I thought I’d share a funny story from October, 2003:
It was a Sunday morning, and I was in Intramuros. I stopped by an ATM machine before going to church. A couple of small children kept watching me as I punched numbers and made my withdrawal. They were clearly fascinated with the pale stranger before them.
One of them approached me for a short conversation:
Kid: “Sabi ng tatay ko, aswang ka daw.” (my father says you are an aswang)
Kevin: “Ano?” (what)
Kid: “Sabi ng tatay ko, aswang ka daw.”
I was pretty good in Tagalog at this point, but I did not recognize that word (aswang). It didn’t sound too flattering. I later asked a friend at church about my mystery title.
Kevin: “Johnette, some kid just said I’m an aswang. What is that?”
Johnette: “It’s a monster–kind of like a vampire.”
Turns out that the aswang is the most feared creature in Filipino folklore. It is a mythical, vampire-like creature that has wings but only half of a body (though descriptions vary greatly).
The kid didn’t seem the least bit afraid of me. Maybe he didn’t believe his father, or maybe I didn’t look hungry.
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