By Abdon M. Balde Jr.


This is a continuation of the mythological characters that inhabit the supernatural world of the Bikolanos. Most of these came from Fray Jose Castano’s essay. The others has been researched from the writings of the earliest chroniclers, some of which are not known, some Spanish explorers including Pedro de Chirino, Bernardino Melendreras, Ignacio Alcina and others; and some local researchers such as Jose Calleja Reyes, Merito B. Espinas, Elias Ataviado, and from some local story tellers.

The TANDAYAG NA OPON was a ferocious boar, huge in size, its jawbones were twice the length of a man’s arms, its tusks as long as a spear handle. Its whole body was covered with thick, sharp and venomous hair. The Tandayag na Opon destroyed the linza planted by Baltog in Tondol. In fury, Baltog hunted the Opon and slew it with his bare hands, and hang its jaws up a Talisay tree for people to see.

IBINGAN was a multi-horned red serpent, with a fin on its head and back. It spitted poison when angry but whistled beautifully when happy. It perched on top of rocks close to the mouth of caves where the deadly mermaids dwell, and protected them from harm. It crushed its victim from sheer weight of impact.

MANANGILAW was a cave-dwelling black giant that wore a vine for a belt. When hungry, this creature would lower its vine belt into the sea or a river to catch fish or shrimp.

INONGOK was a black, shabby and shaggy humanlike monster from whose black eyes poured out tears of fire that formed a pool of glittering red where they fell. Prankish but harmless, it appeared only during the darkest nights in isolated byways to frighten those who got lost in the night.

PATYANAK was a fusion of an untimely discharged human foetus and a tiny black bird. Fully grown, it has big round ears and a completely bald head, Its mournful wailing resembled that of an infant, if heard at night by a conceiving woman it would cause a miscarriage.

ONGLO was a hominoid with long, straight black hair covering its entire body; it had long, pointed ears and claws, and looked really ugly. Brushing against the Onglo would produce severe allergy. The remedy would be to whip the affected body parts with a woman’s long hair.

BURING was a monster with one eye and three throats, it howled in three different tones, it lived in the swamps of Ponong. Its body was covered with black, sharp hair that was unbearably itchy when touched. It has sharp claws and sharp teeth.

TUPONG-TUPONG was an ugly hominoid that could be as tall as a tree when it chanced to stand beside one or as short and puffed up when beside a child or any short object. It could hide anywhere and took the height and size of whatever object or structure it chooses. It was the bogey plastic creature of the ancient Bikol world.

ANGONGOLOOD looked like a Kabalang (gorilla), it inhabited the swamps and riverbanks. It was a hairy, ugly homanoid that awaited for fishermen and boaters at the mouth of rivers. It surprised its victim by hugging it and turning its prey into a tree.

KIKIK was a nocturnal bird of ill-omen (paligsok). Its call signified the death of a person in a tribe. Some even suspected that a Kikik was Aswang disguised as a bird. When heard at night, people would cower for fear and invoke the protection of the Anitos or of Gugurang.

TAMBALUSLUS was an awkward, wrinkled, black creature, it had long, thin legs, hooves and big joints. It had a mane like that of a horse that went down from the head to buttocks. Its wide protruding lips covered its face when it laughed. It got its name from the huge wrinkled penis and loose-bagged testicles which dangled to the ground.

MAGINDARA was the fierce siren of the sea; half woman, half fish with sharp fins and multicolored scales. It swam the deep seas or hid in cliffs and rocky shores. It would hide behind crags and rocks near the shorelines when summoned by evil spirits and awaited for unsuspecting victims which it would drown in the deep seas.

ASOG was the effeminate priest of evil spirits who dressed and acted like a Balyana. He wore a lambong (shorts) and all kinds of trinkets and wiggled provocatively during the Hidhid and other rituals for Aswang. He colored his face, lets his hair grow long and wore large earings. When he sang the Horasa for the dying he sang with the voice of a woman.

There are hundreds more of these mythological creatures. Bikol had more monsters than J.R.R. Tolkien & C.S. Lewis ever imagined in their Middle Earth as told in Silmarillon, Lord of the Rings and Chronicles of Narnia. To this day, Bikolanos in different parts of the region would attest to have had experiences with a couple or more of these creatures. In addition, the ancient Bikolanos had rituals either to praise, to implore for help, assistance or mercy, to drive away, to avoid, or to ensure protection from these mythological creatures. These rituals will be the subject of my next episode.

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