Features
How Well Do You Know Your 'Multo'?

For a country that never recently began to celebrate Halloween, the Philippines has some historically creepy "creatures."

"Papatayin natin siya!" - from the movie 'Constantine.'
-- Filipinos don't lack for scary stories. Growing up, you learn all about the tall tales. It's kind of funny looking back, because I don't recall celebrating Halloween in the American sense, but I do remember the spook-a-thons that my friends and cousins and I would take part in, telling scary stories in anticipation of All-Saints and All-Souls day, which were on the first two days of November. Below, however, are some of the old creatures I learned about:
'Balete Drive' and it's white lady, waiting travelers driving through the tree-laden road. Everyone has a version of a friend or a relative driving down the said haunted road late at night, and randomly seeing a lady in white sitting in the back of the car or standing in the middle of the road.
The 'Duende' a.k.a. 'Nuno' (Dwarves) that live in the forest, at the base of the trees. There is an accepted culture back home of peeing in the bushes - anywhere really that you can conceal yourself well enough. And if you're to spray into the woods, especially around tree roots, the least you could do is forewarn the duende, "Tabi-tabi po! Pasensya na!" (Sorry for the inconvenience, watch out down there!) You also have to say that just in general, when entering suspected 'haunted' territory. Failure to do so, as the elders would say, would result to bad karma, physical deformations or bad luck. "Sigi ka!"
The 'Tiyanak' is basically your Filipino 'Chuckie.' Except it's a 'real' baby. (Pronounced: "Cha-Knack") They made a movie about this once. (See trailer above.) One thing that we are pretty good at movie-wise are the horror flicks. Ask any Pinoy you know. (Also See: News coverage about Tiyanak.) The 'Kapre' (above) are popular in scary stories, too. The Visayans call them the "Agta," and they are what you would call tree-demons from Pinoy folklore. They're huge marijuana-smoking creatures about 8 feet tall, and while they're not considered evil beings, they still count as your scary versions of big-foot. To me personally, Bill Walton comes to mind. Then, there's the Tiyanak's mom, the 'Aswang.'
Along with the Mananaggal, the Aswang is probably the most-used multo in scary stories. The aswang looks like a crazed lady demon, kinda like in that movie "Dead Girl." Pinays are also known to call opposing women 'Aswang' during a catfight. Makes sense to give that extra umph when talking smack about someone else. And, finally, the aforementioned Manananggal (below). It's the Pinoy version of the vampire. A scary bat-like creature that can cut itself from the waist up, with self-reproducing powers. So, who out there has any scary stories?  
[None of these photos are ours, please right-click to go to proper attributes. Feature Photo via]
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