Tikbalang (also written as Tigbalang, Tigbalan, or Tikbalan) is a bipedal horse creature of Philippine folklore said to lurk in the mountains and forests of the Philippines. It is sometimes believed to be a transformation of an aborted fetus which has been sent to earth from limbo.
Myths & Legends
Tikbalangs are said to scare travelers or play tricks on them which will lead them astray from the right path. Such tricks will keep the traveler from returning to the path, no matter how far he goes or where he turns.
A superstition popular with the Tagalog of Rizal Province is that Tikbalangs are benevolent guardians of elemental kingdoms. They are usually found standing at the foot of large trees looking around for anyone who dare to trespass on their kingdom's territory.
According to traditional folklore, the Tikbalang can also transform itself into human form or turn invisible to humans.
The Tikbalang appears as a tall, bony creature resembling a humanoid horse. It is covered with a fluffy dark mane, while its fur is a lighter color.
Tikbalang are generally associated with dark, sparsely populated, foliage-overgrown areas, with legends variously identifying their abode as being beneath bridges, in Bamboo or Banana groves, and atop Kalumpang (Sterculia foetida) or Balite (Ficus indica) Trees.
Supposedly a traveler can return to the correct path and not be misled by a Tikbalang by wearing one's shirt inside out. Another countermeasure is to ask permission out loud to pass by or, not to produce too much noise while in the woods in order not to offend or disturb the Tikbalang.
Taming a Tikbalang
By one account a Tikbalang has a mane of sharp spines, with the three thickest of these being of particular importance. A person who obtains one of these spines can use them as a talisman in order to keep the Tikbalang as his servant. The Tikbalang must first be subdued, however, by leaping onto it and tying it with a specially-prepared cord. The would-be-tamer must then hang on while the creature flies through the air, fighting madly to dislodge its unwelcome rider, until it is exhausted and acknowledges its defeat.
A Tikbalang's Wedding
A common saying has it that rain from a clear sky means "may kinakasal na Tikbalang."(Filipino, "a Tikbalang is getting married".) This was potentially connected with a similar Spanish proverb that claimed a witch was getting married when there was rain on a sunny day, although many cultures have such sayings in which a trickster figure gets married (cp. fox's wedding, bear's wedding, monkey's birthday).