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The fears of the early Filipinos were many. Demons and spirits and gods populated world so much that there is very little in his/her life that is not influenced by otherworld beings. This is not to say, however, that he/she did not exercise free will. The concept of destiny or karma was a late introduction by Hindu missionaries later in the history of Philippine civilization. Morality among the peoples were expressed by the numerous stories from which various spiritual guardians and demonic avengers exacted divine justice. And it is living in a world such as this that made Filipinos interact harmoniously with one another.

 As a result, one can fill volumes of books made from accounts of various individuals from earlier centuries up to now, recalling encounters with these preternatural creatures. The major demons of the Philippine imagination are presented here, collected from across the archipelago. They are classified according to their primary traits. The particular tribes which claim knowledge of the creatures are enclosed in parenthesis following their names. The following listing is authored by the father of Philippine demonology, Maximo D. Ramos, from his book, A Survey of Philippine Lower Gods.


    * Physical Description - tall huge black men
    * Domicile - large trees: santol, balete, mangrove, etc.
    * Activities - walks towards humans; wanders alone at night; seen standing
      still and alone; orders fishermen not to fish; abroad in the dark from
      8:00 pm to 4:00 am
    * Intellectual and Spiritual Endowments - knocks down large trees to stop
      men; sits in tree smoking large pipe or cigar; when offended, punishes
      folk, steals clothes and firewood
    * Animal Instincts - seen practically naked
    * Magical Character - size varies with tree or building it inhabits

2.  BATIBAT (Iloko)
    * Physical Description - huge fat woman
    * Domicile - hole in a post it lived in when post was still a tree
    * Activities - bestrides sleeping person and suffocates him, causes 
      bangungot or nightmares
    * Intellectual and Spiritual Endowments - lives inside house of humans
    * Animal Instincts - forbids folk to sleep near its domicile
    * Magical Character - is driven away by biting one's thumb or wriggling
      one's big toe in a nightmare

3.  KAPRE (Tagalog, etc.)
    * Physical Description - huge black man, legs large as acacia trunks,
      eyes big as plates
    * Domicile - balete and other large trees
    * Activities - wanders alone or sits in tree
    * Intellectual and Spiritual Endowments - smokes a huge cigar while
      seated in a tree
    * Animal Instincts - makes a birdlike chirp; roars
    * Magical Character - can change size and shape; fired at, turns into
      a banana trunk

4.  MANTAHUNGAL (Tagbanua)
    * Physical Description - cowlike in body and voice but hornless; shaggy
      coat of hair; monstrous mouth with two pairs of huge tusklike
    * Domicile - forest on a high mountain
    * Animal Instincts - capable of ripping a person to pieces with tusks

5.  PUGOT, NUMPUTUL (Iloko, etc.)
    * Physical Description - black gigantic man; headless man, dog, hog,
      chicken, etc.; self-beheading
    * Domicile - dark places, deserted buildings; the underworld; large trees,
      especially acacia, santol, duhat, etc.
    * Activities - travels from one tree to another in various shapes; 
      terrifying but not especially harmful; carries off wayfarers; neck-stump 
      bubbles with blood
    * Intellectual and Spiritual Endowments - dances and eats as it walks 
    * Animal Instincts - voracious, devours snakes, centipedes, crunches them
      in mouth
    * Magical Character - assumes various shapes and sizes at a rapid pace;
      vanishes and reappears at will; in animal-shape, is fiery-eyed,
      mouth emitting flames; causes insanity

    * Physical Description - horselike man with long legs, clawed feet, long 
      hair; tall and hideous; large mouth, teeth and testicles
    * Domicile - balete; beside a hot spring; nipa grove; Sterculia foetida,
      or pitcher plant
    * Activities - brings down sickness, death and other misfortunes; knees
      reach above its head when it sits; leads travelers astray
    * Intellectual and Spiritual Endowments - kidnaps and murders women; lets
      people pass if they say "By your leave"; jails victim in little hut in
      bamboo grove; takes rosaries from Christians
    * Animal Instincts - calls out: "Tik-tik"; leaps and prances to dislodge 
    * Magical Character - inflicts fever on human victim; disappears in dusty 
      cloud and falling stones; able to assume any form and size it wishes; 
      bewilders, blinds and crazes people; yields magic jewel when forced to 
      do so by resolution and expert horsemanship


1.  BACONAUA (Hiligaynon)
    * Physical Description - basically big fish; from resembles that of a 
      shark; mouth the size of a lake; red tongue; bewhiskered; large ash-gray
      wings, strong in flight; gills and small wires at sides
    * Domicile - in depths of sea
    * Activities - causes eclipses by swallowing moon and sun
    * Animal Instincts - induced to relase its prey by being intimidated by
      noises from earth

2.  BAWA (Hiligaynon)
    * Physical Description - very large bird
    * Domicile - large cave located "above the sky"
    * Activities - flies out and swallows moon when food is scarce
    * Intellectual and Spiritual Endowments - is placated by music and
      promises of food by men

3.  BUWAYA (Tagalog, etc.)
    * Physical Description - saurian; mottled skin; has coffinlike saddle
      on its back
    * Domicile - cave under deep water
    * Activities - puts victim in saddle on its back and takes him to its
    * Intellectual and Spiritual Endowments - venerated by various ancient
      Filipino groups; is offered food by boatmen; prayed to, called 
      "grandfather" by folk

4.  MAMELEU (Hiligaynon)
    * Physical Description - large snake; body and head size of those of 
      carabao; two white horns; thirty fathoms long; eyes torchilike, fire
      jets in them; long teeth; large resistant scales
    * Domicile - secluded depths of ocean
    * Activities - ejects green spittle when hungry
    * Animal Instincts - makes series of bellowing sounds

5.  MARCUPO/MACUPO (Hiligaynon)
    * Physical Description - large snake; prominent red crest; long tongue
      with thornlike hairs; sharp tusks; forked tail
    * Domicile - mountain top
    * Intellectual and Spiritual Endowments - sings sonorously on quiet
    * Magical Character - exhales very virulent poison

6.  MIKONAWA (Bagobo)
    * Physical Description - large bird; island-size; steel beak and
      talons; eyes mirrors; feathers sharp as swords
    * Domicile - outside the eastern sky
    * Activities - waits for moon and tries to sieze her as she emerges from
      her hole in the eastern horizon
    * Intellectual and Spiritual Endowments - after engorging moon, peeps down
      to see what people on earth are making noise for, opens mouth to
      hear sound better
    * Animal Instinct - lies in wait while animals waiting for prey; monstrous
      appetite; is startled by noise from earth and opens mouth


1.  CALANGET (Ifugao), CARANGET (Gaddang), CARANGO (Ibanag)
    * Physical Description - diminutive
    * Domicile - in the ground; in a mound; woods and fields
    * Activities - makes whizzling sound when responding to shaman's call
    * Intellectual and Spiritual Endowments - regarded as the "true owner
      of the land"
    * Magical Character - inflicts harm on persons who dig up its mound

2.  LAKAY (Iloko), MATANDA (Tagalog), NUNO (Tagalog, Hiligaynon),
    SAGAY (Surigao), DUENDE (Spanish)
    * Physical Description - gray little old man; one-eyed, big-nosed, with
      only one nostril
    * Domicile - house under tree on familiar hillside; house contains
      rows of jars; earth mound; termite hill; inside gold mine
    * Activities - imposes secrecy about its friendship with a man; disfigures
      face of child it kidnaps
    * Intellectual and Spiritual Endowments - plays parlor games with girl
      it kidnaps; comes home with groceries and asks man's help; kidnaps 
      children of people who treat it shabbily in town; abuses girl it kidnaps; 
      eats rice, tubers, meat and chicken offered to it; gives gold and jewels 
      to friends
    * Animal Instincts - becomes very angry when stepped on; takes children's
      fresh blood in exchange for gold; steals children at night
    * Magical Character - generally invisible; causes wry mouth, blindness,
      death; abhors salt and spices; gifts turn to cinders and dung; gold gift
      must be quickly spent or it vanishes; no known way to counteract dwarf

3.  LAMPONG (Ilongot)
    * Physical Description - one-eyed white deer when first seen, becomes
      two feet tall later; wears tall, black, two-peaked cap; bright-eyed;
    * Domicile - forest
    * Intellectual and Spiritual Endowments - shepherds wild beasts and
      risks its life to save them; beckons to man who has shot it
    * Magical Character - shot at five times without success; when hit, it
      turns into a dwarf

4.  LAMAN LUPA (Tagalog), OMAYAN (Bagobo), TAWONG-LUPA (Mindoro, Marinduque)
    * Physical Description - invisible little people
    * Domicile - earth; fields; hills
    * Intellectual and Spiritual Endowments - owns the land and it may be
      used by persons only under certain conditions; lives in communities;
      follows human trails out of hills; receives offerings before and
      after planting and harvest; partakes of proficiency gifts from humans
    * Animal Instincts - accepts offering of red rooster's blood sprinkled
      on rice plants
    * Magical Character - generally invisible; destroys crops unless 
      propitiated; abhors salt and spices


1.  AGHOY (Waray)
    * Physical Description - fair-haired, handsome, male or female resembling
      20-year-old person; barefoot, dressed like a villager
    * Domicile - forests and distant farms; grove near village
    * Activities - comes to village after dark; reverses relative positions
      of people in bed; whistles to mortal friends
    * Intellectual and Spiritual Endowments - friendly to humans visiting 
      them, eating their food; knocks at door; gives friends medicinal herbs, 
      roots and oils
    * Animal Instincts - refuses to sleep with humans
    * Magical Character - seen and heard only by its friends; guides people to
      locate lost articles; dire consequences follow acceptance of gifts from

2.  ANNANI (Ibanag)
    * Intellectual and Spiritual Endowments - eats human food; propitiated 
      with pig, rice cakes, coconut milk, sugar, basi (rice wine), cigar, 
      betel chew
    * Animal Instincts - eats uncooked head of carabao

3.  ENCANTO, ENCANTADA (Agusan, Masbate, Waray)
    * Physical Description - blond, good-looking, taller than ordinary humans;
      has high-bridge nose and no philtrum
    * Domicile - large trees, especially balete, where it has "belongings"
    * Intellectual and Spiritual Endowments - makes known its presence by 
      exuding fragrance
    * Magical Character - ettractive when luring mortals, grows ugly when back
      in its realm

4.  KIBAAN (Iloko)
    * Physical Description - fair-skinned; mouth gleams with gold teeth; heels
      point forward and toes behind; long hair reaches feet; small as two-year
      old child
    * Domicile - bangar tree; bushes and small trees frequented by fireflies
      at night
    * Activities - is kept off yard of a mortal by frustration
    * Intellectual and Spiritual Endowments - keeps ground under tree-home
      well swept; has kitchen in tree from which spicy odor emanates after
      sunset; sings in small groups on vines in groves; strums tiny guitars;
      steals yams from fire; is fooled by stones roasted in place of tubers
    * Magical Character - gives mortal friends a magic pot, purse, hat, net
      chain, goat, whip and/or drum

5.  MAHOMANAY (Bagobo)
    * Physical Description - fair-skinned
    * Domicile - mountain trees
    * Intellectual and Spiritual Endowments - guardians of animals; wholly
      beneficient spirit; accepts offering of betel chew and leglets placed
      at the base of tree-home

6.  MAGTITIMA (Bukidnon)
    * Physical Description - invisible being
    * Domicile - balete tree woods
    * Intellectual and Spiritual Endowments - gives offering of white chicken;
      gives mortals permission to cut wood
    * Magical Character - gives people sickness when it is displeased

    * Physical Description - spirit
    * Domicile - trees, forest
    * Intellectual and Spiritual Endowments - tree-house must not be cut 
      without its permission

8.  PALASEKAN (Ilongot)
    * Physical Description - invisible
    * Domicile - trees
    * Activities - whistles to convey its message to people; stays close to
      human homes in the evening and early in the morning
    * Intellectual and Spiritual Endowments - offended when tree-home is 
      felled; plays music box; appeased by wine in cups placed on benches; 
      shrewd bargainer
    * Magical Character - knows intimate secrets of humans; can foretell 
      events; guides mortals' daily lives; warns people against danger

9.  TAHAMALING (Bagobo)
    * Physical Description - female with red complexion
    * Domicile - balete
    * Intellectual and Spiritual Endowments - the keeper of animals; 
    * Animal Instincts - half-maleficient

10. "spirits of the trees/woods"
    * Physical Description - invisible
    * Domicile - shrubs and trees, big and small bamboo clump
    * Intellectual and Spiritual Endowments - must be warned in advance before
      forest is cleared; give magic pots, purses, drums and whips; follow 
      human trails; give fish to kindly woman, deny it to cross one


1.  ASWANG - ghoulish aspects (Many ethnolinguistic groups)
    * Physical Description - has human shape
    * Domicile - human dwelling
    * Activities - listens for sounds of death at 6 pm and leaves for his
      operations at 8 pm.
    * Intellectual and Spiritual Endowments - plans nocturnal itenerary;
      takes food home to feed family
    * Animal Instincts - man-eating corpse thief; eats liver of chicken and
      guts of old persons
    * Magical Character - is able to hear sounds of death from great distance
      by special devices; is able to change corpse into pig carcass

2.  BALBAL (Tigbanua)
    * Physical Description - human shape with curved nails and long tongue
    * Domicile - Muslim country
    * Activities - sails through air like flying squirrel; tears up thatch
      with nails and reaches down for prey with its tongue
    * Animal Instincts - "licks up" corpse with long tongue
    * Magical Character - replaces corpse with banana stalk that resembles

3.  BUSO (Bagobo)
    * Physical Description - a shadow
    * Domicile - big branches of trees in graveyards
    * Activities - makes plenty of noise in cemetery at night, sitting in 
      groups with other buso while their children play around them
    * Animal Instincts - digs up corpse the night after burial and eats
      everything but bones
    * Magical Character - can be seen at night if certain ritual is followed
      and if one can bear the terror involved; pulls at chip off coffin

4.  CALAG (Hiligaynon)
    * Animal Instincts - scared off by noise
    * Magical Character - bursts corpse's belly open by touching coffin

5.  EBWA (Tingguian)
    * Physical Description - "evil spirit"
    * Animal Instincts - is kept at a distance from corpse for nine days
      and nights by a constant fire

6.  SEGBEN (Waray)
    * Physical Description - resembles hornless goat with big, wide ears
      that clap like hands; has glowing eyes perked-up ears; body has
      pungent nauseating odor; white, bleats and looks like goat
    * Activities - appears only at night; eats squash blossoms
    * Intellectual and Spiritual Endowments - feeds in human backyards
    * Animal Instincts - lingers near corpse of dying person like carrion
      bird or beast
    * Magical Character - hasten people's death by biting them or their
      shadow; invisible by day; vanishes at great speed

7.  WIRWIR (Apayao)
    * Activities - goes "everywhere looking for the dead"
    * Animal Instincts - lives on corpses it exhumes from graves; tireless

8.  certain unnamed "evil spirits" (Various ethnolinguistic groups)
    * Physical Description - invisible
    * Domicile - large trees near cemeteries
    * Magical Character - steals corpse by replacing it with banana trunk;
      scared of by sobosob


1.  BUNGISNGIS (Tagalog)
    * Physical Description - human shape; large teeth always showing; upper
      lip covers face when it is thrown back; one-eyed, two long tusks
      projecting from sides of mouth
    * Domicile - forest
    * Activities - lifts carabao and throws it knee deep into ground
    * Intellectual and Spiritual Endowments - demands meat from carabao;
      easily outwitted, quickly panics
    * Animal Instincts - acute hearing; seizes meat from carabao

    * Domicile - big house with apartment, dining room, ceiling
    * Intellectual and Spiritual Endowments - house is decorated with leaves
      and flowers; dines at home with friends; is bluffed by rope, axe-headed
      and rumble of drum int othinking they are hair, tooth, chest-thump of
      human enemy

3.  GAWIGAWEN (Tingguian)
    * Physical Description - six-headed human; spear and head-axe size of
      half the sky
    * Intellectual and Spiritual Endowments - has man's war implements

    * Physical Description - huge, human shape
    * Domicile - cave or hill; house in forest or near town
    * Activities - when man-eating, kills and eats all men in village
    * Intellectual and Spiritual Endowments - at times, neighborly to humans;
      inhabits house with ladder to it; has clearing and granaries to store
      food in; has fire at home to give fishermen who come for it; speaks
      Isneg, like natives; engages humans in diving contest; owns cooking
      pot; says he smells a man; has an axe; easily tricked by humans in
      diving contest and in division of spoils
    * Animal Instincts - at times, man-eating; carries both deer and man he
      grabs to cave and eats both; keen scent; often goes about naked
    * Magical Character - hits own leg and beheads self when children wishes
      he does so

5.  IKUGAN (Manobo)
    * Physical Description - huge, fierce man with tail; skin covered with
      soft hair, hands and feet, large, long tail
    * Domicile - forest trees
    * Activities - monkey-like behavior
    * Intellectual and Spiritual Endowments - lies in wait for human foes
    * Animal Instincts - hangs by tail