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How Halloween is celebrated in the Philippines?

Updated on October 23, 2012
The Manila American Cemetery (photo by: Alejandro Molina)
The Manila American Cemetery (photo by: Alejandro Molina)

Halloween in the Philippines

November 1 is the actual celebration of all Christian saints, particularly those who have no special feast days of their own. Most of the Filipino families utilize this time to gather together and visit their love ones in the cemetery. The Filipino Culture of celebrating Halloween is very different from other country. But as time goes by the way Filipinos celebrate it also changes, we often see a Trick-or-Treat party during this period wherein children dress up with their favorite scary costumes and visit houses to get some loots like candies and chocolates.

Back when I was a child, we don’t have any celebrations like this and all we do is to visit the cemetery, watch scary documentaries and tell ghost stories. In the Philippines there are a lot of scary stories or even mythical creatures that was created in the mind of the Filipinos. Most of these creatures are results of the imagination of our forefathers or ancestors.

Tikbalang
Tikbalang | Source

The different Mythical Creatures in the Philippines

1. Tikbalang – this malevolent creature has the head and lower body of a horse and the torso of a man. They say this creature is fond of raping females to give birth to more tikbalang. Some says that they like to trick travelers into getting lost in mountains or forest areas. Tikbalang resides at places like big trees, swamps or deep woods. They can also take on human forms and mimics the appearance, voice and mannerism of that person and make you follow to nowhere until you’re lost, sometimes never to be seen again. In the Philippines you will often hear the words “may kinakasal na tikbalang” when it suddenly rain from a clear sky.

Kapre
Kapre | Source

2. Kapre – characterized as a tree demon, this mythical creature is usually found sitting atop of trees waiting for nightfall to scare naughty children who are outside of their homes late at night or even travelers who are still on the road. It is to believe that this creature brings bad luck when you see them. The term Kapre come from the Arabic “kaffir”, meaning a non-believer in Islam. Some historians speculate that the legend was propagated by the Spaniards to prevent Filipinos from assisting any escaped African slaves. Kapre are not considered to be evil, the may contact with people to offer friendship. It is also believed that abundant fireflies in woody areas are the embers from the Kapre’s lit tobacco pipe.

Manananggal
Manananggal | Source

3. Manananggal – is another variation of “Aswang”, this creature take on the form of a beautiful woman in daytime. Literally Manananggal means “to take” in Filipino, it describes the way these creatures ability to detach its upper torso with that of its waist and lower extremities. The manananggal has a taste for human blood and a particular craving for the hearts of human fetuses which it retrieves with its long, proboscis-like tongue. After the transformation of a beautiful lady to manananggal it becomes a hideous, scary, vampire-like creature. The lower torso is left standing and it is said to be more vulnerable of the two halves. Sprinkling salt or smearing crushed garlic or ash on the top of the standing torso will prevent them from joining together and will cause the fatality of the mananangal when daylight comes.

Duwende
Duwende | Source

4. Duwende – there are two type of Duwende, the white which is the good one and the black which is the bad one. They say that this mythical creature often live on the base of trees and termites mounds. White duwende when treated with respect and kindness bring good luck and treasures. Black duwende are mean-folk that like to play pranks on humans. If you disturb their home they will punished you with a myriad of ailments from twisted mouth to swollen testicles. Filipinos always utter the words “tabi tabi po” asking them to excuse themselves for bothering the Duwendes.

Tiyanak
Tiyanak | Source

5. Tiyanak – this mythical creature are often said to be aborted or dead fetuses buried without being baptized. Their bodies are inhabited and used by demon spirits. Most Tiyanak are said to live in forests, if they see a human they transform into what looks like a normal baby. When that person comes near to look at it the Tiyanak changes back to its true form and eats its prey.

Mangkukulam
Mangkukulam | Source

6. Mangkukulam – also known as “bruha” or “witch”, they say that there are people especially woman who possess supernatural powers and have the ability to cast evil spells to their victims. The islands of Siquijor and Talalora, Western Samar and the province of Sorsogon are said to be the origin of the Mangkukulam.

White Lady
White Lady | Source

7. White Lady – this mythical creature often appears in dark roads, photos anywhere else. They are said to be a wandering spirits of women who died of injustice most likely victims of rape, holdup, kidnapping etc. and seeking for revenge or closure. A white lady can change into black or red depending on the mood. Their favorite spots are houses, roads and at the backseat of cars.

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    • stephaniedas profile image

      Stephanie Das 

      6 years ago from Miami, US

      They have a duende in Ecuador. He is a short little man who likes young women with long black hair. Interesting...I guess that name originated with the Spaniards. Cool hub, it is right up my alley.

    • afmolinajr profile imageAUTHOR

      Alejandro Molina 

      6 years ago from Metro Manila, Philippines

      yeah we have a lot of those scary creatures here. most of them are created to scare children. hehehe. Thanks you so much for the appreciation. cheers!

    • Ruby H Rose profile image

      Maree Michael Martin 

      6 years ago from Northwest Washington on an Island

      Yikes, you do have some scary creatures in your country! I like the white lady story. It has a similar history here with ghost theories. Nice hub.

    • afmolinajr profile imageAUTHOR

      Alejandro Molina 

      6 years ago from Metro Manila, Philippines

      My honor to get a compliment from you. Thank you so much.

    • travel_man1971 profile image

      Ireno Alcala 

      6 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

      Thanks for adding twist on your Filipino Halloween hub.

      When i was a child, I used to sleep alone and made reading books as my pastime over a gasera or oil lamp.

      One night, my senses are alive but I cannot move when I heard tiny voices and playing with my hair.

      I don't know if those were elves (duwende) but my brothers and sisters never believed my story.

    • travel_man1971 profile image

      Ireno Alcala 

      6 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

      Thanks for adding twist on your Filipino Halloween hub.

      When i was a child, I used to sleep alone and made reading books as my pastime over a gasera or oil lamp.

      One night, my senses are alive but I cannot move when I heard tiny voices and playing with my hair.

      I don't know if those were elves (duwende) but my brothers and sisters never believed my story.

    • afmolinajr profile imageAUTHOR

      Alejandro Molina 

      6 years ago from Metro Manila, Philippines

      thank you again msdora. yah here in the philippines we have a lot of scary creatures hehehe and they are very effected to scare children to go to sleep early.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      6 years ago from The Caribbean

      "Visit the cemetery, watch scary documentaries and tell ghost stories." I guess your hub would make a nice read on Halloween. Those creatures are all scary to me. However, thanks for sharing the Filipino version and welcome to HubPages.

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