TIYANAK – Here are some facts and beliefs about a small humanoid creature that resembles a newborn or toddler.
In the rich history of Filipino folklore, Tiyanak is one of the creatures that stands out as a source of fear. This creepy entity is said to be the vengeful spirit of an unbaptized child, a harbinger of misfortune, and a creature that strikes terror into the hearts of those who encounter it.
The Tiyanak, in particular, is said to be a representation of the fear surrounding unbaptized newborns who died, as well as the Spanish friars’ efforts throughout the colonial period to spread the importance of baptism among Filipinos.
It is often portrayed as a monstrous, demon-like monster with the innocent aspect of a baby. It usually takes the form of a helpless newborn, crying to attract its victims closer. When the demon-child approaches and takes up its prey, it reveals its true, terrible form, full with sharp teeth, claws, and glowing red eyes.
It preys on individuals traveling alone, especially in remote areas, and lures them into the wilderness with the sound of a crying baby.
Various regions in the Philippines have their own adaptations of the creature, each adding unique elements to the lore. In some versions, the Tiyanak is associated with forest spirits, while in others, it is linked to vampires or ghouls.
Despite these variations, the primary theme of the creature remains consistent, the deceptive transformation of a helpless child into a monstrous entity.
According to belief, people can avoid them by wearing a rosary. Some individuals believe that garlic can drive this devil-child away. Some belief said that those who were led astray by this creature can regain their wits by reversing their clothes.
Tiyanak’s terrifying legend has left an indelible mark on Filipino culture, inspiring numerous films, television series, and stories.