The Legend of Mount Kanlaon

There once lived on the island of Negros a princess named Anina who lived a very sheltered life. Continue reading “The Legend of Mount Kanlaon”

The Miraculous Cow

This is a Tagalog story recorded in English in the early 20th century. This tale may strike Western sensibilities as mean, but making fun of “simple folk” is not uncommon in Filipino oral stories. It’s a moral story on cleverness contrasted with the stupidity of believing in superstition. Continue reading “The Miraculous Cow”

About Filipino Folktales

The Tagalog for ‘folk tale’ or ‘folk story’ is kuwentong-bayan.

Folklore is kaalamang-bayan (traditional knowledge of the people).

Filipino folktales are stories that form part of the oral tradition in the Philippines. They have been passed on generation to generation by word of mouth rather than by writing, and thus the stories have been modified by successive retellings before they were written down and recorded.

Folktales in general include legends, fables, jokes, tall stories and fairy tales. Many of the folktales in the Philippines involve mythical creatures and magical transformations.

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Ang Aso at ang Uwak

Ito ay isang halimbawa ng pabula. This is an example of a fable.

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The Clever Husband and Wife

This Filipino folktale is said to have been derived from the Arabian “1001 Nights.”  Here it is in English as recorded in the early 20th century.

Pedro had been living as a servant in a doctor’s house for more than nine years. He wanted very much to have a wife, but he had no business of any kind on which to support one. Continue reading “The Clever Husband and Wife”

The Monkey & the Turtle

Ang Unggoy at ang Pagong (The Monkey and the Turtle)  is a folk tale of the Ilocano people. It explains why monkeys don’t like to eat meat. This tale may seem morbid to Western sensibilities but it does impart moral lessons.

Here’s the story:

A monkey, looking very sad and dejected, was walking along the bank of the river one day when he met a turtle.

“How are you?” asked the turtle, noticing that he looked sad.

The monkey replied, “Oh, my friend, I am very hungry. The squash of Mr. Farmer were all taken by the other monkeys, and now I am about to die from want of food.”

“Do not be discouraged,” said the turtle; “take a bolo and follow me and we will steal some banana plants.”

So they walked along together until they found some nice plants which they dug up, and then they looked for a place to set them. Finally the monkey climbed a tree and planted his in it, but as the turtle could not climb he dug a hole in the ground and set his there.

When their work was finished they went away, planning what they should do with their crop. The monkey said:

“When my tree bears fruit, I shall sell it and have a great deal of money.”

And the turtle said: “When my tree bears fruit, I shall sell it and buy three varas of cloth to wear in place of this cracked shell.” Continue reading “The Monkey & the Turtle”


This is not a standard Tagalog word but it refers to a werebeast (like the werewolf or lycanthrope of the West) in the Visayan province of Aklan.

Instead of turning into a wolf, a kiwig changes into a black dog or a wild boar at midnight.

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Ang Pagong at Ang Matsing

This is a Tagalog version of the Philippine folktale about a turtle, a monkey, and a banana tree. As with most folk stories, there are many variations in the details, but most support that the turtle is the protagonist and the monkey is the not-so-wise character.

Continue reading “Ang Pagong at Ang Matsing”