Wakwak:  Dark And Deadly Bird of Philippine Mythology Explained

The Wakwak, a bird-like being from Philippine folklore, is believed to possess vampiric qualities. In certain regions, the Wakwak is regarded as an alternative form taken by vampires or as the familiar of a witch or vampire. Regardless, the sound connected to the Wakwak is viewed as a warning sign that an Unglu (vampire) or Ungo (ghost or monster) is in close proximity.

A Vampiric Bird With Leathery Wings That Appears As Sharp As Knives

The Wakwak, typically portrayed as a huge bird with wings made of either feathers or leather, is believed to possess razor-sharp edges. According to elderly accounts, it is equipped with lengthy and sharp claws that it employs to mutilate its prey and extract their hearts.

Wakwak Is Depicted With The Human Like Feminine Face

Because the Wakwak hunts during the night and is often likened to bats or crows in tales, it is typically depicted with a dark-colored body. Some versions of the story suggest that the Wakwak has some human-like characteristics, with the most frequently mentioned being a feminine face.

From Light To Fire, There Are Many Thing That May Scare A Wakwak

In instances where people have encountered the Wakwak, they have reported that it can be deterred by using fire from a torch or wielding a weapon. Some people have taken precautions by spreading salt both inside and outside their homes, and hanging garlic lanterns in each corner, while others have opted to place an inverted broom at the doorway.

Legends Has It That Wakwak Feeds On Victim’s Heart

According to rural Philippine legends, the Wakwak preys on humans during the night, much like the Manananggal and Ekek creatures. It attacks by cutting and disfiguring its victims, ultimately consuming their hearts.

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Wakwak And Manananggal 

Although the Wakwak and Manananggal have distinct physical characteristics, they are frequently compared. The primary distinguishing feature between the two creatures is that the Wakwak lacks the ability to detach its torso from its lower body, a trait that the Manananggal possesses.

The manananggal is a mythical creature in the Philippines that also resembles a vampire. During the day, it takes the form of a beautiful woman, but at night, it transforms into a terrifying monster. Its upper torso separates from the lower half, and it flies off with bat-like wings, leaving a trail of entrails behind.

The manananggal feeds on sleeping people, particularly pregnant women, and uses its long, tubular tongue to extract blood, internal organs, and even fetuses. It is sometimes accompanied by a small bird called a tiktik, which indicates its proximity by its volume.

To keep the manananggal away, one can place uncooked rice, ash, or salt in pots around the house. If the creature sees these items from the roof, it may avoid entering the home. Killing a manananggal requires waiting for its torso to separate from its lower half and then sprinkling salt or crushed garlic on the split. The creature will perish after sunrise.

Manananggals are a type of aswang, an evil spirit. The name manananggal is derived from the word tanngal, which means “to remove.”

Legend has it that the name “Wakwak” originates from the noise produced by the creature’s wings when it takes flight. The sound serves as a signal that the Wakwak is seeking out potential prey. The volume of the Wakwak’s call can indicate its proximity; a louder sound indicates that it is farther away, while a quieter sound means that it is nearby and potentially preparing to attack.

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Wakwak – A Sound Of House Gecko

An American who had spent a considerable amount of time in the Philippines discovered that the noise frequently heard at night and attributed to the “Wakwak” was actually produced by the common house gecko, also known as tiki, tike, or teke. 

The Hemidactylus frenatus, also referred to as the Common House Gecko, Wall Gecko, House Lizard or Moon Lizard, can be found across Southeast Asia, parts of India, Philippines, Bangladesh, and in recent years, northern Australia. These geckos are frequently observed scaling walls or ceilings as they search for insects that are drawn to light sources. They have successfully adapted to urban environments and can be seen in structures in cities, towns, and even rural areas. The most commonly recognized sound produced by the Asian House Gecko is a series of soft chirping or ‘chapping’ calls, which are often represented as a sequence of ‘chuck, chuck, chuck’ or ‘tup, tup, tup’ notes and eventually this sounds resembles with Wakwak sound. 

Wrapping Up 

Additionally, in early Philippine history, the term Wak-Wak was used to refer to the Kingdom of Wak-Wak and the Kingdom of Zabag, both located in Pampanga.

The Wak-Wak, a demonic being, has been the subject of rumors for many decades, and still persists to this day. Personally, we have never heard any peer review or encounter or experience with this creature, and we tried to research about this creature and found lack of information along with its mythical presence. Nonetheless, You might have grown up hearing this urban legend as part of childhood folklore. Parents have often utilized this story to frighten their children into not going outside at night and to encourage them to sleep early.

The Philippines is known for having a plethora of mythical urban legends, including the sigbin, wak-wak, kapre, lamang lupa, duwende, babae sa balete drive, tikbalang, tiyanak, tayho, sindak-bula-lakaw, hubot, and mancho. These stories attest to the country’s wealth of urban legends.