Aswang: Philippines Mythical Creature
Of all Philippine mythical creatures, the aswang is one of the most talk about in the country, mostly in Philippine provinces and rural places where the only source of light is a kerosene lamp and neighbors are of far distances.
The aswang is most feared and is a known shapeshifter. They can take many animal forms from birds, to cats and dogs, even appearing as a beautiful young woman as often depicted on Filipino horror films. I heard of few stories of sightings of dogs which are extremely large on rural roads. This kind of stories are also the favorites amongst kids to talk about for passing time or just to have something scary to talk about. Often used by families as well to scare young kids from going out of the house specially at night.
There are a lot of aswang sighting stories and the form of the creature varies from stories or Philippine regions and also called in many names. They also have been featured on many Philippine horror films and are always portrayed as shapeshifters - from an old woman taking the form of a beautiful woman who prefers living alone and is often shy, quite and elusive. Pregnant women are warned of aswangs and stories of miscarriages and strange things that happens at night on the home of the pregnant woman is blamed on this creatures.
Aswangs are known to feed on fetuses and small children. And to get the fetus out of the mother, they use their proboscis to suck the fetus out of the mother's womb. Stories told by pregnant women and their family goes that strange noises or flapping wings can be heard on the rooftop and some family members would see a proboscis reaching the sleeping mother's womb.
Like with vampire's, garlic is used and is believed to repel aswangs. They are used to hang on windows, doors and other entrances. The holy water is used as well as some talisman believed to ward of these creatures.
And with the stories, I had few to share. An experienced that my dad had that he used to tell us.
Living in the province of Albay, dad was aware that a man who befriended my grandfather and are offering to cure him was an aswang. Dad didn't tell it to my grandpa but he keeps an eye on the man when he visits their home as the man pursue on curing my grandfather.
Dad would say, "I would opposed any kind of treatment that he would initiate with your grandpa being careful not to look obvious that I know what he is." That was because my grandfather doesn't know that the man who befriended him was already noted as an aswang to the village where the man lives. Or as my dad believes, my granda wasn't aware of what he was.
Sad to say, according to my dad, my grandfather became very ill and weak that most of the time the bed is his place. And the cause of the illness can't be identified.
Every night, friends and neighbors would patrol near the house as strange things started occurring. As my grandfather started to weaken more, they became more worried and the aswang was thought to be the reason. But they keep on patrolling at night around the house to make sure everything would be fine in case the aswang shows up.
Then one night while they were patrolling outside and pretty sure that it was all secured, all the kerosene lamps inside the house just went off. And there's even no strong wind to cause it which makes it strange. While this happens, dad said he was on the other part of the house lying in a folding bed with a rod ready beside him. You know those folding beds where you can feel weighs that goes under it? That's that. As the light all went off, he felt a weight went through under the folding bed where he was lying, he can feel it against his back, like an animal, and they don't even have dogs or any pets.
Dad said he was awake but still he kept his eyes closed lying there, trying to think any logical reason on why or how the lights went off as if a wind blew on the kerosene lamps and how an animal could get inside. Slowly reaching for the rod he hide, he got up to go after the suspected aswang who took an animal form. Then the people outside patrolling were alerted as well and were already inside the house to help with catching the shapeshifter who took the shape of this animal. They believed it was in a form of a big dog as it was mostly the animal form this Philippine ghoul takes.
And when they thought they had cornered the animal, they just can't find it while there's no possible exit for it to go through.
"When the people came in, they had flashlights with them and lighted the lamps back. We saw it was a dog but where we believed we had it cornered, it just wasn't there anymore. And there's even no possible exit for it as I had closed every door, windows and fixed any holes where I think it can go as an escape route." I can remember dad said as he relate the story. I had heard it many times.
So is the aswang true? I haven't seen one myself and I don't want either. I do believe in its existence though as well as with other Philippine mythical creatures that few I've experienced. What about you? Do you believe in it or do you have a mythical creature in your country that was believed to be in existence?
Have you heard or experienced something like it?
An aswang as depicted on this Philippine horror film. They are shapreshifters and have bloodshot eyes.
More to Read
- Philippine Superstition: "Bati" (A Greeting That Can Cause Harm)
A greeting-induced malady such as headache and stomach ache believed to be cause by "bati," in the Philippines. A greeting or compliment that can cause harm unintentionally.
- Philippine Folklore: The Creature Tikbalang (Demon Horse)
One creature on Philippine folklore that can be heard amongst stories of people is the tikbalang (a demon horse.) It is a half horse and a half human. It is said that tikbalang's lead travelers astray, or scare them away.
- Philippine Folklore: The Goblin's Mound
Philippines is rich in folklore, myths and legends. Just like other countries who believe the "Big Foot" exist or the "chupacabra," the Filipinos also believe in existence of such beings. And one of this is the belief on the mounds...