because of Mangkukulam. Witch is the counterpart English word of Mangkukulam. To do her Kulam or Ritual, she needs a strand of your hair, a doll, or a picture of you.
One island in the Philippines, called the Siquijor Island, has many Mangkukulam in the country. The island is very enchanted and beautiful. Though there are many hearsays that this is an island of Mangkukulam, many tourists come there.
There are a lot of ghost and horror stories in the Philippines. Most of these stories are already present, even before the Spanish colonization. Most of these stories are from spiritual beings, flesh-eating monsters, and ghosts. Nowadays, not all people tend to believe in this, but some still do.