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Sunday, January 24, 2021

Mantiw: The Giant Whistling Creature Of Iloilo

Mantiw is a local tale from the province of Iloilo. They are often seen roaming around open fields or leaning against Buri palm and coconut trees. Mantiw is described with a fair complexion, broad shoulders, and angular noses. It is also believed to be the giant whistling creature. Originated in the province of Iloilo, which occupies the major southeast portion of Visayan Island of Panay, it is known for its majestic churches and its colorful festival called Dinagyang (a Hiligaynon word that means merrymaking). The horrifying tale of Mantiw lives with its people. 

Mantiw, Urban Legend, Creature
Image: Ocean Breeze Blogger

Mantiws don’t seem to be harmful based on how they were described, but Mantiw is easily offended whenever a human attempts to whistle along with them. Reserved and peaceful, yet when provoked, it will snatch the human nuisance for them, takes them off to the tallest coconut tree, and abandon their victim on the very top without any way of descending from it. 

The tale of Mantiw is one of those unrecorded stories in Philippine mythology and folklore. Although there were stories of forest spirits, there is no concrete claim relative to Mantiw. 

However, there is similar Malaysian folklore to Iloilo’s Mantiw. The Hantu Tinggi (tall ghost) is believed to exist in Malaysia’s western and eastern regions. Hantu Tinggi, like Mantiw, is a tall creature, so high that it reaches the sun. Said to be formed from a tree trunk (a coconut or palm tree) and are alive from the possession of a spirit. Malay people can only see the Hantu Tanggi’s waist down, and as it gets closer, it becomes taller. 

Mantiw, Urban Legend, Creature
Image: Aswang Project

According to some stories, direct contact to its eyes would get one a sudden blind issue or gets stark illness. Some even said that if a person approaches the spirit, it will grab the victim transport it to a portal or a land-living them disoriented. Hantu Tinggi’s story is told to children to scare them and prevent them from climbing tall trees, especially at night.

Tales like this are becoming part of the rich culture of every country and every province. It is passed on through word of mouth or in written accounts; it adds color to their beliefs and can preserve one’s history. As long as these tales live, the journey of every country’s story continues.
By Kris De Vera Estrella, IFY Books

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