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Tik Tik, the Filipino Supernatural Folklore

Updated on December 2, 2010
tik tik
tik tik
another rendering
another rendering

The Philippine version of the vampire and the werewolf

In the age of the information superhighway, it amazed me that here at the end of 2008 in the business process outsourcing company where I work, a story of the "tiktik" (a variation of the uniquely Filipino supernatural being called "aswang") was told and retold in detail a number of times.

First let me tell you about this half human monster that takes the form of a large bird at night. The tiktik is drawn to the scent of fetuses in a women's womb so it prowls at night looking for houses with pregnant women. The manner by which the tiktik devours its prey is by sucking the blood out of it through the mother's tummy. The tiktik lands on the roof of the intended victim's house, changes to human form and slips their tongue (which has now taken the shape of a thread) all the way down to the mother's womb to suck out the blood of the unborn fetus.

The work colleague who told this story is a pregnant woman in her first trimester. She said that a tiktik came to her house one night last week. She was sleeping lightly and was jolted by an ikikikik sound accompanied by flapping wings directly above the roof of her bedroom. She woke her her sister up and they turned on all the lights in the house, which was when they heard the sound of the bird flying away. She went as far as saying that the tiktik could actually be a set of new neighbors that moved to their vicinity. I totally did not know how to react. I know quite a number of stories about this old folklore. In my younger days me and my cousins loved trading these stories at night and scaring each other silly in the process.

But to actually hear it from a grown up pregnant young woman left me dumbfounded. Could it be the hormones, I asked myself. Because try as I might, I just couldn't reconcile the image of a tiktik atop a roof in the noisy metropolis. I'm not one for tempting fate though, if she believed she's experienced it then let's leave it at that. I am not about to discount her experience with my disbelief.

So I went ahead and asked how she could fight something like this and she had a ready answer. Apparently, these creatures cannot stand the smell of garlic. Now every night she sleeps in a garlic-laden bed and claims that its actually working. I got to suggesting that she move to a high rise condo and see if the tiktik could follow her there.

Filipino culture and history always had a spot for aswangs but descriptions vary in different regions of the country, the tiktik is one of the more popular varieties, along with the "manananggal" a creature that becomes birdlike after spouting wings while severing the upper part of its body from the lower part. Aswangs are said to live among the townsfolk by day and are quite elusive. At night they become creatures that crave for unborn fetuses and children going after their heart, liver and entrails. They are depicted in fiction as beautiful people who turn into really ugly monsters when they transform. The weapons used by human beings to fight them include, garliic, buntot pagi and the bundled palm leaves (palaspas) waved by Catholics after the Palm Sunday mass to commemorate Jesus' triumphant entry to Jerusalem before his crucifixion.

In Metro Manila and nearby provinces, aswangs remain to be mytical beings but if you travel further down south or up north the myth becomes a rumor and even further down or up the rumors are believed to be true. This is one area though where science and religion see eye to eye. Both sectors scoff at the suggestion that aswangs really exist. These stories are attributed to the ignorance caused by poverty or the mere simplemindedness of people in the provinces. Again, not one for tempting fate I accept my grandmother's advise that one loses nothing when they guard themselves against the most ridiculous of superstitious beliefs and I am all for that.


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    • profile image

      aranas anthony 2 years ago

      Grabe totoo pala talaga mga aswang!!! , sa tinutuluyan ko kc ngaun may mga pulis n nanghabol ng aswang kaso bigla nag anyong aso kaya nakatakbo pero nahabol pdin nila nakorner pa nila kaso nagpalit ulit naging pusa kaya nakatalon sa pader den nakapasok sa lugar n my mataas na pader kaya nakorner n talaga, akmang dadakmain n po ng mga pulis ung aswang biglang nag anyong TAE kaya wala po dumakma sa kanya! Ayaw po nila dakmain mabaho kc!!,

    • profile image

      Jedry hoyun 3 years ago

      I live in the Philippines and my friend he lives next door and I herd a loud thud oh his roof and his wife is pregnant and I herd a thump and a scream then the screaming got quiet rilly fast so I agent over to tods house (my frends house) and knocked on their door and no one answered the door and the baby was never born and its been three years no and their was no sight of their baby and when I herd the ,kiklkikle, I thought it was my floor. : (

    • buddygallagher profile image

      Monie Maunay 3 years ago from manila, philippines

      woooo.... real life experience. im glad you're ok...

    • profile image

      Mk19 4 years ago

      Let me share my exp, first I didn't believe this tiktik or aswang.

      My sister is 6 months pregnant.

      Last May 11, 2014 I woke up 1:30am, I heard this "ikikik" sound and the flapping wings sound. At first I ignored it thinking it might be our cats playing or what.

      Then last night May 12, 2014 I woke up at 2am and its happening AGAIN! I grab my flash light turned it on and look around the room. The ikikik sound and flappingwings suddenly disappear.

      Then the morning comes, I asked my mom if she heard it too, she said "Yes I heard it too... " then she explained to me what tiktiks are...

    • buddygallagher profile image

      Monie Maunay 5 years ago from manila, philippines

      thanks for reading and for the advice..

    • profile image

      Friend 5 years ago

      Guys, I lived in the province, I have personal experience on this dark creature. If you will encounter this tiktik. Let me share this information especially if you have a pregnant wife, small children and infant in the house.

      1. Be vigilant in the night.. (NO sleeping 6pm - 3am)

      2. Make it to a point to have a man in the house (Husband, Father in law, Uncle, Brothers, Friends)... 2 men are better.

      3. In number 2 , stated 2 men.

      Incase the sound of tiktik appears, and a member of the house have encountered inconveniences ( crying of - small children / infants). men they must go out in the house and make a guard round to surround the house. (Let them know that this is your territory and ready to protect your family at all cost)... But make sure you armed yourself.

      4. Light all dark areas in the surrounding. (Take-away stealth ability)

      5. Cut / untrimmed trees in your surrounding. (Take-away hiding places)

      6. SALT - Drive away bad element, throw salt above your roof and windows.

      7. INSENSO - Burn it before 6pm to drive away bad element.

      ( Apply it as needed)

      8. Holy water - Apply to them to windows and doors.

      9. Ginger / Luya

      10. PRAY

    • buddygallagher profile image

      Monie Maunay 5 years ago from manila, philippines

      well capricorn you should share your experience... thanks for reading!

    • profile image

      Capricorn 5 years ago

      ,,kahit aq naka experience na yan,,,

    • buddygallagher profile image

      Monie Maunay 5 years ago from manila, philippines

      yes there really are a lot of stories like that in the provinces of the philippines, i believe it is part of our charm as a nation. thanks for dropping by jackeice!

    • profile image

      jakeice 5 years ago

      i agree for all of those not experiencing what they call tiktik or aswang... but on my belief and through my experience i do believe on that.. i live in the province of iloilo and some of the nearby town here is will known to the said aswang.. to see and to experience it is to believe that they are existing on the most modern life today.. study deeper and visit iloilo on the nearby town of Duenas and many people will told you and were to experience reality of tiktik or aswang...

    • buddygallagher profile image

      Monie Maunay 6 years ago from manila, philippines

      i believe so too pinoymovieblog

    • profile image 6 years ago

      I believe stories and myths about Aswangs and Tiktik should be explored more. :D

    • buddygallagher profile image

      Monie Maunay 6 years ago from manila, philippines

      hahaha wish we had that too...

    • profile image

      bah 6 years ago

      in my country we have solid concrete roofs and plus all the isolation, insulation, foil, wood and roof brick or whatever you call it, so it must carry plastic explosive with it if he would go and suck somebodys wife here! XD

    • buddygallagher profile image

      Monie Maunay 6 years ago from manila, philippines

      too true, i couldn't agree more Mau, thanks for dropping by

    • profile image

      Mau Leongson 6 years ago

      This remarkable creatures of the Philippine Lower Myths showcase the creativity of the Filipino thinkers considered to be social control in society. The belief in Aswang is reaching colossal status in oral literature but not really writing literature. Thanks for Maxinmo Ramos for bringing this up and inspired artist to recreate this awesome folklore.

    • profile image

      gearline modim 6 years ago

      oo sabi nga nila tooo yan

    • profile image

      Gemmalyn Masanga 6 years ago

      Hi good day! I am Gemmalyn Masanga, program researcher for I Juander of GMA NewsTV, a Philippine TV Network. For our upcoming episode we are featuring the long held belief of Filipinos on aswang, one of which is tiktik. In line with this we would like to ask for permission for us to use your photo of a tiktik as material for our said episode. The episode will have its local airing tonight, October 24, 2011 and will have its replay on October 29. The episode will also air internationally through GMA Pinoy TV.

      Your approval would definitely help on the story that we are trying to make. Rest assured that we will be using proper courtesy for the usage. Thank you very much!

      Gemmalyn Masanga

      Program Researcher


    • profile image

      Kamzizzle 6 years ago

      I am pregnant with my second child and it's not bad to believe in aswangs or tiktik.. During my first pregnancy, I just encountered the tiktik sound. I got scared coz I was alone in the house. But nothing bad happened to me. And now on my second child, I was surprised when the maid came to my room and brought some garlic and salt in my room coz she heard the tiktik three days in a row And the cats are moaning as if there is no tomorrow.. I have nothing against it but I am a nurse and I never experienced or encountered any cases that an aswang or tiktik killed them or suck the baby on their womb.. And none of any of the hospitals here in the pi encountered such cases.. :/

    • buddygallagher profile image

      Monie Maunay 7 years ago from manila, philippines

      thanks kevin and windrider for your insights, this is indeed an interesting subject

    • profile image

      windrider 7 years ago

      the Tik-tik is a REAL BIRD, having been called as such by the sound it makes. Being nocturnal, it is more often heard than seen. I myself heard it only once. It is still relatively common in the island of Mindanao.

    • profile image

      kevin 7 years ago

      ive already seen (wakwak it is similar to tiktik) . taong my pakpak na mukhang mnster ang wakwak. ang tiktik nmn ay may tuka.

    • buddygallagher profile image

      Monie Maunay 7 years ago from manila, philippines

      like i said paradigmshift, who really knows if these things are true, there are no evidence against it...

    • profile image

      paradigmshift 7 years ago

      i search the net for the answer about tiktik, well you see, 15 min. ago, i encountered the tiktik, not face to face, it was flying around above, and i can't see it clearly for the reason that all light's in our house is lighten up. And i know it's not just a bat or a bird, for the flap of it's wings, i can feel it and it is a size of a human. it's up to you if you believe me or not. But i experience something superhuman. just want to share it.

    • buddygallagher profile image

      Monie Maunay 7 years ago from manila, philippines

      thanks chiogaru for that great story and right in time for hallow's eve at that! i really don't know what to believe but would never discount your story. i've had my share of hair-raising experiences myself but i just dismiss them lest i get too scared to function hehehe

    • profile image

      chiogaru 7 years ago

      I've been fascinated with the paranormal since I was a child, but have dismissed most things I've heard as 'just stories' and have thought the same of most of the Filipino lore I've heard while growing up (Filipino from my mother's side of the family).

      They say seeing is believing...but, after hearing what I did the night before last...I'm not certain I want to get to that point.

      I live in Caloocan City, by no means rural so it still surprises me. I've been coming to the Philippines on vacation regularly since I was little but have never stayed any longer than a month. Now, I've been here for several months and one night ago, it was just a little after nine, by no means late, but for some reason all the neighbours had gone to bed early so it was an unusually quiet night.

      One of the windows in the living room was open about four feet from where I was at the computer (facing the window), my brother and mother were already in their bedrooms when I heard a flapping sound, because it was so quiet I could hear it very clearly, and I saw movement from the leaves that peak out just below the roof of our house.

      I was about to brush it off as a night bird or a fruit bat on its nightly flight, but the flapping of wings was followed by an immediate loud and heavy thump on the edge of the roof just above the open window, which made me pause.

      There were no large birds native to the area (certainly not somewhere so developed) and unless this bat was the size of a retriever it certainly would not have made such a loud and heavy thud on the rooftop.

      I've heard cats and possums run across rooftops before and whatever the creature did not run or even hop across...Instead it was DRAGGING itself across the roof in a very fast zig zag pattern.

      I followed the sound to the kitchen where it ended with an even louder thump on the edge of the roof.

      I switched the lights on and peered out the window, but there was nothing on the ground or surrounding walls...whatever it was had probably flown.

      I did not know what to make of it but I switched the computer off and went to join my sleeping mother in her of the windows was open but I didn't see anything. She woke up briefly to ask what time it was, neither she or my brother had heard the sounds from the living room.

      I didn't bring it up until morning and when I recounted my experience, my mother became very nervous.

      I was still trying to cling to an obese bat theory, but she told me it was very likely an aswang.

      All three in our household are adults, and neither of the women are pregnant (I can guarantee that).

      We suspect it is because we are still considered strangers to the area and that perhaps, we might have unwittingly offended the aswang somehow.

      I cannot say for certain that that is what paid us a visit that night...but I will wait and see if the sounds recur and keep our windows firmly shut come night-time, just to be on the safe side.

    • buddygallagher profile image

      Monie Maunay 7 years ago from manila, philippines

      like what i said, im not one for tempting fate man. and its always better to be safe than sorry right?

    • profile image

      03Tonghee03 7 years ago

      Dude, mah wife (currently pregnant) had an experience like this.. She heard the "ikikikik" sound and the banging on the roof.. And because of that she didn't sleep the whole night.. Frightening.. I wasn't there to comfort her because we are still not living together..

    • profile image

      amazedinusa 8 years ago

      I heard about this from my Filipino fiance's son in Manila yesterday, as his sister is expecting and they are currently experiencing the "tiktik" on their rooftop nightly!! My fiance' said he has actually seen one of these creatures! Of course being American, I too had no idea how to react and I think I'm in shock this morning!

    • buddygallagher profile image

      Monie Maunay 8 years ago from manila, philippines

      @nicole - and as well you shouldn't, i dont believe them myself, im just fascinated at how entrenched the concept is in Filipino culture

      @arvinphilweb - thanks buddy, hope its good enough to snag me some work at philweb hehehe

    • profile image

      arvinphilweb 8 years ago

      Thanks! Great article on Business Process Outsourcing!

    • buddygallagher profile image

      Monie Maunay 8 years ago from manila, philippines

      thanks fierycj, this is really interesting stuff, looking forward to your work. thanks for stopping by

    • fierycj profile image

      fierycj 8 years ago from The Fiery Heart of Africa

      I've done a lot of study on Vampires. At present I'm doing an A-Z of Mythological creatures hub. When I get to 'V' I hope to talk about all the species of vampires known in mythology. Including the Aswangs. Nice hub, man.

    • buddygallagher profile image

      Monie Maunay 9 years ago from manila, philippines

      Thanks Cris, the conversation with that pregnant work colleague brought this on.

    • Cris A profile image

      Cris A 9 years ago from Manila, Philippines

      wow! last i heard of stories about aswangs and similar creatures was way baaaack in my childhood days! Both my parents are from Roxas City, Capiz and you know what this province is known for other than seafood! I'll try to make my mother retell the stories she used to tell as bedtime stories (no kidding) and maybe also share them! Great hub, if not scary :D


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