Basically, the Aswang is a Filipino folklore mythical creature. According to myths it has a vampire-like nature. It has other names such as the “wak-wak” and “tik-tik”. It has been subject to and a hopeless explanation to so many unsolved stories in the Philippines. Especially in the 16th century, even the Spanish colonists has noticed that it was the Aswang which terrified the Filipinos most. It is known in the entire country and feared except for the Ilocos regions where the myth does not have an existing story to be told. The most popular regions where the Aswang myth is found is in places like Capiz, Negros, Aklan, Antique, Masbate and Bohol.
The term Aswang is generally used to define all kinds of vampires, monsters and witches. Originally it was used as a term for a were-dog myth. Dog in Tagalog is Aso where the name takes its origins. The were-dog myth used to be an easter of the dead which consumes cadavers and replaces the bodies with banana trunks. The stories on Aswang vary depending on the region or individual in the country. But it is generally refered to a female.
But the real origin of the Aswang myth could be found in the ancient times before modern science and medicine came to the Philippines. Maladies and miscarriages that could not be explained properly were always attributed as the workings of an Aswang. But in the present times, the myth changed its purposes and uses. Now it is used as entertainment and also by parents to their children as a style of disciplining. For example a Filipino mother would tell their child aswang stories to stop them from staying away from home late at night.
True that it is a well-known myth in the entire country, the myth though is most popular in the Visayas especially that of Capiz. It is Capiz which is frequently targeted by tabloids as a place where various monsters and supernatural beings lived such as tikbalangs(centaurs) and manananggals. A reason for that may be because almost all of the people living in Capiz are superstitiously inclined.
Some people believe that Aswangs appear not only in places but during seasons of high spiritual significance. Such is the example of Southern Luzon where Antipolo is superstitiously believed to have many events of Aswang occurences during the Holy Week. The belief explains that this happens in the three days when Christ was dead. But although there are superstitious folks in the country there are also some that highly argues that the Aswang might be creatures that belong to the cryptozoology, a science that deals with studying animals that hasn’t been proven to exist yet. Some examples of cryptozoologic animals are dinosaurs and the big foots.
Research on the Aswang has produced so many different descriptions. But there are on the other hand numerous commodities in all the stories. The stories commonly has it that Aswangs are people who live ordinary lives. They are usually shy and quiet people. But at night they would turn into different creatures and animals such as cats, dogs or pigs. Stories also commonly show that Aswangs eat fetuses, little children and the hearts of people. Finally, they have been commonly described as robbers of cadavers and always in the habit of replacing the stolen bodies with wood, tree trunks or materials made from plants.
The mystery of the Aswang has been provided with scientific, religious and historical explanations. Others believe in their existence while others do not. But all the same it remains as one of the most influential literatures in the Filipino culture.