and Presentacion, a newly married couple, went to
live in a distant barrio where most of the houses
were scattered far from one another. As was
customary in that place, people seldom referred
to each other by their baptismal names. They must
have thought Blas too short, for they changed it
to Iblas, and Presentacion too long, for they
changed it to Tason.
One night Tason told Iblas that
they had no more water in the house; so he took
their bongbong, a length of bamboo which
they used as a water jar and went to the small
river nearby. Near the river bank he heard a
rustling coming from the bamboo thicket. Silently
he walked toward the source of the noise to find
out what was causing it as there was no wind
blowing at all. By the light of the moon, he saw
a man get a small bamboo tube from its hiding
place among the bamboo trunks.
more curious. He hid behind some bushes to find
out what the man was up to. When the moonlight
became brighter, he recognized the man as his
neighbor, Generoso, popularly known as Osoy. He
was dressed only in shorts. He took them off and
stood stark naked in the soft moonlight. Then he
removed the coconut-husk stopper of the bambooo
tube and raised his left arm above his head. With
the fingers of his right hand, he scooped up some
of the contents of the tube and rubbed it on the
left side of his body from the tip of the little
finger to the tip of the little toe. After that
he lifted his right arm and in the same manner
rubbed some of the contents of the tube on the
right side of his body with his left hand. Next
he jumped up to the height of a man and stayed up
a few seconds before descending to the ground. He
repeated the rubbing process first on the left
side, then on the right side of his body, then
jumped up to the height of a tall coconut tree
before coming down again. A third time he
repeated the rubbing process, then carefully
replaced the coconut husk cover of the tube
before putting it back in its hiding place.
Finally, he put on his shorts, leaped into the
air and flew swiftly out of sight.
that Osoy was an aswang. He went to the
bamboo clump and took the bamboo tube Osoy had
hidden. When he removed the cover, he found out
that it contained a black, sticky, very foul-smelling
substance. He replaced the cover and put back the
'tube' in its hiding place.
When he was
walking home with the water he had fetched, Iblas
decided not to tell his wife what he had seen..
He knew very well that if he did, Tason would
never consent to being left alone in their house
even in broad daylight.
The next morning,
however, he decided to confront Osoy. He went to
Osoy's house almost a kilometer away and told him
what he had seen the previous night. Osoy
admitted at once that he was an aswnag.
But he entreated Iblas not to tell anyone about
it, not even Tason. He said that anyway he was
not a bad aswang as he did not cause
anybody any trouble. Iblas reluctantly promised
not to reveal Osoy's secret.
About a week
later Iblas and Osoy met while they were about to
tether their carabaos for the night. When Iblas
happened to mention that Tason was complaining
because they had no fish or meat to eat with
their rice, Osoy asked him, "Why don't we go
together to our town market and buy some fish?
"Our town market is three kilometers away.
How could we come back in time for supper?"
to me," Osoy replied."In fact, I think
we had better go to the market in the next town.
Prices are cheaper there. Just tell Tason that
you will go to my house because I promised to
give you some fish. Then meet me near the bamboo
thicket by the river."
Iblas agreed. He
went home and told his wife that he would procure
some fish for her from Osoy who had promised to
give him some.
Osoy had already
made the necessary preparations for flight and
made Iblas get on his back at once as soon as he
arrived at the river bank away they flew. They
travelled fast and soon reached their destination.
They stopped on a vacant lot a short distance
from the public market of the neighboring town.
Osoy said he would wait there while Iblas bought
returned with the roasted talosogs or
mudfish he had bought they started on their
journey home. On the way, however, Osoy saw a
brightly lighted house and told Iblas they would
stop there a short time only as there was
something he had to do. They alighted in a dark
orchard behind the house and, after telling Iblas
to wait, Osoy went under the house from which
could be heard high-pitched voices chanting the Pasion,
a Bikol book in verse form about the
life of Christ, which is the common tao's
Bible. The Pasion was usually chanted
only in a house where there was a dead person,
except during the Lenten Season when it was not
only chanted everywhere but also performed as a
religious drama called tanggal.
While Iblas was
waiting under a tree, a ripe lemoncito
happended to fall on his head. Thinking that some
ripe lemoncitos would go well with the talosogs
he had bought, he climbed the tree, picked some
of the fruit and put them in his pocket. About
ten minutes later, Osoy came back from the house
and they resumed their interrupted journey.
however, Osoy found great difficulty in
proceeding. He complained that Iblas had become
too heavy and asked him if he happened to have
any lemoncito with him. When Iblas said
that his pocket was full of them, Osoy told him
to throw all of them away at once, otherwise they
would never get home that night . Iblas did so
and a short time later they were standing near
the bamboos on the river bank. Iblas took his
share of the fish and went home while Osoy took a
bath in the river . Tason expressed surprise that
her husband had returned so soon. Iblas told her
that he had run part of the way. Tason also told
him that he must have touched or stepped on some
foul-smelling substance and suggested that he
wash his hands and feet thoroughly before their
never told anyone that Osoy was an Aswang. After
all, not many persons could experience the thrill
of flying in those days before the airplane was
invented. Iblas often took advantage of the
speedy means of transportation a grateful Osoy
gladly furnished him any time he wanted. But he
never forgot to take a bath first after flying
with Osoy, before going near his wife or any
The Aswang and
and His Aswang Neighbor
Genuine and Bogus
Kiyo and the Aswang