Monday, January 28, 2008

Tikbalang! (Part 3)

There’s only one way to taming a tikbalang: subdue it. The more physical approach is to choke it until it weakens and admits defeat. A second, more tactical approach is to jump on the back of an unwary tikbalang and outlast its cavorting as it tries to shake off the unwelcome passenger on its back. Once the tikbalang’s strength is sapped, it must be tied up with a cord specially prepared by magic rituals. Once the creature is vanquished, the would-be-master then plucks one or all of the three thickest spines on its mane and keeps it in a place the tikbalang cannot access.

When rain falls from a clear sky, a tikbalang is reportedly getting married. There has been no report of female tikbalangs so the spouse is subject to conjecture. Some local legends tell of nocturnal marauding tikbalangs who seek and rape human females. The impregnated mortals then give birth to more tikbalangs and so on and so forth.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Tikbalang! (Part 2)

Some survivors recounted that the tikbalang slapped, pushed, knocked them over and were not allowed to get back up. Some travelers who have been led astray by the tikbalang reportedly went insane or were never seen again. All the while, the creature is reportedly wracked by nervous, childish giggling.

Once the victim ceases to resist, the tikbalang loses interest and leaves. The victim finds himself alone in complete darkness in the woods, the sun long set. No matter how hard the victim tries to get back home, no matter how far he goes or where he turns, he invariably finds himself back in the same spot as if the forest was folding in upon itself with no way out. The victim is beset with a sense of disorientation. The way to counteract this spell is to wear your clothes inside out.

A tikbalang reportedly makes a great servant, doing everything its master commands. Philippine faith healers or witch doctors have been known to send their servant tikbalangs on various errands. But before a mortal can make a tikbalang his servant, he must first tame the creature.

Thursday, January 24, 2008


Deep in the rural hinterlands of the Philippine islands, people still live in fear of a fearsome creature, a half-horse, half-human hybrid. Locally called the tikbalang, it is said to be a bony humanoid with the head and hooves of a horse but with the body of a tall, muscular man. It is reported to have disproportionately long legs so that its knew reach above its head when it squats. Its mane is made of sharp spines, the three thickest of special significance because these can be made into talismans. Some legends have it that the tikbalang is the transformation of an aborted fetus sent back to earth from limbo.

The tikbalang can reportedly transform itself into human form, mimic the appearance of a victim’s relatives and friends, including their exact voices and mannerisms. With this power, the creature can easily lead its victim to the heavily wooded depths of Philippine mountain ranges. At the opportune time, the tikbalang reveals its true colors. The air is suddenly filled with the pungent aroma of tobacco or burning hair. The victim’s vision blurs as if drugged. All he sees is drunken swaying motion by the “relative” whose face soon turns into that of a horse.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

The Mountains of Good and Evil (Part 6)

Finally, the group could take it no longer. They gathered their gear and hastily retreated down Mt. Cristobal’s slope just before midnight. Upon reaching base camp at the foot of the forbidding mountain, Ruel Ruiz, the head psychic, performed an auric cleansing ritual on every member of the group so that the evil spirits would not be able to follow them.

A tragic event seemingly capped the two years Nginiig (Filipino word for “shivers”) psychics dealt with the supernatural for every episode of the television series. A few weeks after the Mt. Cristobal sortie, young Nginiig director Luigi Santiago was fatally shot in cold blood. The entire cast and crew were devastated and they dedicated a few episodes more to their beloved director. Then, Nginiig: The Hidden Files gracefully faded away …

Friday, January 11, 2008

The Mountains of Good and Evil (Part 5)

The leader of the supernatural beings began unfolding his story through Mae de Vera, the Nginiig group’s psychic “communicator …

Eons ago, the group of supernatural entities made Mt. Cirstobal their home. The different kinds of otherworldly beings had been forced to co-exist in Cristobal’s lush forest cover since it was their only habitat. During the last twenty years, more and more humans had come trekking up the mountain. They brought destruction in their path. The spirits reacted by punishing mortals who violated the forest. Some were turned into trees and bushes, others into boulders and rocks, and many were transformed into wild animals. The “king” ended his story with a warning for the Nginiig” group to leave immediately never to return.

As the narrative progressed, Mae was becoming more and more agitated and she began shaking uncontrollably. At the last part, she became hysterical and had to be calmed down and comforted by the other psychics. John de los Santos, the group’s “locator” could by now see very, very fast moving entities, no more than four feet tall, flitting among the members of the group. They were so lightning fast that they reminded John of the Flash comic book character.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Mountains of Good and Evil (Part 4)

Finally, at around 10 P.M., they had reached the upper portion of Mt. Cristobal. Exhausted and a bit unnerved, the group and their guides decided to take a rest. The supernatural entities were still in loose circular formation around them. They were of different shapes and sizes. Some were small in stature, some were gigantic, most of their features were not human.

John de los Santos, the “locator”, kept track of the position of the supernatural beings all around them. Finally, Mae de Vera, the “communicator”, attempted to “talk” with the beings. A tall, imposing being came forward and introduced himself as the leader. Mae reported that she was not actually hearing the being through voice but more through mental telepathy …

Thus, the leader of the dark spirits of Mt. Cristobal began relating his incredible tale …

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

The Mountains of Good and Evil (Part 3)

At that point, several of the psychics began sensing, but not seeing, several entities watching them from a all around at a discreet distance. Confident of their innate powers and their extensive psychic training and experience, they trudged on.

By around 9 P.M., they were halfway up the mountain. By this time, many of the psychics could actually see the supernatural entities which had by now formed a loose wide circle around them. Thankfully, the were not approaching the group who had by now formed a tighter defensive formation as they continued to trek upward.

Inexplicably, their two guides who were hiking up front suddenly were lost from view. They shone their lamps in all directions and called out their guides’ names but received no answer. No matter how hard they hiked forward, they always seemed to end up facing the same clump of bamboo trees. They were lost for around 45 minutes before their guides found them again.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

The Mountains of Good and Evil (Part 2)

In the year 2005, a local TV station launched a series on the supernatural. “Nginiig: The Hidden Files”, as it was called, was topbilled by a core group of young psychics trained in different facets of the occult. The head psychic and leader of the group was Ruel Ruiz. John de los Santos was the “locator”. Young & attractive Mae de Vera was the “communicator” and could talk to earthbound souls. Laura Elizabeth Fontanilla (a.k.a. Laiza Milo) was a paranormal investigator. The other members of the group were Ayyee Domingo and Raymond Consul.

For one of the episodes, the group ascended Mt. Cristobal to prove once and for all the veracity or falsity of the stories surrounding the mountain. At the base of the mountain, they fetched two native guides who were familiar with Mt. Cristobal’s terrain and trails. One of the psychics had a premonition that two of the group would somehow get lost up the mountain.

They began their ascent at dusk since their plan was to reach the upper slopes before midnight. At around 7 P.M., they were a third of the way up. It was already pitch black and only the battery-powered lamps and flashlights of the group pierced the darkness.

Monday, January 7, 2008

The Mountains of Good and Evil

In the Philippine province of Quezon, two majestic mountains lie side-by-side, both of them extinct volcanoes with craters at their peaks. One of them, Mt. Banahaw, is renowned to be a mystical place of good spirits and healing. Beneficial energies supposedly converge on Banahaw. This is precisely the reason why thousands of faith healers make the annual pilgrimage to the mountain on Good Fridays to meditate and recharge their powers. In fact, several places of spiritual retreat have been built on Banahaw’s slopes since the mountain is regarded as hallowed ground. Benevolent spirits are said to bestow their blessings on believers who faithfully visit the sacred mountain.

Mt. Banahaw’s sister mountain, on the other hand, Mt. Cristobal, is known as the devil or dark mountain because it is said to be filled with evil spirits of all sorts. Malevolent elementals reportedly predominate the mountain’s lush forests. The common targets of these spirits’ malevolence are those who defile the mountain through acts of littering, cutting trees or branches, or relieving themselves anywhere. Stories abound of mountain trekkers who dared go up Mt. Cristobal never to return. Yet no human remains have been found.

More on the mountains of good and evil tomorrow …