Halloween is Coming! The Monsters I Grew Up With While Living in the Philippines

There is a countdown till Halloween and our household is getting ready for the monsters who sneak up on you!

I am Filipino and in the last couple of years I have also become an official American. I grew up with the usual set of monsters that you have here in the USA, Frankenstein, mummies, vampires, werewolves and zombies to name a few.

Zombies have become my favorite monster of choice, so much so that I love all Zombie movies and I am hooked on the television series “The Walking Dead”.

I have even made a picture of myself as a zombie!


I also still carry the Filipino monsters from my past.

For many who have not been to the Philippines, or know the Filipino culture, I would like to introduce you to the other monsters that I grew up with.

1. Kapre – This is a big ogre who lives in another dimension but can affect our dimension. This being is as big as a tree and lives there. He is very ugly, dark, brown and hairy. He can typically be found smoking a big tobacco pipe.

He is not evil in the “I will kill you” sense. He just loves playing mean pranks (like giving a human a weird skin disease or a curse) and if he falls in love with a mortal woman he becomes an obsessive stalker.

We once had a maid in the Philippines who left her province because she claimed a Kapre was in love with her and wanted to kidnap her. To many locals the Kapre is as real as you and I.

2. Tiyanak – This is an evil monster that takes the form of an innocent newborn baby. Usually the baby looks like it has been abandoned and is seen swaddled and crying.

Once the victim approaches and carries the baby it transforms into an ugly monster with warts, claws and sharp fangs. It’s goal is to kill it’s victim.

The Tiyanak has one leg that is extremely shorter then the other so it is not a runner, but it can leap and attack. The only way to stop the Tiyanank is to avoid it all together.

I have to admit in the USA I have no qualms about approaching an abandoned baby, but if I were in the Philippines I would think twice because I was told to fear this monster since I was a kid. I would call the police to approach the baby!


3. White Lady – Every town in the Philippines has it’s version of the white lady. This is usually a women who died a tragic death. She usually haunts a secluded road. Her victims are usually in their cars and they find that they have an additional passenger while driving down the dark and silent streets.

I have many friends who claim they have seen the white lady in a road called Balete Drive in Quezon City.

4. Manananggal – This is the Philippine’s version of a vampire. It usually appears as an old and ugly lady with wings like a bat, or a beautiful siren with wings like a bat.

What makes this monster different from a regular USA vampire is that it has the ability to separate it’s body in half so the upper part (head to waist) can capture it’s victim.

It’s Achilles heel is that the lower half (from the waist down) is vulnerable. Use garlic, salt and holy water to keep this creature away or kill it’s lower half. If the lower half is killed the upper half will die by day break.

5. Dwendeng Itim – This is a dark small and evil being who lives in our dimension and another at the same time. They have the ability to appear to us or become invisible.

They usually like doing mean tricks to humans or stealing things. Many homes give small offerings of food to the “dwendes” to keep them happy.

Avoid ant hills and mounds because dwendes live there. If you walk by a mound make sure to say, “Excuse me” so you won’t offend any beings.

My father had a friend who was playing golf one day. During the game he really had to use the bathroom. He decided to relieve himself on an anthill because he didn’t believe in dwendes at that time.

A few minutes after his “deed” he suddenly felt a deep pain and his lower half kept on swelling. He went to several medical doctors who could not help him with his problem. He decided to take the paranormal route and he went to a witch doctor (albolaryo). The albolaryo told him he offended the dwarves and he had to apologize and give an offering, like a chicken. The next day Dad’s friend did as the witch doctor said and he was cured that same day.

6. Aswang – This is a terrible monster that usually appears as an old woman. She is usually female and a mixture of a witch and vampire, with very large wings that make a loud flapping noise. It has holes in it’s armpits that excretes a deadly oil that gives it power. She targets sick people, children and women. Use garlic, salt and holy water to keep this creature away.

I hope you enjoyed my global tales of mythical creatures and monsters from the Philippines! Happy Halloween in advance! May you have a fun and spooky night!


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