Aswang in Panay Island
Ilonggos were famous with their soft dialect. They even say, when Ilonggos were angry, instead of yelling at you, they seemed not, as if they're talking to you normally. So how did these soft spoken people became renowned of scary beings? Well, at day, aswangs look simple, friendly and kind, opposite to what they were at night. Do you think they were just disguising? Hiding something inside? I'm afraid its not the reason why.
This particular story happened when my mother was still in college. My mom was invited by one of her college roommates to spend their vacation at her house near a beach.
It was a typical but nice two-level house in the province. Made of nipa, it was quite spacious with a nice deck on the upper level. The bedrooms of course were located on the second floor and to get to bathroom, you had to cross all the way to the other side of the second floor.
When they arrived at her friend's house, my mom noticed that her friend's parents looked sick. They were both lying on the bed and they barely moved as if they really looked like they only had a few days to live. My mom politely greeted them and then she and her friend went to their room. She freshened up at the bathroom and then she unpacked her things. What was weird was, at a dusk, she saw her friend's parents walking along the coastline. My mom was of course stunned because she was sure that they really looked weak and sick when she first saw the couple a few hours ago. So she asked her friend if it was okay for her parents to be out like that. But her friend simply said that her parents were just getting some fresh air outside.
According to my momm what was puzzling was, the couple actually looked so much more energetic than they were a few hours ago.
So after dinner, my mom and her friend decided to go to bed. They went up to their rooms on the second floor and began to sleep. Sometime during the night or early morning, my mom suddenly woke up with the urge to go to the bathroom. She decided to not wake her friend up and proceed to go to the bathroom herself. Indeed it was so dark so my mom got her flashlight and began to slowly walk towards the bathroom. And to get to the bathroom, she had to pass by the room of her friend's parents. My mom noticed that the door was slightly opened. She peeked inside and what she saw truly frightened her.
The old couple was nowhere to be seen. Their window was opened and my mom was positive that the room was empty because of the moonlight passing through the windows. Though my mom was frightened, she still went to the bathroom to relieve herself then made her way back to their room and slept.
The next day my mom was still pretty shaken up but decided no to let them know how she felt. She was, of course, having her doubts already about her friend's family.
At breakfast, she saw that her friend's parents looked sick and pale again, as if they have a terminal disease in their bodies. Her friend's mother slowly stood up and went to the kitchen. She opened a cupboard and got a small pot inside it that was covered with a white cloth. Then she scooped out some of the contents to a small plate and slowly placed the pot back inside the cupboard.
She then offered my mom the contents of it at the dining table. When my mother looked at the plate, what she saw made stomach turn! They looked white intestines or some type of meat. Politely, my mom asked the woman what the food was, but the woman simply said that it was just an
ulam(dish) and that my mom should try it.
However, she turned down the offer and went straight to her room to pack her things. She said goodbye to her friend, with an excuse that she needed to go home quickly. My mom waited for passing bus and got on it. On the way home, the bus conductor asked my mom,
Galing ka ba doon sa bahay nina ******?my mom said yes and told her strange experience in that house to the conductor. Then the conductor said that the family that my mom visited was well known around the area as ferocious Aswangs.
My mom was of course totally frightened with conductor's revelation.
When she got home finally, my grandmother was really angry at her, and scolded her for going to such place without my grandma's permission.
It is common knowledge in our province in Iloilo that aswnags will offer one human flesh if they would like him or her to turn you into aswang. Probably her friend's parents were fond of my mom so they had attempted to turn her into like one of them. And I'm so happy that my mom was able to escape that creepy family.
The story above is a good example of kinds and themes of stories about the Aswangs in Panay. They mainly focus on the experiences of people who were not familiar of villages in Panay. That, for example, a visitor from the city together with his friend went to his family for a vacation. However, the family turns to be a clan of Aswang. Tiniente Gimo's story is the best example of this kind of tales.
Most of the popular tabloid stories are about mysterious things, and one of their main settings was the island of Panay. They often focus on issues which brought fears in the hearts of people. Whenever they hear the place Panay, they would likely conclude that
this is the home of Aswang. Not only tabloid stories contribute the fear, but also those published books about them (like that one above), and tales that are passed on by generations to generations.
This belief of Filipinos about Panay Island brought its place as one of the famous and undying urban legends in the Philippines. If this will persist and no one will create conclusions to disprove the existence of Aswang, discriminations and fear will always dwell in everyone's hearts. But I think, beliefs for this monsters will never be destroyed, it will just change.
Me, myself, don't even know if this monster do exist. My parents and grandparents often tell me they were true, that if God, angels, and demons are real, so do Aswangs are.