Maguindanao, North Cotabato villagers arming against ‘aswang’

SHARIFF AGUAK, Maguindanao (MindaNews/29 May) – Villagers in Barangay Poblacion here have armed themselves against a huge dog they described as “aswang” (Philippine version of a vampire) after it attacked a couple on Friday last week.

Muslima Guiamad of Barangay Poblacion 8 was walking with her husband Abdullah to the public market before dawn on that day when a huge dog attacked her from behind.

She recalled the dog bit her in the nape and upper arms.

“The extra big dog has wide red eyes, sharp sets of teeth and very strong,” Muslima said, trying to picture out her ferocious attacker.

Abdullah came to her rescue as soon as the “aswang” clamped on his wife. He hit the attacker with his machete but it continued to feast on his wife’s arms.

Then the “aswang” turned to Abdulla and bit his leg.

“I hit the dog several times but my machete bounces back. As if I was hacking a stone,” he said.

“I’m convinced it was not an ordinary dog but an aswang,” he added.

Bai Ingkong Manalasal, another resident, said rumors spread that an “aswang” has been transforming into a dog to attack humans.

A police blotter report showed the Guiamad couple was bitten by a dog.

Residents, meanwhile, have forbidden their children to go out at night.

Pregnant women were heavily guarded as elders said the “aswang” was after the babies in the wombs.

In Barangay Tapodoc, Aleosan, North Cotabato, similar “aswang” stories were also reported. The mythical creature allegedly transformed from a cat to a monster-like human and attacked three persons on Wednesday.

Villagers have armed themselves with sharp bamboo poles, machete, knives and even firearms, and kept vigil waiting for the “aswang”

They put garlic at window openings to drive away the “aswang”, which is believed to dislike the smell of the spice.

But for the Guiamad couple, it’s no longer whether the “aswang” really exists or not.

Their worry was they were yet to receive anti-rabies vaccination, something they could not afford to buy.

Belief in “aswang” and other malevolent creatures has persisted in many rural areas of the country. (Ferdinandh B. Cabrera/MindaNews)