Crocodiles in Philippine Folklore
spjrd Southeastern Philippines Journal of Research and Development Volume 26, Number 1 March 2021 P-ISSN 0117-6293 E-ISSN 2718-9201


the Pala’wan
Palawan Island
the Philippines

How to Cite

Tsuji, T. (2021). Crocodiles in Philippine Folklore. Southeastern Philippines Journal of Research and Development, 26(1), 19-34.


This study investigates Philippine folklore of saltwater crocodiles to understand the relationships that people have with them from an anthropological perspective. The collected folklore was classified into eight types: 1) ancestor, 2) monkey heart, 3) red hen, 4) execution, 5) incarnation, 6) deception, 7) monster, and 8) Lusmore. The analysis shows that the crocodile folklore of the Philippines is strongly connected to that of the indigenous people in Borneo. Filipino people tend to recognize crocodiles as both fierce and foolish because they are harmful to their society. In their history, they have rigorously hunted crocodiles for their skin, causing their relationship with them to significantly diminish over time. However, crocodiles are also seen as having the supernatural power to cure sick people, so eating them is prohibited among the Pala’wan on Palawan Island, for instance. This paper concludes that the Filipino people and the crocodile were able to build a harmonious relationship of coexistence in the past, and the current corrupted relationship must change for its future wellbeing.


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