happy-go-lucky cousins, Perto and Ente, well-known
for their harumscarum ways and practical jokes,
decided to go on a pilgrimage to Our Lady of
Penafrancia during her fiesta in Naga, probably
to atone a little for their numerous picadilloes.
In those days, a trip between Buhi and Naga was
quite an ordeal. The roads were rough and tulisanes
or highway robbers infested the thick forests
along the way. The trip, one way, often took as
much as a week even in good weather. Travellers
often travelled in groups for greater safety.
Perto and Ente had an
uneventful trip to Naga. They had joined a group
of pilgrims from Buhi, which was joined by many
others from barrios along the way. But, being
young and adventurous, they had stayed a few days
more in Naga after the end of the festivities and
started on their return trip without any
One day, they
were forced by bad weather to seek shelter for
the night in a neighborhood notorious for having
many aswangs among its inhabitants. But
it was too dark and stormy to proceed to the next
barrio, so they selected a likely-looking house
and explained their predicament to the couple who
owned it. When they said that they were devotees
of Our Lady, they were welcomed with traditional
hospitality. And when they wanted to prepare
their own supper out of the provisions they were
carrying, their host told them that was
unthinkable and insisted that they should share
the meal his wife was then preparing.
In the meantime,
they were shown into a small room to rest. After
a while, Perto felt the need to relieve himself
and went down and looked for a suitable place as
the house, like most houses in those days, did
not have any toilet. As he was returning to the
house, he saw a small shed. He peered inside and
saw hanging from a rafter what he thought at
first was the leg of a pig. When he looked more
carefully, however, he was shocked to find that
it was in fact a human leg. He told his cousin
what he had seen and they realized that they ware
in an aswang's house.
When they were
called to supper, they found out that the meal
consisted of boiled rice, a big plate of
delicious looking adobo, gabi leaves
with pepper cooked in coconut milk and latondan
bananas. But they noted that the meat was lighter
in color and finer grained, and the skin thinner
than in the usual pork adobo. Their host
smilingly informed them that they were lucky a
hunter in their barrio had caught a wild pig in
his atbong or pit trap and sold them two
kilos of the meat which his wife had cooked into adobo.
Ente said they
were very sorry but they have made a promesa
or solemn vow to the Virgin not to eat any meat
until they have returned to Buhi. The couple were
disappointed but accepted their explanation for
not touching the adobo at all. Early the next
morning, the cousins took their leave and went on
with their journey, very thankful, that a chance
discovery had saved them from becoming cannibals.
continued to plague them, however. Shortly
afterwards they encountered bad weather again and
had to stop. They were able to resume their
journey only late in the afternoon, then had to
stop again at the next barrio after covering a
Once again they
went to a house to seek shelter for the night.
The owners asked them where they had come from
and when they answered that they had slept in the
next barrio the previous night, the owner seemed
to hesitate before granting their request for
shelter. Again they were prevailed upon to share
the family meal after which they were shown to a
small room whrein to sleep.
Just as the two
were about to fall asleep, they heard whisperings
in the next room. Then through the interstices of
the bamboo floor, they saw a small fire under
their room, and the smell of burning feathers
assailed their nostrils.
the common belief that an aswang cannot
help giving the characteristic aswang cry
after smelling burning feathers and whispered to
Ente, "I think our host suspect us of being aswangs.
We should not have told them where we slept last
night. But let us play a joke on them and pretend
that we are what they suspect we are."
Ente thought it
was a capital idea and the two started to cry as
shrilly as they could. "Kak-kak-kak,kak-kak-kak,kak-kak-kak."
There was a
commotion in the next room, and when the cousins
looked outside they saw the couple running away
from the house as if being pursued by devils. The
two cousins began to regret having made their
foolish prank. But before they could decide
whether they should go away or not they saw a
group of men with torches rapidly approacing the
house. Many of them were armed with bolos and
clubs. They surrounded the house and one who
appeared to be the leader shouted at Perto and
Ente to go down if they did not want to get
killed. The two had no choice but to go
downstairs fearing the worst.
But when the
leader who happened to be the teniente del
barrio saw them, he burst into a fit of
uncontrollable laughter. These are two naughty
friends of mine from Buhi who love nothing better
than a joke. I lived in their town for some time
and I know them, this calls for a celebration.
They all went
back to the house of the teniente del barrio.
Soon there was a guitarist and a violiinist
playing lively tunes. They had an impromptu dance
and linobak party till almost morning.
The men exhausted the supply of fermented tuba
in the barrio. And the two bogus aswang
could resume their journey home only after lunch
the next day, and had a quiet trip the rest of
the way to Buhi.
The Aswang and
and His Aswang Neighbor
Genuine and Bogus
Kiyo and the Aswang