Aswang, the Tagalog word for “dog,” is appliedto anything and everything that is considered a vampire.
Source: Cannell, Power and Intimacy, 144 ­45, 277; Hufford, Terror That Comes, 236 ­37; Ramos, Aswang Syncrasy, 39

Aswang Festival
In the Philippines, Roxas City in the Capizprovince was the location of Dugo Capiznon Inc.'s annual Aswang Festival. Acitywide event attracting tourists with its local seafood, parades, dancing, and fancy dress ball, the primary purpose of the event was to dispel the myth of the aswang. Roxas City has long been a haven for aswangs, as well as witches and warlocks. The two-day pre­Halloween celebration was not appreciated or encouraged by the local Catholic churches.
Source: Guerrero, Stun of Islands, 67; Lopez, Handbook of Philippine Festivals, 146, 227

Taken from the Encyclopedia of Vampire Mythology Written by : Theresa Bane ©2010 Theresa Bane. All rights reserved



Visayan Islands of the Philippines

The Aswang is a Filipino vampire spirit; a beautiful woman by day, a bloodsucker at night. Her preferred victims are children, the younger the better, and so she is a threat to pregnant women, taking babies right from the womb. Her favorite beverages are blood and amniotic fluid. The Aswang is feared and blamed for miscarriage and blighted ovum.

The Aswang’s secret weapon is her long proboscis, the equivalent of a drinking straw. The Aswang walks around innocuously during the daytime, scouting for potential victims, and then near midnight flies to their homes. She stations herself on the roof or outdoors and extends her blood-sucking tube from her nose to the woman’s navel, through which she enters the womb and sucks out all fluids.

The Aswang can be combated:

• Visibly pregnant women are discouraged from leaving the safety of their homes after nightfall. (Those not yet visibly pregnant are discouraged from revealing their condition to strangers.) If she must go out, she should only do so in the company of others. (The Aswang prefers sneak attacks.)

• If an Aswang draws near, driving copper spikes into the ground prevents her from following while her intended victim reaches safety.

• The tell-tale sign indicating that an Aswang is near is her noise, which has been described as a tik-tik or wak-wak sound. (It is audible to anyone, not just the targeted victim.) Here’s the tricky bit: if the noise is loud and sounds close, the Aswang is still far away. If the sound is faint and sounds distant, that means she’s hovering very near.

• Talismans and amulets prevent the Aswang’s attack. Place a handkerchief or cloth soaked in Holy Water over the pregnant belly. A rosary placed on the belly or attached to a belt so that it hangs over the belly wards off the Aswang, too.

The Aswang is inevitably female. The word is now a synonym for witch, but she is not a human witch but a spiritual entity. The Aswang causes miscarriage because she’s hungry. She may cause death and disease just because she’s mean and destructive or because her very presence is so toxic that she spreads infection. The Aswang does not need physical contact to cause harm: she can attack someone via their shadow.

The Aswang has become a popular character in horror entertainment. Beyond the traditional flying vampire-witch, Aswang is now a blanket term for fiends of all kinds and may refer to:

• A ghoul that eats human corpses

• A weredog that eats people alive

• A blood-sucking vampire

• A viscera sucker


During the day, the Aswang looks like an ordinary woman except that her eyes burn with strange fire. She is a shape-shifter and may take any form.

See Also:

Acheri; Ghoul; Vampire


Encyclopedia of Spirits: The Ultimate Guide to the Magic of Fairies, Genies, Demons, Ghosts, Gods & Goddesses – Written by : Judika Illes Copyright © 2009 by Judika Illes.


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