|Body type||Humanoid shapeshifter|
|Place of origin||Philippines|
|Diet||Human fetuses, flesh and internal organs|
|Related species||Amalanhig |
|Behind the Scenes|
Aswangs are shapeshifting creatures featured in Filipino mythology which possess a long retractable proboscis which is used to feed on human blood and internal organs, especially liver and heart. They're particularly known for inserting the proboscis into the womb of pregnant women while they're sleeping in order to feed on the unborn fetus. However, they may also prey on infants, children, and adults alike, as well as feed on cadavers. Stories about Aswangs date back to hundreds of years at least, as they were already widespread and feared during the 16th century.
During the day, Aswangs take a fully human appearance and live as ordinary people. They behave as normal people and display all typical human emotions. They're generally shy and may even be friendly. At night, they search for victims, usually by taking the form of an animal such as a bat, bird, cat or dog, and wandering into faraway neighborhoods, both to avoid feeding on their human friends and neighbors and to avoid detection.
Aswangs may also be known as Tik-Tiks, after the characteristic sound they make. It's said that the louder the sound is, the further away is the Aswang: a strategy used to confuse its victims, as the sound becomes progressively quieter as the creature approaches.
Other features ascribed to the Aswang include being thin enough to hide behind a bamboo post, and the habit of feeding on corpses and replacing them with replicas made of banana trees or other vegetable materials. Alternatively, it may also be portrayed as replacing the organs of a living victim in that fashion, or replacing the entire victim with a living, plant-based doppelganger which will move to the victim's house only to become sick and die shortly afterwards.
Weaknesses and detection methods
Unlike Vampires and Manananggals, Aswangs aren't directly weakened or harmed by the sunlight. While they are more vulnerable during the day, this is only because they tend to assume a human form, which is naturally weaker than their real form.
There's a simple method used to find out whether a person is an Aswang. That is to look into the subject's eyes and see whether the reflected image is upside-down, as it will be if the subject is an Aswang. There's also a special type of oil made by medicine men which will boil and bubble in the presence of an Aswang, being therefore useful for detecting one.
Aswangs are can be driven away by a using a whip made out of a stingray's tail, which they're scared of. Like vampires, they're also said to be repelled by garlic, salt, some types of amulets or religious artifacts, and will not venture into sacred soil. Decapitation is an effective way of killing them.
- Giving a precise description of them is made somewhat difficult by the fact that the word "Aswang" is commonly employed as a generic name for a wide variety of monstrous beings, and frequently associated with other Filipino vampiric entities. Pretty much every aspect ascribed to the Aswang is shared with other creatures. For instance, the Manananggals and Ekeks are also said to suck fetuses out of their mother's wombs using a long proboscis, and to produce loud sounds when they're distant and soft sounds when they're nearby. The latter trait is also assigned to the Wakwak, which is very similar to the Ekek. Manananggals are also traditionally repelled by garlic, salt, and the whip made from a stingray tail, much like the Aswang. They are, however, unique in their ability to sever their bodies in half. Meanwhile, the habit of feeding on corpses and replacing them with vegetable replicas is also ascribed to creatures known as Busaws and Bal-Bals.