How to Survive an Aswang or Witch Attack in the Philippines


At the entrance of the Trappist Monastery in Guimaras Friday morning as my asawa and niece JalAmiel were going to meet Brother Tom for lunch and then go on a trip to his farmhouse in Guimaras (more on that story in a future post), two little girls waved to us as we drove by them in our tricycle. I waved back and made it a point to stop by later to see what the young ladies were selling at their table.  I was quite surprised to see that they had several types of bracelets called "karmin" which offers babies protection from being eaten by aswangs. And no, I am not making any of this up and have not been drinking any bottles of Gold Eagle beer.

According to Wikipedia, the aswang is an inherently evil vampire-like creature and is the subject of a wide variety of myths and stories, the details of which vary greatly. Spanish colonizers noted that the Aswang was the most feared among the mythical creatures of the Philippines, even in the 16th century. Aswang sightings are quite common in our Western Visayas region and one was even spotted on a roof in Iloilo last year along with some aliens from outer space. And again, I am not making this up. When my wife was in the third grade, her family was attacked by an aswang in the middle of the jungle in Guimaras.

The 10-year-old Filipina on the right and her 7-year-old shy sister, are part Negrito, according to my wife, an ethnic group  which make up the Aeta, Agta, Ati, and 30 other tribes of the Philippines (source Wikipedia.) Such nice girls, the one on the right was quite the salesperson. I ended up buying a karmin bracelet for my niece at a cost of P30 (70 cents) that the salesgirl is holding up and a P20 (47 cents) special talisman for myself which my wife says is to be used for babies only. I didn't care. I wanted it.  Also purchased a handmade coin purse for P20. The 10-year-old added up all of my sales with her calculator.

There was no sign of any parents nearby to monitor the children, but since the girls were on the grounds of the Monastery surrounded by monks and visitors, the young salesgirls were in a fairly safe environment. I wore my aswang charm  the rest of the afternoon and the next day until my wife demanded I remove it when we went to visit the only notary public on the whole island of Guimaras to get some paperwork for my upcoming 13(a) Permanent Visa notarized. For some reason my aswang protector really annoys her (all the more reason for me to pin it on my t-shirt occasionally. I'm sure none of you husbands out there ever do anything to deliberately irritate your asawa.)

DSCSo if you ever find yourself wandering around beautiful Guimaras province just outside of San Miguel and near the entrance of the Trappist Monastery, why not stop by the table these little Filipinas are selling their merchandise. That aswang charm I bought is really working so far. Haven't seen an aswang for days!

Author: The Kano

POST AUTHOR: "THE KANO." Dave DeWall, "The Kano", is the Publisher & Editor-in-Chief of "Philippines Plus" in publication since August 2009. He is also the CEO of Lizard Poop Productions and author of the best-selling guide book "The Philippines Expat Advisor." Dave moved to the Philippines in July 2009 from Central Illinois with his lovely wife of over 19 years, "The Sainted Patient Wife." The couple reside in a rural province in Western Visayas, Guimaras. The small island province is said to have the sweetest mangoes in the world. They do not have any children but are the proud owners of eight active canines, including a Belgian Shepherd called "Killer" "Killer" has bitten five people in the last two years along with one goat and a carabao. "Killer" doesn't like strangers. Or goats. Or carabaos.

17 thoughts on “How to Survive an Aswang or Witch Attack in the Philippines

  1. Hi Dave,

    Is this The Albularyo blog of John Miele? Hahah…Anyways, Aswangs are also known to be shape-shifters, they can transform from humans to dogs or pigs. And yes, it’s quite abundant in the Visayas region but lesser in Luzon where I am from. Your wife is annoyed by the aswang protector? Hmmm… kidding!

    1. Dave,

      I have read your wife’s aswang attack story and it was really frightening! But probably, those tuko (lizards) are not really lizards but Tik-Tik (also a type of aswang) with sounds similar to tuko’s. Seriously, I’m a believer in those things and all those mystical creatures in the PH. My relatives in the provinces of Surigao and Cebu have similar experiences too.

        1. Hmmm, well, interesting website to say the least, Jonathan. Judging by it’s Alexa ranking, it’s a fairly popular and visited site. I’ll have to check it out more tomorrow, getting ready to shut down for the day, but thanks for the link.

      1. Dave, Jonathan

        I asked my g/f in Bataan about Aswangs/Duendes. She states her family has never seen either. A friend of mine who lives in Caloocan City, but grew up in the provences said she saw a Aswang in the shape of a dog outside her window when she was a child. She said Aswangs hate light and vehicle noises and they can make a person weak by sniffing on them. She also said there are good and bad duendes too. The good ones give you good luck in business and love. I’m fascinated by these creatures. Good article Dave and thanks for the info/link Jonathan.

        1. Papa Duck, I believe the aswangs are seen more frequently in the provinces. We’ll be heading to Caloocan City next week to stay with my sister-in-law and her family, but don’t expect to see many aswangs when I’m there, too noisy and too much traffic I think. Not surprised to hear that your g/f saw a aswang in the shape of a dog, they are notorious shape-shifters. And yes, your g/f is correct about duwendes, there are good and bad ones. Unfortunately, my extended family in the Philippines have only met the mischievous ones. Wicked little devils!

  2. Hi Dave,

    My Parents own a hefty chunk of land back there in Guimaras which I was fortunate enough to have visited at one time. I was born and raised in Guam and been living in the states for quite some time. Family emergency has beckoned me back there to IloIlo so I’ll arrive there later this coming week. It’s been 15 years since I last vacationed there. If it is possible I would really be a pleasure to chug a few brews with you and maybe get a different perspective of things back there from someone who like you… Ill be in Guimaras on Wednesday May 4th if the weather allows it. 10 Hectors of commercial land with nothing on it and it’s about time for me to tap into it. Id really appreciate your views on some matters, about the cuties mostly… No data plans for my iPhone is really going to drive me s**ually insane… And don’t worry I’m bringing that Texas mojo for them aswangs…lol

    Eric SDS

    1. Hi Eric! Sorry about the family emergency, hope everything works out. Be happy to meet you in Guimaras this Wednesday. Just let me know what dock you’ll be at, we always use Jordan because we live in San Miguel. We’ll be leaving for Manila on May 9 to get my Permanent 13a Visa. Good thing you’re bringing that Texas mojo to ward off the aswangs, you might need it. Hope we can meet and have a few brews.

  3. Hi Dave: I’d like to share a story about Filipina vampire beliefs as well. In the Philippines, vampires are believed to exist and the witching hour is at 12:00 noon.

    In one visit to Cebu City, my sister and I traveled from the airport (from Los Angeles)to our parents’ residence. Our mother gave us a map and directions in English, but it was hard to follow as many streets in Cebu are without signs. Neither of us speak Cebuano well either. While we were in the taxi, we refrained from speaking to each other as we communicate in English only. The driver was definitely uncomfortable as he checked his rear view mirror frequently.

    We gave the taxi driver the address, but as we got into the middle of the city he pulled the familiar story of “I am a new driver in the City and I’m lost routine”. I looked over my Anglo looking sister who was hidden behind large Dolce and Gabbana sunglasses next to me at the back of the taxi. She looked so pale like a ghost! She was motion sick. She whispered to me that she was about to throw up. I gaved her a piece of candy to calm herself.

    I mustered my Cebuano to the taxi driver and told him that we must hurry home. My mistress (a vampire: “Wakwak”) must get home as it is almost witching hour at 12:00 p.m. The witching hour is associated with feeding time (with human blood). Due to the high humidity, my sister’s long black hair had increased double its volume and she looked like a vampire from New Orleans with her dark western clothing. (She’s an attorney from Los Angeles.) You wouldn’t believe how quick we got to the house. The gated house looked big and sinister. The taxi took off like a “bat out of hell”. I only paid 400.00 pesos which is a bargain from the airport.

    This story was worth repeating over and over again to company, as it draws a great deal of laughs.

    1. Great story, Roselyn! Very funny, I read it to my asawa sitting next to me, and we both got a good laugh. Maybe I’ll try your “Wakwak” routine when we get to the Manila airport on our way to our hotel if the cabbie starts that “new driver” routine. Thanks for sharing your story. 🙂

  4. Did you happen to see the “White Lady” dancing, Rusty? That’s what it sounds like to me.We have healers and those that practice black magic in our province of Guimaras. Mang ku ku lam is the term my asawa uses for those that practice black magic.

  5. i could attest that they are real. from my own experience i saw an aswang in the roof of the house of my uncle and BTW, my cousin is pregnant at the time, i saw the aswang since our house is taller and bigger than theirs and beside the window of my room faces the full view of their house. So question what would a dog do in the roof of a house and that house happens to be a two-storey house? and the dogs eyes is red and slanted like a human eye

    1. Hi Dave,

      By the way, the title of this blog is about how to survive an aswang attack. Old people here in the town of my grandma says that “Lana” (that’s what people here name it) its a combination of different herb and a “babaylan” or a person who have supernatural powers that could heal people and souls could only do the rituals for this potion to be effective. It says if you have “Lana” with you the aswang would be afraid to come near you or thats what they say. but if you are attack with aswang and u dont have “lana” then you gotta fight it with all your strenght (take note an aswang posses a supernatural strenght) so u might end up dead or if youre lucky enough then alive with a lot of bruises.
      and by the way they dont attack on people who are not weak, i mean they attack adult people only when they are sick if not pregnant and also childrens, specially babys.

      1. Yep, my wife’s Tatay and Nanay did consult with a “Lana,” Faith, and with her help was able to keep the asawa from making any further attacks on my wife’s little sister, Emily, a beautiful baby that was the target of the aswang. Thanks so much for your info.

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