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Kataw is a type of merfolk in the Philippine mythology.


According to the Visayan belief, Kataws belong to a higher hierarchy compared to other water and sea creatures such as Sirena, Sireno and Siyokoy. They are considered as the reigning rulers of the kingdom Bantay Tubig.


Kataws including Sirena and Sireno were considered as the Bantay Tubig-creatures that look like humans while the Siyokoy looks like water-creatures. Unlike the Sirena, a Siyokoy has feet instead of tails. Siyokoys have also gills on their bodies and fins in their arms.


Kataws are believed to possess the ability to control the water-type elements and related forces like waves, tides, pressure, bubbles and others. The old folks also believed that they can also change water into ice.


The kataw are known for tricking the fishermen by asking for help to finally drown them when they get close enough.


  • Mga Engkanto: A Bestiary of Filipino Fairies. Philippines: eLf ideas Publication. 2003.