The tikbalang is a monster in Philippine Mythology commonly described as a tall, bony, humanoid creature with disproportionately long limbs, such that its knees tower over its head when it squats down. It has the head and sometimes the feet of an animal, most commonly a horse. It has been compared to the half-man, half-horse centaur from Greek mythology. Habitat and behavior

  • Like the kapre, the tikbalang is said to reside in big trees like the balete, and can be seen smoking tobacco near or on top of the tree. Tikbalang also dwell in swamps or in the deep woods.
  • Tikbalang are said to scare travelers and lead them astray. They play tricks that lead the unwary traveler to keep on returning to an arbitrary path regardless of how far he goes or where he turns.

A tikbalang can also take on human form. When targeting a person, it mimics the appearance, voice and mannerisms of someone close to the person, such as a friend or relative. Thus the victim is tricked into follow the tikbalang to nowhere until they are lost, sometimes never to be seen again.

  • A traveller who finds himself lost and suspects that a tikbalang is leading him astray may counteract it by wearing his shirt inside out. Another countermeasure is to verbally ask permission to pass by ("tabi-tabi po"), or to avoid making too much noise while in the woods so as not to offend or disturb the tikbalang.

Folklore says that one can tame a tikbalang and compel it to be one's servant by plucking three golden hairs from its mane. There are also stories where a tikbalang asks its intended prey a bugtong (riddle). Someone who manages to answer correctly will be rewarded with a pot of gold.

  • Where there is a sudden outpour of rain while the sun is still shining, a folk saying goes: "may kinakasal na tikbalang" ("a tikbalang is getting married").
  • A tikbalang takes a bath only during the full moon.
  • Some say that the tikbalangs were once beautiful women grown very old.
  • Tikbalang may fall in love with mortals.

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