Philippine Folklore: The Creature Tikbalang (Demon Horse)

The tikbalang on Philippine folklore
The tikbalang on Philippine folklore | Source

One creature on Philippine folklore that can be heard amongst stories of people is the tikbalang (a demon horse.) It is a half horse and a half human just as depicted on the image. And I'd say this is the equivalent of Greek mythology creature, the centaur.

It is said that tikbalang's lead travelers astray, or scare them away. One getting lost at night and returning on the same path no matter which way he turn is believe to be being tricked by the creature. One would noticed this was happening and would thought, " I've been walking on the same path but doesn't seem like I'm heading on where I'm supposed to be ." To counteract this, one should wear his/her shirt inside out. Then that person would see the right path and continue the travel. Stories of this happenings and experiences are usually heard happening late at night on dark, unlit areas mostly on provinces or rural areas, when most people are sleeping on such hours.

Tikbalang is also associated with bamboos as on the folklore, and other stories of people seeing a tikbalang on bamboo groves or under bridges.

The tikbalang is also believe to reside on balete trees, also called banyan trees. The tree is associated with paranormal activities in the Philippines, as there's been report of sightings with other creatures on the balete tree aside from the tikbalang. From that, the tree is believe to be a portal to other dimensions or a home to supernatural beings.

Tikbalang is also depicted on horror movies or just like in the GMA series which had ended titled "Luna Mystika" making neigh sounds and the stomping just the horses do and walking on their hind legs.


The balete tree or banyan tree (ficus indica)
The balete tree or banyan tree (ficus indica) | Source

Is the tikbalang just a folklore?

People would probably say yes, a folklore is a folklore. But what about those who had heard stories of sightings from reliable people and from those who had experienced it?

A story about the tikbalang, here's my story on how I came to believe there is such a creature.

I was about 11 or 12 years old and we live in the province of Oriental Mindoro. We live in a nipa hut close on the main road, thou at night, only few vehicles would be passing by. Also back then, only few houses in the neighborhood has television and some houses relies on kerosene lamp. In the Philippines specially in the provinces, neighbors are used to just dropping by to a neighbor's house and watch television with them whatever channel that family is watching. That's what we do in the neighborhood.

The story is how my dad told it to me.

My dad had a sick friend, but they can't find what made him ill. Dad and a friend visited this sick friend of them on another house he used to stay while trying to get well. When dad came home he said," I came to visit my sick friend with _____ . He was weak and keeps on saying a tikbalang is watching him, that the creature is in there while he's pointing outside."

Then few days or week after, this sick friend came back on our neighborhood and stayed on a relative which owns a mini store (tindahan) across the street. There was also a part in the story where dad had told that this sick friend of them also said, "the tikbalang wants to take my daughter. And I pleaded not too and to take me instead." There also a story that somehow the tikbalang likes him. So this is a lady tikbalang or should I say centaur?

Anyway, there's this ONE NIGHT of his last breath that the neighborhood won't forget.

I was alone on our nipa hut that night, around 10 pm or maybe before 11 pm. My brother was out with other kids, and dad was across the street along with the other neighbors on the sick friend. Then all of a sudden I heard a sound of stomping, you know that sound horse makes when running? That's what I heard. I thought that was odd since no one owns a horse and there's no horse around the area. But I didn't bother. Then few minutes after I can hear some neighbors outside the street talking. And when dad came home he said ,"my sick friend just passed away."

To add to it, dad said, " Before my sick friend passed away, he keeps saying the tikbalang is out there watching him.." He added, " we heard the sound of a running horse after his last breath." And I was like, " THAT?! I heard that horse stomping too. And I thought that was weird."

And from that, the neighbors that were there outside hearing the horse stomping sound on the main road while in fact there's no horse running, learned to believe that what's the sick friend was talking about a tikbalang watching him was true after all. How could they explain the loud stomping they heard when they didn't see a horse running on the road?


Have you seen or heard stories of tikbalang or other creatures?

  • No, I haven't seen one thou I had heard some stories. And I don't believe in such things.
  • I had heard some stories. It could be true.
  • I believed in mythical creatures. It doesn't mean that they don't exist just because I hadn't seen one.
  • I had experienced with other mythical creatures. So the tikbalang might be true as well.
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