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Hollywood takes a lot of inspiration from everywhere and anywhere when it comes to scary monsters. Sometimes it's inspired by different cultures and expands on them or dips into pagan themes. With that in mind, I dipped into my own heritage to take a look at the top five monsters I would love to see on the American big screen. All of these monsters stem from memory as a child (because telling your 6-year-old son about stuff like this roaming around is solid parenting), and the ones on this list are the ones that stuck with me the most.
The Kapre is a tree giant that lives in the forest and is often found smoking a large cigar. Where'd he get the cigar? I don't know. Probably the monster equivalent of the 7-Eleven. While it's not inherently evil, it does like to play pranks on people. It's idea of a prank is disorienting mountain travelers causing them to walk in circles for as long as it damn well pleases. According to a credible source of Filipino folklore (my mom) the Kapre also punishes children who don't listen to their parents and go out and play at night.
The Tikbalang is a creature with the head of a horse, the muscular body of a man, and the hoofs of a horse. Call it a Filipino upright centaur...thing. It roams the mountains at night in search of women to capture and impregnate so it can make more Tikbalang. Like the Kapre, it has the power to disorient someone when travelling causing them to get hopelessly lost. This is probably helpful with the whole abducting innocent women thing.
Duwende are tiny people that live near households and in the forest (as per the usual). Their dwellings are often mounds of dirt that look like ant mounds or on mushrooms. Like the Kapre, they're not inherently good or bad. It all depends on how they're treated. You have to ask permission when you're around their dwelling by saying "tabi-tabi po" (or while urinating outside) or else they can turn nasty. Their mischief ranges from stealing things to malicious and harmful acts on you and your family. According to a completely credible eye witness (my aunt), they can even posses people and cause a sickness within them if they are slighted. This sickness can only be cured by an earnest plea for forgiveness or through the intervention of a witch doctor.
The Manananggal is a vampire-like creature that separates from its lower half of during the night. Its torso grows bat-like wings so it can fly around in search of its next meal. What's its favorite dish? Strangely enough, it's not barbecue but the hearts of fetuses. It has a long, thin tongue that it uses to feast on the heart of an unborn child while it's still in the mother's womb. When there aren't any babies to feast on then it settles for good old fashioned blood. The lower half is a lot weaker than the top half since it just stays where ever the Manananggal leaves it. Spreading garlic all over that sucker will ensure the creature's death since it won't be able to reconnect and will die come daylight. Of course, you have to find it first and they're not ones to just leave something so critical out in plain sight.
There are varying accounts as to what the Tiyanak actually is. What I was taught is that they are babies who die before they are baptized. The result is a tormented soul that roams the jungle crying for its mother. It sneaks into homes when everyone's asleep to eat its way into a woman's womb so that it can be born again. The version in Wikipedia says it's a vampire-type creature that lures travelers to its location by imitating a crying, injured baby. Once they're safely in the person's arms, it transforms and attacks the person to munch on their innards. Either way, it's a monster baby and I'm not okay with that. I distinctly remember staying at the family farm in the mountains and hearing a baby crying late in the evening. When I asked my mother what it was, she told the story of the Tiyanak to me and told me not to go out at night, especially when I can hear the crying because it means it's calling out to me to come and get it. I was 8. Why would you tell that to an 8-year-old? Because best believe I didn't set foot outside my room after the sun went down.