Among the numerous monsters in Filipino folklore, the aswang is undoubtedly the most known and most feared of them all.
A ghoulish shape shifter that feeds on the unborn, the aswang is said to be a combination of vampires and werewolves. Although the creature is known to be a shape-shifter, they are often depicted as female with bloodshot eyes due to entire nights spent feeding on human bodies.
The most known tale associated with the aswang is the story of the creature hiding on a rooftop or near a window of a pregnant woman as she sleeps. The creature then releases its long proboscis (or tongue) to suck the unborn child out of the mother’s womb.
Disturbing? You bet.
This may be why Jim Kouf, executive producer of the American TV drama series Grimm, says that the aswang is the scariest creature that the show has ever featured.
True to his word, when the aswang made its appearance on an episode last week, audiences were surprised to see a monster even darker than Filipino folklore imagined– a bald, pale creature with sharp claws and skull-shaped face.
Despite the new and horrifying mental image, Filipinos are rejoicing. It is not too often that Filipino folklore is featured in mainstream media. This is all thanks to Filipino actor Reggie Valdez who plays the role of Sergeant Wu on Grimm.
“The creators are so wonderfully collaborative. They actually came to me and said, ‘Do you know any of – do you know any Filipino folklore?’” Lee said in an interview with Broadway World.com.
“And as you know, we believe these things in the Philippines,” he said. “I’m so grateful that the creators of Grimm decided to use my actual heritage to introduce my character to the ‘creature world.’ I mean, how often do we have a Filipino story line on mainstream television? It was probably one of the most fulfilling times I’ve had within my career both because of the connection to the Philippines and the tremendous amount of emotion involved. I am grateful!”