Philippine folklore include a collection of tales and superstitions about magical creatures and entities. Some Filipinos, even though heavily westernized and Christianized, still believe in these tales. The prevalence of belief in the figures of Philippines mythology is strong in the provinces.
Because the country has many islands and is inhabited by different ethnic groups, Philippine mythology and superstitions are very diverse. However, certain similarities exist among these groups, such as the belief in Heaven (kaluwalhatian, kalangitan, kamurawayan), Hell (impiyerno, kasamaan), and the human soul (kaluluwa).
Philippine folk literature
Philippine mythology is derived from Philippine folk literature, which is the traditional oral literature of the Filipino people. This refers to a wide range of material due to the ethnic mix of the Philippines. Each unique ethnic group has its own stories and myths to tell.
While the oral and thus changeable aspect of folk literature is an important defining characteristic, much of this oral tradition had been written into a print format. To point out that folklore in a written form can still be considered folklore, Utely pointed out that folklore “may appear in print, but must not freeze into print.” It should be pointed out that all the examples of folk literature cited in this article are taken from print, rather than oral sources.
University of the Philippines professor, Damiana Eugenio, classified Philippines Folk Literature into three major groups: folk narratives, folk speech, and folk songs. Folk narratives can either be in prose: the myth, the alamat (legend), and the kuwentong bayan (folktale), or in verse, as in the case of the folk epic. Folk speech includes the bugtong (riddle) and the salawikain (proverbs). Folk songs that can be sub-classified into those that tell a story (folk ballads) are a relative rarity in Philippine folk literature. These form the bulk of the Philippines’ rich heritage of folk songs.