In preparation for the upcoming Halloween and All Souls Day, BakitWhy.com is taking a dip into the macabre and the mythical with the Supernatural Series. The Philippines has countless myths circulating throughout the country, especially in the more rural areas, that contain a large variety of mythical creatures. The Supernatural Series will explore some of these creatures that have scared & fascinated Pilipinos for centuries.
One of these mythical creatures in Philippine folklore is the Aswang. The aswang is an evil vampire-like, shape-shifting ghoul that is the subject of a wide variety of myths and stories, whose details vary greatly. Spanish colonizers noted that the aswang was the most feared among the mythical creatures of the Philippines, even back in the 16th century.
The myth of the aswang is well known throughout the Philippines, and is especially popular in the Western Visayan regions such as Capiz, Iloilo and Antique. The trademark feature of aswangs which distinguish them from other Pilipino mythological creatures is their tendency to replace stolen cadavers with the trunk of a banana plant that has been carved in the cadaver's likeness. They are also said to like to eat small children. Their favorite body parts are the liver and heart, and are known to be viscera suckers. Other regional names for the aswang include "tik-tik", "wak-wak" and "soc-soc"
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 completely describe the term. They are often portrayed as a monster with wings that flap loudly when she's far away, and quietly when she's nearer. The most popular original definition however, is that it is abal-bal, an eater of the dead. After consumption, the bal-bal then replaces the cadaver with banana trunks.
Aswangs are shapeshifters that are said to live as regular townspeople by day - and they prefer an occupation related to meat, such as butchery or making sausages.As regular townspeople, they are quiet, shy, and elusive. At night, however, they transform into various creatures that are always black in color; a cat, a pig, a bird, and most commonly, as a dog. Aswangshave an ageless appearance and can be distinguished from humans by their bloodshot eyes, which they get from staying up all night looking for opportunities to sneak into houses where funeral wakes are being held, and stealing the dead bodies.
Share your stories
Do you (or your friends, your parents, your grandparents) have any scary Aswang stories? If you do, please feel free to share them with the entire BakitWhy.com community either as a comment to this post or as a Blog.
*Image from The P.I.R.G.