The aswang project
There's a pot of salt next to the door of our apartment. Apparently for good luck. But it helps to keep the bad spirits away, as well. Aswangs among others...
I hadn't heard about The Aswang Project before. Well, I'm not really into mythology, so no surprise here. But an open letter attracted my attention. The Aswang Project got struck in an online controversy on race, culture and identity.
I'm not going to focus on that controversy. Too much words have already been wasted on the topic. But through this discussion it, I discovered an unknown world to me: folklore and mythologies in the Philippines.
Jordan Clark, a Canadian guy, shares since 2006 his knowledge on myths, creatures and shamans in the Philippines. He produced a documentary, directed a web series and edited a dictionary of Philippine Mythology (originally written by Ferdinand Blumentritt, a correspondent of the Filipino national hero José Rizal).
I watched the full documentary last Sunday. Very interesting, and very respectful towards Filipino superstitious beliefs and practices. Clark tries to understand where the aswang comes from. Wikipedia explains:
An aswang is umbrella term for various shape-shifting evil creatures in Filipino folklore, such as vampires, ghouls, witches, viscera suckers, and werebeasts (usually dogs, cats, pigs). The Aswang is the subject of a wide variety of myths, stories, arts, and films, as it is well-known throughout the Philippines.
If you'd like to know which role aswangs played – and still play – in the Filipino history, culture and folklore; and where its roots are situated, the documentary is a must see.
The docu will also explain you why we have salt in our apartment ;)
The documentary is probably also a good backgrounder to the Netflix series Trese. It's different, but from the trailer we can deduct that some creatures, like aswang or manananggal, formed the inspiration of the anime-series, and the Filipino horror comic series with the same name.