Trese, as a story that features various mythological creatures from the Philippines, may give the impression that all these beings belong to only one group. That's not how it is. For one, Ibu and Talagbusao are not from the same pantheon.
This book (PDF) is an introduction to Philippine folk spirituality and religion.
Here's an excerpt relevant to the series.
[Edit 6/14/2021] Just checked. Yep, this is definitely one of Budjette Tan's references. From the Trese: Mass Murders (Visprint ed) afterword:
While doing research for Trese's next villain, I read about the Talagbusao, the god of war, in "The Soul Book" and he sounded like a formidable foe. The more I thought about it, the more it made sense to me that the Kambal needed to be more powerful than any aswang or enkanto.
Assistant Deities and Powers
Below the Lord of the Upper Sky is a host of anitos or diwatas, many of whom can do as they please the more distant they are from him. According to Barton, who studied the Ifugao spirit world (1946), these spirits are believed to be immortal, to change form at will, to become invisible, and to transport themselves quickly through space. There are other attributes associated with these powerful spirits. While they can diagnose and cure illness, they can afflict men with misfortune, ill-luck, disease. They can recover a soul if it has been carried off, but they can also coax away a person's soul. Though they prevent the dead from molesting the living, they too cause death. Indeed they can devour parts of the living human body. Men's minds they influence to suggest courses of conduct, such as payment of debt without losing face; passions they dampen so that men will not fight during a celebration; and stomachs they tie to dull the appetite for food and drink. Those who propitiate them know that these invisible presences can increase rice even after it has been stored in the granary, ward off trespassers, make the hunt safe, and bring victory in battle.
Powerful spirits roughly divide into three categories: ancestor spirits, nature spirits, guardian spirits.
Spirits of Ancestral Heroes
Some ancestors, particularly those who were outstanding in farming, hunting, warfare and the arts, acquired more and more powers in the memory of their descendants as time went on. They became fabulous beings. The more illustrious hero-spirits arc remembered in the great epics. Others arc remembered as culture heroes who taught their people new skills.
Some ancestral heroes (Cole 1916; de los Reyes 1909):
Lumabat - first Bagobo mortal to attain the Skyworld (Cole 1916).
Handiong - the hero of the Bikol epic who freed the land from the ravages of wild animals, brought Bikolanos rice, and planted the fruits.
Lumawig - taught the Bontok headhunting, agriculture, the art of building council houses and men's dwellings, and a code of ethics.
Bantugan - the charming, indestructible, much-wedded hero who could repulse any invasion. His cult probably began when the Maranaws were still animist.
Not all ancestral spirits become deified. Many remain nameless spirits residing in dark majestic trees and in the deep woods.
Nature Spirits reside in the natural environment, such as trees, rocks, crags, rivers and volcanoes. Humanlike, but much more powerful, these unseen beings are credited with feelings and sensibilities. Accordingly they may be offended and thus cause harm, or they may be propitiated and their friendship gained. Some spirits are represented as being sensitive to a fault as many Filipinos are when confronted with an unfamiliar or unpleasant situation. People do create spirits according to their likeness. On the other hand Frank Lynch, the anthropologist, says that the Filipino's care in handling interpersonal relations may in fact be the result rather than the cause of this belief in an environment filled with sensitive spirits (1970). In moving about, he takes care not to displease the many invisibles who could punish him.
Nature spirits can be either malevolent or beneficent. As in Philippine society as a whole, it all depends on how you deal with them. If you ignore them and hurt their dignity, they can make you sick; however, if you acknowledge them and ask permission to pass by and give them offerings on occasion, then they will reward you.
Some nature spirits:
The Lord of the Mound - spirit of an old man who lives in a termite mound. Throughout prehistoric Southeast Asia, the earth mound was a locus of power probably because of its phallic shape. "Tabi, tabi po baka kayo mabunggo" (Excuse me, please, lest I bump you) is the polite way to pass one of these inhabited hills. Though invisible, the nuno can be grazed and thus retaliate with a fever or skin rashes.
The Tree Dwellers - Spirits reportedly resided in trees. Thus the Mandayas, who are the largest ethnic group in southwestern Mindanao, believe that tagbanuwa and tagamaling are spirits who dwell in caves and balete trees. The belief persists to this day even among Christian Filipinos. The Ilokano pugot and the Tagalog kapre are gigantic, cigar-smoking black spirits who sit in deserted houses and up a balete or banyan tree with feet dangling to the ground. They can, however, assume any size they want including that of an infant. Engkantos also dwell in trees. But the term itself and the description of them as tall, fair-skinned and light-haired beings with high-bridged noses is post-hispanic. Engkantos, male or female, sometimes fall in love with mortals and lavish gifts on them (Ramos 1971).
The Babes in the Woods- probably the souls of foetuses or dead children. They arc called by the Ilokanos kibaan. The creature is a foot high, dwells in the fields, can be scalded with boiling water, and even die. The kibaan gift friends with gold, a cloak that confers invisibility and a large cup of coconut which is inexhaustible. To those who throw hot water at them, the kibaan scatter powder which produces a disagreeable affliction (de los Reyes 1909). Closely related is the Tagalog patianak which wails in the forest, like a baby, but inflicts harm. Common in pre-Christian times was the practice of exposing infirm deformed babies in the fields and forests (Alcina 1960). Their heart-wrenching wailing must have given rise to these beliefs.
The Bloodthirsty and Implacable
Among traditional Filipinos, the embodiment of evil is a being that is neither fully human nor fully animal. It stands upright like human beings and has a face; but it preys on human flesh and makes the living sick so that when they die there is carrion for food. Unlike the devil of the Judaeo-Christian-Moslem tradition, this being does not harm the soul by tempting it to sin. The death it causes is physical rather than spiritual. Other spirits can be negotiated with: offerings and kind words win their toleration if not help. It is not possible to do so with these implacable beings. Thus people fear them the most.
The busaw feared by the Bagobos of Davao, people the air, the mountains and the forest. They are limitless in number. Most malignant is the busaw called tigbanua. One eye gapes in the middle of the forehead; a hooked chin two spans long upturns to catch the drops of blood that drip from the mouth; and coarse black hair bristles on the body (Benedict 1916). It frequents graves, empty houses and solitary mountain trails. Indeed it may make an appearance at any place outside the safety of one's home.
They are believed to preside over specific human activities such as birth, marriage, and death; over hunting, fishing, farming and fighting. Beneficent and powerful, guardian spirits generally rule from the sky; some, however, stay in their areas of responsibility on earth or in the underworld.
SOME GUARDIAN GODS
ON THE FARM
lkapati- Tagalog goddess of fertility. guardian anito of agriculture
Magbangal - Bukidnon planter god who became the constellation that appears to signal the start of the planting season
Damolag - an anito of the early Zambals who protects the fruiting rice from winds and typhoons
Lakan-bakod - Tagalog guardian god of the fruits of the earth who dwells m certam kinds of plants used as fences. Some anitos carry the title "Lakan" or Prince They could have been deified kinglets
Pamahandi - protector of carabaos and horses of the Bukidnon.
Amansinaya - anito of fishermen of the ancient Tagalogs to whom they offer their first catch. Hence the term pa-sinaya ("for Sinaya") still used today. Following the theory of god-making, Amansinaya could be the soul of a maiden who was drowned and became an anito of the water.
Libtakan- god of sunrise. sunset and good weather of the Manobo.
Makabosog - a merciful diwata of the Bisayans who provides food for the hungry. (He was once a chief in the Araut River on the coast of Panay)
IN THE FORESTS
Amani kable - ancient Tagalog anito of hunters.
Makaboteng - Tinggian spirit guardian of deer and wild hogs.
WHEN REARING A FAMILY
Mingan - goddess of the early Pampangos mate of the god Suku (Consorts of the gods fall under the " guardian" category)
Katambay - guardian anito for individuals, a kind of inborn guardian angel of the Bicols.
Malimbung - a kind of Aphrodite of the Bagobos This goddess made man crave for sexual satisfaction
Tagbibi- diwata protector of children of the mountain tribes of Mindanao
WHILE AT WAR
Mandarangan and Darago - Bagobo god and goddess of war Mandarangan is believed to reside in the crater of Apo Volcano on a throne of fire and blood
Talagbusao - the uncontrollable Bukidnon god of war who takes the form of a warrior with big red eyes wearing a red garment. This deity can enter a mortal warnor's body and make him fight fiercely to avenge a wrong. But Talagbusao can also drive him to insanity by incessant demand for the blood of pigs, fowls and humans.
Masiken - guardian of the underworld of the lgorots, whose followers have tails
lbu - queen of the Manobo underworld whose abode is down below at the pillars of the world.
This information came from the following sources: Jocano 1969; de los Reyes 1909; Garvan 1931; Garvan 1941; Cole 1922; Benedict 1916; Dadole 1989; Mallari-Wilson 1968
Demetrio, F. R., Cordero-Fernando, G. and Zialcita, F. N. (1991). The soul book. GCF Books.
847 notes · View notes