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H2A Terminals - Balaho.jpg

Star, position:

Tala, V[1]


2; Buwan, Padpad[1]



0.709 G[1]


5.7 (CO2, CH4, He)[1]

Surface temperature:

-33°C to 5°C (-27°F to 41°F)[1]







320 million[1]


Covenant (formerly)

Technology tier:

Native Tier 6/Adopted Tier 2[1]


Balaho is the Unggoy homeworld. It is the fifth planet orbiting the star Tala, a blue supergiant. An icy planet, Balaho is orbited by two natural satellites; Buwan and Padpad.[1]


Balaho is partially glassed after the rebellion.

Prior to the activation of the Halo Array around 100,000 BCE, an environmental collapse occurred on Balaho caused by massive global over-industrialization. Before it was found by the Covenant, Balaho was mostly dominated by Unggoy tribes.[1] When the Covenant discovered Balaho and the Unggoy in 2142, most Unggoy were more than willing to leave their hostile homeworld and join the Covenant.[3] The planet was partially glassed during the Unggoy Rebellion, which led to the species' surrender. Although the Unggoy care little for their planet itself, they surrendered as they were unwilling to lose a large amount of potential breeding partners that lived on Balaho.[3][4] The planet was later the site of the Sixteenth Unggoy Disobedience and presumably several other uprisings. During the Unggoy's service with the Covenant, Balaho was regarded as a backwater planet and it was avoided by most shipping routes. Although most Unggoy had left Balaho to settle on the planets of other species, Balaho was still highly regarded among the Unggoy.[3] After the Human-Covenant War, the Office of Naval Intelligence recorded no off-world transport from Balaho. Buwan appears to have since been abandoned and many Unggoy have been seen in Sangheili systems.[5]


The Covenant arrive at Balaho.

Balaho is a mostly frozen planet with temperatures ranging from -33°C (-27.4 F) to 5°C (41°F). It has two natural satellites, Buwan and Padpad, respectively the primary and secondary satellites.[6] The terrestrial planet has significant amounts of methane in the atmosphere, necessitating that Unggoy wear methane tanks while off-world. This gas forms a largely opaque layer of clouds that prevents much of the world from being seen from orbit.[1][note 1]

The parts of the surface that are not covered by polar ice caps or fresh water are equatorial brackish tidal flats where naturally occurring pillars of fire exist when the planet's methane condenses.[3] Most of the Unggoy live in this area where the cold season is not as harmful to them. The planet was also home to several swamps. The world is still recovering from an environmental collapse caused by massive global over-industrialization prior to the activation of the Halo Array.[1] Until the Covenant's arrival, the planet's population was threatened by two consecutive winter seasons, plagues, and lack of food.[7] Blue Death was a risk to all Unggoy that were exposed to Balaho's harsh climate.[8]



Balaho means "swamp" in Tagalog, a major language in the Philippines. Unggoy means "monkey" in the same language.


List of appearances[edit]


  1. ^ Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas (about 23 times stronger than carbon dioxide), making it very effective at insulating an atmosphere. As such, it is strange that Balaho is so cold when the planet's atmosphere is composed mainly of methane. The most likely explanation is that Balaho is much farther from Tala than most other habitable planets are from their stars and that is warm enough to support life because of its methane atmosphere. This also explains why the planet was not engulfed when Tala expanded into a blue supergiant.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Halo 3, Bestiarum
  2. ^ Halo 4: The Essential Visual Guide, page 37
  3. ^ a b c d Halo Encyclopedia, page 308
  4. ^ Halo: Contact Harvest, page 151
  5. ^ Eleventh Hour reports, Part 3
  6. ^ Xbox Live's Major Nelson: News From Halo Fest
  7. ^ Halo Encyclopedia, page 151
  8. ^ Halo: Ghosts of Onyx, page 237