Pinoy Halloween: Tikbalang

Half-horse, half-man is what quickly describes the Tikbalang, a Philippine creature of the night.

I haven't seen anyone dressing up in a tikbalang Halloween costume, but it should be fairly straightforward. Just get some cartolina and roll in into a longish cylinder than you can slip over your head. You can decorate the top part so that it looks like the head of a horse.

The tikbalang is a creature which has the head of a horse and the body of a tall (over 6 ft) muscular man. Some have said the tikbalang has the chest of a horse, but other drawings show the chest of a man.

While most tikbalangs are dark and have powerful human thighs that end in horse hooves, Arnold Arre's The Mythology Class shows a snow-colored tikbalang named Lusyo who has human feet. You'll see some tattoos on Lusyo's pale skin (the gallery is on the right side of the page).

Most stories of tikbalangs involve scary encounters with red eyes that glow in the dark and the choking stench of burning hair. Lusyo, however, is a kind tikbalang who is willing to help humans.

Tikbalangs are sometimes depicted as smokers, and you'll find an interesting twist in Arnold Arre's stories. To tame a powerful tikbalang, you'll need to choke it from behind and hang on while this creature tries to fling you off its back.

Happy Halloween in advance, folks! I hope to see some tikbalang costumes this year.

[ First posted on 10/28/2005 by Manuel Viloria ]



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