The Aswang (Philippine Ghoul)
An Aswang (or Asuwang) is a ghoul in Filipino folklore. 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. They usually live near the mountains and they never go in to cities.
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.