The Aswang Ghoul Of The Philippines!

Aswang (Philippine Ghoul) Aswang

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. 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 favorite body parts are the liver and heart. Other local names, especially in Capiz are tik-tik and wak-wak.

Aswang, at times, is also a generic term applied to all types of mythological creatures, ghosts, manananggals, witches, shapeshifters, lycanth and monsters. Aswang is often interchanged with manananggal, but they are different. There are also characteristics and features that the aswang also varies from Filipino to Jalapeño. They usually live near the mountains and they never go in to cities

The myth of the aswang is popular in the Visayan region of the Philippines, specially in the western provinces of Capiz, Iloilo Antique. Aside from entertainment value, mothers are said to tell their children aswang stories to keep them off the streets and keep them home at night. Similar to Count Vlad III Dracula of Transylvania in Vampire stories, the most popular characters are the clan of Teñente/ Tenyente/ Tiniente Gimo of the town of Dueñas, Iloilo.

Appearance and activities

An aswang is a regular townsperson by day and prefer an occupation related to meat, such as butchery or making sausages.
Aswangs have an ageless appearance and a quiet, shy and elusive manner. They can be distinguished from humans by two signs. One is the 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. The aswang can disguise him/herself as a pig, dog or a black bird. 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 and toenails reversed.

One type is the tik-tik which transforms into a huge bird/bat at night and prowls. The tik-tik looks for a pregnant person. Then extends a very long proboscis into the womb and licks the baby to kill it. While performing, a ‘tik-tik’ sound is heard.

In some stories, the tik-tik is an aswang’s familiar, said to confuse people by its ‘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.

The term wak-wak or wuk-wuk is frequently used for the same creature in the Cebu region. The legends of the wak-wak and tik-tik are much the same, but the wak-wak is specifically supposed to change into its birdlike form by leaving behind its lower body, much like the Manananggal, another Philippine vampire. The cry of a night bird which makes a “wuk-wuk-wuk” sound is believed to be the call of this monster and is feared by superstitious villagers. As with the call of the tik-tik, the wak-wak is believed able to make its cry sound distant when the creature is near.

Dangga or Agitot

In Panitan(Panit’an) Capiz, there is a myth of 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.

Sigbin or Zegben

Another familiar is the sigbin 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.


About Andrew

Co-founder & lead investigator of Paranormal Encounters. I've experienced the paranormal all my life, having encountered ghosts, angels and demons. I live in a haunted house and when not exploring and researching the unknown, I enjoy single malt Scotch whisky & potato chips (though not necessarily at the same time).