These Local Artists Bring the Characters From our Filipino Myths to Life
by Anne Marielle Eugenio, June 02, 2020 1:35pm
Art by Dani Elevazo
When we were kids, our parents and grandparents told us not to stay outside at night, or else, monsters would abduct us to their world. We don’t want the tikbalang to lure us until we get lost, have the manananggal chase us, or have the nuno sa punso make our body parts abnormal.
They may seem scary, but now they appear as a fascinating part of our culture. And to help us “preserve” these mythological creatures, local artists keep them alive through their artworks.
As part of the #maynananggal trend, a Twitter user with the name Angie showed the manananggal on her period. It shows the upper half with pimples and buying groceries that may satisfy her cravings. The bottom is left with a hot compress on the abdomen. Hey, manananggal is a woman too!
The bakunawa is a serpent-like creature ancient Filipinos believe to cause earthquakes, rains, wind, and eclipses. In Philipp Ines’ version, it shows the bakunawa causing another eclipse as it eats the moon once again.
Because of mermaid series and animated movies, young girls once dreamed of becoming a half-woman half-fish creature and exploring the ocean. Let’s look back at the sirenas we once wanted to be with Ronson Culubrina’s Perlas ng Silangan.
Nuno sa Punso, Tamawo, and Tawong Lipod
This artist drew the different mythological creatures for #GRAILKababalaghan. Take a look at this version of nuno sa punso (old man of the anthill), tamawo (engkanto), and Tawong Lipod (Bicolano sylphs or wind people).
(C)day 27 nuno sa punso(a dwarf-like nature spirit in Philippine mythology believed to live anthills/termite mounds)— ryan (@noc4urne) October 31, 2019
(L)day 28 tamawo(Legolas-types)
(R)day 29 tawong lipod (the sylphs of Bicolano lore)#Inktober#Inktober2019#GRAILtober#GRAILKababalaghan#sketch#artphpic.twitter.com/dV5ODoEBso
Mandurugo is a winged creature, kind of similar to vampires. She is a beautiful woman by day but don’t be fooled, she could be sucking your blood at night. A dangerous beauty, indeed, just like how Jordan portrayed her to be.
#Inktober@UPGrail— D-2 ジョルダン⁷ (@jordans_magic) October 31, 2019
Day 31: Mandurugo
A beautiful woman by day, a winged bloodsucker by night
YAAAAAAS! I've completed Inktober this year! #inktober2019#grailtober#GRAILKababalaghanpic.twitter.com/Kr63cbPQEI
We are familiar with the Greek gods and their Roman counterparts. But we have our own local deities in the Philippines we never got to explore. They even vary depending on the region. In this artwork, Drei portrayed four of the Visayan Gods: Kaptan (God of the Sky), Magwayen (Goddess of the Sea and Underworld), Dalikamata (Clairvoyant Goddess), and Libulan (Moon Deity).
Seeing other Filipino artists sharing their Filipino myth artworks inspired me to share the pieces I made years ago for our portfolio class back in college. Here are some of the Visayan deities I made ages ago.— DREI (@aegisdea) July 25, 2018
The half-horse half-man creature tikbalang is known for getting travelers lost during their journey. Guia Longasa has her own perception of the humanoid creature.
No matter how far Neta travels, they seem to follow him. Finally, done with this! This piece is based on an old artwork of mine and the Philippine mythical creature, the Tikbalang. Also, a bonus quick ref sketch. pic.twitter.com/xxwEW8tj26— Guia Longasa (@WHATiFArtist) July 18, 2018
We grew up fearing these creatures because of how the elderly describe these “fictional” characters as monsters. But now, we’ve come to appreciate them as they are part of our heritage. Thanks to these artists, we have visuals as we tell the mythological tales.