It’s Halloween again. A lot of spooky things seem to happen on Halloween and a lot of scary creatures come out at night like ghosts and our favorite mythical figure, the aswang. Of course these are just stories. Or aren’t they?
When you grow up in the province, you hear a lot of folklore stories and some of them a bit scary. They should, since they were meant to scare you as a kid so that you won’t disobey rules. I remember being told not to roam around the neighborhood at night because I might be attacked by an aswang.
Some of these are not just stories for others but are reality based on their experiences with the paranormal. I myself may not believe them but deep inside I also think, what if these stories are really true?
Watching the indie film Yanggaw brings a lot of childhood memories. It has brought to life the aswang and the beliefs we associate with them.
For the uninitiated, aswang in Filipino culture is a creature who eats the heart and liver of their victims. They appear like ordinary persons during the day but transforms to a hideous creature at night. Another variation of this creature is the “manananggal” who’s torso separates from its lower half and have wings like that of bats.
Yanggaw on the other hand is what we call a newly-infected aswang. This creature is very aggressive since she thirsts for blood and has a voracious appetite. Sounds scary huh?
In the movie Yanggaw, Amor came home sick from working in the city. She feels weak at day but seems be strong at night. She later transform into an aswang and started victimizing the people in their barrio. It was later learned through an albularyo (healer) that she was infected by an aswang. Saliva from an aswang entered her body through her ears.
My mother used to tell us that when sleeping in other people’s house especially those we are not too familiar with, we should always cover our ears so that an aswang’s saliva will not get into them. Further, we were also told to always have coins in our pocket so that an aswang will not be able to carry us.
Going back to Yanggaw the movie, the albularyo tried to remove the infection from Amor’s body but it was already too late. She was already a full blown aswang. Her family tried to hide her despite the danger they face living with her. They chained her to stop her from hurting others but then the father couldn’t take the pain of seeing his daughter in agony so he let her go. And the girl, who is now a full blown aswang, started victimizing the people in the barrio.
According to stories from old folks, when a yanggaw person has not yet turned into an aswang, there’s still hope of saving her. An albularyo would perform rituals and exorcise her body. When a black bird comes out of her mouth that means she’s healed. If the albularyo catches the bird, he will be able to learn the identity of the aswang who is trying to infect that person.
The yanggaw girl in the movie had a gruesome fate as she ended up being killed by her father when he found her eating her toddler nephew. More than being a scary movie, Yanggaw is a story about a family’s tragedy.
Either you believe these stories or not, one thing’s for sure. We will not hear the last of them so better enjoy these stories. Go watch Yanggaw tonight and scare yourself. It’s at Youtube.