The Origins of Aswang Folklore

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Aguto, Dana Emmellyne B.

The Origins of Aswang Folklore

When I was eight, I had a classmate named Sciart who was a transferee from Capiz,

Visayas. Just like every other boy in my class, he had a disgusting sense of humor: laughing

at every spitball and chuckling at other boys who picked their noses. But more important than

that, he was incredibly fond of telling stories and tales of evil witches, ugly gremlins,

creatures who are half horse­half man, and giant, hairy men with large cigars between their

teeth. I remember very clearly how one time, while we were cleaning the classroom on a

rainy afternoon, he started talking about his encounter with the famous aswang.

It was a dark night. There was a power outage in their village, so the roads were

illuminated by nothing but the dim moonlight and the flickering candles from their

neighbors' homes. Sciart and his sister were asked to buy vinegar for the viand their mother

was cooking for dinner. The nearby sari­sari stores were closed, so they had no choice but to

buy from somewhere farther from their house. The darkness made them feel uneasy, because

most of the children in Visayas were taught at a young age that monsters lurk in every corner,

behind every tree and beneath every rock in the region. Their pace varied from slow to fast

and back again, so when they suddenly slowed down Sciart heard an extra footstep. He didn't

mention it to his sister, thinking that there should be at least one of them who kept their wits.

Everytime he stopped to look behind him, only darkness greeted. When they got to the store

safely, he felt more confident and they decided to race each other back home. Along the way,

they encountered an unusually...