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H2A Terminals - Balaho.jpg


Tala system[1]



Orbital position:

Fifth planet[1]


Two; 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]



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]


Prior to the activation of the Halo Array in 97,445 BCE, an environmental collapse occurred on Balaho caused by massive global over-industrialization. After the reintroduction of indigenous species following the array's firing, and before it was discovered by the Covenant, Balaho was mainly dominated by disparate Unggoy tribes.[1]

Balaho is partially glassed after the rebellion.

When the Covenant found Balaho and the Unggoy in 2142, most were more than willing to leave their hostile homeworld and join the hegemony.[4] However, centuries later, in 2462, the planet was partially glassed during the Unggoy Rebellion. The glassing of Balaho led to the species' surrender and the end of the rebellion. Although the Unggoy on High Charity leading the rebellion cared little for their home planet itself, they surrendered as they were unwilling to lose the large amount of potential breeding partners that lived there.[4][5] 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 eventually settled on the planets of other species, Balaho was still highly regarded among the Unggoy.[4] Immediately following the Human-Covenant War, the Office of Naval Intelligence recorded no off-world transport from Balaho, also noting that Buwan appeared to have been abandoned.[6]

On October 28, 2558, Cortana claimed the Mantle and broadcast an offer of peace and prosperity to many species of the galaxy. The Unggoy on Balaho responded favorably to this proposition, and in response, they were granted nearly limitless resources by the Created. Ships loaded with advanced technology arrived, along with agricultural support stations in orbit, awaiting eager workers to feed the desperate masses below. Under the new management, stability and a semblance of order were restored to Balaho, along with a newfound purpose. The planet's previously abandoned factories were activated once again, and with their immediate requirements—food, shelter, medicine—met, the planet's Unggoy designers and crafters began to work tirelessly to construct new machines and weaponry based on knowledge the Unggoy had secretly learned over their centuries under the Covenant's rule.[3]


A Covenant vessel recieves Unggoy from Balaho's surface.

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.[7] 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.[4] Most of the Unggoy live in this area where the cold season is not as harmful to them. The planet is 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 a general lack of food.[8] Blue Death is a risk to all Unggoy that were exposed to Balaho's harsh climate.[9]



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


List of appearances


  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 l m Halo 3, Bestiarum
  2. ^ Halo 4: The Essential Visual Guide, page 37
  3. ^ a b Halo Waypoint: Canon Fodder - Driving Force
  4. ^ a b c d Halo Encyclopedia, page 308
  5. ^ Halo: Contact Harvest, page 151
  6. ^ Eleventh Hour reports, Part 3
  7. ^ Xbox Live's Major Nelson: News From Halo Fest
  8. ^ Halo Encyclopedia, page 151
  9. ^ Halo: Ghosts of Onyx, page 237