A ghoul or demon who can assume the shape of animals and attack people for their heart, liver, or innards. They are also described as half-headed female viscera suckers, with bulging eyes and lolling tongues, flying about at night searching for pregnant women and infants. See also manananggal and wakwak.

The Mandaya believe that they injure the living and cause sickness. If a person falls ill, a ballyan offers a live chicken to these spirits biding them "to take and kill this chicken in place of this man, so that he need not die." If the patient recovers the aswáng has agreed to the trade and the chicken is released in the jungle. Five of the most powerful are Tagbanúa, Tagamaling, Sigbinan, Lumaman, and Bigwa. They sometimes live in caves but generally reside in the bud-bud (baliti) trees.



  • Cole, Fay-Cooper. (1913). The Wild Tribes of Davao District, Mindanao. Chicago: Field Museum of Natural History, p. 176.
  • de Las Casas, Dianne; Gagatiga, Zarah C. (2011). Tales from the 7,000 Isles: Filipino Folk Stories Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, p. xvi.
  • Lee, Jonathan H. X., and Kathleen M. Nadeau. (2011). Encyclopedia of Asian American folklore and folklife. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, p. 337.