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 witches, manananggals, shapeshifters, lycanthropes, and monsters. An Aswang is often interchanged with manananggal, but they are different. There are also characteristics and features that the Aswang also varies from Filipino to Filipino.They usually live near the mountains and they never go in to cities. But there are some reports of Aswangs in the cities.

With respect to Aswang, Capiz (a province on Panay island) is the focus of many Aswang, and other types of mythological and folkloric goblins, ghouls, manananggal, giant half-horse men (tikbalang) and other monster stories, especially for tabloids. Capiz is (unfairly) rumored to have a number of aswang and covens of witches. Superstitious folk who believe in their existence can still be found in these parts. They typically adorn windows, rooms, etc. with garlic bulbs, holy water, and other anti- aswang paraphernalia which supposedly repels these creatures. Aswangs have the ability to transform into other animals like dogs, bats and snakes.

The myth of the Aswang is popular in the Visayan region of the Philippines, specially in the western provinces of Capiz, Iloilo, Antique. One of the most famous urban legends in the visayas region is the infamous Aswang Tiniente Gimo(lieutenant Gimo).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 kikik which transforms into a huge bird/bat at night and prowls. The kikik looks for a sleeping pregnant woman. Then it extends a very long proboscis into the womb and kills the fetus by draining its blood. It is said that while this is taking place, a 'kik-kik-kik' sound is often heard.

In some stories, the kikik is an aswang's familiar, said to confuse people by its 'kikik' 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 kikik 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 kikik, the wak-wak is believed able to make its cry sound distant when the creature is near.[citation needed]

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.

Another familiar is the sigbin or Zegben[citation needed]. Some say that this is another form that the aswang transforms into and yet some say it is the companion of the kikik. 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.

Dealing with Aswangs
It is said that an Aswang can be revealed, with the use of a bottle of a special oil extracted from the boiled and decanted coconut meat and mixed with certain plant stems upon which special prayers were said. When an Aswang comes near or walks outside the house at night, the oil is supposed to boil (or froth into bubbles) and continue boiling until the aswang leaves the area. A Buntot Pagi, a stingray's tail, is also a very effective weapon against such beings, if one is brave enough to face the aswang in combat, a shiny sword made of sterling silver or an image of an old crone (a grandmother's) would effectively dispel their presence according to local folklore. The myth of silver weapons dispelling evil creatures is probably taken from western mythology. In the case of the Agitot type of aswang, freshly drawn semenal fluids thrown or whisked at the Agitot's way would distract this aswang from attacking as it would lap-away the precious fluids before pursuing its intended victim. Rumors have it, that this type of aswang continues to prevail among modern societies, hence the anecdotal/idiomatic expression "hiding in the closet" or closet-queen.

Throwing salt at aswangs may cause their skin to burn due to the purifying powers of the salt crystals in witchcraft. By "salt," this means all acid-base combinations, not limited to table salt alone. Hypochlorides and other types of salts may produce the same burning effect in Aswangs.

Incidents and tabloids
Like UFO stories, The X-Files, etc., Aswang stories are one of the favorites in unreliable sensationalist tabloids, especially when there are grave robberies, child kidnappings, people with eccentric or peculiar habits, and other incidents that can somehow be attributed to them. There are also quite a number of superstitious people in the provinces mentioned who believe in their existence.

Appearances in other media
The short-lived FOX science-fiction television program Freaky Links featured an episode in which the protagonists had to deal with an Aswang. Unwittingly released from a mystical box, this incarnation was a creature that lacked any shape and chose to remain in the shadows. Instead of stealing dead bodies, the creature instead chose to steal a person's shadow and eventually, their life essence.

Lynda Barry's book One! Hundred! Demons! features a chapter on the Aswang. In her version, the Aswang is a dog during the day whose hind legs are longer than the front. During the night, she becomes a woman, sheds her legs and flies around looking for prey.

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