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A Aswang (or Asuwang ) is a Ghul , a corpse eating essence, the Philippine mythology . In other areas, the aswang is a vampire-like creature that uses its long, thin, hollow tongue to suckle babies in the womb of a sleeping pregnant woman.

The myth of the aswang is particularly widespread in the regions of the western Visayas . It is also said that these creatures should like to eat small children. The preferred body parts are the liver and the heart. Other local names for such a figure, especially in Capiz, are Tik-tik and Wak-wak.

Basics of this superstition

The belief in an Aswang is particularly present in the Visayas and especially in the western provinces such as Capiz , Iloilo and Antique . There the stories about Aswangs are passed on not only because of their entertainment value. Mothers tell these horror stories to their children to keep them from stalking the streets at night.

The term Aswang is sometimes used as a general term for all types of Manananggals (vampire beings), shape shifters , werewolves and monsters. An aswang is often equated with a manananggal, although both are different. Some of the characteristics and characteristics of the Aswang vary from ethnic group to ethnic group. They reportedly usually live near mountains and stay away from cities. During the day they have a human appearance and can be male or female, although in most areas they appear primarily as women.

Similar to the figure of Count Dracula in the vampire stories, the Aswangs manifest themselves in the members of the Teñente / Tenyente / Tiniente Gimo clan from Dueñas on Iloilo .


The province of Capiz on the island of Panay in the Philippines is a stronghold of the stories about Aswangs, as well as other legendary and mystical figures, such as goblins, ghouls, Manananggals, giant horse people ( Tikbalang ) and other monsters that are told there and by the local people Fill tabloids. Unjustifiably, Capiz is said to be home to innumerable aswangs and covenants of witches, as many superstitious people in this region still believe in the existence of these creatures. For this reason, windows and entire rooms are often hung with garlic bulbs, prepared with holy water and decorated with other utensils that are supposed to ward off these evil creatures.

Shape and properties

During the day, an aswang is a normal member of society who does a regular job as a butcher, undertaker or gravedigger, but whose activity is related to dead meat. In most regions, however, an aswang appears in a female form. The hallmark or peculiarity of an aswang that distinguishes him from other mythological figures in the Philippines is his tendency to make the stolen carcass disappear by carving the image of the carcass into the trunk of a banana tree.

Aswangs have a timeless appearance in their human form, they show a calm, shy and peculiar behavior. Usually the Aswang wanders around in the dark looking for a way to get into houses where a corpse is laid out as he tries to steal its dead body. In other stories, aswangs suck the blood of unborn children from the sleeping mother's uterus. After such a meal, the monster's belly is as big as that of a heavily pregnant woman. Equally popular is the belief that an aswang can lick up a person's shadow, whereupon the person affected dies.

They can be distinguished from normal people by two signs. On the one hand, they have bloodshot eyes, which means the search for victims all night long. On the other hand, the image reflection that one sees in his eyes appears to be upside down.

According to tradition, the aswang has the ability to transform from human to animal and back. Aswangs have the ability to take the form of other animals such as dogs, cats, bats, and snakes. An aswang can still transform into a pig or a black bird. During her nighttime activities, her feet are reportedly pointed back and her toenails stick out.


Tik-tik and wak-wak

A variation of the aswang is the tik-tik, which turns into a large bird or bat at night. The tik-tik then wanders around in this form and looks around for sleeping pregnant women. Once he has discovered his victim, he sits down and extends his very long, hollow trunk into the uterus. There he licks the baby to kill it, making a sound that sounds like tik-tik .

In some stories, the tik-tik is a confidante of the aswang, who is supposed to confuse people with his tik-tik sound. When the aswang is nearby, the sound becomes quieter, so that one should think that the aswang is still far away.

In Cebu , the term wak-wak or wuk-wuk is common for such a creature. The legends about the wak-wak and the tik-tik are almost the same, only that the wak-wak is said to shed its lower body when it was transformed into a bird, like the Manananggal , another vampire creature from the Filipino Mythology. The cry of a night bird that sounds like "wuk-wuk-wuk" is considered the call of this monster and causes fear in superstitious villagers. Like the tik-tik, the wak-wak's scream becomes lower the closer the aswang gets.

Agitot and Sigbin

In Panitan (Panit'an) Capiz, there is also the legend of the Dangga or Agitot. There is an amusing aspect to this variety of Aswang, because it is said to have the shape of a handsome homosexual man who hunts women like a vampire at night to drink their fresh blood.

Another confidant is the Sigbin or Zegben. He is said to be a different form of Aswang while other superstitious people claim that he is a companion of Tik-tik. Its appearance appears to resemble the Chupacabra of Central America and the Tasmanian devil , with the exception of the mottled fur. Allegedly, this creature has a wide mouth with long fangs.

Defense options

It is said that the presence of an aswang can be identified by means of a bottle of a specific oil extracted from cooked and poured coconut flesh and mixed with various plant stalks, with special prayers being said. If the aswang comes closer or roams around your own house at night, then the oil should start to boil or froth. The reaction lasts until the aswang has moved away again.

According to popular belief , a very effective weapon against these creatures is the Buntot Pagi , a small spiked whip . Those brave enough to face an aswang in battle can also use a shining sword made of pure silver or an image of an old woman (a grandmother) to drive it away. The myth that silver weapons can chase away malicious creatures was probably taken from Western legend. If the aswang is an agitot, these monsters can be stopped by freshly prepared seminal fluid that is thrown or wiped in the agitot's path. The agitot will lick up the liquid before pursuing its victim any further.

Another way of defense is to throw salt, which will burn the skin of the Aswang due to the cleansing ability that the salt crystals are said to have in witchcraft. "Salt" means a combination of different alkali salts, not table salt alone. Hypochlorites and other types of salt, on the other hand, have the same effect on an aswang.

Reports and presentations

Like the stories about UFOs, the accounts of aswangs are one of the most popular articles in sensational papers and tabloids in the Philippines. This is especially true if grave robberies, child abductions and people with eccentric or peculiar characteristics as well as other inexplicable events are involved. It should be noted in these stories that there are still numerous superstitious people in the provinces who are still convinced of the existence of these characters.

Book, film and television

  • Science Fiction TV Series: Freaky Links Channel: FOX

In the short-lived TV series Freaky Links , the protagonists face an aswang in one episode. Inadvertently, the incarnation of this creature is released from a mysterious box. Without having a shape, she sets out to remain in the shadows and wanders around looking for victims. Instead of stealing dead bodies, this creature steals people's shadows and thus their life force.

  • Book: One! Hundred! Demons! , Author: Lynda Barry

In Lynda Barry's book One! Hundred! Demons! (One! Hundred! Demons!) One chapter deals with aswangs. In their version, the aswang is a dog during the day with its hind legs longer than the front. During the night, it transforms into a woman who sheds her legs and flies around in search of prey.

  • Film: Aswang (USA 1992), directed by Wrye Martin, Barry Poltermann

The American horror film Aswang (other title: The Unearthing ) is about a young, single, pregnant woman who is made an offer that she cannot refuse. She is offered by a young rich man, Mr. Peter Null, to mime his wife for a large sum of money, because this would be the wish of his dying mother. What she doesn't know is that the man and his family are human facades of Aswangs who are after their baby. The aswangs in this film feast on unborn fetuses and lick their blood with their long tubular tongues.

  • Mystery series: Lost Girl (since 2010), production company: Prodigy Pictures, Shaw Media

In the episode 1x06 What is poisonous, you don't eat, is an aswang. These people feed on human corpses delivered by the local funeral home. Because of their strong immune system, they can also easily eat heavily contaminated food, e.g. B. through Ebola or the plague . This also limits the spread of such diseases.

  • Grimm: 03x14 "The Offering", NBC (March 7, 2014)

In the center of this episode of the myth and fairy tale series Grimm , an aswang is at the center of the action. Detective Burkhardt and Griffin help a pregnant woman who was attacked by an aswang. The woman and her husband were on the advice of a police colleague from Dt. Burkhardt moved to Portland from the Philippines.

More figures

  • Manananggal
  • Multo
  • Caper
  • Tikbalang
  • Manta bungalow
  • Nuno sa Punso
  • Kataw
  • Bungisngis
  • Bakonawa
  • Tahamaling
  • Ada
  • Batibat
  • Sigbin
  • Buso
  • Pugot


Web links