Unexplained Mysteries of Aswang
An Aswang (or Asuwang) is a mythical creature in Filipino 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 often 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" and "wak-wak."
"Aswangs" are often described as a combination of vampire and witch 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 are ascribed to the term. However, the term is often used interchangeably with manananggal, which is a particular creature with a specific set of features. 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.
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.
Like UFO stories, aswang stories are one of the favorites of sensationalist tabloids, especially when there are grave robberies, child kidnappings, strange noises, people with eccentric or peculiar habits, and other incidents that can somehow be attributed to them.
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 superstitious, and adorn their homes with garlic bulbs, holy water and other objects believed to repel aswang. Since the stories recount aswang eating unborn children, pregnancy is a time of great fear for superstitious Filipinos.
In Northern Luzon the province of Antipolo is also known as popular sightings of Aswangs especially during the Holy Week ( Easter in the Philippines) were legend says that paranormal activities are at its peak on the 3days that Christ died.
Appearance & Activities
The wide variety of descriptions in the aswang stories make it difficult to settle upon a fixed definition of aswang appearances or activities. However, several common themes that differentiate aswangs from other mythological creatures do emerge: Aswangs are shapeshifters. Stories recount aswangs living as regular townspeople in meat processing professions by day. As regular townspeople, they are quiet, shy and elusive. At night, they transform into creatures that enjoy eating unborn fetuses and small children, favoring livers and hearts. Some have long proboscises, which they use to suck the children out of their mothers' wombs or their homes. Some also make noises, which are louder the further away the aswang is, done to confuse its potential victim. They may also replace their live victims or stolen cadavers with facsimiles made from tree trunks or other plant materials. This facsimile will return to the victim's home, only to become sick and die. An aswang will also have bloodshot eyes, the result of staying up all night searching for houses where wakes are held to steal the bodies.
Creatures Associated with the Aswang
There are other creatures that are associated with the aswang. The tiktik or wakwak is known as a type of aswang, a spirit of a deceased aswang or its familiar. As a familiar, it takes the form of a small owl-like bird that is found in the rooftops of residences during nighttime. It emits unique cry that heralds the arrival of its companion. This serves as a warning to the aswang's victims.
The sigbin or zegben has been known as another type of aswang, and alternately, as the kikik's familiar. Its appearance is said to be similar to the chupacabra and the Tasmanian devil, although with spotty fur, wide mouth with large fangs.
Dealing with Aswangs
Typically, an aswang is revealed by using a bottle of a special oil extracted from boiled and decanted coconut meat and mixed with certain plant stems upon which special prayers being said. When an aswang comes near or roams around the house at night, the oil is said to boil (or froth into bubbles) and continue boiling until the aswang departs.
Buntot pagi or stingray's tails, shiny, sterling silver swords, and images of old crones or grandmothers have been said to dispel their presence. The myth of silver weapons warding off evil creatures is probably taken from western mythology.
Throwing salt at aswangs is also said to cause their skin to burn. This belief may stem from the purifying powers attributed to salt crystals by various traditions of witchcraft.
Throwing semen at aswang is also said to irritate them.
Another way for dealing with aswangs is to keep a red pouch full of ginger and coins. The ginger will keep them away while the coins are used for preventing them from lifting you up.
In the case of the Manananggal a half witch and vampiric like creature that takes the form of either an old or beautiful woman. During the full moon, the Mananangal would go to a secluded area to split itself into half and hunt for victims.
A manananggal has a half monstrous, banshee type upper torso and head and it separates itself from its lower half (the torso) It is said if one finds its torso, to either sprinkle salt or sand on its lower half body or burn it, making it impossible for the creature to revert/ transform. And would die upon the first rays of sunlight.
They say that you can determine if another human being is an aswang if you see your own reflection in their eyes as upside down or by seeing them in their true form when you bend over viewing them in a head-between-legs position.
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