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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.Other entities were also said to roam on forests in provinces.


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 favourite body parts are the liver and heart, and they are known to be viscera suckers.


Sometimes aswang is the generic term applied to all types of mythological creatures, ghosts, manananggals, shapeshifters, witches and monsters. Though the aswang is often confused with manananggal, they are different creatures. There are also characteristics and features that the Aswang also varies from Filipino to Filipino. Aswang comes from the dreams of sex.


Western Visayas region of Capiz is the subject or focus of many aswangs, and other types of mythological creatures such as ghosts (multo), goblins, ghouls, manannagal, witches (mangkukulam), giant horse men (tikbalang) and other stories, often covered by national tabloids.

Capiz is rumoured to have a number of aswangs and covens of witches Superstitious folk who believe in their existence can still be found in these parts. They typically adorn windows, rooms, etc. with garlic bulbs, holy water, etc. which supposedly repels these creatures.

Aswangs have the ability to transform into other shapes as for a dog, a bat and/or a snake.


Aside from entertainment value, mothers are said to tell their children stories about aswangs to keep them off the streets and keep them home at night. Similar to Count Dracula of Transylvania in Vampire stories, the most popular characters are the clan of Teñente/ Tenyente/ Tiniente Gimo, in Dueñas, Iloilo.


  • An aswang is a regular townsperson by day and prefer an occupation related to meat, such as butchery.
  • Aswangs have an ageless appearance and a quiet, shy and elusive manner.
  • They can be distinguished from humans by 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.
  • 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.
  • One type of aswang is named tik-tik which transforms into a huge bird at night and prowls. The tik-tik looks for a sleeping person,or,in some cases,pregnant woman.Then extends a very long proboscis into the unsuspecting victim and proceeds to suck the blood. While performing, a 'tik-tik' sound is heard.
  • Some stories tell about the tik-tik as an aswang's familiar, said to confuse people by it's 'tik-tik' sound. If the aswang is near, the sound would be faint so that people hearing it would think that the aswang is still far away.
  • In the town of Capiz, Panitan, another type of aswang is believed to exist, which they refer to as the Dangga or Agitot. This type of aswang is typically funny because some say it is a handsome gay man that hunts women during the night and eats fresh blood like a vampire. But its existence cannot be properly supported by evidence.
  • Another familiar is thesigbin or Zegben. Some say that this is another form that the aswang transforms into and yet some say it is the companion of the tik-tik. It appears to be similar to the chupacabra and Tasmanian devil in appearance with the exception of spotty fur. It supposedly has a wide mouth with large fangs.

How to recognize an aswang

It is said that an Aswang can be revealed, with the use of a bottle of a special oil made from coconut and mixed with certain plant stems upon which special prayers were said. When an Aswang comes near or walks outside the house at night, the oil is supposed to boil and continue boiling until the aswang leaves the area. They are also said to abhor garlic.

Incidents and tabloids

Aswang stories are one of the favourites in unreliable sensationalist tabloids, especially when there are grave robberies, child kidnappings, people with eccentric or peculiar habits and other incidents that can somehow be attributed to them. There are also quite a number of superstitious people, in the provinces mentioned who believe in their existence.

Other Names

Other local names, especially in Capiz, include the above mentioned tik-tik and wak-wak.

See Also



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