The Tikbalang is a legendary humanoid cryptid from Philippine folklore, said to live in the mountains and forests there.
“Tikbalang” roughly translates to “demon horse” and this creature has been part of Philippine folklore since time immemorial.
Said to live in the mountains and forests, it is a tall and bony being with extraordinarily long limbs – so long, in fact, that its knees are said to be above its head when it squats down.
Tikbalangs are most commonly thought to have the head and feet of an animal – most commonly a horse. They have, unsurprisingly, been compared to the half-man, half-horse Centaur from Greek mythology, although Tikbalangs have the opposite physiology.
Since horses only arrived in the Philippines when the Spanish invaded, some believe that the Spanish invented the story of the Tikbalang in order to keep the native people scared of the night. According to lore, the creatures only travel at night.
During the course of their travels, Tikbalangs are thought to rape women in order to produce Tikbalang offspring.
If the sun is shining but it is also raining, it is believed that two Tikbalangs are getting married.
In general, these creatures are believed to toy with humans. In some cases, apparently, people have been driven out of their minds by Tikbalangs. According to legend, they can make a person believe something that isn’t real.
Legends, however, do vary. Some portray Tikbalangs as reasonable creatures, while others leave you with the image of a vengeful, angry, monstrous beast.
The former legends explain that a Tikbalang can be tamed and adopted as a servant if you pluck one of the three thickest spines from its mane.
The latter legends tell of a predatory beast that kills people without remorse. Stories abound of Tikbalangs using their hooves to trample or stamp people to death.
Bizarrely, these stories claim there is a stench of burning hair and that the red-eyed Tikbalang is smoking a big cigar.
There are tales of local people who have disappeared for long periods, only to reappear in a confused and delirious state. They claim to have been approached by a friend who asked them to accompany them.
The friend is actually a Tikbalang who has taken the shape of a person whom the victim trusts. Once the Tikbalang has lured its victim into its trap, it will push and shove them, knocking them over every once in a while and not allowing them to regain their balance.
Disconcertingly, the victims can only giggle like a small child while this is happening, and shake uncontrollably.
Evidently, as soon as the victim stops resisting they find themselves alone and disoriented. The ones who make it back home say that their surroundings seemed to just keep curling in on themselves.
Tikbalangs are also known for interfering with travelers, trying to disorient them and make them lose their way. Travelers can avoid this fate by doing one very simple thing: turning their shirt inside out!
Some legends contend that the Tikbalangs evolved from an aborted human fetus that was in limbo and then got sent back to Earth.
Tikbalangs are also said to be able to shape shift and make themselves invisible should the need arise.
There are very few accounts of Tikbalang sightings or encounters, but one in particular stands out. A factory worker had been asked by his boss to come in very early to prepare some machinery for an early delivery.
Having checked the machines, he decided to go outside to have a break. He rested under his favorite tree, as was his habit.
He then heard the sound of hooves and thought a horse was approaching. He couldn’t see what was coming, but eventually a tall, thin man appeared. The man’s eyes were really red and he approached slowly.
The sun was starting to come up and the creepy man said, “You should be thankful because the sun is coming up. I’ll be back for you.”
Where to find
phantomsandmonsters.com, “Legendary Humanoids – Tikbalang, the Demon Horse”, accessed October 16 2017,
ztevetevans.wordpress.com, “The Tikbalang in Philippine Folklore: A Shapeshifting Trickster”, accessed October 16 2017,
unexplained-mysteries.com, “Creepy experiences that ran in my family.”, accessed October 17 2017,