Filipino folklore is rife with monsters who definitely can engender the same level of discussion with their fearsome counterparts in other cultures. Who will win in a fight: the Tikbalang or the Centaur? The Aswang or the Vampire? These are just two of the 8 matchups we will try to settle today, based on what little we know about the entities on either side.
Description: The most popular form of aswang looks like a were-dog. It is a combination of a werewolf and a vampire in that it sometimes requires blood as sustenance, but looks more like a werewolf than a traditional vampire.
Abilities: Long proboscis for blood-sucking, superhuman strength, fangs and claws, animal-like speed, shape-shifting, and the ability to survive daylight as a normal human being.
Weaknesses: Garlic, salt, sacred ground, religious artifacts, decapitation, a whip made from a stingray’s tail.
Description: As popularized by Bram Stoker (Let’s go with that version instead of the Twilight one), vampires are immortal monsters who feed on the blood of humans and can turn other humans into vampires as well. Unlike common knowledge, the Bram Stoker version of Dracula was not particularly weak to garlic, nor did he instantly die in sunlight.
Abilities: Superhuman strength, fangs, shape-shifting, and virtual immortality.
Weaknesses: Religious artifacts, wooden stakes, decapitation, and significantly weakened by daylight. The Bram Stoker version of Dracula furthermore requires earth from his homeland to maintain his strength.
Winner: 7/10 to the vampire. Unlike the Aswang, the vampire does not lose its intellect when it is in vampire form. However, it isn’t an outright curbstomp in favor of the vampire because while it has the advantage of virtual immortality, the aswang, with its claws, is better-equipped to just outright decapitate a vampire, unless the vampire decides to stay intangible in its mist form. The fact that the vampire was originally not weak against garlic while the aswang is would be another weakness the vampire can exploit.
Description: The Tiyanak is, for all intents and purposes, a sub-type of the aswang, but it takes the form of a baby that deceives its hapless victims into helping it out until it’s too late for them to realize that they are its prey. Some say that a Tiyanak is an aborted fetus out for revenge.
Abilities: Fangs and claws, shape-shifting, and the ability to mimic a child to deceive travelers and abduct other children.
Weaknesses: Garlic, religious artifacts, loud noises, and turning your clothes inside-out. It’s still kind of a baby, so it’s kinda easily amused by that last one.
Description: A Good Guy doll possessed by a malevolent spirit, Chucky is a serial killer in the body of a doll, trying to transfer himself into a human host to continue his murdering ways.
Abilities: Virtual immortality, plus your standard horror movie trope of showing up behind you when you least expect him to, as well as apparent affinity with knives and standard methods of killing.
Weaknesses: Destroy the doll, and with no soul to transfer himself to, Chucky can’t do jack.
Winner: 9/10 Tiyanak. If Chucky is ever fooled by the crying baby and thinks he’s in for an easy kill, boy is he in for a surprise when the Tiyanak strikes and shreds him to bits, leaving him incapable of so much as grabbing a knife to stab the Tiyanak with. Chucky’s only hope is to have pre-planning on his side and to carry garlic as he makes his approach.
NUNO SA PUNSO
Description: Often regarded as benevolent so long as you treat his home with respect, the Nuno is a wise little creature that has some measure of magical powers.
Abilities: Magical spit that causes multiple curses on anyone who disrespects him, possession, and an exceptionally long life, but not necessarily immortality.
Weaknesses: He can’t attack you if you are not within his vicinity. The Nuno does not go out of its way to cause trouble. Can be crushed by its head, although this may incur the wrath of its relatives. Also weak against albularyos.
Description: Mischievous and squirrely of its gold, the leprechaun is a small creature that can grant three wishes to any human that captures it in exchange for its freedom, and has a pot of gold hidden at the end of a rainbow. Which end? Ask a Leprechaun yourself to find out.
Abilities: Powerful magic capable of granting wishes, a keen eye for gold, and a taste for pranks and mischief.
Weaknesses: Not particularly vindictive and even generous when caught.
Winner: 10/10 Leprechaun. This is a curbstomp. If they were put in a fight, the Leprechaun has magical powers that would allow it to kill the Nuno from a distance, while the Nuno needs to get close to even spit at the Leprechaun.
However, expect reprisal killings from the rest of the Nuno’s family.
Description: The Bakunawa is a gigantic sea serpent with a lake-sized mouth, red tongue, whiskers, gills, and two sets of wings.
Abilities: Massive size and strength, supposedly capable of causing eclipses, and apparent immortality.
Weaknesses: Loud noises can startle it to make it spit back out a moon it has swallowed.
LOCH NESS MONSTER (SCOTLAND)
Description: The best known version of the Loch Ness Monster is good ol’ Nessie, a sea serpent found in the Loch Ness lake in Scotland.
Abilities: Massive size and strength, and an ability to generate tourism for Scotland.
Weaknesses: No specific weaknesses, but no specific invulnerabilities, either.
Winner: 10/10, Bakunawa. It’s not even close. Nessie lives in a lake. Bakunawa’s mouth is as big as a lake. The most Nessie can do is make loud noises when the Bakunawa eats her up, and hope that this is enough for the Bakunawa to spit her back out. But there is nothing the Loch Ness Monster can do to remotely harm the Bakunawa.
Description: The Sarimanok is a totem bird of the Marano people, and symbolizes bravery and good fortune.
Abilities: Its crow woke up the world. Once it ceases crowing, judgment day comes to the world.
Weaknesses: It gives away money when you see it on TV.
Description: Not to be confused with the Jean Grey version, the Phoenix is a bird that symbolizes life and death, and is functionally immortal.
Abilities: Healing abilities, pyrokinesis, self-resurrection.
Weaknesses: It can still be killed, it’s just that it will keep coming back.
Winner: 10/10 Sarimanok. If you somehow manage to kill the Sarimanok, it will take it with you by causing the end of the world.
Description: Often classified as a tree demon, the Kapre is a large creature with red eyes and typically smokes a tobacco. It is known as a trickster, and would sometimes abscond with women it finds attractive.
Abilities: Proportional strength to its size, ability to enchant and confuse its targets, invisibility, and magical powers to grant wishes.
Weaknesses: Attractive women.
Description: A one-legged black or mulatto youngster, the Saci is also a trickster with a tobacco habit, just like the Kapre. He has holes in his hands and has a red hat instead of red eyes.
Abilities: Teleportation, an insatiable appetite for mischief and trickery, can create dust devils by spinning around, and yes, wish-granting abilities, too.
Weaknesses: Capturing his red cap, trapping him in a dark bottle, throwing a blessed rosary into the dust devil, sieving him.
Winner: 8/10 Saci. The Kapre is generally harmless, and so is the Saci. However, the Saci cannot be enchanted to get lost by the Kapre as long as the Saci has his red hat to teleport him out of the forest at a whim. If the Kapre gets the hat, though, then the Saci has no hope because the Kapre is probably at least four feet taller than the Saci.
Description: A horse-like monster with the head and feet of a horse, this fearsome creature is known for its ability to…what? Trick travelers again? So it’s just a horse-like version of the Kapre, then. Got it.
Abilities: Strength proportionate to its size, limited magical powers.
Weaknesses: Wearing your clothes inside out, asking permission from it to travel aloud, absolute silence.
Description: The reverse of the Tikbalang, the Centaur’s horse-half is the lower half. Ladies.
Abilities: Proportional strength and speed, keen intellect, adeptness at archery.
Weaknesses: San Lazaro and Sta. Ana.
Winner: 5/10 draw. While the Centaur physically overpowers the Tikbalang, based on the tale of the tape, the Tikbalang may have magical powers the Centaur isn’t prepared for. It really is a toss-up between these two.
Description: The Manananggal is infamous for preying on pregnant women from rooftops at night by eating their babies, like a flying half-bodied Mike Tyson. The Manananggal is called so because she leaves the lower half of her body when she transforms into the terrifying winged creature of the night that she is.
Abilities: Flight, long proboscis for blood-sucking, fangs, claws, shape-shifting.
Weaknesses: All the weaknesses of an Aswang, plus the fact that it dies to sunlight if it doesn’t find its lower half body in time.
Description: The harpy is often depicted as a female monster in the form of a bird with a human face. They steal food from their victims and carry off evildoers to the Erinyes
Abilities: Flight, claws, feral nature, as the personification of the destructive forces of the wind.
Weaknesses: Kratos. But in reality, not much.
Winner: Harpy 10/10. The Harpy is not a valid target for the Mananaggal’s usual MO, and is violent 24/7, not just at nighttime. Furthermore, being the personification of the destructive forces of the wind, the Harpy is really not someone you want to mess with half-assed, which, depending on how precisely divided in two the Mananaggal is, would be literally what it ends up doing.
Do you have a fantasy match in mind? Share them with us in the Comments Section below!