Philippine myth about aswang


Philippines is not new when dealing with vampires, werewolves and among others, but the monsters that you would know in this article are more feared. Some say that it is just a folklore, just like what other countries thought about it, but it is not. Many Filipinos have experienced battling with these monsters, especially in the remote towns in the Philippines where there is no electricity. In the Philippines they are lurking and waiting for you to be their next meal.

A. Definition
An Aswang (or Asuwang) is a mythical creature in Philippine folklore. The aswang is an inherently evil vampire-like creature and is the subject of a wide variety of myths and stories, the details of which vary greatly. Spanish colonizers noted that the Aswang was the most feared among the mythical creatures of the Philippines, even in the 16th century.

The myth of the aswang is well known throughout the Philippines, except in the Ilocos region, which is the only region that does not have an equivalent myth. It is especially popular in the Western Visayan regions such as Capiz, Iloilo and Antique. 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 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.

Aswang true story

This is probably the most famous aswang story of all time. It has even been referenced to in a few Filipino horror movies. I will try to recount the version of the story as I heard it told so long ago.

This is the horrifying but sad tale of Tiniente Gimo and his family.

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."


"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 truck 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. Who knows? They could be in your town.

The aswang are the most feared of supernatural creatures on the Philippines. They can enter the body of a person and through this person they inflict harm on those the they dislike. Most common are the female variety who appear as an ugly old woman with long, unkempt hair, blood-shot eyes, long nails, and a long, black tongue. She has holes in her armpits which contain oil. This gives her power of flight.

A being of enormous power, she can transform herself into any shape, even inanimate objects. She preys on children, pregnant women, and ill people. Once she has overpowered a victim, she will take a bundle of sticks, talahib grass, and rice or banana stalks, and transform these into a replica of her victim. This replica is sent home while she takes the real person back with her. Upon reaching its home, the replica will become sick and die. The victim will then be killed and eaten. She is said to be particularly fond of the liver.

There are a wide variety of stories about the Aswang circulating between rural Filipinos, making it impossible to settle upon any fixed definition of their appearance or activities. However, one trademark or defining feature of Aswangs which distinguishes them from other Filipino mythological creatures is their propensity to replace live victims or stolen cadavers with a facsimile that it creates out of tree trunks and other plant materials. Aswangs are particularly feared for their fondness for eating unborn fetuses and small children. Their favorite body parts are the liver and heart.

By some accounts, Aswangs are said to be able to enter the body of a person and through this person they inflict harm on those the they dislike. Most commonly, they are female and appear as an ugly old woman with long, unkempt hair, blood-shot eyes, long nails, and a long, black tongue. She has holes in her armpits which contain oil. This gives her power of flight.

A being of enormous power, an Aswang can transform itself into any shape, even inanimate objects. It preys on children, pregnant women, and ill people. Once an aswang has overpowered a victim, it will take a bundle of sticks, talahib grass, and rice or banana stalks, and transform these into a replica of its victim. This replica is sent home while the Aswang takes the real person away to be killed and eaten. The replica person, upon reaching its home, will become sick and die.

In many stories, an Aswang lives as regular townsperson by day, and prefers an occupation related to meat, such as butchery or making sausages. By some accounts, Aswangs have an ageless appearance and a quiet, shy and elusive manner. They can be distinguished from humans by two signs. One is the 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.

Among its many talents, the Aswang can transform itself from human to animal and animal to human. The Aswang can disguise him/herself as a pig, dog, snake, bat, or black bird. Supposedly if a person looks at them in the eyes, the reflection would appear inverted. During their nocturnal activities, they walk with their feet facing backwards and toenails reversed.

One type of Aswang is the kikik, which transforms into a huge bird/bat at night and prowls. The kikik looks for a sleeping pregnant woman. When it has found one, it extends a very long proboscis into the womb and kills the fetus by draining its blood. It is said that while this is taking place, a 'kik-kik-kik' sound is often heard.

In some stories, the kikik is an Aswang's familiar, said to confuse people by its 'kikik' sound. If the Aswang is near, the sound would be faint so that people hearing it would think that the Aswang is still far away.

The term wak-wak or wuk-wuk is frequently used for the same creature in the Cebu region. The legends of the wak-wak and kikik are much the same, but the wak-wak is specifically supposed to change into its birdlike form by leaving behind its lower body, much like the Manananggal, another Philippine vampire. The cry of a night bird which makes a "wuk-wuk-wuk" sound is believed to be the call of this monster and is feared by superstitious villagers. As with the call of the kikik, the wak-wak is believed able to make its cry sound distant when the creature is near.

In Panitan(Panit'an) Capiz, there is a myth of the Dangga or Agitot. This type of aswang is said to take the form of a handsome gay man that hunts women during the night and drinks blood like a vampire.

Another familiar is the sigbin or Zegben Some say that this is another form that the Aswang transforms into and yet some say it is the companion of the kikik. Its appearance is said to be similar to the chupacabra and Tasmanian devil in appearance, although with spotty fur. It supposedly has a wide mouth with large fangs.

One of the most popular legends in the visayas region is the infamous Aswang Tiniente Gimo(lieutenant Gimo) of the town of Dueñas, Iloilo.

Comments 30 comments

alvin 5 years ago

i like the story since i was child

f##k sh##t 5 years ago

...your story is absolutely stupid and discriminating for us duenasanon. you don't what is the history behind that story...i advice you to research more so that you can understand what you are writing about...please know what you are doing fuckshit ;-P

xtian 5 years ago

hmmm wen i was i child im so scared to watch horror movie... but thats my fav. its just im hiding but one of my eye is watching wahahha.. hmmm i dnt remember if shakerattle&roll 1,2,or 3.. hmmmm but i knw manlyn reynes is d gurl "juana" and my parents told me that was a true story... hmmm as of nw.. im believin' in aswang... d p aq nkakita pero nrrmdman q lalo n ung aso iba ung tahol at prang naiyak.. hmmm dat tym im taking vacation at leyte.. OMG! my grandma told me a story and so fuckin scared me... biliv it or not. im 24 y/o and nw ill loved to watch and listening, reading true stories of aswangs...

Ma Gracia Santiago 5 years ago

i already hear that, when I and my grade 5 classmate Stephanie were sharing weird stories....but what i heard was not exactly from what i read... JUST q incp na un pla ang real storie is past 4 years nang marinig ko to2o lng, i really like it...

angel 5 years ago

well for me i believe in many mysteries in this world

kerlynb profile image

kerlynb 5 years ago from Philippines, Southeast Asia, Earth ^_^

Interesting ;)

ocampo 5 years ago

lam ko hindi totoo yung mga aswang

mrs.grace lacibal 5 years ago

gud day po sa ngsulat ng tungkol sa aswang oko po mismo ay nkpnta at nktira pa sa lugar ng duenas dhil tga doon ang npangasawa ko sa pg kkaintindi ko sa story u prang buong duenas yta ay gusto u ipahiya alam mo try u kya pmunta sa lugar nmin wla kng mkkta tao na dugan ang bbig at tangay ang laman ng kpwa nya tao mpagmhal at mgagalang ang mga tao ng duenas at hgit sa lhat may takot sa dios di na uso ang aswang ngaun.ang duenas ay isang mgandang lugar subukan mong pmunta mlay mo iba mhanap mo hndi aswang kgaya ko ang nhanap ko taong totoong ngmmhal at ng aalaga sa akin atn sa awa ng dios kanin at ulam ang knkain prin nmin hndi laman ng tao tnx...kya sna tgilan na ntin ang pagsulat ng mga gntong kathang isi at hakahakng storya....

Mimi 4 years ago

I also believe in this story because "Aswang" really exist. Maybe after Tiniente Gimo and his family left the place, there is no Aswang in Duenas anymore. Sorry to those who lived in the place but I know the story is true and we cannot deny the fact about them.

But maybe nowadays, people from Duenas are already leaving peacefully and there is no more "aswang" in the place however you cannot really get the fear from each person who believed in the story.

lulu 4 years ago


Alijandro 4 years ago

I dont understand the fools that made this story up cause that is some messed up stuff right there!!!

Highvoltagewriter profile image

Highvoltagewriter 4 years ago from Savannah GA.

Thanks for this remarkable story...who's to say if it is true? The world is filled with strange things!

OldWitchcraft profile image

OldWitchcraft 4 years ago from The Atmosphere

Very interesting... I've been doing research on these legends all day! Thanks for more clues and information about the Aswang.

Voting up and accolades!

kate 4 years ago

This story is really the story in Shake, Rattle and Roll 2, titled Aswang. Which starred Manilyn Reynes (Juana in this story), Ana Roces (the daughter of Gimo). I didn't know that it was a true story. I believe in aswang because I experienced it first hand. I was almost attacked by a tiktik when I was pregnant. Though I didn't see the long tongue, I hears the "tiktik" sound. When I asked my husband about it, he saw a black cat.

girlalu 4 years ago


Wow you just impressed me! I saw the movie Aswang when I was a kid, and believe me, I was so scared to death that I thought of having no friends at all haha..

Well, as for the people living there in Duenas, don't be upset. The writer never generalizes that all people there are aswang. It just happened that the location is there. There are aswang in different places in the Philippines, maybe. Just don't be upset. Besides it's a folklore.

We have it here i our place also. I'm from Mindanao and there are lots of whispers that a certain aswang is lurking from place to place looking for pregnant women and babies.

And for the writer, well done and keep on writing things like this. hehe because many filipino loves horror.


Sonny 4 years ago

I live in toboso but now im in u.s my grandma used to tell me this story about gimo

Lala gurl 4 years ago

I think this is true because in the phillipines

my mother always was scared of the town

kijkij 4 years ago

hello!!! ako naniniwala ako sa aswang, hindi pa ako naka kita pero nakarinig na ako, yong story ng uncle ko, pinsang buo ang papa ko taga ilo-ilo sila, 70 yrs old na siya ngayon, noong 15 yrs old daw siya fiesta sa barrio nila, inutusan siya ng uncle niya na kunin yong baka (cow) malapit sa ilog, dahil fiesta medyo na enjoy sila sa mga palaro hindi na pansin ng uncle ko 5:30 pm hapon medyo madilim na, pumunta sila sa may ilog kasama pinsa niya, Yung uncle ko bumaba, habang yong pinsan niya na iwan sa taas, yong hinila na niya yong baka (cow) nasira yong lubid ng baka (cow), so inayos muna ng uncle ko yong lubid, siguro mga 1 minute, yong baka (cow) pansin niya hindi daw mapakali, panay daw kilos, sabi kasi ng mga matatanda mga hayop daw una maka ramdam kong may ibang tao sa palikid or masasamang esperito, so lumingon ang uncle ko sa palikid niya, wala namang tao chaka mapuno daw maraming damo, yong pinsan niya nag sisigaw na sa taas, bakit daw matakal, hindi makita ng uncle ko yong pinsan niya kasi matataas ang damo, sabi ng uncle ko na pasigaw din "sandali lang ayusin ko muna itong lupid", mayaya yong baka (cow) hindi nanaman mapakali, lumingon nanaman ang uncle ko,pero wala siyang makita, chaka medyo madilim na, so tuloy siya pero pakiramdam niya iba na, malamig daw at tumatayo ng mga balahibo niya, mayaya yong baka (cow) hindi nanaman mapakali, mga oras na yon ramdam niya may tao sa likod niya, pag lingon niya ayon........... matandang babae, dahan2x lumakad palapit sa kanya, mahaba ang damit na maitim ang kulay, mahaba ang buhok na maputi na tumatayo daw, ang mga kuko mahaba, ang mga mata nanglilisik, mga panahon na yon hindi daw niya alam kong ano ang gagawin, tumitingin siya sa palikid baka may kahoy, kasi yong daw ang ihahampas niya, kaso wala, tumingin din siya kong may bato kaso medyo malalaki, ayaw din niyang sumigaw kasi alam niya maiiwan siya mag isa, sigurado iiwan siya ng pinsan niya. Walang choice ang uncle ko kundi sinuntok niya, na purohan daw at napa atras ng kunti, pero bumabalik daw tapos sinuntok nanaman niya, umaatras daw pero bumabalik nanaman, tumakbo na uncle ko sa taas, tapos tanong ng pinsan niya " O yong baka nasaan na" sabi ng uncle ko bukas na balikan natin " sabi ng pinsan "hindi pagagalitan tayo ni tiyo", nag tatalo sila, walang choice ang uncle ko sinabi na niya na may matandang babae sa baba ayon takbuhan sila hehehe.......hindi na nila na enjoy yong mga palaro sa fiesta at hindi din sila maka tulog sa kaka isip.

wew 4 years ago

ang mtyhs isang story or hindi?

spyder 4 years ago

totoo si gimo. wag lng sana maasar ang mga taga lugar na iyon. pero totoong may tiniente gimo. andun pa hangang ngyon ang mga kapamilya nya.malinis na namumuhay. taliwas sa kwento sa itaas, si gimo at ang asawa nya lang ang aswang. walang angkan ng aswang. at si gimo ay ni-"yanggaw" lang ng asawa nya. ako rin ay taga iloilo. nasasaktan din ako pag minsan naili-link ako sa pagiging aswang ng iba. pero wala na tayong magagawa. un na un e. at totoo naman talaga ang aswang. mapunta kyo sa amin, tanu mn gin ang mga tao. kahit sino. "may aswang ba?" mabilis silang sasagot...."wala!" at “hindi totoo un!" pero kung papansinin nyo, kung hindi totoo un, bakit si kapitbahay na may asawang buntis e nagsusunog ng goma tuwing gabi? bakit may mga "manunggal" (mapait na vine) na nakasabit sa knilang mga pinto't bintana? may itinataboy ba sila? di ko pinipilit maniwala ang ayaw maniwala. pero ika nga... just sharing....;)

kijkij 4 years ago

korek ka, papa ko from ilo-ilo, totoo daw yan,

jham 4 years ago

its true and its not a myth. im from capiz

harry potpot 4 years ago

a legend is a legend-period. take no offense for what was told. I personally do not believe in "aswangs" yet this story makes the Filipino folklore more enticing and interesting.

frank 3 years ago

about the story of tenyente gimo its all real. my grandpa back in the day he killed tenyente's gimo's cousin hi shot em in the head.. true story fuck those people in duenyas those peple who like to et there own kind.. hope they all die and burn in hell.

M. from duenas 3 years ago

for Frank... if you don't have anything else to say... just shut your mouth... kaya d umaasenso ang pilipinas dahil sa mga taong katulad mo.... and for the Writer, i respect your freedom of writing but i hope you also think/consider the lives of young generations which came from Duenas got discriminated due to this type of stories.... It was embarassing to bear that other people bullied you and tease you "ASWANG" just because you came from the Place of Duenas.... especially if people would believe like "Frank" who are considered makitid ang utak for saying such words without thinking the consequences of it... From my University years until now that Im an OFW, I still feel embarrassed when they tease me about my place... People from Duenas are very Hardworking People than any other place in Philippines, You can see it to the improvements of their lifestyle nowadays... We're considering things like this things a challenge to make ourselves a better person... its only sad that some people have "CRAB MENTALITY" which is very common to Filipinos... thank you

Othelo Kindred profile image

Othelo Kindred 3 years ago

I don't think this is all made up. The story originated even before my father was born and he was born in the 1950s. The story has variations actually. What my father said and even my mother, they said the night the visitor was there Gimo's daughter decided to exchange rooms with her visitor. The visitor was in Gimo's daughter's room and his daughter was in the guest room. So they really expect that the person in there is the visitor to only find out that it was actually his daughter. My father also said, naghihiraman daw sila pag may patay. I don't know if they will eat it or something. To think that this story originated way way back our time maybe around 1940s, 30s, or 20s. And one of my lola was born between 1910 and 1920 so this story is really very very old and people that time are still innocent unlike today. And believe me, during those times, pag sinabing aswang maniwala ka. Base sa mga naranasan ng mga magulang ko sa probinsya namin nung bata pa sila, dapat lang paniwalaan but the actual place shouldn't be shared so that people will not become scared. There's also this one incident in our province where my father's neighbors actually chased a lady who flew from the roof and my father that time was only a kid. It happened around dusk, mga bandang 5-6 pm pa gabi na. One of their neighbor was startled because something came down or fall to their roof and their roof was only made of nipa. Nagtaka sya kasi pano may mahuhulog sa bubong nila e wala naman silang katabi puno ng buko at medyo malaki yung bumagsak. I don't know if it's the owner of the house who went outside to look on the roof, but somebody saw a woman standing on their roof. Maybe the girl saw him because he actually saw the girl flew from the roof. I think it caught attention that's why they chased the girl and ang alam ko hindi nila nahuli yun. This happened in our barrio in Negros Occidental. In provinces, this thing is real. But for people in the city, these are all stories to entertain and scare children. I still have some stories to share but maybe some other time. [video, videos,]

it is true 3 years ago

what is the aswang

Jayson Bondoc 3 years ago

Hi! This is Jayson, researcher from AHA! GMA-7. We are currently doing a story about Aswang. Hence, we are looking for someone who is claiming that he/she is an aswang and people who already saw aswang. We would like to have an interview with them on Thursday, Sept. 26, 2013 in the afternoon. Feel free to contact me at 09158266023 and 09202208899. Thank you and good day.

efrain 2 years ago

Its a stupid story.

efrain 2 years ago

This is a lore, though many people believed it, no evidence.but time had past.even in London, their were vampires and Dracula.

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