Aswang – Philippines

My mom told me a story that my grandma told her, which was basically about one of our neighbors in the Philippines and how she is a shape shifter. 

In the Philippines we call these shape shifters aswang, and what happens is that the aswang actually eats young children.  And so in order to differentiate human beings from an aswang, because these shape shifters can be animals, they can be people, so you can’t tell.  The only way you can tell is through the reflection of a spoon, because when you look at your reflection in a spoon, your reflection is upside down, but for an aswang, if you were to show the aswang’s reflection it would be right side up. 

And so that’s what my mom would tell me about these creatures, and it really freaked me out when I was a little kid, because when I was in the Philippines I was like, “Oh my God, I don’t know who is who, and I could probably die right now.” I was so scared when I was younger. 

I asked my mom whether or not she was familiar with these kind of stories of the aswang, and surprisingly she said no. Where she is from, aswang refers more to monsters and werewolves and things of that nature.  It encompasses a lot of “mythical” beings, so I guess what the main “aswang creature” is really depends on where you’re from.  But the Filipinos do not see them as “mythical”; they consider the creatures real, and have no doubt in their mind that they exist.  That can be seen in this story, as Franceska’s mother and grandmother sincerely believed that their neighbor was a shape shifter.  So Franceska grew up believing she might be eaten at any moment by a shape shifter, and even said at one point contemplated carrying a spoon around with her.