Ungga-Ungga the flying head

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In Philippine folklore the ungga-ungga of Visayas (known as wuwug in Bohol) is a manananggal relative that appears similar to the penanggal or penanggalan of Indonesia and Malaysia, and the krasue of Thailand. During daytime the creature is an ordinary-looking person or a practitioner of witchcraft but come sundown its head detaches from the body and hovers off with its glistening or glowing entrails and organs dangling in the air, leaving the body behind. The ungga-ungga’s intestines undulate or rotate rapidly making a sound akin to that of a ceiling fan or a rope being rotated in the air. It is assumed the rotating intestines propel the creature in the air. But unlike the penanggal and the krasue, there are male ungga-ungga. The creature preys on pregnant women, the child inside the mother’s womb, and babies by sucking the victims’ blood. It sucks the blood using its tongue which can stretch into a sharp-tipped, thread-like proboscis while perched on the roof or hovering under the house.

wuwug

An ungga-ungga with its dangling entrails and killer hair.

When pregnant women and babies are hard to come by some ungga-ungga resort to attacking people at night. Despite being just flying heads with dangling entrails and organs, they can take on full grown men. An ungga-ungga will tackle the victim using its hair which can grow very long and as hard as wires. With its hair the creature will try to strangle, blind, or suffocate by stuffing the victim’s eyes, nose, ears, and mouth. If they are near a lake, river, or stream it will try to drown the victim. The creature will also lift a person in the air at a dangerous height and drop him to kill the victim. When the victim has been incapacitated or dead, the creature will suck the blood or feast on the liver. An ungga-ungga will leave the victim alone only if the latter proves to be too strong or pulls on the creature’s entrails. A person can also lie down flat on his belly on the ground to discourage the creature from attacking. It is believed the ungga-ungga and even other self-segmenting aswang won’t attack if the potential victim ducks on the ground lower than a person’s waist, as it is believed these creatures don’t want their dangling entrails to touch the ground.
The ungga-ungga won’t go near a house surrounded by bamboo thickets, fearing that their hair and entrails might get entangled among the thorns.

Encounter with a wuwug

Wowie, a resident of Barangay Sal-ing in Balilihan town had a close encounter with a wuwug.
He said he went home after attending a village disco when he heard an unfamiliar sound. And when he looked up at the sky, he saw a head floating. He ran and hid behind a coconut tree. (Source: http://leoudtohan.blogspot.com/2016/10/meet-pinoys-supernatural-creatures.html)

Ang Biktima ni Angeli

angeli-aswangNOTE: English version of story below.

Habang hinuhubad ang pares ng duguang gwantes napatingin si Angeli sa salamin upang sulyapan ang kanyang ginawa. Walang buhay na nakahandusay sa sahig ng comfort room ang pinakahuli nitong biktima – isang freshman sa unibersidad – na ang dugo ay nagkalat sa tiles mula sa nakangangang hiwa sa tiyan ng dalaga. Mula sa hiwa na iyon ay kanyang hinugot at nilantakan ang atay ng biktima. Ang natira ay kanyang sinilid sa plastic na garapon sa kanyang bag. Napakasarap ng atay ng dalaga. Nalalasap pa rin niya ang sarap sa kanyang bibig. Matapos ang isang taon, muli siyang nakatikim niyon, na paborito ng kanyang mga ka-uri.
Mga tatlong linggo din niyang minanmanan ang kanyang biktima. Nagpanggap pa siyang estudyante sa pinapasukan nitong unibersidad. Sa wakas dumating ang pagkakataon nang gabing iyon nang tumungo ng mag-isa sa comfort room ang estudyante bago umuwi. Hindi na nito nagawang makatili nang baliin ni Angeli ang leeg nito. Pagkatapos ay sinimulan niyang hiwain ang estudyante gamit ang scalpel. Mga matatalas na kuko niya sana ang kanyang gagamitin ngunit hindi madaling alisin ang dugo kapag sumuot sa ilalim ng kuko, lalo pa’t may pupuntahan pang gimik si Angeli.
Maingat niyang sinilid sa plastic ang hinubad na mga gwantes at nilagay sa kanyang bag. Tinignan niya ang sarili sa salamin. Maliban sa dugo sa kanyang mga labi at sa baba at iilang talsik sa kanyang mga braso, walang bahid nito sa kanyang uniporme. Matapos iligpit ang scalpel, naghilamos at naghugas si Angeli. Muli niyang sinulyapan ang kanyang biktima bago umalis.
Ni hindi man lang siya napansin ng dalawang security guard sa gate nang siyang dumaan palabas na animo’y ihip ng hangin lamang.
Kinabukasan agad nabalita ang pagkatagpo sa bangkay ng kanyang biktima na wakwak ang tiyan at wala nang atay. Napangiti si Angeli nang sinabi sa balita na baka aswang ang may kagagawan.

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Angeli’s Victim

While removing her bloodied gloves, Angeli glanced at her handy work through the mirror. Her latest victim – a freshman student in the university – lay dead on the comfort room floor with her blood spilled on the tiles from the gaping incision in the girl’s belly. Through this incision, Angeli pulled out ate partially ate the victim’s liver. The rest she put in a small plastic jar in her bag. The girl’s liver was exquisite. Angeli can still taste its goodness in her mouth. After a year, she has once again tasted human liver which is a favorite of her kind.
She observed her victim for at least three weeks. She even disguised as a student in the girl’s university. At last the opportunity came when that night the student went to the comfort room alone before going home. The girl wasn’t able to shriek when Angeli broke her neck. Then she started to cut her open with a scalpel. She would have used her claws but washing off the blood wasn’t easy once they’ve gotten under the nails, especially that Angeli is going on a night out later.
She carefully put the gloves in a plastic bag and placed it in her bag. She checked herself in the mirror. Except for the blood on her lips and chin and some splatters on her forearms, her uniform was unstained. After getting rid of the scalpel, Angeli cleaned herself. She took a last glance at her victim before leaving.
The two security guards at the gate didn’t even notice her as she slipped past them like a gust of wind.
The following day, there was news on her victim who was found cut open with the liver gone. Angeli smiled when it was speculated that the culprit could be an aswang.

END

Ang Babayi sa Comfort Room

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NOTE: Tagalog & English versions below.

Naga-ulan sadtong hapon. Bangod tigpululi na madamo nga bumulutho ang nagtipon sa lobby, nagahulat nga maghupa ang ulan. Naglisensya si Len sa iya mga barkada nga mapa-comfort room siya anay, dayon lakat sang madasig.
Pag-abre niya sang pwerta tuman ka bugnaw nga hangin ang gilayon sumugata kay Len. Wala sang iban nga tawo sa sulod. Wala sang okupante ang tatlo ka cubicles. Waay sapayan nagpalangligbos ang iya balahibo, wala ini ginsapak ni Len. Dumdum niya, basi tuga lang ini sang mabugnaw nga hangin nga nagsuhot pasulod sa gamay nga bintana sang comfort room. Gilayon siya nagsulod sa una nga cubicle agud magpangihi. Tuman ka linong sa comfort room. Ang mabati-an gid lang amo ang pagwaswas sang ulan sa gwa.
Sang matapos na si Len, nagpanghugas ini kag nagpanghilam-os. Nakita sini nga medyo nagabungayngay ang iya malaba nga buhok gani ginpakamaayo sini nga pungoson ini. Masako si Len sa pagkaayo sa iya buhok sang mabatyagan sini ang pag-igo sang tuman ka bugnaw nga hangin sa iya nawala nga abaga. Napasiplat ini sa bintana sa pagdumdum nga hangin yadto gikan sa gwa. Pagliso sini sa espeho, nagmuludlo ang iya mga mata. Isa ka tuman ka lapsi nga kamot ang nagatandog sa iya abaga. Kamot yadto sang isa ka babayi nga ang nawong natakpan sang malaba sini nga buhok, kag ini ang nagasul-ob sang puti nga roba nga nagasadsad sa salog. Wala sang istorya nga may nagapang-murto sa comfort room sang buluthuan gani amo na lang ang pagkakugmat ni Len. Hinali nga naghalakhak sang makahaladlok ang babayi nga nakaputi. Ang tingog sini daw sa bruha nga nagahirikhik. Nagatiyabaw nga daw bu-ang si Len sa pagtirik sini paguwa sa hulot.

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Ang Babae sa Comfort Room

Umuulan nang hapong iyon. Dahil uwian na’y maraming estudyante ang nagtipon sa lobby, hinihintay ang paghupa ng malakas na ulan. Nagpaalam si Len sa mga kabarkada na pupunta muna siya sa comfort room, sabay lakad ng matulin.
Pagbukas niya ng pinto ng comfort room, napakalamig na hangin ang agad sumalubong kay Len. Walang ibang tao sa loob. Walang okupante sa tatlong cubicle. Nanindig man ang kanyang balahibo sa lamig na bumalot sa kanyang katawa’y binalewala lang iyon ni Len. Sa isip niya, marahil ay dulot lamang iyon ng malamig na hangin sa labas na sumuot papasok sa maliit na bintana ng comfort room. Agad siyang pumasok sa unang cubicle upang sagutin ang tawag ng kalikasan. Sobrang tahimik ng comfort room. Ang tanging maririnig ay ang ragasa ng ulan sa labas.
Nang matapos ay naghugas ng kamay si Len at naghilamos. Napansin niyang medyo buhaghag ang nakalugay niyang buhok kaya naisipan niyang itali ito. Nakatuon sa pag-aayos ng kanyang buhok si Len nang isang sobrang lamig na hangin ang dumampi sa kaliwang balikat niya. Napatingin siya sa bintana sa inaakalang hangin iyon mula sa labas. Pagbaling niya sa salamin ay nanlaki ang kanyang mga mata. Isang napakaputlang kamay ang nakadampi sa kanyang balikat. At iyon ay kamay ng isang babae na ang mukha ay natatakpan ng mahabang buhok at ito’y nakaputi na roba na sayad sa sahig. Walang kwento na may multo sa comfort room ng paaralan kaya gayon na lamang ang pagkagitla ni Len. Biglang pumakawala ng nakakasindak na halakhak ang babaeng nakaputi. Ang boses nito ay parang bruhang tumatawa. Nagtitili si Len na parang nawalan ng bait sa pagkaripas palabas ng silid na iyon.

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The Woman in the Comfort Room

It was raining that afternoon. Classes have ended and students gathered in the lobby, waiting for the heavy rain to stop. Len left her buddies for a while and walked swiftly to the comfort room.
Upon opening the door, cold air greeted Len. There was nobody else inside. All three cubicles were empty. Despite the strange chill she felt, which made the hairs on her arms stand on end, Len shrugged it off as cold wind from outside that seeped into the room through the small window. She went into the first cubicle to answer the call of nature. It was eerily quiet inside the comfort room. Only the rushing of the pouring rain outside could be heard.
When she was done, Len washed her hands then her face. She noticed that her long hair looked unkempt so she decided to tie it up. Len was busy tending her hair when a very cold gust of wind touched her left shoulder. She glanced at the window, thinking that it was probably wind from outside. When she turned back to the mirror, her eyes widened. A very pale hand was touching her shoulder. That hand belonged to a woman whose face was hidden by her very long hair, and was wearing a white robe that touched the floor. There were no stories of ghosts haunting the school’s comfort room so it came as a terrifying surprise for Len. The woman in white suddenly let out a terrifying laugh. Her voice was like that of a cackling hag. Len screamed like crazy while scrambling out of the room.

END

Another manananggal cousin

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Jeepers creepers, where’d ya get those eyes?

The abat or awok is the Eastern Visayan variant of the manananggal in Philippine folklore. Like the latter, an abat detaches from its lower half of the body at the waist but instead of growing wings on its back, its arms are the ones that transform into bat-like wings. It has bloodshot eyes which almost bulge out of their sockets. Like the manananggal, an abat must rejoin its discarded lower half before sunrise otherwise it will die.

Manananggal’s wingless cousin

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A wingless cousin of the manananggal on the prowl.

The anananggal are self-segmenting aswang in the Eastern Visayan folklore of the Philippines. Unlike their cousins, the manananggal of Luzon, anananggal are wingless like the Indonesian penanggal, and can render themselves invisible – an ability which gives them freedom to enter any house unnoticed.
Aside from preying on pregnant women and attacking children or those who wander at night and the wee hours, anananggal also have a knack for sniffing a corpse in a wake.
To them the smell of a corpse is so irresistible that they would enter a house where there is a wake for the dead and sniff the corpse until they are forced to leave by the approaching dawn. Contact with citrus fruits prevent them from flying. An anananggal will die should sunlight shine upon it while in its segmented form, or if salt, spices, and ash are placed on the stump of its discarded lower half.

The Tiyanak

Described in Tagalog and Bicolano folklore as a small bald-headed goblin with small horns, sharp teeth, pointed ears, bloodshot eyes, and disproportionate legs (the left leg is shorter while the right one in unusually longer), the tiyanak disguises itself as a baby abandoned in the forest or in the field. It wails loudly to attract a passerby and when picked up it sheds its disguise like a snake shedding its old skin, revealing its true form, and kills the victim by biting and mauling.
Various speculations on how the tiyanak came to be range from babies born dead in the forest to the Catholic-influenced unbaptized stillborn infants, and later extended to vengeful murdered infants and aborted fetuses.

Tiyanak medium

A horned tiyanak.

Origins

Belief in the tiyanak may have originated from the patianak of the Mandaya tribe in Mindanao, when Islam started to spread north before the arrival of the Spanish. The ancient natives in the south revered the patianak as a lesser nature spirit associated with the soil and rice fields similar to the nuno sa punso of the Tagalogs. With its name meaning “lord child”, offerings during planting and harvesting seasons were made in rice fields in honor of the patianak to ensure the health of the crops and a bountiful harvest. Those who passed by an area believed to be inhabited by the creature whispered excuses for safe passage or risk being assaulted by its diminutive inhabitant.
The image of the tiyanak gradually changed in Luzon. From a semi-benevolent being, the northern version – also known as patianak in some parts of Bicol and Pampanga – was portrayed in most tales as a fiendish blood-sucker and man-eater in the forest. With the arrival of Catholicism, the creature became a demon and tormentor of those who refused the Catholic faith. Later, the tiyanak was believed to be a demon child or the monstrous offspring of a demon and a woman, referred to as impakto or impaktito.
Interestingly, it could also be possible that belief in the tiyanak might have been influenced if not introduced by Spanish missionaries, especially those from Mexico, who were intent on converting the natives into Catholics. The Aztecs of Mexico believed in a small creature called chaneque (sounds familiar, right?). According to stories the chaneque looked like small, wrinkly old men and women who lurked in the jungle. These creatures, both feared and revered, were notorious for stealing the souls of those who strayed into their domain. The only way to recover the soul is for the victim to undergo a specific ritual, otherwise he will fall ill and die. The chaneque were also known to lead people astray, making the victims wander mindless around the jungle for days. When the conquistador Hernan Cortez finally subdued the Aztecs, the belief in the chaneque was modified by the friars to sway the natives into Catholic faith. They speculated that a chaneque was the result of the devil possessing an unbaptized stillborn child, causing it to return as a child demon that preyed on those who wandered into the jungle – a speculation shared by Filipino belief. Later it was believed that in order to escape the chaneque one must wear his shirt inside-out – a practice also popular in Philippine folklore.
With the exception of the tiyanak’s ability to disguise itself as a baby, some striking similarities with the chaneque suggest a possible link between the two creatures.

Related creatures

Aside from the patianak, there are other similar creatures in southern Philippine folklore associated with the tiyanak. The muntianak of the Bagobos, whose name means “small child” is the spirit of a child who died while still in the womb during childbirth. After coming back to life as a hideous little creature, it makes the forest its home and harasses or kills those who pass by.
The Tagakalao tribe of Davao believe in the mantianak, a bearded incarnation of an infant who, together with its mother, died during childbirth in the forest. It makes the forest its home and wails mournfully from time to time. Pregnant women who hear its wails suffer miscarriage. In some parts of Mindanao the mantianak is believed to be the vengeful spirit of a woman who died during the late period of her pregnancy. This wraith retains its female form but has a hole or slit in her belly where her unborn child is tucked in. Blaming men for her untimely demise, she exacts revenge by attacking any man at night, mauling him and ripping off the victim’s penis or testicles. This particular belief probably came from the south in Malaysia where the mantianak is believed to be an avenging ghost of a woman who died while giving birth.
A creature almost similar to the later version of the mantianak is the viscera-eating pontianak of Indonesian folklore. A pontianak is described as the vampiric ghost of a woman who died while pregnant. She disguises herself as a beautiful woman only to kill, mutilate, and even devour the men who approached her. High-pitched cries of a baby along with a fragrance followed by an awful stench indicate her presence.

 

REFERENCES:

Demetrio, Francisco. The Flood Motif and the Symbolism of Rebirth in Filipino Mythology. In Dundes, Alan (ed.) The Flood Myth, University of California Press, Berkeley and London, 1988.
Kintanar, Thelma B. & Associates. U.P. Cultural Dictionary for
Filipinos Second Edition, 2009
Ramos, Maximo D. The Creatures of Midnight. Phoenix Publishing, 1990
http://www.facebook.com/mganilalangngkadiliman
http://www.oocities.org/horrorflip/
http://www.wikipedia.org

‘Werewolves’ in the Philippines

Werewolves, persons who turn into wolves are the stuff of legend in Europe and in North America. First used before the 12th century the word werewolf is a combination of the two Old English words “wer”, meaning “man” and “wulf” which means “wolf”. Tales of persons turning into wolves, especially on full moon nights have long persisted in Europe, especially in its Eastern lands and among the Indian tribes of North America where they are mostly referred to as skinwalkers.
The act of changing into a wolf was called lycanthropy in the late 16th century and was linked with witchcraft and devil worship. Those who were found guilty were either hanged, burned alive, or beheaded. In modern psychological terms lycanthropy refers to a mental disorder where a person thinks he is truly becoming a wolf.
In the Philippines, before the Spanish colonization, there was no such thing as lycanthropy or werewolves because there were no wolves in the archipelago. Instead, the natives believed that some individuals shape-shifted into a variety of animals found in their locality such as dogs, cats, and pigs or boars. Referred to as “false beasts” or “werebeasts” by those who study the country’s various folklore, these creatures are identified as belonging to one of five types of the dreaded aswang. Incidentally, the old imagery of the aswang was someone who turned into a black dog at night. The word aswang itself is supposedly based on the term asu-asuan or aso ang wangis which means “dog-like”.
The ancient folks of the province of Aklan in Western Visayas believed these local “werewolves” belonged to the aswang malakat (walking aswang) group. These are aswangs confined to the ground and are unable to fly. Unlike their Western counterparts, the Philippines’ local werewolves are impervious to silver and don’t need the full moon or even the full cover of night in order to change into a canine-like beast. They are kept at bay using the tail of a stingray fashioned into a whip. Others were known to attack people as early as late afternoon before sundown.
In Aklan, the locals once feared the Kiwig (in local dialect means “uneven” or “sloping”), a person who turns into a big, black dog with a hunched and sloping back and a crooked tail. This creature was said to attack people who traveled alone or lingered outside at night. It also prowled under elevated houses, especially when there was a sick or dying person inside in order to lick the victim. They say one way to identify if a person is a kiwig is if he/she has a stooped posture and bloodshot eyes. The posture is linked to the suspect’s habit of hanging out under people’s houses while the bloodshot eyes are attributed to staying up all night.
Another werebeast from Western Visayas is the Sarut which literally means “pest”. Found in the folklore of Iloilo locals, this person who turns into a big, dog-like creature at night not only attacks people but would also cause great losses to those who own chickens, ducks, goats, and pigs by feeding on the animals’ internal organs. Thus, the sarut has been referred to as a pest. In recent years news of a large number of chickens, ducks, and some goats found dead and showed signs of having been devoured with missing innards caught the attention of the Ilonggos.
The Waray Malakat is a rather odd werebeast. Described as a person who changes into a hairy, canine-like creature, it attacks by extending its hard, wire-like hair. It uses its hair to either strangle or suffocate the victim by stuffing his/her eyes, nose, ears, and mouth. The creature would then feed on the unconscious or dead victim.
The Ungo of Cebuano folklore is a person who from time to time (generally at night) is compelled by a supernatural force to change into a hairy monster. When he has completely transformed into this monster, he sets out to hunt for victims in order to satiate his craving for human flesh and blood.
An ambush predator, the Korokoto of Eastern Visayas and Northern Mindanao lurks in the forest, lying in wait behind bushes or trees and pounces on unsuspecting persons. This shape-shifting aswang doesn’t always devour its victim while in dog-like form. Sometimes, after incapacitating its victim, it drags the person to its home. There it reverts to its human form then it slaughters and cooks the victim. A person encountered in the woods or in the forest might be a korokoto if his/her feet doesn’t touch the ground. It also murmurs a sound similar to its name.
Unlike its canine counterparts, the Motog of Bicol and some parts of Visayas is a werebeast of a different nature. A man by day, at night it shape-shifts into a tall, black, and hairy humanoid creature with a boar’s head. Known to be vicious, this beast attacks and pursues its victims relentlessly. It mauls a victim to death with its long, sharp tusks and gorges his innards. It is said all motog are exclusively male.
There are other unnamed werebeasts in the country’s diverse folklore. One involves a big, black pig caught prowling under a sick person’s house. Those who caught it put the animal in a cage only to find a woman in its stead in the morning. In another story, the husband of a pregnant woman gets irked with the incessant scratching on the roof of their house one night. The furious husband bolts out of their house and sees a large black cat crouched on top of their roof. In anger, he hurls a stone at the animal but misses. To his surprise, the cat chases after the rolling stone, grabs it, and throws it back at him.
The werebeasts, although could be killed using conventional weapons, are hard to hit as proven in most accounts. These creatures are mostly swift enough to evade gunshots or blows with bladed weapons or tough enough to survive one. When injured, a werebeast will go home immediately. There it will try its best to lick the wound or apply its saliva on it. It is believed some aswangs could heal their injuries in no time by just licking them or applying them with their saliva.
Like other aswangs, werebeasts hunt in places other than their own village or town in order to avoid the discovery of their true identity. They also rarely attack groups of people. In the olden days, it was believed that women who wear their long hair down were safe from werebeast attacks although it is never explained how this works.

 

REFERENCES:

Andres, T.D. Dictionary of Filipino Culture and Values.
Ramos, Maximo D. The Creatures of Midnight.
Ramos, Maximo D. The Aswang Syncrasy in Philipine Folklore.
http://www.facebook.com/mganilalangngkadiliman
http://www.oocities.org/horrorflip/