Feature Stories

Aswang, a Filipino Folklore

From the movie ‘Yanggaw’ (2008)

The ‘aswang’ has been one of the most prominent fictional figures in Philippine folklore. Although its existence has been denied by some, there is still a portion of the population that firmly believes it exists today.

Just recently, a community in Lapuz has been disturbed by what seemed to be referred to as an ‘aswang’. Netizens took videos of the incident, citing that an apparent creature has been leaping from one roof to another. However, viewers lambasted the incident stating that an ‘aswang’ is not needed as the entire province is currently on enhanced community quarantine – such ‘hocus-pocus’ is not necessary. Some even ridiculed that the ‘aswang’ visited the community to get its own supplies from the unfortunate barangay.

The aswang. Wikipedia defines ‘aswang’ as an umbrella term for various shape-shifting evil spirits in Filipino folklore – same as with vampires, ghouls, witches, viscera suckers, and werewolves. It is also a subject of a wide variety of different myths, stories, arts, and films as it is well-known throughout the country. The origin of the ‘aswang’ is dated as early as the 16th century – where Spanish explorers made the first written record of the mythical creature.

Aswang in local movies. To have a better understanding of the ‘aswang’, the following films can give a concrete narrative of the creature: ‘Corazon: Ang Unang Aswang’ (2012), ‘Maria Labo’ (2015), ‘Aswang’ (1992), and Shake Rattle and Roll to mention a few. Moreover, the Aswang Phenomenon is a 2011 documentary explaining the ‘aswang’ in the country.

Real or not, the ‘aswang’ lives on to be one of the interesting aspects of Filipino culture.

 

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