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Review: Bruhas

Bruhas

Mythology allows the world to tells its story through legends, gods, goddesses, and monsters. The world has always celebrated mythology in some for or another. When people usually think of “mythology,” a thought that comes up, is that it’s not real. Some stories are told as warnings not just for children but for adults.

One such country is the Philippines, which has its own sets of monsters, angels, gods and goddesses, and an expansive pantheon of heroes.  In Bruhas, cartoonist, Trinidad Escobar brings to life, many of these creatures from Filipino mythology.

One of the first monsters is, “Manananggal,” a monster who looks human by day, but becomes a monster by night, feeding on travelers and unborn babies. Another monster is a “Siocoy,” a troll or elf with black shiny skin, which resembles an orc, who lives near rivers as Filipino children are told to stay away from water during the dry season. One monster I used to hear my grandparents talk about is the “Mumu,” which are ghosts as we were warned as children to “pag-pag,” which means to lead them somewhere else. Then there is the “Sirena,” which are water protectors, much like mermaids, and depending on which story, may even be like sirens. There is the “Tikbalang,” who are fierce proectors of holy places and they may escort to the afterlife. There is “Manananem,” who are also known as “bruhas” or witches who possess mystical knowledge which they use over humans. One of my favorites, is the “Lutao,” which are one of the many different types of zombies, which are known to scrape their way out of their graves. The last one I will highlight, is the “mandarangkal,” a bloodsucker, or vampire who seduces men and devours them whole.

Overall, this book is a welcome addition to any household. The world is full of stories and learning about this mythology and folklore only enriches one’s self. The mythology as told by Escobar is relatable and entertaining. The art by Escobar is beautiful and awe-inspiring. Altogether, as Escobar eloquently says in her preface, this serves an excellent grimoire or bestiary, to understand such a diverse lore.

Story: Trinidad Escobar Art: Trinidad Escobar
Story: 10 Art: 9.7 Overall: 9.9 Recommendation: Buy

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