Makati City Bakuna

The Black Bestiary: A walk with the supernatural

By Danielle Macadangdang

Remember when you were a child and your grandparents told you things that kept you awake at night? If you remember those stories and it scared you to hell and back, then this book is not for you. However, if you remember all of it and still seeks for something supernatural in this world, then this book is perfectly written for you. 

The Black Bestiary: An Alejandro Pardo Compendium offers a glimpse of a world not seen by many. The eerie foreword effectively puts the reader into the theme. The mysterious persona of the narrator stirs these questions: What happened to him? Why is he hiding? How did he know this stuff? 

Apparently, a lot of things has happened to the narrator who is now in a hidden base. 

Normal Filipinos would know the basics of Philippine folklore and mythology; this ominous read created by David Hontiveros and Budjette Tan will let the readers delve into the stories behind the kwentong bayan their grandparents told them. This book contains accounts from different people who experienced things first-hand that will surely make you never want to sleep alone tonight. 

The Black Bestiary: An Alejandro Pardo Compendium, the sequel to The Lost Journal of Alejandro Pardo, features more supernatural beings said to be in the Philippines (left), such as tiktik, a creature from Eastern Visayas known to prey on pregnant women (right). 
This book, the second on Alejandro Pardo’s travels, has established the sense of entities, beasts, and monsters said to be found in the country. The enthralling pieces of local stories will let you see the different cultures and beliefs not found in our history books. The Black Bestiary is straight out of Philippine culture and lower mythology with monsters like tiktik and tikbalang, among other creatures. 

If you like CW’s series Supernatural like I do, then it will not be hard for you to like this book.

It is such a beautifully chaotic piece of linked information on Pardo’s extraordinary quests. 

The storytelling of Pardo’s accounts has a spoonful of action that somehow left me thinking of all the hearsays and superstitions of old people and the probability of them being real. The detailed description of beasts and how they came to help or prey on people is a top-notch narration. The images illustrated by comic book artists Kajo Baldisimo, Bow Guerrero, and Mervin Malonzo boost the imagination in my head as I immerse myself into the story. 

Some of the creatures are well known, some are not, but the idea of a book rich in Filipino culture and that offers a take on the world hidden from the eyes of many is something one should not miss. 

From left: Bawa, Mameleu, Mantiw, Tahamaling, and Tiburones are some of the supernatural entities mentioned in The Black Bestiary. (Photos courtesy of Summit Books)
In a world of western horror films and TV series, there is a good book from the Philippines that will give you the shivers, and by that I mean this compendium. 

I am really fond of how the mystery narrator presented the life of Pardo. It has taken on a different mantle of purely telling the story by injecting the narrator’s compelling comments on how they managed to put together Pardo’s accounts. They managed to put a mystery-action genre into a type of storytelling for it to become one master account of supernatural things. 

Another point of this book is how they researched the lower mythology of monsters from different regions up north and down south to create a Fantastic Beasts-like directory of monsters. The creepy things lurking around a typical Filipino backyard are not well known in other parts of the world, and this is the first step in introducing the rich culture of Filipinos. 

This is the book of different stories with a great detailing of accounts that lets readers walk through the world of the supernatural. 

Topics: supernatural , The Black Bestiary: An Alejandro Pardo Compendium , David Hontiveros , Budjette Tan , Filipino culture
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