Search and You Shall Find in My World

25 May 2010

Misteryo: Demystifying the Aswang and the Filipino

Last night you were, unhinged. You were like some desperate, howling demon. You frightened me. Do it again. –Morticia Adams

The other day, while waiting for sleep to come, I chanced upon a TV program over at QTV about the mysterious world we are in, aptly titled Misteryo.

The topic was about Aswang, that vampire-like witch I used to fear when I was younger and would have me goose-bumped when some occasions arise.

Hosted by Ryan Eigennman, the program transported me to Cavite where a supposed “victim” was being studied and protected by albularyos (generally, witch doctors). That albularyo insisted that the woman was indeed a victim and mumbled some Latin version of a Roman Catholic prayer. The victim was a woman who had miscarriage.

The program took pains in interviewing everyone in the family, even putting cameras in the roofs just to record the possible coming back of the aswang. Interestingly, only a cat sniffed their cameras. The albularyo justified that aswangs could trick us and took forms with whatever they want.

There was also a “self-confessed” aswang who allowed an interview to justify herself that she did not cause the miscarriage.

Instead of being terrified I was in fact laughing at the interview. The usual pinakain ng bato (swallowed a pebble allegedly coming from a dying aswang, mostly a relative so he/she could die peacefully and that the aswang tradition will live on) was rather cute.

It reminds me of my Lola who used to terrify us with her stories of the unknown. She would insist she saw aswangs and other mythical beings of the night. We would cower in fear, usually under a comforting blanket. Those stories would sometimes leave us children prisoners in our house while the adults would go out not guilty of child neglect doing whatever business they do outside of the house during the night because the children were safely tucked in bed having nightmares of aswangs.

To demystify aswangs, the program also interviewed a doctor who said that the cause of the miscarriage could be attributed to several factors like the shape of her uterus or stress-related problems because pregnancy could do a lot of psychological harm to a woman.

The series is quite clever and a bit informative. I salute it for the reason that it once again revives our culture no matter how ignorant we may seem to be from other people. Although I for sure know that these mythical beings never ceased to exist especially in rural areas. But still, the aswangs, manananggals, tiyanaks, etc. are part of what we are as Filipinos. These mythic ghouls make us more than an interesting nation.

We have an Aswang Festival in Roxas City, right?

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