If you are a Filipino or lives in the Philippines you should know by now that people here are very fond of creating stories that goes way beyond human comprehension. Stories handed from generation to generation with different versions but captured the essence of the subject matter. It is believed that these stories were made just to scare children and keep them inside the house after 6pm. I can still remember way back when I was still in Cavite that grown-ups would tell a story about ghosts, flying creatures, and unknown beings that scares the hell out of us. Now how did they come up with those stories? How come I’ve heard similar stories in televisions, radio shows, and even in movies.
I know you’ll be interested in these topics because anything that is unexplainable is truly worth discovering. Understanding where the story originated and other facts that can be learned about these creatures would definitely enrich a midnight gathering where stories are told and experiences are shared.
In this particular article, I will be focusing on Aswang. Whenever I hear the word aswang or asuwang the first thing that comes to my mind would be monsters, a humanoid being with bloodshot red eyes, long tongue, and pointy teeth. In my childhood days I always hear the expression “Wag kang malikot kung hindi ipapakain kita sa aswang!” (Behave or else you’ll be fed to the aswang). Now by definition what is an ASWANG?!?
According to Wikipedia:
“Aswangs” are often described as a combination of vampire and witch and are almost always female. They are sometimes used as a generic term applied to all types of witches, manananggals, shapeshifters, lycanthropes, and monsters. Aswang stories and definitions vary greatly from region to region and person to person, so no one particular set of characteristics can be ascribed to the term. However, the term is often used interchangeably with manananggal, which is a particular creature with a specific set of features. They are often portrayed as a monster with wings which flap loudly when she’s far away and quietly when she’s nearer. The most popular original definition however, is that it is a bal-bal (maninilong in Catanauan, Quezon), an eater of the dead. After consumption, the bal-bal replaces the cadaver with banana trunks.
Based from the articles that I have read, an aswang is a regular town people during the day that the prefer the work related to meat such as butchery or making sausages. They said that they live alone in a hut (bahay kubo) and very aloof to people. It is said that if you encounters them you’ll notice that they don’t have philtrum. Philtrum is the area between you nose and mouth with vertical indention. It would look flat between their lips and nose. One thing is that if you will look at their eyes you will see that you reflection will be upside down, that’s the reason they always looking down. Generally they are also described as old woman with white long hair and pale white skin. They also have bloodshot eyes from staying up all night looking for opportunities to sneak into houses where funeral wakes are being held, and stealing the dead bodies.
Before transforming, they undergo a ritual she apply a special kind of oil while chanting an old latin or ancient incantations. Now upon transformation, they can change from human to animal and animal to human. They can transform into a big black bird, a black dog, black pig, cat, and sometimes they mimic the appearance of other human beings that they already devoured. During their nocturnal activities, they walk with their feet facing backwards and toenails reversed.
How they feed?
Aswangs are said to like eating the organs of human beings. They feed on liver and intestines of their victims and the spoils are taken to their hide out and cook it during the day. Aswangs also like to feed on unborn baby of a pregnant woman. For them the scent of the unborn child is like roasted rice puffs (pinipig). Depending on the type of aswang they have their own way of making their meal.
Shapeshifters – transform themselves into a big dog or pig and attacks the victim by tackling them
Manananggal – using her long pointed tongue which they use to suck the children out of their mothers’ wombs or their homes
Ghoul type – replace their live victims or stolen cadavers with facsimiles made from tree trunks or other plant materials. This facsimile will return to the victim’s home, only to become sick and die
Hobot – swoop down a victim and fly them to a certain height then immediately dropping them and killing them with the fall and then devours the body
How to deal with Aswangs?
Buntot-pagi (Stingray’s Tail) – I can still remember my dad have this kept in a cabinet, I wondered what it is and he forbids us in using it because if the Buntot-pagi hits you you’ll be sick and get thin, later I knew that it was used to fight Aswangs. It is use like a whip and lashes on Aswangs doing more hurtful damage to them.
Bawang (Garlic) – wearing garlic around your neck would protect you from being attacked because Aswang doesn’t like the smell of garlic. By hanging a whole chain of garlic at the doors and windows it would prevent the Aswang from coming closer.
Asin (Salt) – by spraying salt to his body it acts like an acid that burns the skin of the creature. In the case of the manananggal where half of its body is left in a remote part of the forrest, it is said that if you found the half of it’s lower body you need to spray salt to it so that the upper half cannot merge with its body.
Araw (Sun) – just like other demonic creature it is said that if the Aswang is caught by a ray of sunlight on beast form it would burn
Video: Irma Alegre’s transformation scene in the Peque Gallaga directed episode of Shake, Rattle & Roll
“ito ay aking personal na experience at sa aking mga kamag anak, mula sa lolo at lola, uncle at anti”
“paliwanag ko lng kung ano ang aswang doon sa aming probinsya, ito ay hindi katulad sa napapanood ninyo sa TV o sine na sumisipsip ng dugo o ng aabang ng mabibiktima at kakagatin ang leeg at dudukutin ang puso at hindi sila gabi gabi kumakain o pumapatay ng tao dahil sana marami na tayong nabalitaan sa dyaryo lokal man o national.
“sa probinsya namin ang aswang ay hindi pumapatay ng kapitbahay o kabaranggay dahil madali silang mapaghinalaan, kung ang kapitbahay lng o kabaranggayn lng ang kanilang bibiktimahin.
“bagkus sila po ay pumupunta sa ibang baranggay ng titinda ng kung anu anu at ng hahanap ng mabibiktima at itoy kanilang liligawan o paglalaruan at bibigyan ng sakit, kung bata man ang kanilang bibiktimahin ito ay kanilang hahawakn sa ulo o itoy bibigyan ng anumang pagkain at sa kagabihan e magkakasakit ang taong kursunada nilang kainin.
“at sa kalagitnaan ng malubhang sakit ng tao o ng bata ang aswang po ay aakyat sa bahay ng taong ito at kukunin niya ang taong my sakit, at papalitan nila ang katawan nito ng puno ng saging o tangkay ng niyog, pero sa paningin ng pamilya ay nandoon pa rin yung katawan ng mahal nila, at itoy ikukulong ng aswang sa kanyang tahanan o sa knyang hide out(bat cave).
” ang mangyayari hindi mg sususpetsa ang pamilya ng taong my sakit na ina aswang lng pala ang kanilang mahal sa buhay, gagawin nila ang lahat para gumaling ito, dadalhin nila kung saang saang hospital para lng gumaling ito ngunit walang magagawa ang mga doctor, at pag dating ng panahon na gusto na ng aswang kainin ang taong ito ay kakatayin niya ito na parang baboy at sa panahong iyun mamatay na rin yung katawan ng tao na hawak ng pamilya, n akala nila ay namatay lng sa malubhang sakit.
“ito po ay naranasan lahat ng mahal ko sa buhay kaya iniwan namin ang aming probinsya na hindi ko na po tutukuyin, ang pinsan ng aking mama na kinuha ng tao sa kanilang bahay, nakita ito ng kapitbahay nila na hindi ng salita dahil ng tingnan nya sa higaan ang aking tito ay nandoon pa rin, bagkus ang ginawa nya ay sinundan ang taong my dala sa katawan ng aking tito, at itoy dinala nya sa gitna ng kanipaan (NIPA for making bubung) at doon kinatay ang katawan, sinabi ito ng kapitbahay nila sa magulang ng tito ko pero hindi sila naniwala, pinuntahan nila ang lugar kung saan kinatay ang bangkay pero wala na silang makitang bakas kahit buhok pero nandoon pa ang dugo nito.
“this is my personal experience and also stories from my relatives my grandfather, uncle, and aunt.”
“i just want to explain what Aswangs are in my province, it is not the same thing that you see on movies and television that stalks and then bite them in the neck and devours their hearts and drinking their blood, they don’t kill every night just like what they said on the news.”
“in our province, they don’t kill neighbors or townspeople because it could easily blows their cover and identify them as easily.”
“instead, they go to other towns and villages where they sell merchandises while looking for someone to prey. they will court them, play with them, and will give them disease. if they wish to prey on children they’ll just put their hands on their head or give them food that will then turn them ill later at night.”
“in the middle of the child’s sickness the Aswang will go to the prey’s house and will take the sick person and bring him to it’s lair and then replacing the body with a part of banana tree or any trunk of coconut tree.
“the love ones of the victim will not suspect that it is the doing of the Aswang and they will do their best to keep the person alive bringing them from one hospital to another finding a cure. when the time comes that the Aswang wants to eat his prey, he will butcher the victim like a pig and after killing the victim, the facsimile of that person will also die knowing that he died of a sickness.”
“this was experienced by my loved ones that is the reason why we left our province, the cousin of my mother that was taken from them, it was witnessed by their neighbor but decided to become quiet about it because when they checked his uncle was still there, what their neighbor did was to follow the person that kidnapped the body of his uncle, the creature brought to a plantation of Palm and there the body was butchered, our neighbor told this story to my parents but they didn’t believe, they went to the place where it took place but they didn’t see any parts of body but the blood was still there…”
- Fillipino Vampire Author Raymund Hensley (scifitalk.com)