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A symbol of Bathala, supreme god of the Tagalog people. The symbol also depicts a loyal anito at the bottom area and a tigmamanukan bird, which is sometimes wrongfully portrayed as a sarimanok.
T'nalak or T'boli people's clothes with designs dreamed by the weaver. The dreams are believed to have been sent by the T'boli deities.
The Maranao people believe that Lake Lanao is a gap that resulted in the transfer of Mantapoli into the center of the world.
A variety of sword hilts made from wood, metal, and carabao horn in the Philippines, depicting mythical reptilian creatures. The designs are believed to ward off evil spirits and bad omens.

Anitism[1][2] (also Anitismo),[3] simply referred as Philippine mythology or indigenous Philippine ancestral religion, is a body of myths, tales, and superstitions held by Filipinos (composed of more than a hundred ethnic peoples in the Philippines), mostly originating from beliefs held during the pre-Hispanic era. It was the dominant religion of the people of the Philippines for more than a millennium before Spanish colonization. Some of the beliefs in Anitism stem from pre-Christian religions that were especially influenced by Hinduism and were regarded by the Spanish as "myths" and "superstitions" in an effort to de-legitimize legitimate precolonial beliefs by forcefully replacing those native beliefs with colonial Christian myths and superstitions. Today, some of these precolonial beliefs are still held by many Filipinos, both in urban and rural areas.

Philippine mythology is incorporated from various sources, having similarities with Indonesian and Malay myths, as well as Hindu, Muslim, Shinto, Buddhist, and Christian traditions, such as the notion of heaven (kaluwalhatian, kalangitan, kamurawayan, etc.), hell (kasamaan, sulad, etc.), and the human soul (kaluluwa, kaulolan, makatu, ginokud, etc.). Philippine mythology attempts to explain the nature of the world through the lives and actions of deities (called anitos in the north and diwatas in the south), heroes, and mythological creatures. The majority of these myths were passed on through oral tradition, and preserved through the aid of community spiritual leaders or shamans (babaylan, katalonan, mumbaki, baglan, machanitu, walian, mangubat, bahasa, etc.) and community elders.

The term 'Philippine mythology' has been used since the 20th century by successive generations as a general term for all mythologies within the Philippines. These "mythologies" are practiced as valid religions by the native people, the same way Shintoism is practiced as a valid religion in Japan or Christianity is practiced as a valid religion in Europe. Each ethnic group in the Philippines has their own distinct mythologies (or religion), pantheon of deities, and belief systems. For example, the mythology of the Maranao people is completely different from the mythology of neighboring Subanon people, while the mythology of the Hiligaynon people is also completely different from the mythology of the neighboring Suludnon people. The Philippines is composed of more than a hundred distinct ethnic peoples, according to a 21st-century map published by the Komisyon ng Wikang Filipino, the Atlas Filipinas.[4][5][6][7]

Philippine mythologies and indigenous religions have historically been referred as Anitism,[1] meaning "ancestral religion".[8][9] Other terms used were Anitismo, a Hispano-Filipino translation, and Anitería, a derogatory version used by most members of the Spanish clergy.[10] Today, many ethnic peoples continue to practice and conserve their unique indigenous religions, notably in ancestral domains, although foreign and foreign-inspired religions continue to influence their life-ways through conversions, inter-marriage, and land-buying. Various scholarly works have been made regarding Anitism and its many topics, although much of its stories and traditions are still undocumented by the international anthropological and folkloristic community.[8][11][1][12] Unlike dead religions such as Norse mythology, living religions such as Anitism, Shintoism, and Hinduism continue to develop up to this day due to inevitable dynamics in belief systems in the modern century. Because of this natural phenomenon, folk literature or oral stories on a variety of Philippine mythologies concerning the deities, heroes, and creatures have sustainably been multiplying since the pre-colonial era up to the 21st century.[13][14][15]



Angalo, a creation giant, is said to be the first man and the son of the god of building in Ilokano mythology.[16]
The Tagalog people's Obando Fertility Rites, before becoming a Catholic festival, was initially an Anitist ritual dedicated to the intersex deity, Lakapati, who presided over fertility, the goddess of love, Diyan Masalanta, and the supreme god and husband of Lakapati, Bathala.[17]

There are two significant sources of Philippine mythologies, namely, oral literature and written literature.

Oral literature (also known as folk literature) are stories that have been or still are being passed down from one generation to another through oral means such as verbal communication. All sources of Philippine mythologies are originally oral literature, the same way with all known mythologies and folklore in the world ranging from Islamic, Hindu, Shinto, to Christian mythologies. As oral literature is passed on verbally, changes in stories and addition of stories through time are natural phenomenons and part of the evolving dynamism of Philippine mythology. Despite many attempts to record all oral literature of the Philippines, majority of stories pertaining to Philippine mythologies have yet to be properly documented due to a lack of scholars focusing on the subject. These oral traditions were intentionally interfered by the Spanish through the introduction of Christian mythologies in the 16th century. Some examples of such interference are the Biag ni Lam-ang and the Tale of Bernardo Carpio, where the names of certain characters were permanently changed into Spanish ones. Resurgent ripples of interest towards oral literature in the Philippines have sprang since the 21st century due to sudden interests among the masses, notably the youth, coupled by various mediums such as literary works, television, radio, and social media.[18][19][20][21][22][11][13][14]

Written literature are oral literature that have been put in physical record such as manuscripts. Historical written documents on indigenous religions in the Philippines are almost non-existent due to the destruction brought by Spanish colonialists and friars during a 300-year colonial rule, where the Spanish destroyed and burned indigenous scripts and places of worship. Records of the destruction of the scripts and places of worship have been published by respected historians and anthropologists from various universities. Due to this, the oldest surviving written literature of Philippine mythologies is written by a Spanish priest, as native-written mythologies were intentionally wiped out by the Spanish clergy and colonial government. Many Spanish-written works on the topic of Philippine mythologies and pre-colonial people have anti-indigenous opinions, due to the own beliefs of the Spanish authors at the time. Juan de Plasencia wrote the Relacion de las Costumbres de Los Tagalos in 1589, documenting the traditions of the Tagalog people at the time. Other accounts during the period are Miguel de Loarca's Relacion de las Yslas Filipinas and Pedro Chirino's Relacion de las Island Filipinas (1604). Various books regarding Anitism have been published by numerous universities throughout the country, such as Mindanao State University, University of San Carlos, University of the Philippines, Ateneo Universities, Silliman University, and University of the Cordilleras. The publication of these books range from the 16th century to the 21st century. Specific written literature should not be used as a generalizing asset of a particular story, as stories differ from town to town or village to village, despite the people of a particular area belonging to the same ethnic group. Some examples are the story of Bakunawa and the Seven Moons and the story of The Tambanokano, which have multiple versions depending on the locality, people's ethnicity, origin of story, and cultural progression.[21][17][11][13][14][22][11][23]

As oral literature is always the beginning of written literature, Philippine mythologies that have yet to be made into written literature are still valid Philippine mythologies, as many oral literature in the Philippines have yet to be properly documented. In fact, scholars, both foreign and local, continue to document previously unheard oral literature in the Philippines even up to the 21st century. Like other religions and belief systems throughout the world, the mythologies (or indigenous religions) in the Philippines have been constantly evolving even up to modern times. Many Filipinos have reverted back to their respective indigenous ethnic religions.[11][13][14][24][22][11]

Development of AnitismEdit

A portrayal of the gold-draped nobility social class from the Boxer Codex, c. 1595. Majority of gold reserves in the country were eventually ransacked by the Spanish, melted, and taken to Europe.
Rice terracing and its accompanied myths developed in the Philippines independently from other terracing societies in Southeast Asia.
Gold piloncitos or bulawan, along with gold rings, were the money used by the natives prior to colonization. There are specific ethnic deities who presided over gold and finances.

The indigenous religions of the Philippines developed through a variety of migration phases and trade routes. The arrival of early hominids in the Philippines, roughly 700,000 years ago, as exemplified in recent discoveries in the north, may have contributed to cultural evolutions of human species that would later arrive in the archipelago. Homo luzonensis is believed to have evolved from the early hominids that arrived. Homo sapiens arrived roughly around 67,000 years ago, replaced Homo luzonensis, and laid the foundation for the development of belief systems. The Negrito peoples are theorized by some scholars to be the first Homo sapiens inhabitants of the Philippines (although there is currently ongoing debate on the matter), and thus, the first peoples to formally establish belief systems in the archipelago. These Negritos, through the "Out-of-Sundaland model", were an early split-off from the first migration phase, which brought Homo sapiens from Africa, to mainland Asia, and finally to archipelagic Southeast Asia, where the Philippine archipelago is located. The Negritos brought basic forms of animism. The second migration phase began when Austronesians arrived roughly about 5,000 years ago. Scholars theorized that Austronesians arrived through the "Out-of-Taiwan model", where Homo sapiens from mainland Asia crossed Taiwan, and later the Philippines, until furthering to other Malay islands south of the Philippines. The Austronesians are believed to have introduced more complex animist beliefs with shamanism, ancestor worship, totemism, and tattoo artistry. The beliefs on benevolent and malevolent spirits was also established by their arrival.[25][26][27]

By 200 to 300 CE, Hindu mythologies arrived in some areas in the Philippines through trade routes and more waves of ethnic migrations. Hinduism brought in Indianized traditions to the Philippines, including indigenous epics such as Ibalong, Siday, and Hinilawod, folk stories, and a variety of superstitions which gradually established more complex indigenous polytheistic religions. Additionally, the concept of good and bad demons, which is prevalent in Indian societies, became widespread in the archipelago. These demons were viewed as both evil and good, unlike Western demons which are only evil. Unlike other areas in Southeast Asia which were heavily converted to Hinduism, indigenous religions in the Philippines were not replaced by Hinduism, rather, those religions absorbed traditions and beliefs present in Hinduism. Gender-variant deities and shamans also became widespread during this period. Humanoid mythical creatures also developed alongside a variety of evolving belief systems. Around 900 CE, Chinese influence spread in some areas in the Philippines, inputting Sinified belief systems in the process, along with Buddhist mythologies. The most prominent belief that spread during this phase was the belief in ghosts, which is prevalent in Chinese societies.[25][28][29]

By 1300 CE, Muslim trader arrived in the southern Philippines, bringing with them Islamic mythologies and its belief systems. Many natives in certain areas in the southern and western Philippines were converted into Muslims easily as much of the people had societies that had high acceptance towards foreign traditions. In the middle of the 16th century, the Spanish arrived and brought with them Christian mythologies and its accompanying belief systems. Some of the inhabitants were receptive to these myths, but most of which were against it as the Spanish wanted to conquer the lands and override their leaders, instead of simple tradition exchanges. When the Spanish laid its foundations in the archipelago, a three-century purge against indigenous religions began, which resulted in much of the ethnic people's indigenous cultures and traditions being brutalized and mocked. The phase also replaced much of the polytheistic beliefs of the people into monotheism. Existing myths and folklores were retrofitted to the tastes of the Spanish, but many indigenous belief systems were hard to replace, and thus, were retained despite Spanish threats and killings. In the late 20th century, the Americans colonized the country, and bolstered Westernization, greatly affecting the people's ethnic belief systems due to globalization.[25][30]

Since the 21st century, waves of more modern Filipino generations have begun a revival of indigenous belief systems in the country due to a heightened sense of nationalism and anti-imperialism. Among the things being revived today include the worship of indigenous deities and heroes, appreciation of the natural world including its spiritual realms and accompanied mythical races, and usage and enhancement of ethnic architecture, visual arts, weaving arts, pottery arts, films, basketry arts, music, dance, suyat calligraphy arts, and other art forms.[25][30]

Supreme deities of Philippine mythologyEdit

Mayon volcano, a UNESCO biosphere reserve, is believed to have sprouted from the burial ground of lovers Magayon and Pangaronon. Later, the supreme god of the Bicolano people, Gugurang, chose Mayon as his abode and repository for the sacred fire of Ibalon.
Bulul or Ifugao rice deities which are bathed in animal blood through sacred rituals performed by a mumbaki (Ifugao shaman).
Sunset at the edge of Kanlaon Volcano. The Hiligaynon supreme goddess, Kanlaon, resided within the huge land mass after the epic heroes and lovers, Laon and Kan, slayed the dragon-like monster who lived there.
A recorded drawing of a folklore motif-based karakoa, a type of indigenous ship that was faster than Western-made galleons. The usage of karakoas declined due to Spanish persecution.
Kabayan Mummies with tattoos in Benguet. Mummification was practiced by the Ibaloi people and many other ethnic groups for thousands of years, until the tradition was discouraged by a pro-colonial Christian government. In other ethnic groups, cremation, earth, sea, and sky burials are some of the practices presided over by specific death deities.
Fine basket crafts made by the Iraya Mangyan people of Puerto Galera. There a numerous ethnic deities presiding over the art of basketry.

Each ethnic group in the country has their own distinct pantheon of deities and belief systems. Some ethnic groups have a supreme deity, while others revere ancestor spirits and/or the spirits of the natural world. The usage of the term "diwata" is mostly found in the central and southern Philippines while the usage of "anito" is found in the northern Philippines. There is also a 'buffer zone' area where both terms are used interchangeably. The etymology of diwata may have been derived from the Sanskrit word, devata, meaning "deity", while anito's etymology may have been derived from the proto-Malayo-Polynesian word qanitu and the proto-Austronesian qanicu, both meaning "ancestral spirits". Both diwata and anito, which are gender-neutral terms, can be translated into deities, ancestral spirits, and/or guardians, depending on the associated ethnic group. The concept of both diwata and anito are similar to the concept of the Japanese kami. However, during the colonization era between the 16th century to the 19th century, the Spanish intentionally modified the meaning of both diwata and anito as both terms were not in line with the monotheistic concept of Christianity. This modification was supported by the Americans in the early 20th century. The meaning of diwata was transformed into "fairy or enchantress", while the meaning of anito was transformed into "ancestors and spirits", although in areas not subjugated by Spain, the original meanings of the two terms were not changed. Each of the supreme deities per ethnic people is completely distinct, even if some of their names are the same or almost the same.[5][6][7][31][32][33][34]

The supreme deities of various ethnic groups in the Philippines must be treated as existing and prevalent, as they are still believed by many societies, the same way Christians believe in a supreme god they refer as 'God' and the same way Muslims believe in a supreme god they refer as 'Allah'. Below are some of the supreme deities (head of an ethnic people's divine pantheon of deities) in the Philippines:[5][6][7]

  • Mangechay – supreme deity of the Kapampangan people; known as the ‘net weaver’ for the sky she weaved with her own fabric; the stars at night are said to be the fabric holes she envisioned[35]
  • Malayari – supreme deity of the Sambal people; deity of power and strength and is believed to reside in Mount Pinatubo; albeit having almost the same name, he is ethnically different from the Kapampangan people's Apûng Malyari and the Tagalog people's Mayari[36]
  • Bathala – supreme deity of the Tagalog people; known as the grand conserver of the universe who lives in Kaluwalhatian; despite the similarity in name, he is different from the Bicolano people's Batala[37] and the Cebuano people's Bathala, which was another name of their supreme god, Kaptan[38]
  • Kabunian – supreme deity of the Ibaloi people;[39] despite the similarity in name, he is different from the Bontoc people's Kabunian[40] and the Ifugao people's Kabunian[41]
  • Kadaw La Sambad and Bulon La Mogoaw – husband and wife, supreme deities of the Tboli people; Kadaw La Sambad is the sun god, while Bulon La Mogoaw is the moon goddess; both deities are said to reside in the "seventh heaven"[42]
  • Melu – also called D'wata, supreme deity of the Blaan people; he possesses golden teeth and shining divine skin; he is accompanied by the sky spirit Fiuwe and, strangely, the evil spirit Tasu Weh[43]
  • Dadanhayan ha Sugay, Diwata na Magbabaya, and Agtayabun – trinity deities, supreme deities of the Bukidnon people; Dadanhayan ha Sugay, “lord from whom permission is asked”, is depicted as an evil ten-headed being who drools continuously; Diwata na Magbabaya, “pure god who wills all things”, is depicted a good human; Lastly, Agtayuban, “adviser and peace-maker”, was depicted with a hawk-like head, powerful wings and a human body; the trinity of the deities symbolize the evil, the good, and the balance between the two[44]
  • Malaon and Makapatag – supreme deity of the Waray people; known as a single deity with two aspects; Malaon (meaning ancient one) is an understanding goddess, while Makapatag (meaning the leveller) is a stern and fearful god; also present in Cebuano creation myths[45]
  • Kaptan – supreme deity of the Cebuano people; believed to dwell in the sky and possesses a sacred golden shell which can transform anyone into anything[46]; also called Bathala, but is distinct from the Tagalog people's Bathala and the Bicolano people's Batala[47]
  • Kan-Laon – supreme deity of the Hiligaynon people; she resides within the volcano, Kanlaon, in Negros island; she is also referred by the Hiligaynon as Lalahon[46]
  • Gamhanan – supreme deity of the Aklanon people; he was the giver of life, security, and livelihood; lives with many other gods in Mount Daeogdog, where he gives life and punished errant mortals; used to have a loyal deer-like pet and messenger called Panigotlo, which bleated as a sign of abundance to mortals or foretells floods and despairs to alert the people[48]
  • Eugpamolak Manobo – also called Manama and Kalayagan, supreme deity of the Bagobo people; the deity is said to live in the sky and is offered white gifts by the natives;[49] created the sun, moon and stars and gave life to a fish-like snake being called Kasili, who wraps itself around the world[50]
  • Gugurang – supreme deity of the Bicolano peoples (includes numerous ethnic groups in Bicol); he is said to live in Mayon, which he chose as the repository of the sacred fire of Ibalon;[51] despite similarity in name and the name of his foe, he is ethnically different from the Hiligaynon people's Agurang[52][53]
  • Magbabaya – supreme deity of the Higaonon people; a ritual is performed for the deity before the utilization of land and other resources[54]
  • Ampu – supreme deity of the Palaw'an people (not to be confused with other ethnic peoples of Palawan province); the deity wove the world and created several kinds of humanity, hence he is also called Nagsalad[55]
  • D'wata ng Kagubatan – supreme deity of the Cuyunon people; she is honored in a celebrated feast, periodically held atop of Mount Caiman prior to Spanish persecution[56]
  • Minaden – supreme deity of the Teduray people; she created the world while her brother, Tulus, rectified some errors to better the world created by Minaden[57]
  • Mahal na Makaako – supreme deity of the Hanunoo Mangyan (not to be confused with other Mangyan peoples which are distinct from each other); the deity gave life to mankind by merely gazing at them[58]
  • Bagatulayan – supreme deity of the Itneg people; he directs the activities of the world, including his abode, the celestial realms[59]
  • Nanolay – supreme deity of the Gaddang people; he is also regarded as an epic hero and a benevolent deity, never inflicting pain or punishment on the people[60]
  • Mangindusa, Polo, Sedumunadoc, and Tabiacoud – four supreme deities of the Tagbanwa people; the first, Mangindusa, (also called Nagabacaban) is the lord of the heavens who sits up in the sky and lets his feet dangle below, above the earth; the second, Polo, is the god of the sea and a benevolent spirit who was invoked as a healer in times of illness; the third, Sedumunadoc, is the god of the earth whose favor was sought in order to have a good harvest; and the fourth, Tabiacoud, is the god who lived in the deep bowels of the earth.[61]
  • Diwata Migbebaya – supreme deity of the Subanon people; scholarly works have noted that scriptures were used to be written for the deity, until such scriptures and practices were destroyed by the Spanish during colonization[62][63]
  • Tahaw – supreme deity of the Mamanwa people; various rituals are used to honor him, including a dance known as katahawan[64][65]
  • Lumawig – supreme deity of the Bontoc people; he is also regarded as an epic hero who taught the Bontoc their five core values for an egalitarian society; he is the son of the primordial deity, Intutungcho/Kabunian, who is different from the Kabunian in Ibaloi beliefs[66][67]
  • Tungkung Langit – supreme deity of the Suludnon people and specific Visayan peoples; known as the creator, he is also the husband of Alunsina; despite having similar names, he and Alunsina are different from the deities with the same names in other Visayan mythologies[68]
  • Ama-Gaolay – supreme deity of the Pangasinense people; also called Ama Kaoley, he communicated with the people through various rituals and shrines, which were destroyed by the Spanish[69]
  • Anlabban, Bago, and Sirinan – supreme deities of the Isnag people; Anlabban looks after the general welfare of the people and is recognized as the special protector of hunters, Bago is the spirit of the forest, and Sirinan presides over the rivers[70]
  • Gutugutumakkan – supreme deity of the Agta people (not to be confused with other Negrito groups, which are completely distinct from each other); has four manifestations, namely, Tigbalog, the source of life and action, Lueve, caretaker of production and growth, Amas, mover of people to pity, love, unity, and peace of heart, and Binangewan, responsible for change, sickness, and death.[71]
  • Iraya – supreme deity of the Ivatan people; initially depicted as an androgynous deity, she oversees the people[72] and warns them of incoming omens through cloud formations at Mount Iraya, her earth manifestation[73]
  • Umboh Tuhan and Dayang Dayang Mangilai – supreme deities of the Sama-Bajau people; Umboh Tuhan , also known as Umboh Dilaut, is referred as the "Lord of the Sea", while Dayang Dayang Mangilai is referred as the "Lady of the Forest"[74][75][76]
  • Delan and Elag – the supreme deities of the Bugkalot/Ilongot people; Delan, the moon god, and Elag, the sun god, are believed to be a quarrelsome supreme duo, where Elag lives in Gacay; Elag has a huge bila-o (basket) which he uses to block Delan during their arguments, thus creating different phases of the moon; both created mankind and continue to give life and growth; during colonization, both deities were replaced by Bible-inspired Cain and Abel figures, however, traditional Bugkalots have rejected this notion, citing Delan and Elag as their true supreme deities[77]

Other ethnic peoples such as the Manobo people[78] have a multitude of deities or nature spirits but do not consider any deity or spirit as 'supreme' from the rest, despite having a deity which 'created the world'. Research on various ethnic peoples throughout the country are continually being conducted by students, government officials, and scholars to further document, acknowledge, protect, and promote the mythology, folklore, and pantheons of more than a hundred different ethnic peoples.[5][6][7]

Other deities of Philippine mythologyEdit

The Jama Mapun people's cosmology is extremely vast. Examples of figures in their cosmology are Niyu-niyu (coconut palm), Lumba-lumba (dolphin), and Anak Datu (two sons of a datu spearing another figure, Bunta – a blowfish). Most ethnic cosmologies in the Philippines have been lost or fragmeted due to Spanish persecution.[79] "data" (PDF).
A Maranao torogan with okir botanical motif. Okir developed prior to the arrival of Islam in the Philippines and is used to create patterns reflecting myths and folklore.
Mount Madia-as is believed by the Hiligaynon, Karay-a, and other peoples of Panay as the sacred mountain home of divine lovers, Sidapa, god of death, and Bulan, god of the moon. The mountain is also where Sidapa measures mortal lives through an ancient sacred tree.[14]
A mandadawak (Itneg shaman) making an offering to a pinaing (sacred communal Itneg spirit-stone), which is guarded by the Itneg deity of pinaings, Apadel, also known as Kalagang.
Crocodiles are considered as sacred beings by various northern to southern ethnic peoples in the Philippines. In Tagalog beliefs, the coffin-backed crocodile deity, Buwaya, is believed to be a psychopomp (sacred death guide), while in Kapampangan, the crocodile deity Apung Iru is believed to carry the earth on its back.[80]
A Bugkalot status headdress made of horn bill, shell, wire, rattan and hair. Mediums used by the Bugkalot in their accessories are notable for the presence of earth and sea materials, despite them being inland peoples.

Aside from the supreme deities per ethnic pantheon, there are also other deities who are ruled by the supreme deity of certain ethnic groups. Majority of deities are under this category, accounting to millions of anitos and diwatas, where most are unnamed house, community, and nature deities. In some cases, a single house can have around 10 or more protector deities, some are deified ancestors of the family or individual. In other cases, huge trees, mountains, rivers, boulders, lakes, islands, seas and others are also home to a variety of nature deities. With this, ancestral spirits are also made into deities, especially if those individuals made significant contributions to the family and/or the community. Deities, whether supreme or not, were almost always depicted as androgynous in form, including deified ancestors, as a figure that is only masculine was perceived as unnatural.[81][82][83][17][84] Few examples of more known deities are as follow:

  • Lakapatiintersex goddess of fertility from Tagalog mythology; the Obando Fertility Rites was originally dedicated to her and two other deities until the Spanish came.[13]
  • Bulan – timid and comely boy-god of the moon from Bicolano and numerous Visayan mythologies;[14] initially a powerful moon god (named Bulan in Bicol and Libulan in Hiligaynon, Cebuano, and Karay-a pantheons) who was struck by his father's lightning and was later revived into a comely boy-moon aspect named Bulan[14]
  • Magindang – muscular god of the sea and all sea creatures in Bicolano mythology; his never-ending courtship with Bulan caused the tides to plunge and heighten; venerated by fisherfolk and voyagers[85]
  • Sidapa – handsome god of death who lives in Mount Madia-as in Hiligaynon and Karay-a mythologies; measures mortal lives through an ancient tree; his marriage to Bulan ensured the continuity of the phases of the moon; a different goddess with the same name is present in Cebuano mythology[86]
  • Haliya – masked-goddess of the moon and sister of Bulan in Bicolano mythology; nemesis of the serpent deity Bakunawa in Bicolano mythology; in Karay-a, Aklanon, Capiznon, and Hiligaynon, Bakunawa's nemesis is Sidapa, while in Cebuano, the serpent's nemesis is Kaptan (referred by the Spanish recorder as 'Bathala', which was another name of Kaptan but distinct from the Bathala of the Tagalog)[51]
  • Maguimba – a god who supplied all the necessities of Batak life, as well as all the cures for illness; has the power to bring the dead back to life in Batak mythology[87]
  • Dalikamata – many-eyed clairvoyant goddess present in Visayan mythologies such as Hiligaynon, Karay-a, and Cebuano; cures eye illnesses and uses dreams as a form of communication; uses the eye patterns at the wings of butterflies to see the human realm[86]
  • Mangganghaw, Manlaegas, and Patag’aes – three divine brothers who determine death and the manner of dying from Suludnon mythology; the last of the brothers allow an infant to choose his/her own intended way to die in the future[88]
  • Wigan – god of good harvest in Ifugao mythology; he is recorded in the Hudhud as a very important deity[89]
  • Aring Sinukûan – sun god of war and death who lives in Mount Arayat in Kapampangan mythology; the Spanish tried to destroy his influence during the colonization era by rebranding him as a minor Christian fairy named Maria Sinukuan[90]
  • Badadum – deity who gathers family members at a river's mouth so that the family can formally make a farewell to a deceased loved one in Waray mythology, as well as Cebuano mythology[80]
  • Mebuyan – many-breasted goddess who takes care of the souls of dead children in Bagobo mythology[91]
  • Yna Guinid – goddess of war and poison in multiple Visayan mythologies such as Hiligaynon, Karay-a, Waray, and Cebuano; she is a member of the "Visayan war trinity", along with Barangaw, god of rainbow and symbol of hope, and Makanduk, god of war and plunder and patron deity of the mangatang (sea pirates)[92][93]
  • Loos Klagan and La Fun – divine couple who alleviate the damage done by the scourges in T'boli mythology[42]
  • Manglubar – god of peaceful living in Sambal mythology; he always choose peace over war and mediates friction among the gods and the people[36]
  • Pandaki – god who rescues the soul of those who deserve a second chance in life from Hiligaynon and Cebuano mythologies; he is especially fond of his closest friend, Sidapa[46]
  • Apolaki – god of the sun and patron of warriors in Tagalog mythology; protector of the realms during daytime[94] different deities with the same name are also present in Sambal and Pangasinense mythologies[95]
  • Dasal – god of strength and courage, notably in times of war, in Gad'dang mythology[96]
  • Liddum – chief mediator between the people and the other gods in Ifugao mythology, this the deity of peace[89]
  • Diyan Masalanta – goddess of love, childbirth, and conception and protector of lovers in Tagalog mythology; she is also a war goddess in times of family-related frictions; her name translates to both, "there is destruction there" and "one who can never be destroyed"[94]
  • Asuang – handsome god of all beasts who transforms into a monstrous form at moonlight in Bicolano mythology; worshiped with his friend Bulan, who he swore to protect whenever the boy-moon stays in his territories; tried to take the sacred fire of Ibalon from Gugurang, but failed; lives in Malinao Volcano;[51] despite similarities in name, he is ethnically different from the Hiligaynon people's Aswang (not the aswang monster), who is the foe of Agurang[52][53]
  • Maguayan – goddess of the sea and death from certain Visayan mythologies such as Cebuano and Hiligaynon; she took the role of ferrying souls to the underworld so she could always see her dead daughter, Lidagat; she is the spouse of the Cebuano supreme god, Kaptan, although in other sources, the two are referred as siblings; the two are known for their cordial arguments which shaped various incidents in the past[46][97]
  • Apung Iru – gigantic crocodile deity who supports the earth on its back from Kapampangan mythology; the Apung Iru fluvial festival of Apalit was dedicated to the deity until the Spanish came[35]
  • Suklang Malayon – goddess of homeliness from Cebuano mythology[46]
  • Okot – god of forests and hunting; he whistles to imitate the calls of birds and humans in Bicolano mythology[51]
  • Puwok – god who controls the dread typhoons in Ifugao mythology[89]
  • Lubay-Lubyok Hanginun si Mahuyokhuyokan – goddess of the night breeze from Visayan mythologies such as Hiligaynon and Cebuano; she cools the night to refresh the living for the day to come[46]
A kulintang ensemble. The usage of the kulintang is important in the performance of oral and social traditions in eastern Southeast Asia, including the southern Philippines.
Biri, where the Waray mortal-turned-goddess Berbinota resides.
Prior to colonization, the Ivatan people believed that Mount Iraya is a manifestation of the mother goddess, Iraya, who protects the people and notifies them about incoming omens.
  • Nagined, Arapayan, and Makbarubak – three-headed deity with varying appearances and appealed to when concocting poisonous oils from Hiligaynon and Cebuano mythology; they have different personalities and each can change into his own independent form, with Nagined having a female avatar, Arapayan a tall and handsome avatar, and Makbarubak a muscular avatar; conflicts have risen between the deity and Sidapa due to Arapayan's advances on Bulan[46]
  • Mamiyo – the stretcher of skeins and one of the twenty-three deities presiding on the art of weaving in Ifugao mythology; each weaving deity is important, as losing one would mean the end of the weaving culture of the Ifugao[89]
  • Onos – the tattooed god of storms, deluge, and flood waters in Bicolano mythology[51]
  • Binayi – deity who owns a sacred garden where all souls rest in Hanunó'o Mangyan mythology, hence, the deity of the Mangyan afterlife[98]
  • Apadel/Kalagang – deity, guardian, and dweller of the spirit-stones called pinaing which play an important role in the spiritual world in Itneg mythology; only Itneg shamans are allowed to touch and clean his pinaings[99]
  • Lampong – the dwarf shepherd and deity of wild animals in Bugkalot mythology; he can transform into a one-eyes white deer which can trick any hunter[100]
  • Bulungabon – a god who is aided by twelve fierce dogs; erring souls are chased by these dogs and eventually drowned in a cauldron of boiling water; he is the husband of the goddess, Binayo, the caretaker of the kalag paray (rice spirits) in Hanunó'o Mangyan mythology[98]
  • Pamahandi – an often generalized single deity, the Pamahandi is composed of ten protectors of horses and carabao, and senders of good fortune, although each has specific duties in Bukidnon mythology[101]
  • Mapatar – sky god of the sun in charge of daylight in Ifugao mythology[41]
  • Sisilim – goddess of dusk in Kapampangan mythology; her arrival is always greeted by the sounds and appearances of cicadas[90]
  • Canauay and Aminhan – air gods which can send furious winds; their existence was crucial to the creation of the world in Mangyan mythology[102]
  • Pinganun-pinganun – guardian of enchanted places in Cebuano mythology; lives in the underworld[103]
  • Andalapit – god who guides the souls of the dead to Mount Balatukan, where the gods of the dead assemble in Bukidnon mythology[104]
  • Hanan – goddess of dawn in Tagalog mythology; she is extremely important during the entrance of a new age or cycle, the start of the harvest or planting season, and the beginning of a new phase of a person's life such as birth, adulthood, and death[105]
  • Talikuyod – god of the underworld in Tagbanwa mythology; gives a life of happiness to good souls, while sending bad souls to an eternal fire that he tends between two sacred tree trunks[104]
  • Apo Sandawa – god of blacksmiths in Bagobo mythology; he lives in Mount Apo with the deity of the forge, Tolus Ka Gomanan, who is venerated in a ritual called Gomek-gomanan[45]
  • Mayaw-Biyaw – sky god who gives each person seven souls in Bukidnon mythology; a person becomes weaker and more sickly every time one of the souls leave the body; once all seven souls vacate a body, a person eventually dies[106]
  • Dagau – creator goddess of the Manobo people who acted as the "sentinel" of the pillar supporting the world together with her serpent friend who caused earthquakes each time it moved[50]
  • Saragnayan – god of darkness who protected his wife, Nagmalitong Yawa Sinagmaling, from all adversaries in various Visayan mythologies; his source of immortality was inputted on a wild boar, and upon the killing of the boar, he became mortal and was killed by Buyung Baranugon and Aso Mangga[107]
  • Nagmalitong Yawa Sinagmaling – goddess of lust and seduction who was born from the night flower in various Visayan mythologies; upon the death of her true love and husband Saragnayan, she unleashed a powerful curse against the women-lusting Labaw Donggon; the Spanish tried to destroy her influence by branding "Yawa" as a cuss[108][107]
  • True – deity of the forest and herder of wild animals in Mamanwa mythology[65]
  • Buwaya – deity of crocodiles and acts as the psychopomp for the dead in Tagalog mythology[109]
  • Santonilyo – child deity of good graces in Cebuano mythology; belief on the deity was caused after a Spanish cultural introduction of the "Santo Niño" image to the natives of Cebu in the 16th century; the natives viewed the image as a giver of rain when bathed in the sea and a new member of their ethnic pantheon at the time[15]
  • Bituing Maga – deity of beauty and pregnancy in Tausug mythology; the deity's celestial manifestation is depicted as a planet which is identified today as Jupiter; beauty-conceiving rituals were offered in honor to the planet manifestation when a woman is believed to be pregnant[110]

Creation mythsEdit

Lingling-o are jewelries that are believed to aid in fertility, and also represent a person's social standing through the material used as medium

Each ethnic group in the Philippines has their own creation myth, making the myths on creation in the Philippines extremely diverse. In some cases, a single ethnic group has multiple versions of their creation myth, depending on locality and sub-culture from a larger 'mother' culture. Like Asian cultures, some ethnic groups' creation myths have flood motifs, such as the Ifugao people's creation myth,[111] and/or egg motifs, such as the Mandaya people's creation myth.[112] Other creation myths have similar stories, differing only in the names of deities and small details such as the creation myths of the Bicolano people[113] and the Visayan peoples.[114]

In some creation myths, the land of the dead is much emphasized with love and affection like the creation myth of the Teduray people.[115] In others, planets and other heavenly abodes were mentioned as home of the deities, such as the creation myth of the Kapampangan people.[35] There are also creation myths which involved wars between royal divinities such as the creation myths of the Mangyan peoples and the Aeta peoples.[116] The culture of trinity of deities is also present in some such as the creation myths of the Tagalog people[37] and Bukidnon peoples.[44] Additionally, giants and not deities were also depicted as creators in some myths such as the creation myths of the Ilocano people,[117] B'laan people,[118] and Manuvu people.[118]

Heroes in Philippine mythologyEdit

An Ifugao woman performing sacred Hudhud chants while harvesting rice. The chanting, recognized by UNESCO as a "Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity", tells a variety of stories, including the life and journey of the Ifugao epic hero, Aliguyon.
Portrait of the first man, Malakas, and woman, Maganda, who came out from a bamboo pecked by the bird form of the deity of peace, Amihan, in Tagalog mythology
Whang-od performing the batok (Kalinga tattoo). Prior to government discouragement, she used to perform the fi-ing (batok on male headhunters) for Kalinga heroes. The last fi-ing was conducted in 1972. Headhunting in the Philippines has since been illegal.
Manobo women performing a traditional dance during a festival.
Manang, wooden idols of household deities of the Mandaya people.

Each ethnic group in the Philippines has its own set of stories depicting their mythical heroes, notably through oral traditions such as epics and verbal poems. Many of these stories have now been published in scholarly works and books by various folkloristic and anthropological scholars and researchers throughout the country. Due to Spanish and American colonialism, some of the stories have been retrofitted with minor changes, notably in the heroes' names. For the native people, many of these heroes are referred as actual humans who lived centuries ago (others, a few hundred years ago[119][120]) and not "mythical" beings, the same way Christians and Muslims believe that their prophets/saints were 'actual' people from the past. Among these heroes are as follow:

  • Sondayo – a hero who owns a magical flying scarf called a Monsala, which can be ridden through lightning, in Subanen mythology; he has the power to make anybody fall asleep; his life and epic is much celebrated in the sacred buklog rituals[121]
  • Manggob – a young hero raised by a giant recorded in the Diawot epic of Mansaka mythology; he wields a golden top which had the power to bring dreams into reality; his journey focuses on his search for the golden top and his long-lost sister[122][123]
  • Silungan Baltapa – a noble and sinless hero from Sama-Dilaut mythology; his life is mostly about his "voyages" at sea, noting the tradition of maritime journeys for the Sama (Bajau) peoples; he is believed to have 'absolute knowledge' and possesses power to speed-up time for voyages and essentially 'go anywhere' he pleases[124][120]
  • Banog – a hero named after the banog (Philippine eagle) by the eagle-venerating people of Bagobo Tagabawa mythology; he founded the domains of Tudaya, Binaton, Sibulan and Kapatagan[125]
  • Tugawasi – a hero who controlled the wind from Labin Agta mythology; his heart beat is said to boom like thunder when he is fighting[126]
  • Tud Bulul – a hero famed as the moonspeaker as he can speak with the moon and the wind from T'boli mythology; his weapons are a sword named K'filan, which can stretch to one million lakes and seas, and a shield named K'lung, made out of hardened wood[126]
  • Agyu – a powerful hero whose journey is recorded in the Ulaging epic of Talaandig and Manobo mythologies of Bukidnon, while his clan's story is recorded in the Ulangihan epic of Manobo mythology of Livungan Valley; he navigates the sky through his floating ship named Sarimbar/Salimbal[126]
  • Laon and Kan – Laon was a king of Negros from Hiligaynon mythology; he owns a head cloth named Birang, which can produce any material or food the wielder wants; Kan was a youthful hero and intimate male friend and lover of Laon; Together, they slayed a dragon-like monster living in present-day Kanlaon volcano[126]
  • Bantugen – his life and journeys are recorded in the Darangen chants, which has been inscribed in the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists, from Maranao mythology; he owns a magic Bangka which can navigate like a submarine and he can also travel the sky, walk on water, and summon ancestral spirits[126][127]
  • Indarapata and Sulayman – brothers who have slayed numerous monsters from Maguindanao mythology; they own a sentient kris named Juru Pakal and a sacred plant which notifies Indarapata if Sulayman has passed away[126]
  • Lumalindaw – a powerful combat musician from Ga'dang mythology; he owns an ayoding, a musical instrument which guides him in making decisions, and a bolo, which produces light and music when swang[126]
  • Tuwaang – a craftsman hero from Manobo mythology; he can speak with the wind, ride on lightning, and use a magical flaming skein[126]
  • Lam-ang – a hero of Samtoy from Ilocano mythology; he is accompanied by a rooster which can annihilate anything through crowing, and a dog which can restore anything through barking[128]
  • Urduja – a warrior princess of Tawilisi known to be unrivaled in strength from Pangasinense mythology; she is proficient in horse back riding, fistfight, and swordsmanship and leads the Kinalakian, a supreme fleet of male and female warriors[128][127]
  • Baltog, Handyong and Bantong – heroes who have slayed numerous monsters and recorded in the Ibalong epic from Bicolano mythology; they taught various agricultural techniques and crafts to the Bicolano people[128][127]
  • Bernardo Carpio – a powerful figure in Montalban from Tagalog mythology; he was imprisoned to hold two mountains away from each other, causing earthquakes every time he moves; despite being able to escape from prison with sheer strength, he chose not to as escaping would cause catastrophic earthquakes that would destroy the land of the Tagalog people[128]
  • Aliguyon – a powerful hero recorded in the Hudhud chants, which has been inscribed in the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists, from Ifugao mythology; his three-year war with Pumbakhayon ended with a peace pact due to both warriors' admiration for each other's capabilities[128][127]
  • Labaw Dangon, Humadapnon and Dumalapdap – demigod sibling heroes recorded in the Hinilawod/Sugidanon epic from Suludnon mythology; their romantic saga inspired various art forms in Panay[129][127]
  • Ligi Wadagan and Ayo – heroes from the Dulimaman epics of Itneg mythology; Lidi Wadagan, also called Agimlang, is known for his resoluteness in defense of his community,[130] while Ayo, whose full name is "Ayo, si babei nga Dulimaman" and referred simply as Apo, is known for her unsurpassed fistfight combat skills and devotion to protect her family[131]
  • Kudaman – a strong hero from Pala'wan mythology; he has the power to revive the dead by spitting them with chewed betel nut; has a purple heron named Linggisan, who he uses for transportation[132]
  • Banna – a hero of Dulawon recorded in the Ullalim epic of Kalinga mythology; slayed numerous powerful beings and is celebrated in various Kalinga occasions such as Bodong peace pacts[133]
  • Urang Kaya Hadjiyula – a freedom-loving hero of Jolo recorded in the Parang Sabil (Sword of Honor) epic of Tausūg mythology; his life and journey in all facets glorifies the Tausūg's love for freedom, dignity, and honor seen in the tradition of kamaruan[119][120]
  • Kawlan – a shaman hero of Sumlog from Kalagan mythology; he has the power to communicate with spirits, heal the sick, and see the souls of the dead[134]
  • Biwag and Malana– two rival heroes of the Ibanag, the Itawit, and the Gaddang people of Cagayan Valley; they are endowed with supernatural strength by a goddess known only as "Maginganay" ("maiden").

Other human figures in Philippine mythologyEdit

Boxer Codex depiction of "Pintados", exclusively the 16th-century ethnic Cebuanos of Cebu, Bohol, east Negros, and west Leyte.
Detail of jar cover of one of the Maitum anthropomorphic pottery (5BC-370AD) from west Sarangani.
Aklanon participants at the vibrant Ati-Atihan festival, which honors the Ati people and the Aklanon since around 1200 AD. Spanish colonization used Catholic figures to replace the festival's original roster of honorees.
Ipot Cave, a sacred site for the native Asi people of northwest Romblon, where the oldest surviving warp ikat textile, the Banton cloth, in Southeast Asia was found. The cloth exemplified myth-like patterns and was made between 1400-1500 AD, although the weaving culture in the Philippines is known to precede it by thousands of years.

Aside from the deities and heroes, numerous human figures, either full humans or demigods which may be mortals or immortals, in Anitism have been attributed as causers or helpers of various events in epics and poems, and their actions supplement some explanations on why things have become to what they are today. A few of these figures are:

  • Daragang Magayon – a beautiful Bicolano princess of Rawis whose beauty caused the great war between Pagtuga and the people of Iriga versus her true love Panganoron and the people of Rawis; the epic war ended with a Rawis victory, but the Panganoron was killed by an arrow at the very end of the battle; in despair, Daragang Magayon went after Panganoron in the afterlife by stabbing herself with his knife; their burial ground sprouted a volcano now known as Mayon[135][136]
  • Tuglibong – a Bagobo grandmother who persuaded the sky to go up to where it is now by ranting and rebuking it repeatedly[137]
  • Ukinirot – a heavenly Cebuano hunter who shot an arrow in the sky, thus making a hole which the sky beings used as an easy entrance to the human world; the hole eventually got blocked by a huge woman who tried to enter the hole[137]
  • Timungan – a Kankanaey gardener who created a hole in the skyworld after digging up a gigantic sweet potato in his heavenly garden[137]
  • Marikudo – the ruler of the Ati people of Panay who allowed the legendary 10 Bornean datus, including Datu Puti, to stay on the island; in gratitude, the ten datus gave Marikudo a golden salakot (native head gear)[138]
  • Aponitolaue – an Itneg mortal who was fetched by his lover and star goddess Gaygayoma to live with her in the upper world[137]
  • Manggat and Sayum-ay – the first man and woman in Buhid Mangyan mythology; gave the name of all trees, animals, lakes, rocks, and spirits found within the Buhid Mangyan ancestral home[139]
  • Pandaguan – there are two Cebuano stories regarding Pandaguan, where the tales may be referring to two different persons with the same name; the first Pandaguan was the youngest son of the first man, Sikala, and first woman, Sikabay; he invented a fish trap which caught a gigantic shark; he was later lightly zapped by Kaptan after he boasted that he can defeat the deities;[140] the second Pandaguan was a good and noble man who became a comrade of the deities, but later chose to leave his gifted immortality behind due to the reasoning that both mortals and immortals will always be afflicted with anger and sorrow no matter how short or long they live[141]
  • Puhak – a much-hated Manobo man who defecated on the divine stairs created by the deities to connect the mortals with the upper world; due to his mockery, the stairs were permanently closed by the deities[137]
  • Dayang Kalangitan – a legendary queen from Tondo who co-ruled initially with her husband, and later as sole ruler of her domain; fragmented Tagalog oral literature maintains that she is currently the only known legendary female monarch from a Tondo dynasty, as written records were burned by the Spanish during colonization[142]
  • Madlawe – a Subanen prince, in the Guman epic, who saved a kingdom called Pagkatolongan; he died in battle but was revived by the maiden Pagl'lokon[143]
  • Sawalon – daughter of Padsilung ha Kabatlaw, enemy of Agyu; she successfully poisoned the hero Agyu of the epic Olaging and Ulahingan, however, failed as Agyu was revived later on[143]
  • Tomitib Manaon – a dear friend of the Subenen hero Taake; he perished after a battle with Walo Sebang and was revived after Taake's wife and sister "fished back" his soul from a tonawan (pot of melted iron)[143]
  • Mabaning and Mabanale – two close friends of the Maranao hero Bantugen; after finding that Bantugan has died, they rode their shields up to the skyworld and retrieved the soul of Bantugen, thus reviving him[143]
  • Gat Pangil – a legendary ruler in Tagalog beliefs; said to have established the domains of Bai, Pangil, Pakil, and Mauban[144][145]
  • Kalantiaw – a ruler from Panay who also had influence in west Negros; enacted the Code of Kalantiaw to maintain order among his people; nationally known as a historical figure until Christian scholars from a Roman Catholic university debunked his existence as "mythical" and "an urban legend" in 1968; despite this, various ethnic groups in Western Visayas, where his story originated from, continue to see him as a historical figure[146]
  • Datu Daya – a legendery ruler in Cebuano beliefs; said to have established the domain of Kandaya, and protected the polity by building an impenetrable watchtower; celebrated in annual chants and dances collectively known as Haladaya (tribute to Daya)[147]
  • Bulang – a Buhid Mangyan man who was washed away by torrential rain; he submerged after his foot got stuck, and his body later transformed into a rock now called Bato Bulang found today in the Binagaw river; stories say that if the rock is lifted, the entire area around it will be submerged in water[148]
  • Lukbang, Mengedan and Bodek – the three ancestors of the Tagakaolo people; Bodek, the only woman, gave birth to Linkanan and Lampagan, who in turn became parents to two birds, Kalau and Sabitan, who flew away and brought back soil which their parents shaped to form the earth[50]
  • Aguingay – a legendary lady recorded in the epic, Si Bulusan nan Si Aguingay, from Sorsogon beliefs; Mount Bulusan is said to be the burial ground of Aguingay and her lover Bulusan, while some stories say that their burials are the two lakes of the mountain[149][150]
  • Sangkabagi – a being who uses a flying boat at night in search of corpses he would put in the underworld from Ilokano beliefs[101]
  • Kumakatok – three hooded figures, one lady and two old people, who knock on front doors; if the trio knocks on the door, a person who lives there will die[109]

Other monster figures and familiars in Philippine mythologyEdit

Fisherfolks in Tañon Strait. The water body is believed to be where Sinogo, under a crocodile avatar, was imprisoned by the Cebuano supreme god, Kaptan. Whirlpools are attributed to Sinogo, trying to escape his eternal prison.
The rotation of Bakunawa in a calendar year, as explained in Mansueto Porras' Signosan (1919)
Summit caldera of Mount Pinatubo (1991). In Sambal beliefs, the volcano is said to erupt whenever the flaming "sea turle", Bacobaco, comes out of the crater. The volcano is notable as the home of the Kapampangan god, Apûng Malyari, and the Sambal supreme deity, Malayari.

There are also specific figures in Anitism which are not humans. Many of which are monsters from epics and poems, while others are deities, demigods, or humans that turned into non-human forms due to a variety of causes or are originally non-human in form. There are also beings that are essentially non-human messengers, divine familiars, or folkloric animal humanoids. A few of these figures are:

  • Bacobaco – a great "sea turtle" who bore into the top of Pinatubo, creating a great crater and emitting great flames, huge rocks, mud, ashes, smoke and deafening noise in the process; stories say that if Bacobaco comes out of the volcano, horrible things will happen[151]
  • Tambanokano – a gigantic moon-swallowing crab, child of the moon and the sun, from Mandaya mythology; in Manobo mythology, the tambanokano is instead a gigantic tarantula or scorpion[101]
  • Kasili – a fish-like snake being who wraps itself around the world; Eugpamolak Manobo, also called Manama and Kalayagan, the supreme deity of the Bagobo people, gave life to Kasili during the world's creation[50]
  • Bawa – a gigantic bird living in a sky cave in Western Visayas; attempts to swallow the moon[101]
  • Rabot – a ferocious half-human half-monster that could magically turn people into rock; slew by the Bicolano epic hero Bantong using his bolo[152]
  • Bakunawa – the most famous of the moon eaters in Philippine mythologies; a beautiful sea goddess who turned into a serpent deity after her love was spurned in Bicolano, Hiligaynon, and Kiray-a mythologies,[101][153] while in Cebuano mythology, she wanted all the moons to herself, leaving only one in the end[23]
  • Arimaonga – a gigantic, four legged, and tiger-like creature which seeks to swallow the moon from Maranao mythology[101]
  • Mameleu – a gigantic two-horned sea serpent with a thirty fathoms-long body and head as large as that of a water buffalo; fire is said to torch out from its eyes; lives in Western Visayas[101]
  • Pilandok – a mischievous, cunning, and trickster human-standing chevrotain in Molbog beliefs, who is sometimes helpful[154]
  • Oryol – a Bicolano demigod naga who fought the hero Handyong in an epic war; the two would later become lovers[155]
  • Limokan – the bird familiar of the Manuvu god Manama; took fertile soil from the maligned god Ogassi;[45] in Mandaya beliefs, a different human-speaking bird with the same name is said to have laid two eggs which hatched the first man and woman; the first egg was laid at the mouth of river Mayo, where the woman was hatched, while the other was laid near the source of the river[50]
  • Sinogo – one of the three winged giant messengers of the Cebuano supreme god, Kaptan, and the favorite of the god due to his handsome face; stole Kaptan's magic shell and was later imprisoned in modern-day Tañon Strait; due to Kaptan's love for him, Sinogo retained a crocodile avatar, a sacred form in old beliefs[156]
  • Laho – a huge serpent from Kapampangan mythology which seeks to swallow the moon[101]
  • Olimaw – a gigantic winged phantom dragon-serpent from Ilokano mythology; seeks to swallow the moon[157]
  • Sawa – a huge serpent monster from Tagalog and Ati mythologies; attempts to swallow the moon[158]
  • Samal Naga – a gigantic trapped dragon in the milky way; will be freed and devour all those not faithful to their respective deities in Samal mythology[159]
  • Daruanak – a giant turtle-like but hairy sea monster from Bicolano mythology[101]
  • Kedu – a huge serpent from Marano mythology which seeks to swallow the sun and moon[101]
  • Minokawa – a giant raptor from Bagobo mythology; seeks to eat the moon and is repulsed by loud noises[101]
  • Gaki – a gigantic crab that is said to be the causer of earthquakes in Bontoc beliefs[160]
  • Gawigawen – a six-headed giant who wield a spear and a head-axe the size of half the sky in Itneg mythology[101]
  • Pangantucan stallion – a wise white horse who saved the domain of Pangantucan from a massacre by uprooting a bamboo and alerting the tribesmen of the enemy's approach.
  • Sibbaranguyan – a kind giantess who sheltered, fed, and aided a lost Isnag man; she hid the man from her husband who she thought may eat him; she afterwards told the man the direction to his home[161]
  • Panigotlo – a loyal deer-like messenger and pet of the Aklanon supreme god Gamhanan; alerted the people due to either an incoming disaster or a prosperous future; killed by a lowly hunter named Dagasanan[48]
  • Galura – a gigantic bird in Higaonon beliefs which holds the sky using its talons; its huge wings causes strong winds which acts as buffer to the mortal world[50]
  • Intumbangel – a colossal snake living underneath the world which causes earthquakes and eclipses in Bukidnon beliefs; a similar creature is present in Manobo beliefs, but the Manobo snake is said to "guard" the pillar supporting the world[50]
  • Manaul – in Tagalog mythology, some accounts say that it was Manaul who pecked the bamboo where the first humans sprang from, while in some accounts, the bird was Amihan, deity of peace;[50] in Cebuano mythology, a different bird with the same name was the horrible king of the birds who fought the wind deity Tubluck Laui; the epic war ended when Manaul was pummeled with boulders by the Cebuano supreme god, Kaptan;[50] in the mythologies of the Hiligaynon, Karay-a, and other peoples of Panay, a race of birds known as manaul are considered sacred and killing one is punishable by death[162]

Mythological racesEdit

The upper part of a manananggal, hunting for food. The monster can be killed by putting salt or garlic on the wound of its lower portion left on the ground. This way, the upper part will fail to re-connect with its lower section, thus killing it once daylight comes.
The Peñaranda River at Minalungao National Park is believed to be the home of an endemic race of merfolks which captures attractive river-goers.[163][164]
Details of the Neolithic-age Angono Petroglyphs, representing children, drawn by ancestors to "pass on" a child's sickness onto the limestone
A unique sculpture of a buraq crafted by Mindanao Muslims. The belief on buraqs was inputted by Arab traders and missionaries
The fairy bluebirds are believed to be the tigmamanukan omen birds of supreme god of the Tagalog people, Bathala.
Balete trees (or strangler figs) are believed by many ethnic groups in the Philippines as homes of various supernatural beings. Initially being nature-centric, various ethnic groups in the Philippines have a variety in beliefs on plants and trees.
Hanging coffins is a traditional practice in Sagada. The northern Kankanaey people believe that by doing so, the spirits will be closer to heaven while joining the community as protectors of the villages.
The Hinatuan Enchanted River is believed to be protected by supernatural beings. The local Surigaonon people believe that certain fishes in the river cannot be caught due to enchanted protection.
Bow with the Mangyan people's UNESCO-inscribed Hanunó'o calligraphy. Their traditional calligraphy is used to create Ambahan, a type of poetry filled with love and adoration towards people, nature, and the spirits.
The Chocolate Hills were said to have been built by three separate events, namely, a war between two rock-throwing giants, tears from a heart-broken giant named Arogo, and dropped dungs from a gigantic carabao.
A typical Sama-Bajau settlement in Tawi-tawi. The wise Bajau epic hero, Silungan Baltapa, made various voyages through the Sama-Bajau tradition of sea journeys and settlements.

Each ethnic people in the Philippines has their own sets of belief systems concerning mythological creatures, enchanted races, and monsters. It is a common belief that most mythological creatures prefer to be left alone, while only a few actively hunt for human victims. Each creature was initially unique under each ethnic people's culture. But due to nationalism, various creatures from various ethnic peoples have gone into the limelight and have been absorbed by other ethnic peoples's belief systems. Mediums such as television, radio, and books have enhanced the spread of belief in multiple creatures between ethnic peoples in the country. Additionally, due to colonialism, many creatures of Western origin have also been inputted in the beliefs of many natives.[101][165] Among the mythical creatures of Philippine mythology are as follow:

  • aswang – a bracket term for various monster races with numerous forms and aspects such as werebeasts, viceral suckers, blood-consumers, and many more; some races under this bracket term are the manananggal, dangga, asuang, and tiktik, among many others[101]
  • tikbalang – a race of muscular men with head and hooves of a horse from Tagalog and other mythologies; can become an ally if its sacred hair or "worm" is taken; the Sambals and Aetas of Central Luzon believe in a similar creature called tulung or tuwung, which instead of hooves, have clawed feet and huge male genitals[101]
  • pugot – originally a strange race with varying capabilities and missing parts such as a head for human forms or a tail or ear for cat and dog forms; their original form is a black bizarre fiend with a strange stump-like gap instead of a head; from Pangasinan and Ilokano mythologies; Spanish colonialism later changed its image into a "headless priest"[101]
  • ta-awi – a race of monsters that can travel faster than wind from Marano beliefs; has a thunderous voice and cannibalistic nature but cannot digest eyeballs[101]
  • tagamaling – a race of ogre-like creatures that become cannibalistic every other month from Bagobo beliefs[101]
  • tamahaling – a race of red-skinned earth spirits who live in balete trees; they are the keepers of animals in Bagobo mythology[101]
  • tamawo – a race of beautiful and tiny children-stealing beings who live in dark nunok trees in Western Visayas; they offer black rice and yellow root to children, and if the youngster accepts, he or she will disappear in human world forever[101]
  • tawong-lipod – a race of celestial wind and cloud beings who served as courts-folk and handmaidens of the Bicolano lunar deities, Bulan and Haliya; they are extremely loyal to the two lunar deities[101]
  • tayho – a hybrid race of centaur-like beings with an animal-looking face living Western Visayas; stories tell that the race is a hybrid between a female water buffalo and a giant male agta[101]
  • thalon – a race of obscure dog-like beings with human feet living in Zamboanga Del Sur; the males of the race are simple trickster spirits, while the females are terrible man-eating beasts[166]
  • tibsukan – a race of piglet-like creatures with long snouts from Suludnon beliefs; disturbing a tibsukan will cause illnesses[101]
  • santelmo – a race of fireball creatures originating from Visayan and Tagalog mythologies; the term 'santelmo' was adopted from the Spanish although indigenous names of the creatures are known in various ethnic mythologies; called mangalayo by the Suludnon people and allawig by the Ilokano[101]
  • manananggal – a race of beautiful women whose body can slice in half; the upper part grows wings and hunts for food; male counterparts are called iqui; origin is from Tagalog and Bicolano mythologies[101]
  • gakit – a race of sacred ducks which saved a divine woman who fell from the sky; the sacred gakits later landed the woman on Bohol, where she became the ancestor of Boholanos[50]
  • kugtong – a race of gigantic man-eating fishes from Cebuano myths which bring good luck to its caretakers[167]
  • marukos – a race of crossroads demons in Ilocano mythology, known for waylaying large travelling groups and causing them to be lost until the entire group is drowned by flashfloods.[168] Particularly associated with the etymological legends of Rosario, La Union.[169][170]
  • umalagad – a race of sacred luck snakes which were carried by various ethnic groups in the Visayas whenever they went into a sea voyage[50]
  • amomongo – a race of long-nailed ape-like creatures known only to live in southeast Negros island[101]
  • anggitay – a race of creatures resembling centaurs but has a single horn on the forehead and are generally female; their homeland is believed to be in Santo Tomas, Batangas[101]
  • berbalang – a race of vampiric creatures which suck blood from its victims; believed to reside in the Sulu archipelago[101]
  • berberoka – a race of water beings who suck water from swamps, which they then use to lure humans for drowning; believed to be found in Apayao, Abra, and bordering areas[101]
  • tigbanua – a race of dark spirits with one eye, tall and lean bodies, and long necks that can twist by 180 degrees from Bagobo beliefs; sometimes hunt in groups, dismembering a victim immediately using sharp claws; said to be afraid of dogs[101]
  • timu-timu – a race of ape-like ogres which can chew an entire human skull whole; lives in Iloilo province[101]
  • tinakchi – a race of mysterious and highly-respected mountain-dwelling nature beings from Kalinga mythology; they are known as the "people who can’t be seen" and live in the sacred Mount Kechangon of Lubuagan; the powers of the tinakchi are mysterious even for the Kalinga people; some accounts tell that the sacred beings can use teleportation and invisibility at will[171]
  • tiyu-an – a race of human-transforming monsters who suck its victims through a thin proboscis from its mouth; lives in Capiz and is said to be the actual 'slaves' of a "pet" puppy which never ages; the puppy of each tiyu-an are the actual masters of the tiyu-an, and is passed on from generation to generation; the puppy notifies the tiyu-san "slave" when they should eat[101]
  • tulayhang – mud crab-like creatures from Suludnon beliefs; disturbing them will causes illnesses
  • ugaw – a race of swift doll-like beings that steals rice from Pangasinan mythology[101]
  • batibat – a race of fat monsters which sit on the sleeping body of a person who utilized a piece of its tree home, thus causing a deadly nightmare in Ilokano mythology; have Tagalog counterparts called bangungot[101]
  • biringanon – an elite race of enchanted beings that live in the mythical Biringan city in Samar[172]
  • dalaketnon – an elite race of handsome and beautiful enchanted beings in Samar island living in an abode called Dalaket[101]
  • kapre – a race of giants who love smoking and live in huge trees such as acacias and baletes[101]
  • kahoynon – a race of extremely attractive forest-folks; they have the ability to become invisible and live in a parallel human existence from Waray mythology[101]
  • kamanan-daplak – a race of tiny people who leaves small flowers beside infants who are left alone in Sambal beliefs[101]
  • kaperosa – female ghosts who wear flowing white robes or gowns originating from Tagalog beliefs; the most popular kaperosas are the white lady of Balete Drive and the white lady of Laocan Road[101]
  • katambay – a race of tall and muscular guardian spirits who protect mankind in Bicolano beliefs[101]
  • kibaan – a race of mischievous fair-skinned people with golden hair from Ilokano beliefs[101]
  • kimat – lightning demons who take the form a white dogs in Itneg beliefs[101]
  • kiwig – a strange race of beings that looks like a stooped dog, cat or pig with fiery eyes and coarse tangled hair from Aklanon mythology[101]
  • nuno sa punso – a race of dwarves living in termite mounds; inflict sickness to people who destroy or damage its home[101]
  • laki – a race of satyr-like beings from Bicolano mythology; likes to scare children through shrilling but are generally harmless[101]
  • lambana – a race of small fairy-like beings with butterfly or dragonfly wings from Tagalog beliefs; some of their faces are beautiful, while some are goblin-like[101]
  • lewenri – a race of handsome and music-loving people who appear to boys and girls by moonlight in Romblon beliefs;
  • malakat – a race of cannibalistic beasts who in human form are attractive, until they attack and transform to beasts with fiery eyes, flowing saliva, sharp long nails, and hairy bodies from Waray beliefs; their hair grows into the nose, ears, eyes and mouth of its victim[101]
  • mansalauan – a race of large birds who eyes like carbuncle, head of a lizard, hairy tail, harp tongue, and feet the size of a man's but looks like a monkey's; uses its tongue to suck the bowels of victims from Cebuano beliefs[101]
  • mantahungal – a race of hornless beasts with cow-like bodies, shaggy coat of hair, and monstrous mouth with two pairs of huge tusk-like incisors from Tagbanwa beliefs[101]
  • mantiw – a race of thirty-foot giants living in Western Visayas; generally peaceful but gets irritated when you whistle with them[101]
  • bungisngis – a race of extremely strong cyclops-like monsters which always laugh and giggle[173]
  • magindara – a race of vicious moon-adoring mermaids living in the waters of the Bicol peninsula; they are ruthless creatures who always obey the evil god Asuang and the comely boy-god Bulan[173]
  • tiktik – a race of aswang
  • bag-ong yanggaw – a race of humans who were all turned into weakened aswangs; tends to try their best to remain human, but goes berserk due to their fate[173]
  • bingil – a race of strange beings that the Kalinga and Gaddang peoples believe would bring illness unless shrines and festive events are made in their honor[173]
  • banwaanon – a race of forestfolks who help worthy people in Cebuano beliefs[173]
  • kumao – a race of beings who bleeds children to death by pulling out the victim's fingernails[173]
  • marcupo – a race of large snakes with a prominent red crest, long tongue with thorn-like hairs, sharp tusks and forked tail; believs to live in mountain tops in Western Visayas[101]
  • muwa – a race of hoard-loving beings with long, kinky, greasy hair from Suludnon beliefs; lives in bamboo palaces within bamboo groves; despite eating humans, they are said to be civilized beings[101]
  • palasekan – a race of invisible tree spirits who whistle to convey messages for people to stay home at night; Ilongot beliefs tell that the palasekans are offended when their tree-homes are destroyed[101]
  • popo – a race of tall and slender beings who snorts a lot; Bicolano beliefs tells that their eyes can drain the energy of people, causing pain and even death
  • ragit-ragit – a race of tiny beings who cannot wink and are generally immortals; Romblon beliefs tell that only babies can see ragit-ragits[101]
  • siring – a race of ugly men with curly hair and long nails from Bagobo belies; loves impersonating people to capture an impersonated person's loved ones[101]
  • kataw – an elite race of merfolk who can control water; believed to reside in Cebuano and Hiligaynon waters[101]
  • lagtaw – a race of tall black demons with huge eyes; the Tausug people believe that the beings hide in tree knots and frighten children[173]
  • lolid – a race of burrowing creatures which looks like a cross between a new-born puppy and a piglet from Iloilo; some accounts say that the beings look like a limbless wrinkled infant with a big head[173]
  • magtitima – a race of beings from Bukidnon beliefs who are given white offerings so that mortals are given permission to cut wood[173]
  • sarangay – a race of muscular men with a head of a bull and lives in Ibanag lands; possesses a sacred gem[101]
  • sarimanok – sacred luck birds of the Maranao people[101]
  • busiso – a race of gigantic fishes which can swallow entire boats from Subanen beliefs; centuries-old chants are still being sang about the creatures; lives in Lake Wood in Zamboanga del Sur[174]
  • tigmamanukan – sacred omen birds of the Tagalog people[101]
  • tiyanak – a race of playful and sometimes deadly monster babies or children originating from Tagalog and many other mythologies[101]
  • triburon – monster sharks or rays with wings used for flying in the sky; in Bicolano mythology, the triburons were tamed by the epic hero Handyong[175]
  • ugkoy – a race of river-dwelling beings usually seen during floods from Waray mythology; like a crocodile, they drag victims by their feet into the river[101]
  • umangob – a race of dog-like ghouls that consumes only the big toes and thumb of corpses from Ifugao beliefs[101]
  • ungloc – a race of black-colored giants who can trasnsform children into coconuts for later consumption; lives in Western Visayas[101]
  • siyokoy – a race of green-skinned humanoids with scales, webbed limbs, and fins from Tagalog mythology[101]
  • sigbin – a strange four-legged creatures with a whip-like tail from Waray mythology; sucks the victim's blood through shadows[101]
  • bukaw – a race of doll-like people with golden hair from Tagalog mythology; their homeland is the island of Marinduque[101]
  • calanget – a race of small earth spirits regarded as the true owners of land in Gaddang beliefs[101]
  • camana – a race of shape-shifters who dwell in gloomy places and assume the form of small animals or becomes invisible[101]
  • garuda – a race of winged monsters who live beneath the sea; had big teeth and huge talons that can carry six men in Maranao beliefs; different from the garuda in Buddhist and Hindu beliefs[101]
  • ibingan – a gigantic many-horned red serpent with a prominent crest on its head and dorsal fin on its back; the venomous monsters guards a certain cave in Bicolano mythology[101]
  • kagkag – a race of ghouls that comes out at moon rise and moon set; they are repulsed by seaweed and spices according to Romblon mythology[101]
  • biraddali – a race of angels "with the glowing beauty of a rainbow" in Tausug and Samal mythologies[176]
  • dwende – a bracket term used by the Spanish to refer to various dwarf races in the Philippines; a few of the races under this bracket term are the nuno sa punso, calanget, bukaw, and ragit-ragit[109][177]
  • engkanto – a bracket term for enchanted human-like beings of the land which includes a variety of mythical races; the term was adopted from the Spanish, who were dumbfounded by the wide array of mythical races in the Philippines and just referred to many of the races as encantar, meaning "spell-bound" or "bewitched"; a few of the races under this bracket term are the dalaketnon, biringanon, kahoynon, tawong-lipod, and tinakchi[178]

Mythological itemsEdit

Various types of kalasag (indigenous shields with myth-motifs) displayed in the National Museum of Anthropology.
A variety of modern Filipino charms and talismans called anting-anting or agimat. Certain agimats blessed by the deities are believed to give its wielder supernatural powers, such as invisibility, strength, speed, and defense. Some agimats are used as good luck charms, while others are used to deflect curses and enchanted beings.

All ethnic groups in the Philippines have a variety of known mythical objects present in their oral literature, notably in their epics and stories concerning the deities, heroes, and mythical creatures. Some examples of these mythological items are as follow:

  • Jaru Pakal – name of a sentient kris with "a mind of its own" and can target foes even without the presence of a wielder; used by the epic brother-heroes of the Maranao people, Indarapatra and Sulayman[179]
  • K’lung and K’filan – name of weapons used by the epic hero of the Tboli people, Tud Bulu of Linay Mogul; K’lung is an extremely sturdy wooden shield, while K’filan is a bolo sword which can extend to one million lakes and seas, capable of slashing an entire army with ease[179]
  • Sarimbar/Salimbal – name of a huge golden ship "which can accommodate an entire tribe" and fly in the sky; the ship is owned by the epic hero, Agyu, who is recorded in the Ulaging epic and the Ulahingan epic[179]
  • aswang black chick – strange black chicks used by the aswang race to pass-on their powers on a descendant[179]
  • kibaan powder – strange mystic powders possessed by the kibaan race that will cause skin disease or other malady[179]
  • mutya – small jewels that drops from the heart of the banana tree during a full moon or during the midnight of Good Friday; give its wielder mystique powers such as strength, invisibility, and youth rejuvenation[179]
  • birang of Laon – a large head-cloth which can provide anything the wielder wants; belonged to King Laon of Negros[179]
  • tikbalang hair – locks of golden hair naturally present among members of the tikbalang race; getting the lock will make a tikbalang loyal to the wielder[179]
  • biringan black rice – mystique black rice found only in the mythical Biringan city; offered by the biringanon to guests; if a guest eats it, he or she will be unable to leave Biringan for all of eternity[180]
  • golden shell of Kaptan – the supreme god of the Cebuano people, Kaptan, has a magic golden shell which allows its user to transform to whatever or whoever he or she wants to be; the shell was intended as a gift to Maguayen, goddess of the sea, but the god Sinogo stole it before it was properly delivered; Sinogo was later captured by Kaptan and imprisoned as a crocodile[179]
  • monsala – magical flying scarves recorded in the Sondayo epic of Subenen mythology; at least three scarves were known in the epic, one of which was used by Sondayo, the Subanen's main epic hero[121]

Important symbols in AnitismEdit

The reddish moon during an eclipse. Of the celestial figures, the moon is notably the most depicted and sought after in the many mythologies of the Philippines.
The endangered tayabak (jade vine) is a notable floral symbol in many communities in the Philippines. Other flower symbols include lilies, sampaguitas, and orchids.

Throughout various cultural phases in the archipelago, specific communities of people gradually developed or absorbed notable symbols in their belief systems. Many of these symbols or emblems are deeply rooted on the indigenous epics, poems, and pre-colonial beliefs of the natives. Each ethnic group has their own set of culturally important symbols, but there are also "shared symbols" which has influenced many ethnic peoples in a particular area. Some examples of important Anitist symbols are as follow:

  • okir – a distinct mark of cultural heritage of the now-Muslim peoples in specific portions of Mindanao; the most notable communities who perform the okir up to this day is the Maranao people[181]
  • vulva – an important symbol of fertility, health, and abundance of natural resources; depiction of such symbols are notable in the Alab petroglyphs of the Bontoc people[182]
  • lingling-o – special fertility ornaments which specific symbols and shapes; notably used by the Ifugao people today, but has been historically used by various people as far as the people of southern Palawan[183]
  • sun and moon – highly-worshiped symbols which are present as deities in almost all mythologies in the Philippines; protrayals of the sun and moon are notable in the indigenous tattoos of the natives, as well as the their fine ornaments and garments[184]
  • human statues – there are a variety of human statues made by the natives such as bulul, taotao, and manang; all of which symbolize the deities of specific pantheons[183]
  • serpent and bird – two notable symbols of strength, power, creation, death, and life in various mythologies; for serpents, the most notable depictions include dragons and snakes, while for birds, the most notable depictions are eagle, hawks, owls, and omen birds[184][27]
  • phallus – a symbol associated with fertility and creation for various ethnic groups; in some accounts, the phallus was also a source of both healing and sickness, notably in the depiction of the Tagalog phallic gods, Lingga and Bibit[185]
  • flower – many tattoos and textile motifs revolve around flower symbols; each ethnic group has their own set of preferred flowers, many of which are states in their epics and poems[27]
  • crocodile – a symbol strength and life after death; crocodile symbols are also used as deflectors against bad omens and evil spirits[184]
  • mountain and forest – many mountains and forests are considered as deities by some ethnic groups, while others consider them as home of the deities such as the case in Aklanon, Bicolano, Hiligaynon, Kapampangan, and Bagobo beliefs[45]
  • bamboo and coconut – symbols of creation, defense, sustenance, and resilience; many creation myths depict the bamboo as the source of mankind, while in others, it was utilized by mankind along with the coconut[186]
  • suyat – various indigenous writing systems in the Philippines; includes badlit, kulitan, iniskaya, buhid, hanunoo, baybayin, apurahuano, palaw'an, kur-itan, and many others[187][188]
  • rice and root crop – various mythologies magnify the rice stalk, rice grains, and root crops as the primary cultural associations with agriculture; many stories have stated that such crops are gifts from the divine and have nourished the people since ancient times[109][143][189]
  • sea, river, and boat – symbols on seas, rivers, and other water bodies are notable depictions in various mythologies in the Philippines; a stark commonality between various ethnic groups is the presence of unique boat-like technologies, ranging from huge balangays to fast karakoas[190][191][192]


Itneg potters, the person on the right is a mandadawak (Itneg shaman) wearing women's clothes. Feminized male shamans, referred in general as bayok, are important in indigenous religions in the Philippines, especially prior to Western colonization and imperialism, as having both male and female expressions is interpreted as a divine gift signifying a balance deemed by nature. (c. 1922)[193]
A Hiligaynon woman depicting a babaylan (Visayan shaman) during a festival. According to Spanish records, majority of pre-colonial shamans were women, while the other portion was composed of feminized men. Both of which were treated by the natives with high respect, equal to the datu (domain ruler).[194]
The Ticao stone inscription. Ancient traditions on suyat calligraphy were among those destroyed by Spanish colonialism and are being revived today.

Indigenous shamans (called babaylan, balian, katalonan, walian, machanitu, mumbaki, mandadawak, tao d'mangaw, bahasa, baglan, duwarta, and many other names depending on the associated ethnic group), were spiritual leaders of various ethnic peoples of the pre-colonial Philippine islands. These shamans, many of which are still extant, were almost always women or feminized men (asog or bayok). They were believed to have spirit guides, by which they could contact and interact with the spirits and deities (anito or diwata) and the spirit world. Their primary role were as mediums during pag-anito séance rituals. There were also various subtypes of shamans specializing in the arts of healing and herbalism, divination, and sorcery. Numerous types of shamans use different kinds of items in their work, such as talismans or charms known as agimat or anting-anting, curse deflectors such as buntot pagi, and sacred oil concoctions, among many other objects. All social classes, including the shamans, respect and revere their deity statues (called larauan, bulul, manang, etc.) which represent one or more specific deities within their ethnic pantheon, which includes non-ancestor deities and deified ancestors.[195]

Shamans were highly respected members of the community, on par with the pre-colonial noble class.[196][197][194] In the absence of the datu (head of the domain), the shaman takes in the role of interim head of the domain.[194] Shamans were powerful ritual specialists who had influence over the weather, and can tap various spirits in the natural and spiritual realms. Shamans were held in such high regard as they were believed to possess powers that can block the dark magic of an evil datu or spirit and heal the sick or wounded. Among other powers of the shaman were to ensure a safe pregnancy and child birth. As a spiritual medium, shamans also lead rituals with offerings to the various divinities or deities. As an expert in divine and herb lore, incantations, and concoctions of remedies, antidotes, and a variety of potions from various roots, leaves, and seeds, the shamans were also regarded as allies of certain datus in subjugating an enemy, hence, the indigenous shamans were also known for their specialization in medical and divine combat.[194]

Their influence waned when most of the ethnic groups of the Philippines were gradually converted to Islam and forcefully converted to Catholicism. Under the Spanish Empire, shamans were often maligned and falsely accused as witches and "priests of the devil" and were persecuted harshly by the Spanish clergy. The Spanish burned down everything they associated as connected to the native people's indigenous religion (including shrines such as the dambana), even forcefully ordering native children to defecate on their own god's idols, murdering those who disobey.[194] In modern Philippine society, their roles have largely been taken over by folk healers, which are now predominantly male, while some are still being falsely accused as 'witches' and 'madmen', which has been inputted by Spanish and American colonialism.[198][199][200] In areas where the people have not been converted into Muslims or Christians, notably ancestral domains of indigenous peoples, the shamans and their cultural traits have continued to exist with their respective communities, although these shamans and their practices are being slowly diluted by Christian religions which continue to interfere with their life-ways.[194][201][202][203]

Sacred groundsEdit

Mount Makiling, a bundok dambana (mountain shrine), home to Makiling, the anito sent by Bathala to aid mankind in the area. The site has been declared an ASEAN Heritage Park in 2013.
The Manunggul Jar, dating 890–710 BCE, was found in Tabon Cave in southern Palawan. Two prominent figures at its cover represent the journey of the soul to the afterlife.
The folklore-motif Daru Jambangan (Palace of Flowers) in Maimbung, Sulu before it was allegedly "destroyed by a typhoon" in 1932 during the American occupation era. Surrounded by the burial mounds of past Tausug royals, the grand palace was the seat of the Sultanate of Sulu and remains an expansive sacred ground to this day.
Mount Mantalingajan is revered by the local ethnic groups as the "mountain of the gods". They believe that a race known as Tau’t Daram (People of the Night) used to live in the mountain's forest canopies. These mysterious beings are still referred in the people's chants as "the shadows".[204]

The places of worship of Anitist adherents in the Philippines are extremely varied. The terms in reference to these places depend on the ethnic people they are associated with. For example, for the indigenous Tagalog people, their place of worship is called a lambana or dambana (literally means "shrine"). Many ethnic peoples in the country have a shared "mountain worship culture", where specific mountains are believed to be the abodes of certain divinities or supernatural beings and aura. Mythical places of worship are also present in some mythologies. Unfortunately, majority of these places of worship (which includes items associated with these sites such as idol statues and ancient documents written in suyat scripts) were brutalized and destroyed by the Spanish colonialists between the 15th to 19th centuries, and were continued to be looted by American imperialists in the early 20th century. Additionally, the lands used by the native people for worship were mockingly converted by the colonialists as foundation for their foreign churches and cemeteries. Examples of indigenous places of worship that have survived colonialism are mostly natural sites such as mountains, gulfs, lakes, trees, boulders, and caves. Indigenous man-made places of worship are still present in certain communities in the provinces, notably in ancestral domains where the people continue to practice their indigenous religions.[205][206][207][208][209] Prime examples of traditional sacred places today are as follow:

  • Mount Canatuan – a sacred mountain in Siocon, Zamboanga del Norte for the Subanen people, who believe that the mountain is the home of a variety of well-respected nature spirits;[210] the divine mountain was destroyed by a mining company, and a huge mass of it has been transformed into the Canatuan mine,[211] despite indigenous protests[212][213]
  • Mayon Volcano – home of the supreme deity of the Bicolano people, Gugurang; repository of the sacred fire of Ibalon; it is said to erupt, rumble, or spout lava or ash whenever the people committed heinous crimes, signalling the people to repent and undo evil things[51]
  • Angono Petroglyphs – limestone wall traditionally used for healing purposes by the Tagalog people, who drew infant figures on the wall to "pass-on" a child's sickness onto it[214][215]
  • Mount Pinatubo – home of the powerful Kapampangan moon god, Apûng Malyari, who also rules over the eight sacred rivers;[216] in contrast, the neighboring Mount Arayat is the home of the powerful sun god of war and death, Aring Sinukûan, who taught the early Kapampangans the industry of metallurgy, woodcutting, rice culture and waging wars.[35]
  • Mount Pulag – the tallest mountain in Luzon island and is home to the tinmongao spirits; believed to be the sacred resting ground of the souls of the Ibaloi people and other ethnic peoples[217]
  • Bud Bongao – a sacred mountain for the Sama-Bajau and Tausug peoples; guarded by spirits and monkeys in Tawi-tawi[218]
  • Mount Apo – the tallest and largest mountain in the Philippines and an expansive sacred mountain for the Manobos, Bagobo, Ubos, Atas, K’Iagans and Tagacaolo peoples; the mountain is often referred as "grandfather" or "elder";[219] some ethnic peoples there offer sacrifices to the deity, Mandarangan, for good health and victories in war;[118] in Bagobo beliefs, it is said that two gigantic eels used to live in the mountain's rivers, one went east, lived, and became the ancestor of eels in the sea, while the other one went west inland, eventually dying and becoming the western foot ridges of Mount Apo;[220] the Bagabo also believe that Apo Sandawa, god of blacksmiths, lives in Mount Apo with the deity of the forge, Tolus Ka Gomanan, who is venerated in a ritual called Gomek-gomanan[45]
  • Mount Madia-as – home to the Hiligaynon and Karay-a death god, Sidapa, who measures mortal lives through an ancient tree;[14] later stories say that the comely moon god, Bulan, eventually lived with the robust and handsome Sidapa in his mountain home after a complex courtship and rescue story, which led to their divine marriage[14]
  • Hinatuan Enchanted River – a sacred river believed to be protected by supernatural beings; the Surigaonon people believe that certain fishes in the river cannot be caught due to enchanted protection[221][222]
  • Kanlaon – a sacred volcano in Negros Island surrounded by a variety of myths; a story states that its vicinity was home to a nation ruled by Laon; it was also formerly home to a dragon-like monster which was slayed by the lovers, Kan, a youthful hero, and Laon, a king or datu in Negros; later stories say that the supreme goddess of the Hiligaynon people, Kanlaon, now lives in the volcano[223]
  • Agusan Marsh – an expansive sacred marsh believed to be the home of numerous celestial spirits; Lumads perform the panagtawag rituals so that a visitor would not be harmed in the marsh[224]
  • Biri – a sacred island with striking rock formations; the Waray people believe that Biri is the home of the goddess, Berbinota, who was initially a beautiful mortal woman who ruled the area's vicinity; stories say that enchanted beings kidnapped the mortal Berbinota in an attempt to make her their ruler, which eventually led to her enthronement as a goddess[225]
  • Mount Caimana – a sacred mountain for the Cuyunon people and is said to be the home of their supreme deity, Diwata ng Kagubatan; the Cuyunon used to perform a complex ritual for the deity on top of the mountain during her feast day prior to Spanish colonization[226]
  • Mount Iraya – a sacred mountain for the Ivatan people; there are two contrasting tales regarding the mountain, the first tale states that the mountain is a mother goddess (although Iraya was initially depicted as an androgynous deity prior to colonization) overlooking her children (the Ivatans) for their protection,[72] while the second tale states that if a ring of clouds appear on top of the mountain, Iraya is notifying the people for preparation due to an inevitable death of an elder, usually due to natural causes[73]
  • Kalipung-awan – a sacred fishing ground for the people of Catanduanes since ancient times; the indigenous name means "loneliness from an isolated place", referring to the feeling of fishermen who catch marine life in the area for days without their families; national culture refers to the place as Benham or Philippine Rise[227]
  • Langun-Gobingob Caves – a sacred cave system in Samar believed to be the home of ancient spirits and the resting ground of Waray people's souls; it is the second largest cave system in Asia[228]
  • Siquijor – the entire island province of Siquijor has been a sacred ground since ancient times due to its associated mystic traditions and sites; legend tells that the island rose from the sea after a strong earthquake[229]
  • Mount Kechangon – a sacred mountain in Lubuagan, Kalinga, which is the abode of the tinakchi, a race of mysterious and highly-respected mountain-dwelling nature beings known as the "people who can’t be seen"; some accounts tell that the tinakchi can use teleportation and invisibility, usually to safeguard nature and its wildlife[171]
  • Mount Pandadagsaan – a sacred mountain for many ethnic groups such as the Mandaya people in New Bataan, Compostela Valley; protected by a variety of nature deities; people who disturb the area or go there without divine permission are said to lose their way and succumb to the mountains[230]
  • Romblon – the islands of Romblon is home to multiple sacred caves used by the ancestors of the ethnic Asi, Onhan, and Romblomanon peoples; the most notable of which is Ipot Cave on the island of Banton, where the oldest warp ikat textile in Southeast Asia was found[231][232]
  • Kamhantik – a sacred site in Quezon province filled with unique limestone coffins made between 890-1030 AD; locals believe that the limestone tombs and associated objects were made by forest deities; the site was looted by the Americans before proper archaeological research was conducted[233][234][235]
  • Sabuluag – islands east of Iloilo that are known for its sacred caves, remains of ancient ancestors, and enchanted and unseen beings lurking throughout the islands; during Spanish colonization, huge human bones were found on Bakwitan cave, which led to the island groups's name change into "Islas de Gigantes"[236][237]
  • Ticao – a island in east Masbate, which is home to thousands of artifacts, including ancient human teeth, burial jars, ceramics, accessories, ancient stone inscriptions, cave petrographs, and cave petrogylphs; the island's cultural landscapes, notably its caves, are believed to be the home of a variety of nature spirits of the land, while its waters are filled with manta rays and sea spirits[238][239]

Ethnic counterparts in indigenous mythologiesEdit

A Visayan tenegre horn hilt, depicting the sea serpent deity, Bakunawa. Outside the Visayas and Bicol regions, horn hilt depictions often change into other designs as Bakunawa only exists in Visayan and Bicolano mythologies.

Due to intensive cultural exchanges spanning for millenniums, many of the mythologies from a variety of ethnic groups in the Philippines have similarities, in one way or another. A few examples of which are: (1) the creation myths of the Bicolano people[85] and the Visayan peoples, whose deities' names are different but the activities recorded in their creation myths are extremely similar;[140] (2) the presence of deities named Mayari[240]/Malayari[151]/Apûng Malyari,[90] which is prevalent in Tagalog,[240] Kapampangan,[90] and Sambal mythologies;[151] (3) the presence of boy-moon deities, named Bulan in Hiligaynon, Karay-a, Cebuano[241] and Bicolano mythologies,[85] and serpent deities named Bakunawa in Hiligaynon, Karay-a, Cebuano, and Bicolano mythologies - almost all of which exhibited indigenous divine homosexual romance;[153] (4) the presence of moon-swallowing monsters named Tambanokano in Mandaya and Manobo mythologies, where the Mandaya Tambanokano is depicted as a crab, while the Manobo Tambanokano is depicted as a tarantula or scorpion, depending on the ethnic sub-group;[109] (5) the presence of foe-deities named Gugurang and Asuang in Bicolano mythology[52] and Agurang and Aswang in Hiligaynon mythology.[52] and (6) the presence of deities named Kabunian in the mythologies of the Ibaloi people,[39] the Bontoc people,[40] and the Ifugao people.[41]

Despite being ethnic counterparts, the deities, heroes, and creatures are completely different from each other, and their stories must be respected as they are and not mixed into a single narrative. It should also be noted that each ethnic story has a variety of versions. In many cases, stories vary between town to town or village to village despite the peoples in the specified areas belonging to the same ethnic group. [45][242][186][153]

Cultural achievements of indigenous mythologiesEdit

The Laguna Copperplate Inscription (900 AD) showed pre-colonial people already had complex organizations centuries before Spanish colonization. The writing system used predates other known suyat scripts such as baybayin and badlit.
A couple belonging to the Sambal warrior class (1580's Boxer Codex). The female warrior is holding a raptor, which has captured a bird, for sacred falconry.
The Golden Tara, considered by many as an integral national treasure of the Philippines, is one of the many myth-based gold crafts made by pre-colonial people in the Rajahnate of Butuan.

Pre-colonial belief systems of many ethnic peoples in the Philippines are centered on values with ingrained inclinations toward an egalitarian society, treating everything through respectful and just means. These values have originated, notably, in the indigenous religions (referred by most Westerners as "mythologies") of the archipelagic people. Among the cultural achievements of the native people's belief systems, that are notable in many ethnic societies, are as follow:

  • Agricultural and aqua-cultural innovations, adaptations, and systems on a variety of landscapes and seascapes which are respectful of the natural world's ecological balance[243]
  • Development and expertise in indigenous martial arts, warfare, and the crafts used in them, and respecting the usage of the martial arts for protection of communities and subjugation of what are deemed as discriminatory and hateful[244]
  • High respect for the natural world, including the spiritual realms and its beings, which are all seen as part of all the affairs of every life on earth, thus envisioned as an interconnected web, where one action affects the other, whether directly or indirectly[6][245]
  • Development of an organized system of communities, with laws enacted to promote social welfare and to protect nature, the spirits, and the people[245]
  • Expansion of indigenous educational systems and writing systems through focusing on belief systems, epics, and other mediums that exhibit good values of an egalitarian society[246][247][248]
  • Sociable culture based on peace pacts, maritime and land journeys, communal gatherings, and respect towards ethnic differences[245][249]
  • Solving problems and wars through a variety of mediums such as divine intervention, sacred peace pacts, public consultations, and community interference[250][251]
  • Development of craft innovations used for non-agricultural and non-martial tasks such as textiles, potteries, and ornaments, with respect to the sustainability of sources and the environment and its wildlife[252][253][254]
  • Development of indigenous culinary and healing arts, including medicinal practices and its associated objects and ingredients that were sustainably-sourced due to respectful cultures directed to the natural world[255][256][257][258]
  • Enhancement of the fine arts focusing on folk literature, calligraphy, performing arts, and craft arts, among many other forms, which highly contributed to the advancement and notice-ability of a variety of values such as wisdom, resiliency, creativity, and respect[259][260]
  • High respect for equal rights, notable in the matriarchal societies of pre-colonial ethnic groups, which includes the legality of divorce, equal stand on decision-making from any gender, retention of names after marriage whether women or men, marriage to any gender, equal suitability of any work for any gender, and equal respect for children and elders[261][262][263][264]

Despite the progressive stature of the ethnic people's cultural achievements, based on values from belief systems, many of these achievements were destroyed upon the imposition of Spanish colonialism from the 16th to 19th centuries. The purge on indigenous belief systems and their achievements was later continued by the Americans in the early 20th century. Within that colonial time frame, many values were replaced by colonially-imposed toxic masculinity,[265] notions that a woman must be quiet and submissive towards men,[266] inferiority complex among the commonfolk and children and superiority complex among the elites and perceived adults,[267][268] backward notions on marriage and virginity,[269] backward notions on divorce and women's rights,[270] religious Christian fanaticism,[271][272] and disregard for the natural world and its wildlife.[273][274]

Today, many of the cultural achievements and values of the native people, based on non-colonial belief systems, have been fragmented, but are gradually being revived by more modern generations. Due to progressive waves of social reforms globally, many of the native people's non-colonial achievements based on belief systems have even been falsely branded as "Western notions" such as 'equality for all', when in fact, these beliefs systems have been known to the native people prior to colonization, as far back as the 15th century, and possibly even farther than 900 AD – centuries older than today's "progressive Western notions" – as complex organizations have already developed prior to 900 AD, as exemplified in the content of the Laguna Copperplate Inscription.[275][261][262][263][264][276][277]

Additional cultural achievements of indigenous belief systems that have sprang through practices and patronizations made by modern generations in the late 20th century and early 21st century are as follow:

Regional Philippine mythologyEdit

Mangima Canyon in Bukidnon is a sacred abode for the Higaonon people. The canyon's natural ecosystems are poised towards endangerment due to a surge in unsustainable tourism and nearby urban development.
Blaan women performing a traditional myth-inspired dance during an inter-ethnic festival in South Cotabato.
Mount Apo is a sacred mountain for the Manobos, Bagobo, Ubos, Atas, K’Iagans and Tagacaolo peoples. The Bagobo believe that the western part of the mountain was the dead body of a giant eel. The sibling of the dead eel made it to sea when it went east, and later became the ancestor of all eels.
Limestone burial urns with myth-inspired patterns from Cotabato dating back 600 CE.
A Bontoc shaman performing a sacred wake ritual with a death chair.
A bale (Ifugao house) with traditional skeletal displays. The number and complexity of the bones exemplify a family's wealth, honor, and prestige.

The Philippines is made up of more than 7,000 islands, but they are divided into three main island regions.[290] These regions are: Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao (which is subdivided here into North and South). There have been attempts to refer each region to specific pre-colonial mythologies, however, the difference in mythologies and belief systems is not by region, but by ethnic groups, where some ethnic groups have influence in only a few towns, while others have inter-regional influences spanning various provinces. Buddhism and Hinduism in the Philippines is influential to the culture and myths of the people within the three major island regions. There is no unified mythology among the three regions, due to a wide array of diverse cultures that continue to flourish distinctly in the islands.[291] These myths were orally passed down,[292] which means that even myths within the same region will have some degree of change.


Pre-colonial Luzon were split among Hindu-Buddhist, Muslim principalities, and animist.

  • Creation Story – Story of Bathala (Tagalog)[293]
    • The story of Bathala explains how he became the ruler of the universe, the etiological explanation of the coconut tree, and how all the everything on earth came to be
  • The Creation – Lumawig (Igorot)[294]
    • Lumawig, a great spirit god created peopled in different areas. This gives an explanation on why people speak differently than others.
  • The Flood Story (Igorot)[295]
    • Lumawig's two sons decided to flood the earth to bring up mountains so that they can catch pig and deer. However, in the acts of doing this, they drowned all the people on earth except for two people; they were brother and sister. Ludwig helped the two survive the flood and after the flood subsided, the brother and sister got married and repopulated the earth.
    • Etiological explanation for mountains


Pre-colonial Visayas were influenced by Hindu-Buddhist and Animism. The Spaniards even described some of the indigenous people who lived there as Pintados, which means that they had tattoos/paintings on them.

  • The Sun and the Moon[296]
    • The sun and moon created the stars. An etiological explanation for the stars.
    • The sun burned the starts and this made the moon upset. They begin to fight, but the moon ran away. This gives an etiological explanation why the sun and moon seem to be "chasing" each other.


Pre-colonial Mindanao (around 900AD) were influenced by Hindu-Buddhist, Indonesian, and Malaysian beliefs and culture. Then around the 17th and 18thcentury, Islam in most northern islands of Mindanao were well established.

I. North MindanaoEdit

  • The Children of the Limokon (Mandaya)[297]
    • The limokon bird laid eggs along a river that created man and woman. However, they were born on separate sides of the river. One day the man came across the woman and they got married and had children.
    • This gives an explanation on how the Mandaya people were created.
  • The Sun and the Moon (Mandaya)[298]
    • The sun and moon were married, but one day, the sun got angry at the moon and started to chase her. This gives an etiological explanation why the sun and moon “chase” each other.
    • The first child of the sun and moon  was chopped up but the sun because he was angry at him. The sun then scattered him across the sky. This is the etiological explanation why there are starts
    • Another son of the sun and moon was a gigantic crab that created lightening when he blinks his eyes. He lives in a hole in the bottom of the ocean and is responsible for high and low tides.
  • How the Moon and the Stars Came to Be (Bukidnon)[299]
    • This was a time the sky was close to the ground. A spinster who was pounding rice struck the sky so hard it began to rise. Her comb and beads that she hung on the sky to dry also raised with it. That became the moon and stars.  
  • The Flood Story (Bukidnon)[300]
    • A big crab that crawled into the sea created the flood in which drowned all the people except those who made a raft and stayed upon it.
  • Origin (Bagobo)[301]
    • A boy and a girl was the only ones left on Mount Apo. They were so weak because of the drout. However, the boy found a sugarcane and was able to cut it. Water from the sugar cane refreshed him and his sister until rain came.
    • This is why they are called Bagobo.

II. South MindanaoEdit

  • Epic ‘Tudbulul’ (T’Boli)[302]
    • Tudbulu was a hero that organized a concert. He gathered music and this attracted many people. Some of these people stayed and lived together.
    • This is how the T’boli tribe was formed
  • Creation Story – D’wata (T’Boli)[303]
    • The Betoti found soil and brought it back to D’wata. They spread out the soil and created dry land. The animals on earth then told Betoti that they need someone to look after them. Betoti told D’wata and thus man and woman were created out of statues.
  • Creation Story – Melu (B’laan)[304]
    • Melu created the Earth with his dead skin that came off as he cleaned himself. The remaining dead skin was used to make 2 men. However, Melu could not make their noses. Tau Tana appeared below the earth and helped him make the noses. When they were done, they whipped the men until they started to move. Melu then told the two men to save their dead skin and hair so that he would be able to make them companions.
  • In the Beginning (B’laan)[305]
    • Four beings that created the earth, and people.
    • They tried using wax, then dirt. However, their noses were the most difficult to make. Melu  was in a hurry and pressed his finger at the root of their noses. This is the reason why the B’laan peoples’ noses are the way it is.

Status, recognition, protection, and promotionEdit

Kayangan lake in Coron is a sacred abode for the Tagbanwa people and their deities since ancient times. The lake is within Palawan, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.
Kalinga children performing an ancient dance of strength. Few communities perform age-old and un-Hispanized traditions in the Philippines today.
Philippine mythology is seldom taught in schools in the country despite its immense national significance to Filipino culture and identity. Due to colonialism and imperialism, Western mythologies such as Greek and Roman are taught in schools instead.
Procession in Malaybalay during the Kaamulan festival.

A 2010 national survey and research conducted by the Pew Research Center found that more than 1.5% (some studies show 2%[306]) of the 2010 Philippine population, or approximately 1,430,000 people, adhered to Anitism or the folk religions in the Philippines. The research also concluded that, following a rise in the national population and in the percentage of Anitist adherents to 1.6% from 2020 onward, the number of Anitists would grow to approximately 2,560,000 by 2050. The survey graph showcased a rising line with a slightly lowering curve from 2010 to 2050 due to a surge in the population of Muslims in the country. The research did not, however, projected the number and the rise of people who have reverted back to Anitism, especially in urban areas, which would account for about 500,000 people by 2050, for a total of ±3.1 million Anitist adherents by 2050 - within a single generation.[307] This number may increase to around 4 million adherents if the 2%-population study is followed.[306] The 2010 median age of Anitist adherents was noted as 20, while the fertility rate was at 3%, although this may decrease to 2.1% by 2050 if the cultural destruction committed against Anitists by certain religious sects continue within the next few decades.[308] More than 90% of the country's population continue to believe in certain Anitist superstitions and belief systems ingrained in Filipino culture and national identity, despite the adherence (or lack thereof) to non-Anitist religions such as Islam and Christianity. Because many of these beliefs have been drastically ingrained in Filipino culture for centuries, many of the people who believe in them are not aware of the Anitist origins of such beliefs.[309]

At least two oral literature in the Philippines, the Hudhud and the Darangen, and one indigenous game, Punnuk, have been inscribed in the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists.[310] Additionally, four Philippine paleographs, with the inclusion of Ambahan poetry, have been inscribed in the UNESCO Memory of the World Register, under a single entry.[311] The José Maceda Collection inscribed in the Memory of the World Register also contains an array of traditional music from the Philippines containing stories from ethnic mythologies.[312] A variety of landscapes and seascapes that have been historically held as Anitist sacred grounds have also been inscribed in the World Heritage List (includes Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras, Tubbataha Reef, Mount Hamiguitan, and Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park),[313] the World Network of Biosphere Reserves (includes Palawan, Puerto Galera, and Albay),[314] and the ASEAN Heritage Parks List (Apo Reef, Mounts Iglit-Baco National Park, Mount Kitanglad, Mount Malindang, Mount Makiling, Tubbataha Reef, Mount Hamiguitan, and Timpoong and Hibok-Hibok Natural Monument).[315] Additionally, the land used by the Spanish as the foundation for four world heritage churches in the Philippines were originally Anitist sacred grounds that were ransacked by colonialists in the 16th century.[313] In 2014, the international astronomical monitoring agency MPC named asteroid 1982 XB as 3757 Anagolay, after the Tagalog goddess of lost things, Anagolay.[316]

In accordance to the National Cultural Heritage Act, as enacted in 2010, the Philippine Registry of Cultural Property (PReCUP) was established as the national registry of the Philippine Government used to consolidate in one record all cultural property that are deemed important to the cultural heritage, tangible and intangible, of the Philippines. The registry safeguards a variety of Philippine heritage elements, including oral literature, music, dances, ethnographic materials, and sacred grounds, among many others.[317] The National Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS) Law, as enacted in 1992 and expanded in 2018, also protects certain Anitist sacred grounds in the country.[318]

Philippine mythology is seldom taught in Filipino schools, even after the implementation of the K-12 educational system. Most mythologies currently taught and approved by the Department of Education and the Commission on Higher Education are composed of Western mythologies, such as Greek, Roman, and Norse. In the few cases where Philippine mythology is taught in schools, the mythologies are notably mistaken as 'dead religions', when in fact, these religions are still being practiced by almost two million Filipinos. Additionally, in certain lessons under Filipino subjects, Filipino-translated or 'Tagalized' names of Greek and Roman gods and goddesses are falsely branded as part of the people's ethnic mythologies. Most entities that promote Philippine mythology for education are artists, scholars, television networks, publishers, and non-profit organizations. Certain stories from Anitism, notably the mythical creatures, have also been promoted globally in international book bazaars, films, art galleries, online games, and educational courses. Both the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) and the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) have supported the promotion of Philippine mythology in many occasions, although government funding is still extremely minimal.[319][320][321][322][323][324] Since 2018, there have been proposals to establish a fully-fledged Department of Culture, which would be able to protect and promote Philippine mythologies to a wider audience, while enlarging funding for the programs intended for their promotion and protection.[325][326]

There is currently no published comprehensive book on all Philippine mythologies, although one is currently on the works since April 2019. The book will be composed of "all the known pantheons of Philippine Mythology and Beliefs – including variations, sources, associated myths, articles, and comparative studies.” It will also include a cross referencing index for deities in multiple pantheons. Certain officials from the country's national culture commission have signified support for the project. Despite this, the Philippine government has yet to make any official statement or funding regarding the development.[327]

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External linksEdit