An interpretation of a Filipino mage/wizard using myself~
An equivalent of this mage is called the “Mangkukulam" (or Warlock) but I added extra stuff to give it more oomph:
- The fireflies are catalysts for fire-based magic (“Alitaptap” is the Filipino term for fireflies) and in old legends the white “sampaguita” flowers gave the fireflies flames on their tails to protect them from the dark. But they can still set stuff on fire though.
- “Anting-anting” are those little beads and accessories you see. They’re essentially lucky charms and health boosters to keep away “Aswang” (day-walking, shape-shifting, intelligent vampires)
- The glowing necklaces are enchanted stones from the Kapre (tree demon). Kapre magic specializes in illusions and plant manipulation . Fireflies will also gather around the demon at night (when it lights itself to smoke some pot haha).
- Eskrima or stick-themed weaponry are an iconic martial art in Filipino culture. Eskrima combat usually uses two sticks as blunt weapons to knock targets out. This “staff” detaches itself into two during close combat as makeshift wands or to just fight off hostilities.
- Tattoos in Filipino practices are usually based on which place someone was born followed by any other important little bits about them in smaller patterns. The pattern shown is just gibberish to match my background due to so much mixed heritage in Philippines (Spanish, African, Indian, American, Chinese, and Japanese)
What makes this Filipino “Warlock” stand out is its passive nature: Actual combat is a last resort usually done hastily to prevent further conflict.
Most of the Mangkukulam’s spells are purely defensive or minor (lighting the dark, soothing threats, stealth through illusions), and support magic such as lifting curses or healing minor wounds are present in some myths. Geographically speaking, since Philippines consists of large rain-forests and coastal islands the flora is strong and abundant: this leads to most of their magic to be purely resourceful instead of independently conjured.