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Aswang

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Aswang1

Artist depiction of an Aswang

1. Supposed Region of ExistenceEdit

Philippines, except in the IIocos region


2. PhysiologyEdit

The Aswang is a combination of vampire, witch, and is usually female. It's said to be a ghoul, it also stalks it's victims at night. It favors children and unborn fetuses. Their favorite organs to eat are the liver and heart. The Aswang has even been said to suck out the viscera of their victims.

Aswangs have bloodshot eyes, are capable of shapeshifting, and can walk around during the day. They have an ageless appearance, are quiet, shy, and elusive in manner. Some are said to have long proboscises, which they use to search for unborn children to eat. There are even some that are thin enough to hide behind bamboo posts.

While they hunt at night, they walk with their feet backwards. When working during the day they prefer jobs that relate to meat such as butchery. But if you look into the eyes of a suspected Aswang your reflection would appear inverted.


Fast and silent, they will find a victim's house and begin to put holes in the wall so that they may enter. Ginger and Salt placed in these holes will keep them at bay. Garlic bulbs, holy water, and other objects are believed to repel aswang. Another way to detect an Aswang is to use a bottle of special oil made coconut and mixed with certain plant stems. After making the oil a special prayer is said over the oil. When an Aswang approaches or walks outside the house, the oil will begin to boil and continue boiling until the creature leaves.


In the Southern part of the Philippines the Aswang are classified into five distinctive types:

  1. The Blood Sucker (Vampire)
  2. The Barangan (Vindictive Hexer...Voodoo and the like)
  3. Self Segmenter (Tik-Tik, Wak-Wak, or Manananggal) A creature who can fly through the night using only the upper torso with its entrails dangling below. It's names are derived from the sound they make as they fly through the air. It's cries are louder the further away it is, to confuse its potential victim.
  4. The Corpse Eater (Bubuu) - This is the aswang who will try and change out the victim with a fake made from a banana tree trunk or other plant materials. This facsimile will return to the victim's home, only to become sick and die. It is said to make the noise of laying hen.
  5. The False Beast - An aswang who has the ability to change it's form to whatever shape suits it.

3. HistoryEdit

FolkloreEdit

The aswang is an inherently evil vampire-like creature and is the subject of a wide variety of myths and stories. Spanish colonists noted that the Aswang was the most feared among the mythical creatures of the Philippines, even in the 16th century.

Before modern medicine and science, aswangs served to explain miscarriages and other maladies. Today, aside from entertainment value, Filipino mothers often tell their children aswang stories to keep them off the streets and keep them home at night.

There is also a popular tale of Tiniente Gimo (lieutenant Gimo) of the town of Dueñas, Iloilo. and his family of Aswangs. Here is the tale as I've found it.

Tiniente (Filipinized Spanish for Lieutenant) Gimo was a person of some note in his town of Dueñas in Iloilo, a region in the Visayas. He and his family were considered 'lahi ng aswang' (a clan of aswangs) and he wasn't one to hide the fact. Although he didn't flaunt it, he wasn't shy about it either. He knew the power he held over people and their fear was enough to make him claim the power that his bloodline gave to him.

One of the teniente's daughters studied in a university in the city. During a break, this daughter invited two of her classmates to come to her hometown for a visit. The young ladies agreed, excited at the prospect of going to a town they had never visited before. They were greeted with enthusiasm by the teniente's family and as was customary in the Philippines, a small party was prepared. The lady visitors were fed and entertained. As the night grew deeper, one of the young ladies asked (let's call her Juana) what the sleeping arrangements would be. Gimo's daughter said that the visitors would be sharing a room with her.

And so off to bed they went. Because they were in a small town, no big beds were available so they all agreed to sleep on mats on the floor. Juana slept in the middle, tucked in between Gimo's daughter and their friend. The two girls soon drifted off to sleep but Juana found that tired as she was, she just couldn't bring herself to sleep. Filipinos refer to this feeling as 'namamahay', which is when your body and mind are still in the process of adjusting to a new environment and thus cannot perform a certain routine. This was what prevented Juana from sleeping. It was also what kept her alive.

The party went on outside even as the night deepened but to Juana, instead of fading away, the noise just seemed to get a little bit louder. She heard more people coming, being greeted, there were sounds of suppressed laughter, soft giggles and whispers. "Must be the party for tomorrow," she thought. "They're really throwing a big one." Since she couldn't sleep anyway, Juana decided to get up and take a peek at the activities through the window. When she lifted the cover, what she saw stirred fear in her heart. On the clearing not far from the house, people were gathered together in a circle – a few women were busy cutting spices and vegetables, some men were talking and drinking while others were sharpening knives. There were children as well. And there, through the shrubs, more people were coming. In the middle of the circle was a fire and over the fire was a larger-than-usual iron cauldron. If these people were going to cook, they were going to cook something big – bigger than a full-grown chicken or a goat. Just then, Juana heard Teniente Gimo's voice just on the other side of the wall, talking to another man.

"So which one is it?" the man asked.

"The one in the middle and the other one's on the right," Teniente Gimo said.

"Okay. I'll bring three or four along in case there's a struggle."


"Let's just hit her on the head. Keep her quiet that way."


"True."


"And bring the sack to carry her with. We'll take care of the other one."

Juana didn't need to hear any more just to understand what the two men were discussing. The 'one in the middle' they were referring to was her! The fire and the iron cauldron, all those vegetables and spices the women were preparing, the sack…they intended to butcher her and her friend! Juana's survival instinct kicked in. She debated for a while on whether to wake up her friend or not but the men were coming up the stairs and if her friend woke up suddenly, there's no telling what she would say or do. They could both be in bad trouble if she delayed for another second. Juana hurried back to the sleeping girls on the floor, pushed Gimo's daughter towards the middle, lay on the girl's right and covered everyone's head with the wide blanket. That way, the heads were hidden underneath. She tried to calm herself to prevent from shaking.

Soon the door opened slowly and noiselessly. Juana didn't know how many men came for Teniente Gimo's daughter that night. All she felt and heard were soft footsteps, a few whispers and a loud thud as they hit the young girl on the head. They were very quiet, as if they were used to doing what they did. They didn't even wake up her friend, who was sleeping so soundly just an arm's length away from Juana. Teniente Gimo's daughter lay moaning next to her.The men quickly wrapped the bleeding girl in the sack and carried her away. After the men had left the room, Juana got up, tried to wake her friend for the last time, failed and decided to go at it alone. She opened the window across the one facing the clearing where they were presently beating the body inside the sack and carefully but fearfully climbed down. As soon as her bare feet touched solid ground, Juana began to run. She didn't care where she was passing through – all she knew was that the main road was in that direction. She hadn't gotten far when she heard shouts and screams from the group. They had opened the sack and found out the terrible mistake they made.

Enraged, Teniente Gimo cried for everyone to check the house, find the girl, THE girl they wanted, she who was supposed to be in the middle, she who was supposed to be in the sack, she who was supposed to be the one they should be prepping tonight, she whose throat they should have slit. Behind her, Juana heard the commotion and simply assumed that people were now climbing the stairs, opening the door to the daughter's room and finding that only one was left behind and the other had run away. It would only be a matter of time before they found out where she was headed. So Juana kept on running over the grass, the rocks, the pebbles that cut her feet, the sharp thorns of the shrubs and the slimy dead things underneath her. But those who were in pursuit of her were men – grown men, men taller than she, with longer legs, with strength stolen from the other men and women they had slaughtered before her poor friend. As the men with the torches began to gain on her, Juana felt panic rise from her legs to her heart, threatening to turn her legs to stone. She could never outrun these men and if she could hide, where? They probably knew this area very well and could find her easily. But right in front of her, a tree stood. It was tall enough but not so tall that she couldn't climb it and it looked strong, with a thick trunk and even thicker leaves. Juana had no memory of how she managed to climb the tree that night but there she cowered, shaking, mouthing prayers for the Virgin to protect her, to please not let them see her, hear her, smell her.

The voices grew nearer and so did the footfalls. Not only the men came in pursuit. There were a few women as well, some of them holding torches, some gripping a thick tree branch and others, still holding on to the knives they used to cut the onions and the tomatoes. Light from the torches illuminated the branches and the leaves of the tree as the mob passed underneath her. If one of them ever looked up…But no one did. The crowd of angry men and women who tried to come after her came and went. They couldn't find her. A few hours later, which seemed an eternity to Juana, they came back again, walking this time, tired and hungry, their torches fading but they came a few feet away, no longer passing under Juana's tree. Although the crowd had gone, Juana stayed hidden in the tree. She waited for the dark sky to turn gray and very carefully, painfully climbed down. No one was in sight and she was too far away to actually hear anything from where Teniente Gimo's hut stood. Besides, it was morning and if they did party on last night, they would be too full and tired to care today. Juana brushed the thought of her other friend, the one she left behind, away and began to run again, towards the main road.At this point, I no longer remember how Juana got help. Maybe she stopped a passing bus or jeepney or maybe a person with a good soul came across the fearful girl with the wild eyes. But she did get help and she did find her way home, safe and alive. She never went back to the town of Dueñas, not even to see if the tree that saved her life still stood.

As for Teniente Gimo and his clan of aswangs, it is said that the incident devastated him. It was his own beloved daughter after all. They packed up and abandoned their home and moved someplace else. Where he and his family are now is only whispered about and whether they are still hunting and luring human prey, it can only be guessed at

Aswang FestivalEdit

On October 29 to 30, 2004, Capiz inaugurated the Aswang Festival, organized by a nongovernmental group Dugo Capiznon, Incorporated. It was a Halloween-like Fiesta as a prelude to All Souls Day and All Saints Day festivals. It was, however, condemned by the Catholic hierarchy and some local officials, as an act of adoring the devil. When former Capiz Gov. Vicente Bermejo assumed office as mayor of Roxas City in July 2007, the controversial festival was stopped.

SightingsEdit

September 22, 2004 Barangay Cabuling in Tantangan

Tata Porras, 16, claimed his 14-year-old brother Michael was attacked by an aswang, which he claimed was disguised as a big black dog with red, lowering eyes. Porras' descriptions aptly fit the physical appearance of the supernatural being who has the ability to transform itself into different forms while devouring a prey. He claimed that he and his younger brother were sleeping in a small makeshift hut near their ricefield on the evening of September 22, guarding their farm ducks, when the incident happened. The boys' parents were sleeping in their house just a few meters away from the ricefield. Tata said that a big black dog about three feet-high was about to bite the neck of his younger brother when he saw it. When I saw the 'aswang' about to bite my younger brother, I grabbed our single shot rifle and I shot the 'aswang'," Tata said. He said the "aswang" fled and was lost in the dark. Prior to the alleged attack, Tata said he heard a squeaking sound outside the makeshift hut. Michael was hit in his right leg when Tata fired the shot at the aswang. He was immediately brought to the South Cotabato Provincial Hospital (SCPH) for medical treatment. Neighbors who rushed to the boys' location reported hearing Tata shouting, "aswang, aswang!" while pointing to a dark portion of the ricefields.

January 05, 2007, Hamtic, Antique

Estelita Adrada, 48, of Brgy. Asluman here had the shock of her life when she discovered her eighth child April Rose already lifeless inside their nipa hut early morning yesterday.

What shocked Estelita more was the wound on April Rose’s lower right jaw as if an animal bit her face off (see photo). Bruno Adrada, 24, April Rose’s elder brother, said April Rose was already feeling ill days before. Instead of eating a full dinner, April Rose only took bread and milk because of the fever and headache she contracted. Estelita said she was hugging her daughter while they were sleeping because the latter was not feeling well. All went well inside the Adrada residence until 4am yesterday when Estelita felt April Rose already cold and not moving.
Aswang2

Picture of April Rose's body the next morning.

The caretaker of a nearby beach resort home said their three dogs were barking at the Adrada house between 10pm and 11pm Wednesday but he did not see anything unusual in the area. Dr. Maria Eva Pacificador, Hamtic municipal health officer, who conducted an initial autopsy on April Rose’s remains, said the victim died between 10pm Wednesday and 1am Thursday.


May 6, 2012 in Barangay Makir, Datu Odin Sinsuat Alex Lumenda said his eight-year-old child went to the back portion of their house in Barangay Makir, Datu Odin Sinsuat to use the bathroom when he heard the child crying for help around 10 p.m. Sunday. Lumenda said he rushed to the area and saw the creature grabbing his child, who was able to escape. Neighbors woke up due to the commotion. The creature is described to have long hair and nails, blazing eyes and long fangs. It was also learned that the goats of Lumenda's neighbor was devoured by the creature. Twenty residents claimed witnessing this before the creature disappeared. Meanwhile, another aswang attack was reported, this time on one alias Juvy, a resident of the barangay. Juvy showed bite marks on the hand and scratches on the shoulder, which were said to have been inflicted by the aswang. Mayor Lester Sinsuat has urged members of the Citizen Armed Forces Geographical Units and barangay tanods to patrol the area at night and keep a tight watch over residents. (Edgardo Fuerzas) Stories of the aswang are popular in the Visayan region of the Philippines, especially in the western provinces of Capiz (a province on Panay Island), Iloilo and Antique. Capiz, in particular, is singled out by tabloids as an area of high supernatural activity: a home to aswangs, manananggals, giant half-horse men (tikbalang) and other mythological creatures.

Many of those who live in Capiz are superstitiously inclined, and adorn their homes with objects believed to repel aswang. Since the stories recount aswang eating unborn children, pregnancy is a time of great fear for superstitious Filipinos. In Southern Luzon, the city of Antipolo is rumoured by locals to be a popular place for sighting Aswangs, especially during the Holy Week, where legend says that paranormal activities are at their peak during the three days that Christ was dead.

4. EvidenceEdit

Other than eyewitness accounts and slaugthered farm animals there is no solid evidence of Aswangs in the Philippines.


5. Possibility of ExistenceEdit

2. Somewhat improbable

6. SourcesEdit

  • Philippine myth about aswang
  • Legendary Humanoids: Aswang, Shapeshifting Vampire
  • Humanoid / Cryptid Encounter Reports 39
  • Sun.Star Davao newspaper on May 10, 2012.
  • Normal Paranormal | Renzie on The Weird and The Strange
  • Aswang From Wikipedia,

7. LinksEdit

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