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Tikbalang The Half Human Half Horse In Philippine Folklore

Precy loves to write about many topics, including Filipino dishes, culture, legends and traditions.

The tikbalang depicted as half-human and half-horse in Philippine folklore.

The tikbalang depicted as half-human and half-horse in Philippine folklore.

One creature in Philippine folklore shared by word of mouth specially in provinces is the tikbalang. A tikbalang is a half-horse and a half-human just as depicted on the image above, the equivalent of the centaur in Greek mythology.

It is said that a tikbalang would lead travelers astray or scare them away. Knowing the area as the palm of your hand and still getting lost, only to return on the same path like you've never left the place is believed to be a trick played by the creature. To break this off, the lost traveler must turn his clothing inside out and is what locals do whenever they find themselves lost. Stories of such experiences are usually heard happening late at night on dark, unlit areas mostly in provinces or rural areas.

And just like the kapre, the tikbalang is also associated with bamboos, bamboo groves and under bridges.

Tikbalang And Its Association With Balete Tree

The tikbalang is believed to reside in balete trees. Also known as banyan tree, this tree is somehow feared, associated with enchanted beings and paranormal activities. It is also believed that balete tree contains portal to other realms.

Tikbalang is also depicted on horror movies or just like in the GMA series which had ended titled "Luna Mystika." It is also said that possessing a strand of golden hair of a tikbalang will give one the power to have the creature under his/her control.

Ficus indica - balete tree or banyan tree. Believes to be a portal to other realms and where a tikbalang resides.

Ficus indica - balete tree or banyan tree. Believes to be a portal to other realms and where a tikbalang resides.

Is the Tikbalang Just A Folklore?

People would probably say yes, a folklore is a folklore. But what about those who heard stories of sightings from reliable sources and from those who had the extraordinary experience of an encounter?

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Here's a story on how I now entertain the thought that this creature isn't just alive in Philippine folklore. The chance that some of the stories shared around are indeed, true encounters.

No One Owns A Horse In The Neighborhood

We lived in the province in the 90's and it was a knit-tight neighborhood. Everyone knows who's who. Farming and growing livestock is the main source of income. Rice fields, bamboo groves, and fruit-bearing trees are very common. Not everyone has electricity nor television. Kids my age would play hide-and-seek and tag you're it amongst other games. Running competitions amongst us kids was another usual game in the evening as there were less vehicles passing by unlike in the cities.

We were like families with the neighbors. We share foods, crops, and neighbors with no television were more than welcome to watch along with those who has television. Often neighbors also share news either good or bad. One particular neighbor was sick at that time. It was one of my father's friend, who, at that time was staying with his family. They were living across the street from us.

The family didn't know what was the cause of the illness. But the friend was slowly getting weaker and weaker. And since the friend was staying with his family, my dad was able to visit. An intriguing part of the story were the few times my dad shared to me and my brother that his friend had repeatedly told him of a tikbalang. On one occasion while my dad was talking to him on one visit, the friend suddenly mentioned that the tikbalang was there keeping an eye on him. He even pointed out one time where he said the creature was standing. Somehow wanting to take him along. It intrigued my dad but knowing his friend, he knew it wasn't a made-up story or a hallucination whatsoever.

Few days passed by. Weeks went by. There was also a time where my dad said his friend shared that the visiting tikbalang wanted to take his daughter but he pleaded not and to take him instead.

Did the other friends or neighbors know? Maybe. My dad only shared us about his visits. And if the other neighbors also know, it was something they wouldn't just brushed off. Stories of encounters with other folkloric creatures isn't unusual in Philippine provinces. But it was this one unforgettable night that made the unverified existence of such creatures become even more intriguing.

I was home alone that night. It was a quiet night with just a kerosene lamp as we don't have electricity yet. It was nearly 10 o'clock at night and I was looking out the window wondering when my dad or my brother will be home. My brother was out with other kids and dad was across the street along with other neighbors where the sick friend was staying. Then all of a sudden a sound of a horse neighing and stomping was heard against the asphalt road. No other sound. Then the chattering neighbors resumed. I thought that was odd as no one around owns a horse. I didn't think much of it until my dad came home and said, "My sick friend just passed away." Nothing could explain what they heard. I said I heard it too. It was out of the ordinary. My dad added that he was outside with some other neighbors when they all heard it. To make it even more baffling, no horse was seen running on the road when houses were mostly just few yards away, only the sound was heard.


Ace on May 16, 2020:

i experienced this too

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