A parish priest in Negros Oriental has publicly refuted claims that an aswang — a bloodsucking monster — is terrorising his flock.
Speaking yesterday (Tuesday, October 2) Father Christian Durango cautioned people against spreading “false and unverified information” about the terrifying mythical creatures.
The priest from Bayawan City spoke out after a nationwide television show reported on Sunday evening that a remote village was being attacked the ghouls.
Perhaps the best-known of the country’s mythical creatures, aswang are shapeshifting vampires. They resemble humans by day but transform into various horrible guises by night.
While anyone can fall victim to these flesh eating ghouls, pregnant women about to give birth are said to be their favoured prey.
The latest reports about the creature, the priest said, could endanger lives and also destroy the image of the village.
“That story does not have any factual basis whatsoever,” he said. Father Durango has been the parish priest of Tayawan village since November last year.
He said that ever since he had first arrived, frequent rumours had circulated about the alleged aswang. In his view, this was “because we entertain ourselves with these kinds of talk”.
“When we say something, let us first verify if it is true. We are already, in a way, defaming someone and causing social stigma,” he added.
The priest also described how relatives of people accused of being aswangs would often move away out of fear and shame. He added that even some members of his congregation had been linked to the monsters.
“Those who have been interviewed [on the television show] are now being bashed by the people there,” he added.
Belief in mythical creatures remains widespread throughout the Philippines, particularly in rural areas.
Last month, we reported how Cebu police launched an investigation after townspeople in San Fernando claimed their fighting cocks had been savaged by an aswang.
Previously, in August villagers in Minanao blamed a sigbin — another nocturnal nasty — for the killing of 21 fighting cocks.
In 2015 we reported on another suspected aswang attack in Pasay City. However, a man who thought one of the monsters was on his roof later discovered it was an endangered pangolin.
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