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.
- An Aswang (or Asuwang) is a ghoul in Filipino folklore. The myth of the aswang is popular in the Western Visayan regions such as Capiz, Iloilo and Antique. The trademark or major feature of Aswangs which distinguish them from other Filipino mythological creatures is their propensity to replace stolen cadavers with the trunk of a banana tree 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. Other local names, especially in Capiz are tik-tik and wak-wak.
- Aswang, at times, is also a generic term applied to all types of mythological creatures, ghosts, manananggals, witches, shapeshifters, lycanth and monsters. Aswang is often interchanged with manananggal, but they are different. There are also characteristics and features that the Aswang also varies from Filipino to Jalapeño.They usually live near the mountains and they never go in to cities
- The myth of the Aswang is popular in the Visayan region of the Philippines, specially in the western provinces of Capiz, Iloilo Antique. Aside from entertainment value, mothers are said to tell their children Aswang stories to keep them off the streets and keep them home at night. Similar to Count Vlad III Dracula of Transylvania in Vampire stories, the most popular characters are the clan of Teñente/ Tenyente/ Tiniente Gimo of the town of Dueñas, Iloilo.
Appearance and activities
- An aswang is a regular townsperson by day and prefer an occupation related to meat, such as butchery or making sausages.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.
- According to the elderly, the Aswang can also transform from human to animal and animal to human. The Aswang can disguise him/herself as a pig, dog or a 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 is the tik-tik which transforms into a huge bird/bat at night and prowls. The tik-tik looks for a pregnant person. Then extends a very long proboscis into the womb and licks the baby to kill it. While performing, a 'tik-tik' sound is heard.
- In some stories, the tik-tik is an aswang's familiar, said to confuse people by its 'tik-tik' sound. If the aswang is near, the sound would be faint so that people hearing it would think that the asswang 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 tik-tik 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 tik-tik, the wak-wak is believed able to make its cry sound distant when the creature is near.