Mga Tambay sa Tabi-Tabi roughly translated as loafers/idlers hanging out on the streets/street corners is a graphic book by the artists collectively known as Ang Ilustrador ng Kabataan [INK] or Kids’ Illustrators if I’m not mistaken.
Alright, translating this book from the vernacular into the universal language — English — is pretty hard for me. It’s just hard to find the literal translation of some Filipino words and when you have translated some of these to another language, the impact simply diminishes.
But do not let this translation issue deter you from getting the book. There is an English translation right under the descriptions of the creatures so the book can reach a wider readership. I am quoting descriptions here verbatim so I won’t have a hard time with the translation thing.
The book is a collection of creatures of Philippine folklore, some of which are scary; others annoying and others laughable.
Here are a few of the more popular ones:
Resembling humans in appearance but standing usually about eighteen feet tall, the Ani-Ani comes out during the new moon. It has the ability to shift its appearance into a carabao, a horse or a pig. It may usually be found smoking while sitting on a branch of a large tree like the talisay, and it usually likes blocking the path of night travelers. A distinctive feature of the Ani-Ani is its strong goat smell.
The Batibat dwells in holes in tree trunks, and even after the tree trunk had been used in the construction of a house or the fabrication of a bed as a post, the Batibat continues to live in the hole. The Batibat is the bearer of nightmares. It sits astride a sleeping victim, who has had too much to eat or drink. Its short weight is enough to suffocate a person to death. They say that the victim must bite his thumb or wriggle a toe during a nightmare to drive the Batibat away.
In the sky, in a cave called Calulundan which hides behind a curtain of blue smoke, lives the dragon Bawa. This gigantic bird rarely leaves its cave dwelling and when it does, it is because it is extremely hungry. But of all things, it likes to eat the sun or the moon, or both; which inevitably results in an eclipse. To stop the Bawa, people must make noises, or placate it with music or food offerings.
The Berberoka is a deceitful creature. While lying across the river, it sucks in all the water to make it appear shallow and create a false dam. Then it slowly releases the water to drown the unsuspecting victim which he will then eat. The Berberoka is a huge ogre that despite its power and size, has a morbid fear of crabs.
They say that a farmer always needs to seek the permission of the Calanget before he could use a field, since the dwarf is considered the true owner of the land. The Calanget lives in a mound in the forest or in the ricefield, and he never hesitates to inflict illness on anyone who will dig up or upset his mound. The Calanget is short, with a large head, and is often barefoot. It dislikes ginger, pepper, vinegar and food with salt and spices. And they say that when a witch tries to communicate with it, it replies with a whistling sound.
Note: There are about 60 creatures that you can read about in the book. The pictures here are poor representations of the actual graphics in the book. It was published last year by Anvil Publishing.