One of the more enduring Filipino myths is that of the Masked Eagle Man, who would notoriously surprise travellers in lonely places and essentially bring a bit of tension into their lives. One tale that most of the country’s children will know is The Masked Eagle Man Puts In A Double Shift (this is the best translation we have) and concerns a beach artist, hounded from his last town because of his predilection for drawing people’s children with coins over their eyes, who takes a short cut through the forest in his headlong flight from a gang of dissatisfied customers with torches.
Free of his pursuers at last, the beach artist rests beneath a cherry tree and soon falls asleep. Waking from a troubling dream (he is late for a wedding and there are two camels in the hotel foyer between him and the customer bathroom and everyone else is absolutely fine with this), he finds The Masked Eagle Man bearing down on him. The Masked Eagle Man’s look is sin and his voice is wrath.
Years later the beach artist will remember this as an uncomfortable 20 minutes, wrestling for his life on the forest floor with the Masked Eagle Man and only finally mollifying his opponent by promising to draw him on a pony in front of a rainbow for free. There is also a porn version of this tale. Masked Eagle Man is still, however, a figure commanding fear and respect in the Philippines and is now largely used for public information films concerning safety in sheds. Cameron Carter