This Comic Book Delves Deep Into Obscure Filipino Folklore
ILLUSTRATOR Roland Amago, Bambi Eloriaga-Amago
Filipino superstitions, folklore, and religion take the spotlight in a Filipino comic book about twin brothers who find themselves reliving the lore they heard from their grandmother in their childhood.
Carnal Tales masterfully blends elements from Filipino folklore and Catholicism to create a rich environment that is unapologetically accurate in depicting the cross-pollination between the two.
For example, the two protagonists are named Banahaw, a Catholic priest, and Cristobal a rock band singer. The two are named after two mountains in the Tagalog region: Mt. Banahaw, which is considered the most sacred mountain in the southern Tagalog region, and Mt. Cristobal, which is associated with dark elements and is also known as “Devil’s Mountain”.
Creator Bambi Eloriaga-Amago also uses her rich knowledge of local folklore but incorporates more obscure regional folklore into the story. While there are usual suspects like tikbalang and aswang, she also showcases the things you may not have heard of such as the kiwig, sipay, busaw, danag, lamang-lupa, and itim na sisiw into Carnal.
Sipay is the first creature to appear in Carnal. According to folklore, a sipay takes children who refuse to nap in the afternoon. It puts them in a sack and sprinkles their blood on the foundations of a bridge. It is said that during Good Friday on Holy Week, malignant elements like the sipay are more powerful because Christ is dead, hence, children are forbidden to go out of the house during this time.
Carnal also takes up legends or alamat to shine a light on the origins of some of the creatures in local folklore. A standalone offshoot of the series is about the alamat ng lamang-lupa, which explores the origins of this particular folklore.
The comic series lends Eloriaga-Amago’s imagination to anecdotal references in Philippine folklore, creating a colorful dissection of Filipino traditions and beliefs.
Carnal Tales is a finalist in the 2020 Komiket Awards. It is written by Bambi Eloriaga-Amago and Illustrated by Roland Amago. You can purchase a digital file through this link.