Halloween is just around the corner, that means there will be a lot of scaretastic fun this October!

Which brings us to the question: What are you afraid of?

Zombies? Vampires? Werewolves? Well, these supernatural creatures aren’t the scariest monsters you can encounter in Philippine Folklore. Filipinos have big imaginations and we have our fair share of scary creatures that terrified us as kids! (Tbh, it still does.)

So where did it all stem? Here are Filipino mystical creatures that inspired the top 10 Philippine horror movies of all time!

10. Aswang

Description: Aswangs are normal town people at day time. They are often described as disturbingly shy and elusive. Aswangs usually live on the mountains –  far from the townspeople.

At night, they transform into animals such as bat, cat, dog and most often as a wild boar. Aswangs mastered mimicry and use this to lure their prey—humans.

Know their favorite dish? –Internal organs of humans


  • Shape shifting
  • Fast, silent and strong
  • Daywalkers unlike vampires


  • Holy water
  • Salt & garlic
  • Sunlight


 Movies: Aswang, Kubot: The Aswang Chronicles, Shake Rattle & Roll, Sa Piling ng Aswang, Corazon: Ang Unang Aswang

9. Dwende or Nuno sa Punso

Description: These small beings are comparable to goblins, elves and gnomes. According to Filipino folklore, they usually inhabit caves, the unvisited parts of houses, or ant hills. But not all dwendes are bad. There are also good dwendes that often bring luck.


  • Teleporting skills
  • Magic
  • Ability to make people disoriented in the woods

Weakness: Offering such as chicken or pig

Movies: Takot Ka Ba sa Dilim?

8. Engkanto

Description: These are actually fairies or guardians of the forest that are said to protect forests and lakes from abusive human beings that destroy nature. They have the ability to take a human form and may appear either male or female. Engkanto, in nature, are good beings but may be hateful when offended. These creatures prefer large trees where they hide their treasure and belongings.


  • Leads travellers astray
  • May influence luck
  • Mystical powers


  • Albularyo / Witch Doctors
  • Charms or agimats

Movies: Engkanto, T2, Tabi Tabi Po, Shake Rattle n Roll X


7. Manananggal

Description: The word “manananggal” originated from a Tagalog word “tanggal” that means ‘to remove,’ hence this creature can separate itself from its lower body.  Manananggal is a female with very alluring beauty. In order for her to transform, she does a ritual while applying oil to her body. Then she transforms into a vampire-like creature with bat wings. Her favorite prey? Pregnant women.

Manananggals usually fly at night, in search for scents of a fetus. When she finds a prey, she lands on the roof and lets her elongated tongue suck into the stomachs of pregnant women.



  • Flying abilities
  • Self segmenting abilities


  • Sprinkle salt and garlic to her vulnerable torso
  • Sting ray whip.
  • Sunlight

Movies: Manananggal, Manananggal in Manila, Shake Rattle n Roll (1984)

 6. Tikbalang

Description: Tikbalang is like a centaur with its half-horse and half-human body. These creatures are found in the forest and they often scare travelers.  Their favorite victims are beautiful women that they want to bring into their world.


  • Powerful physique
  • Magical powers


  • When you wear clothes inside out
  • Offer a pig or a chicken

Movies: Takot Ka Ba sa Dilim?




5. Tiyanak

Description: These vampire-like creatures resemble a creepy baby. It is said that “tiyanaks” are aborted fetuses that were buried without a priest’s blessing. Tiyanaks are often orphans that are portrayed in Filipino movies.


  • Shapeshifts into a baby
  • Fangs and claws


  • Holy water
  • Religious artifacts

Movies: Tiyanak (1953,1988,2007), Impakto


4. Kapre

Description:  Kapres are giant mythical creatures that dwell in big trees like Acacia or Mango trees.  It resembles a native man that wears a “bahag” or loin cloth and they usually appear smoking tobacco. They like to lure in beautiful women as their victims. If you’ve ever seen the caterpillar in Alice in Wonderland, Kapres are the Filipino version of that!


  • Invisibility
  • Grants wishes to the rightful ones
  • Muscular


  • White stone
  • Women

Movies: Shake Rattle n Roll X

3. Mangkukulam/Mambabarang

Description:  These Mangkukulams are actually a Filipino version for witches that put a curse on their enemies. They may look like normal women that live in isolated houses in the woods, but looks can definitely be deceiving.

In legends, a mangkukulam only performs her curse to those who have offended her. The mangkukulam uses a voodoo doll on their enemies.

Strengths: Witchcraft

Weakness: Witch Doctors

Movies: Kulam, Barang, Takot Ka Ba sa Dilim?

2. White Lady

Description: White ladies are lost spirits of a women. They wear a white dress and the scariest ones wear black.  They are disturbed spirits that died from injustices such as murder, rape, etc. Their spirit can’t pass without getting justice, hence they wander around their old houses or the places where they died to seek revenge.

Strengths: Scare antics, floating abilities

Weakness: Priest’s blessings

Movies: Babae sa Balete Drive, White lady, White House



Description: These creatures look like birds and they usually function as the spotter or sidekick of their master aswang. Its name “tik-tik” came from an odd, loud chirping sound that it creates. It is said that an aswang is far when they chirp loudly and it slowly fades when an aswang approaches.


  • Fast, silent
  • Flying skills

Weakness: Garlic, Salt, Amulets

Movies: Tik Tik: Aswang Chronicles



So which Philippine monsters are you most afraid of? Share in the comments below!


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