About Filipino Folktales

The Tagalog for 'folk tale' or 'folk story' is kuwentong-bayan. Filipino folktales are stories that form part of the oral tradition in the Philippines. They have been passed on generation to generation by word of mouth rather than by writing, and thus the stories have been modified by successive retellings before they were written down and recorded. Folktales in general include legends, fables, jokes, tall stories and fairy tales. Many of the folktales in the Philippines involve mythical creatures and magical transformations.


Filipino folktales reflect the traditions of Filipino people. These stories may be broadly classified into four groups:

1. PHILIPPINE MYTHS are about the creation of the universe, God (Bathala or Maykapal), and the origin of man, supernatural beings and native Filipino heroes.

2. FILIPINO LEGENDS (alamat) relate the origin of local phenomena, places, plants, animals, things and names. Examples: how did Kanlaon Volcano came to be; why is the Philippines made up of so many islands

3. FILIPINO FABLES are about animals and inanimate beings made to speak and act like rational beings and pointing out morals.

4. FANTASTIC STORIES are about the unseen world or the underworld and with odd, whimsical, or grotesque characters

Examples of Filipino Folktales


Ilocano Folktales
The Monkey and the Turtle
The Poor Fisherman and His Wife
The Presidente Who Had Horns
The White Squash

Tagalog Folktales
The Creation Story
The Story of Benito
The Adventures of Juan
Juan Gathers Guavas

Visayan Folktales
The First Monkey
The Virtue of the Cocoanut
Mansumandig
Why Dogs Wag Their Tails
The Hawk and the Hen
The Spider and the Fly
The Battle of the Crabs