Spelling variations: asuáng, asuwáng
Aswang is a native Tagalog word for a mythological creature. It’s been noted though that it’s likely derived from the Sanskrit word asura which means ‘demon.’
An aswang is scarier than the Spanish-derived word multo, which sort of calls to mind harmless ghosts like Caspar.
In other parts of the the Philippines, an aswang is called tik-tik or wak-wak.
The most common description for an aswang is that it’s a human who lives quietly among regular people during the day, but transforms into another creature at night. It stays up all night hunting for human hearts and livers to eat.
How to defend against an aswang? Use garlic or salt. Crack a whip in the air. Escape to inside a church.
KASABIHAN / SAYING
Mas mabuti ang aswang kaysa sa isang magnanakaw.
Better an aswang than a thief.
This is in reference to the belief that an aswang does not harm its human friends. That’s why if you meet someone with bloodshot eyes (telltale sign of an aswang), it is best to be friendly and genuinely nice.